A great end to a busy week


Do you ever have those weeks where you just wonder where all the hours have gone? Well, I’ve just had one and whilst it feels quite satisfying to have achieved so much, I am now looking forward to a day off!

I did my advice surgery at the Town Hall in Catford yesterday and it was good to meet two representatives from the local World Development Movement (see pic above) who came to lobby me about commodity speculation and the impact on food prices. Having recently secured a Westminster Hall debate on food security in Africa, I had considerable sympathy with the points they were making and will be writing to the Chancelllor.

Once I had finished my surgery, I hot-footed it to the Blackheath Society’s “Autumn Celebration”. It was the second great night that I’ve had in almost as many weeks at the Blackheath Halls – “Blackheath Goes Gospel” was also fab (am quite tempted to participate if they do it again next year although I suspect the hours of the House of Commons won’t allow be to go to the rehearsals – that’s if I am allowed into the choir in the first place!).

It’s also been a really busy week in Parliament. A colleague of mine, Julie Hilling (a new MP in Bolton) led a debate on the future of the Youth Service and I was pleased to be able to go along to support her. I would have liked to make a proper contribution to the debate but had also put in to speak in the second reading debate of the National Insurance Contributions Bill and so had literally run out of time to do any real research.

My speech on the National Insurance Bill was picked up by the Evening Standard and was featured on Radio 4′s Today in Parliament (a first for me so was quite pleased with that!). The Bill proposes national insurance concessions for new firms employing up to 10 people outside of London, the East and South East. Firms setting up in London are excluded from this “holiday” which seems blatantly unfair and suggests to me that the government really doesn’t understand the importance of small businesses in less wealthy parts of London.

I also took part in Communities and Local Government Questions and the statement on Rail Investment – Clive Efford and I managed to confuse the Minister completely by asking whether the new train carraiges would make their way to the South Eastern network. I am not sure the Minister really knew what trains run through our constituencies so did tie himself up in knots somewhat.

If you want to read any of the exchanges referred to in this post, you can click here and follow the links.

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