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CONTENTS
The new Prime Minister
MP of the Year nomination
Constituency update
Parliamentary business
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News from
Debbie Abrahams MP

For Oldham East and Saddleworth

Summer 2019

Contact Me

Call the Oldham office: 0161 624 4248 
Send an
e-mail to: abrahamsd@parliament.uk 
Website: www.debbieabrahams.org.uk
Twitter: @debbie_abrahams
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Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>

This latest edition contains an update on the new Prime Minister, my nomination for the Patchwork Foundation's MP of the Year award and my activities across the constituency and in Parliament.

For more regular news you can like my page on Facebook, follow me on twitter  or visit my website.
 

Debbie Abrahams MP
The New Prime Minister

By winning the support of fewer than 100,000 Conservative Party members through promising tax cuts for the richest and pushing for a damaging no deal Brexit, Boris Johnson is our new Prime Minister.  However, he has not won the support of our country and his tour of the regions and the nations of the UK has shown a mixed response at best!

The Prime Minister's no deal plan would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risks our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.

His first campaign announcement was to give the wealthiest in society tax breaks, giving himself a £3,000 tax break and his past experiences are no better. He was sacked twice for lying, both as a politician and as a journalist.

Boris Johnson has continued to lie to the British public about his plans for trade in the event of no deal and has been called out by the Governor of the Bank of England, the Head of the World Trade Organisation and even the Tories’ own former Trade Secretary. 

When I asked the new Prime Minister about increasing inequalities, he lied again! He said income inequality had reduced, yet ignored the latest evidence showing that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer - with those hit by austerity dying early. Does ‘taking back control’ mean sustaining power for the few, not the many? See my letter to the Prime Minister here.

I'll continue to fight hard to hold him to account.

MP of the Year award nomination

I'm honoured to have been nominated for MP of the Year Award and I want to thank my constituents who nominated me. The nomination covers three areas: supporting disabled people, including my work in promoting a dementia-friendly Oldham and UK; tackling inequalities and bringing communities together, including my annual ‘Working for your community’ summer school for young people which has been running for six years; and my Be Fair - Pay on Time late payments campaign supporting small businesses.

Changing attitudes to disabilities including dementia, ending the scourge of late payments, and bringing young people together from across Oldham and Saddleworth so they can support community action, are issues we can all relate to up and down the UK. And if I win the MP of the Year award I hope I can use the platform to make even more in-roads into tackling these issues both locally and nationally. Find out more here.

The Patchwork Foundation created the awards to promote and highlight best practice of MPs across the country who work closely with diverse communities. The MPs are nominated by members of the public or grassroots community organisations and selected for short listing by an independent panel of judges who look for evidence of MPs delivering excellent representation and coverage to otherwise underrepresented sectors of society. Voting is open until 18th August and you can vote here.

Constituency update

The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander awarded graduation certificates to the participants of my 6th annual 'Working for your Community' summer school. Each year I meet such high calibre young people taking part, who are full of energy and enthusiasm and keen to broaden their experiences and learn about how they can make a difference in their own communities.
 
It’s also wonderful to see the change in the students as they gain confidence and make new friends amongst the group, and the local organisations that host them. I’d like to say a big thank you to the many organisations who’ve hosted the students and given them such valuable hands-on experience of working in the community and helped bring the theory to life.

Read here about my recent visit to Greenfield Station with Oldham Council to explore improved access. I'll be meeting with different stakeholders to explore the options open to us. An inaccessible rail station is just not acceptable in 2019.

I've been contacted by a number of constituents raising concerns about access to GP surgeries in Shaw, Saddleworth and central Oldham. Across the UK questions are being raised about access to GP services. For example, in England, while 84% of patients describe their overall experience of their GP practice as good, a much lower proportion who accept an appointment report being able to get one at a time when they wanted or sooner. 

There are also significantly fewer GPs per head in poorer areas of England than in richer areas, with people finding it harder to get a GP appointment and being less likely than their richer counterparts to have a good experience of visiting their GP. In England an ambition was set in 2016 to increase GP numbers by 5,000 by 2020 – but this target seems likely to be missed.  I will be meeting with Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group this month to discuss some of the GP access issues constituents are facing.


I have launched a petition to be presented to the House of Commons calling on the Government to both lower their unrealistic targets for house building in Greater Manchester and to give Local Authorities money to decontaminate brownfield land.

The Tory Government’s arbitrary targets for housing development need to be based on recent and reliable population estimates, and agreed in partnership with local authorities. National policy is demanding Oldham build large numbers of housing through an arbitrary housing delivery test, which fails to reflect projected housing need. It is highly relevant to Knowls Lane and other proposed developments across Oldham and Saddleworth which are impacting on open protected land (OPOL) and green space. Cuts to brownfield remediation money must be reversed to protect our greenspaces from development. Sign the petition here.

Thanks to all the Oldham representatives who took part in the Greater Manchester Making Ends Meet round table which discussed proposals on inequalities, child poverty, Universal Credit and improving the labour market. The aim of the project, established by Alison McGovern MP, is to get our economic policy right so people stop needing foodbanks, have the right approach to social security and understand what is really happening in our labour market. I look forward to contributing to the final report and recommendations.    
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Parliamentary update

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kasmir, I have written to India’s High Commissioner to the UK to express our grave concerns regarding the Indian Government’s proposed removal of Article 370 from their constitution, which grants special status to Indian-controlled Kashmir. I have also raised concerns with the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab and the UN Secretary General.

