Working for Walthamstow Sunday 9th December 2018

Working for Walthamstow Sunday 9th December 2018: Brexit E17 Meeting Update, Warmth From & For Walthamstow Donation Drive Requests, Gender Pay Gap - The Economic Case, Parliamentary Update on Immigration Detention and High Cost Credit, Universal Credit - Call for Evidence

This is the Working For Walthamstow newsletter. I produce it every week to highlight issues of relevance to our area, and to let you know what I'm up to as the MP for Walthamstow. 

You can also follow me on twitter via @stellacreasy or on facebook for regular updates too. 

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Whats on in Walthamstow in the coming days......Working for Walthamstow - This week's News Updates and How You Can Be Involved....  

Waltham Forest Music School Christmas Concert - Monday 10th December There will be two festive family concerts showcasing the musical talent of young people from Waltham Forest on Monday 10th December.  Bands will perform seasonal music including rock, pop, funk, soul and classical. Starting at 5pm for beginner groups and 7pm for advanced groups, this concert takes place at Walthamstow School for Girls on Church Hill. Tickets are £5/3 on the door and under 16s are free.  

Cantina! - Friday 14th December onwards Lake of Stars & Today Bread have teamed up to curate a series of winter warmer Friday nights in the build up to Christmas and beyond. Cantina! brings you a laid-back mix of world, soul, jazz, blues and hip hop played by DJ's from around the Borough of Culture plus pop-up kitchens from a range of quality food trucks. Today Bread will be selecting the best wine and local craft beer to serve on those cold, dark nights. Starting Friday 7th December and continuing on every friday - there will also be an end of year Makers Market with local producers and freshly made minced pies and mulled wine on Friday 14th December and Saturday 15th December between 6-9pm. Free entry.  

Shapeshifter Productions Christmas Pub Crawl – Friday 14 December Shapeshifter Productions are organising their Christmas Pub Crawl in Walthamstow, to raise some funds for their project The Smiling Sessions; participatory music sessions preventing loneliness, improving confidence and wellbeing through encouraging group singing and social interaction amongst senior citizens. They will be meeting at The Castle Pub in Walthamstow village at 7pm on Friday 14th December. It will finish at The Bell Pub on Forest Road around 10pm. Shapeshifter Productions are also looking for singers For more information, email or call 020 7018 2927. 

Gnome House ‘Winter Warmer 2018’ – Saturday 15 December All are welcome to join Gnome House on Saturday 15th December between 12pm to 7pm for carols (by the Roger Ascham School Choir), Father Christmas, arts and crafts activities for children, face painting, coffee from Perky Blenders, craft beer from Left Bank Brewery, sweet and savoury vegan snacks from Marli’s Kitchen, African drumming, an art exhibition and more! The location is 7 Blackhorse Lane. 

Table Top Sale- Saturday 15th December There will be a table top sale in support of local homelessness charities and the Sheltered Housing Christmas Party at the Rose and Crown Pub on Hoe Street on Saturday 15th December between 1pm-4pm. Tables cost £15 and you can book one by contacting Tommy on  07506733392.  

E17 Designers Christmas Market – Saturday 15 December 12pm-4pm The next E17 Designers Market will be at Mirth (the former EMD Cinema) on Hoe Street on Saturday 15th December between 12-4pm. It will feature, twenty five designer makers, cakes and Christmas puddings from Suzie Cakes, tarot reading with Goddess Vulpeculaand and a Christmas sing-along with Natural Voices. Restaurant and cocktails on the go all day! More information here

Friends of Lloyd Park Christmas Sing-A-Long- Sunday 16th December On Sunday 16th December from 2-4pm the Friends of Lloyd Park will be holding an afternoon of festive cheer in the park. They will have music from a Choir and christmassy food and drink including  mulled wine, hot spiced apple juice (with optional rum), mince pies, biscuits and homemade bakes. The William Morris Gallery will be running crafty family activities too. 

Forest Community Land Trust Film Screening- Saturday 15th December There will be a free screening of the film about Community Land Trusts 'Homes and Hands' on Saturday 15th December between 3-5pm at the Hare and Hounds pub on Lea Bridge Road. This is a film by Ground Spark and New Day Films, and made in 1998, it tells the story of three communities in the United States where low-income residents realised their dream of owning a home. The film serves as a great introduction to community land trusts, an alternative model of truly affordable housing.  

Waltham Forest Civic Carol Concert - Tuesday 18th December Get into the festive spirit at the annual carol concert in the beautiful surrounds of Walthamstow Assembly Hall. Join children and young people from Waltham Forest Music Service who will perform all your favourite carols interspersed with traditional readings from the Christmas story. This event is on Tuesday 18th December between 7pm to 9.30pm and is free to attend.  

Over 60s Christmas Lunch- Friday 21st December The Orford Road Community Hub's Christmas lunch is on Friday 21st December and is for anyone aged 60 and over, living in Waltham Forest.  It is free for Hub Senior Club members, there is a charge of £4 for non-members.  Please contact the Hub on 020 8223 0707 to book. 

Red Imp Comedy Club – Thursday 10 January The Red Imp Comedy Club’s first show of 2019, featuring Josie Long, at the Rose and Crown on Hoe Street will be on Thursday 10 January. Show starts 8.30pm and all tickets can be found at www.redimpcomedy.com

Waltham Forest Animal Protection Warriors! Saturday 12 January K-Star, Margaret, Mark & Rachel, members of Waltham Forest Animal Protection, will speak about their work in helping animals in Waltham Forest and beyon at the News from Nowhere club on Saturday 12th January at 7.30pm. This event takes place at the Epicentre on West Street in Leytonstone.  