The APPG on Kashmir has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to support a process of peace and reconciliation in Kashmir. I have asked for the third time this year for the APPG to meet the High Commissioner to discuss the position of the Indian Government on Kashmir, including the removal of Article 370, as well as the APPG report last October on Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, at a closed meeting in Parliament. 


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the oral session of the APPG inquiry into the health effects of the 2016 Welfare Reform Act. There was some really important evidence revealed, so look out for the report which will be published in the autumn.

Disabled people have been particularly hit by the Government's cuts and disability hate crime has increased by more than four times since 2011 - so I asked the previous Home Secretary what he was going to do to tackle the causes, as well as the consequences. Watch here.

There have been appalling reports of Universal Credit (UC) fraud affecting the most vulnerable. I asked the Minister to ensure people who have been fraudulently transferred to UC are able to return to their legacy benefits. Watch here.


I have written about the case for a new social contract with the British people - our country is scarred by growing poverty and inequality but the British people are ready for a new Beveridge settlement. Read my article here.

Watch my Urgent Question to the DWP where I asked the Government to clarify what documents on peer reviews and coroners' letters into social security claimants deaths are held by the DWP and if they were supplied to the independent reviewer of Work Capability Assessment in 2013. A Government's first duty is to protect all its people, but they are failing the sick and disabled and this reveals the enormity of this failure. Read more here.

I asked the Chancellor what he would do, in his last few weeks in post, to right the wrongs created by this Government such as cutting £30bn of support for working age people; 8 out of 9 disabled people not benefiting from last autumn's budget; and over 4 million people living in poverty. Watch here.


Please go to my website to read my latest articles and speeches. 


https://twitter.com/UKLabour/status/1044980165103644677
Advice surgery details

If you live in Oldham East and Saddleworth and would like to discuss personal cases regarding housing, immigration, social security or other matters please call the Oldham office on 0161 624 4248 to book an appointment.

If you have an urgent enquiry, please send an email including your name, address, contact number and details of the issue you are emailing about.

 
Meetings and Events

Some of the events I've been involved in have included:

1 July Met with local schoolgirl Keira-Louise Arnold who was nominated for a Diana Award for her fundraising work for Dr Kershaw's Hospice

1 July Asked a Work and Pensions Question on vulnerable UC claimants

2 July Spoke in DWP Estimates Debate on the future of our social security system

2 July Attended Parliamentary events for the RNIB, Versus Arthritis and 100 Years of Council Housing

3 July Attended an MND/Marie Curie session on changing the 'terminal illness' social security rules


4 July Asked an Urgent Question on DWP claimant deaths

5 July 
Met school children affected by Friday afternoon school closing at the Save our Schools rally

5 July Spoke as a guest of Disabled People Against Cuts at a meeting on the future of social security 

6 July Held my constituent advice surgery in Oldham

6 July Held my regular door knocking session in Alex ward 

7 July Attended the Marshalls' concert at St Marks Church, Glodwick

8 July Attended the launch of Roundthorn Chai Ladies cohesion tapestry

8
July Welcomed participants to my Summer School in Oldham

9 July Welcomed Summer School students to Parliament

9 July Attended the Alzheimer's Society's Fix Dementia Care exhibition

10 July Spoke during the Urgent Question on the DWP and Universal Credit fraud


11 July Met with staff at Oldham Care organisation

12 July Meeting with residents, Police, Highways England and Oldham Council on traffic in Denshaw

12 July Regular meeting with GMP's Chief Supt Neil Evans

12 July Regular meeting with FCHO Chief Exec, Vinny Roche

12 July Regular door knocking session in Lees

15 July Regular meeting with Leader of Oldham Council, Cllr Sean Fielding

15 July Asked a question on disability hate crime at Home Office PQs 

16 July Attended the launch of the Disability Benefits Consortium report 'Has welfare become unfair'

17 July Met with Hannah Miller, the new Political Correspondent for ITV's Granada

17 July Attended the Federation of Small Businesses' Summer Reception


19 July Attended the start of Tedx Oldham

19 July Held graduation ceremony for Summer School participants 

19 July Held my advice surgery in Oldham  

19 July Met with Oldham participants of the National Citizen Service

19 July Regular door knocking session in Waterhead

22 July Chaired the APPG Health in All Policies' Inquiry session into the effects of the 2016 Welfare Reform and Work Act

22 July Spoke on Universal Credit managed migration and the effect of social security cuts on child health


23 July Attended the Any Disability Sign campaign launch to encourage awareness of hidden disabilities

23 July Spoke during the Urgent Question on a Supreme Court ruling on PIP for people with mental ill health


24 July Met with IPSE on self employment and disabled people

25 July Spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on the reform of the Mental Health Act

25 July Quizzed the new Prime Minister on his immediate plans to tackle inequalities


30 July Facilitated the Making Ends Meet Greater Manchester roundtable

31 July Regular door knocking session in St James ward

2 Aug Held my advice surgery in Oldham town centre

3 Aug Held my advice surgery in Uppermill

3 Aug Regular door knocking session in Uppermill
Focus on....

2019 marks 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre (16 August 1819) a watershed moment in Britain's struggle for universal rights. 

Find out more here.
Debbie on the Parliamentary Website

To find out more about how I have represented Oldham East and Saddleworth in Parliament, you can read my contributions in debates and questions I have asked here on the parliamentary website.  
If you know anyone who would like to receive news about Oldham East and Saddleworth, they can sign up to my e-newsletter here.  Past editions my e-newsletter can be accessed here.
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