Life, the Universe and Everything Else Speaker: Brian Madican - Saturday 9 February Have you ever wondered about where the universe comes from or how did it come into being? Ever pondered on the meaning of life, what is the purpose of it all? Brian Madican will be speaking at the News from Nowhere club on Saturday 9th February at 7.30pm at the Epicentre on West Street in Leytonstone. 

Brexit Update - Outcome of Walthamstow Brexit Meeting and What Will Happen in Parliament In the Coming Week

Thank you to everyone who came to the session in Walthamstow today on the votes in parliament on Brexit scheduled for the week ahead. The meeting considered both the amendments that have been tabled so far which may be voted on regarding the Prime Minister's Brexit deal, and what will happen if these are supported by MPs or the Prime Minister's Deal is voted down. The meeting decided that the amendments tabled regarding preventing a 'no deal' scenario and supporting the option of a public vote were the most important, each of which would then have the effect of overturning the Prime Minister's Deal. 

The meeting then also decided that if the Prime Minister's deal is voted down, they would like to see a 'people's vote' and stopping the clock on Article 50 being prioritised for what happens next, with support after this for exploring the 'Norway' option for Brexit, holding a Citizens Assembly and a general election as a way forward if either were not possible. You can see pictures of all of the discussion here as well as video footage of the discussion here.

It is likely that more amendments will be put forward to parliament on the Prime Minister's Deal, as the deadline for tabling them is Monday 10th December at 10pm. It is therefore almost impossible to predict what will happen on Tuesday 11th December at this point, with any expected voting to begin at 7pm and potentially continue on into the evening. In the coming week I will be seeking to update residents in Walthamstow as to what happens and what may then happen next via socia media so please do like my facebook page to get these updates or follow my twitter account. Details of how to do this are above. 

Warmth from and for Walthamstow: Donation Drive now Open for Warm Clothes and Toys 

Thank you to everyone who has already offered to help our Warmth from and for Walthamstow donation drive - we are now collecting warm boys and men's clothes to take to refugees in Calais and toys for the Walthamstow Salvation Army to distribute. You can donate at or order items online to be delivered to these local addresses:

  • Salvation Army, 434 Forest Rd, E17 4PY - Saturdays between 9:30am - 12:30pm, Monday to Fridays 10 am - 3pm

  • 36 Orford Rd, Walthamstow, E17 9NJ - Weekdays 10:30am - 5pm, weekends 11am - 4pm

  • Evening drop-offs to 9 Folkestone Rd E17 9SD - email debbiebliss@live.co.uk to make sure someone is in!

The deadline for donations is Monday 17th December. If you would like a full list of the items to donate- and what not to donate- or can help with collecting and sorting donations ahead of the deadline please reply to this email.  

Closing the Gender Pay Gap: How Post Austerity and Brexit we Can Improve Britain's Economic Position 

This week I held an adjournment debate in parliament to press the Government to put tackling the gender pay gap at the heart of their economic priorities. Austerity has proved to be a false economy and Brexit is already causing economic distress - if we were to close the UK gender pay gap alone, it could generate an additional £150 bn to the UK’s gross domestic product and add 850,000 women to the workforce. Currently Britain's overall gender pay gap is 13.7% and when part-time workers are factored in (who are overwhelmingly women), it rises to 17%. Despite mandatory reporting of the gender pay gap in companies with 250+ employees, we’ve seen some comment, but little real change to tackle this and so generate the benefits to all from closing this gap. I challenged ministers to learn from our economic competitors who are introducing legislative action to close their gender pay gaps and to improve the quality of the data collected ahead of the deadline for reporting for 2019. If you’d like to read my speech in full you can here and if you want to find out more about the #paymetoo campaign, click here

Parliament Update: Immigration Detention and Tackling High Cost Credit  

This week in parliament I also worked with other MPs on two issues which may be of concern to local residents. Firstly,  I co-sponsored Tulip Siddiq’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to stop indefinite detention. The bill would impose a statutory time limit of 28 days on detention for immigration and asylum purposes. The second reading of the bill is due in January 2019 and you can find out more about it here.

Secondly, I spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate organised by Frank Field on the provision of affordable credit for people on low incomes. This was part of the ongoing work I am doing on high cost credit and the impact of capping the costs of all forms of credit on poverty and debt.  If you’d like to read my full speech and my plea to the Minister to learn the lessons of Wonga by capping what companies such as Vanquis and Amigo Loans can charge you can do so here. If you have experience of the problems these companies cause and would like to work with us on this campaign please reply to this email. 

Universal Credit Update: Two Child Policy Petition and Disabled Residents Impact 

Universal credit was introduced in Walthamstow back in May 2018 - as more residents are moved into this system over time, so we are seeing more problems for local residents. In particular we have identified many people who are disabled who have been affected by the changes to the welfare system and the cut in benefits available to them under this scheme. If you are affected by these changes and would like assistance in raising your case with the DWP to ask them to review it please do get in touch as we are gathering evidence of the impact of this change in our community. 

Unison trade union has launched a parliamentary petition calling for the two-child limit to tax credits and Universal Credit to be scrapped. In practice this policy - which affects thousands of children in Walthamstow- means that many families with three or more children are getting £2,800 a year less. For it to be considered in Parliament, it needs 100,000 signatures. You can sign this petition here. If you would like more information on what Universal Credit is and how it could affect you, click here to access the information we put together with Eat or Heat for local residents. 

Where to find me this coming week....

  • Monday 10th December - returning to parliament for the final days of the Brexit deal discussions.  

  • Tuesday 11th December- voting against the Prime Minister's Brexit deal. 

  • Wednesday 12th December- speaking at the Institute for Government on what will happen next on Brexit.

  • Thursday 13th December- subject to the Brexit discussions, hoping to participate in the debate on youth crime in parliament.