Welcome To My July Newsletter

Welcome to my July newsletter. The past month has seen the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, the tentative reopening of many retail outlets and a gradual return to everyday life. Sadly, this week also saw Luton Council having to enact an emergency budget due to the government’s going back on its promise to do “whatever it takes” to support councils through the COVID-19 crisis.

The past decade of cuts to the local government grant has forced Luton Council to maximise its commercial income. Predominantly this included utilising Luton Airport to bring in additional income to the council and create thousands of jobs across the region. This income has been used to support vital frontline services and provide donations to local charities. The sudden collapse of income from the airport will impact out town’s most vulnerable, as the funding shortfall will impact the local services and charities that they rely on.

I have been lobbying the government for months to provide Luton Council with crisis funding to replace the lost income from Luton Airport and avoid these cuts and job losses. This has included writing to government ministers, speaking in parliamentary debates, submitting written parliamentary questions and raising Luton’s situation in the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee. I also presented a community petition to Parliament. The petition, organised by Luton community action group and signed by 10,000 local residents, called on the government to provide crisis funding to Luton Council. I then asked the Prime Minister to meet with me to discuss the situation. I am yet to receive a response.

So far, all these appeals have fallen on deaf on ears leaving the council with no other option but to enact the emergency budget on Tuesday 14th July. I will continue to pressure the government to save our services and protect jobs. 

Economic Statement

Last week saw the government deliver an economic 'Summer Statement' where they laid out their plan for an economic recovery. Whilst I welcome some of the measures announced, it is clear that the government’s plan will not protect jobs. During the  statement debate, I called on the government to work with the aviation sector and deliver a sector-specific green aviation deal. A deal that puts jobs, working conditions and green innovation at its heart. This is a unique opportunity to incentivise the aviation sector’s progression towards net-zero.

You can see my full speech here.
The Time is Now Mass Climate Lobby

On 30th June, I participated in the mass virtual climate lobby. The lobby provided constituents the opportunity to speak to me about the urgent climate crisis and what can be done to avert it. I listened to constituents talk about how the current crisis could present an opportunity for us to build a fairer, more sustainable economy. I shared their concerns about the future of our climate and signed the lobby’s pledge to advocate for a greener, healthier and fairer tomorrow.
All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs)

Parliamentary work is not only carried out in the chamber. All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) also provide MPs the opportunity to influence and lobby the government. APPGs are cross-party groups centred around a specific subject area. These groups meet to discuss issues, hear evidence and lobby the government for changes in policy on their areas of interest.

I am a member of the following APPGs:  Arts, Health and Wellbeing; Choice at the End of Life; East of England; Football Supporters; Kashmir; Show Racism the Red Card; Sixth Form Education; Special Educational Needs and Disabilities; and I am involved in many others.
Survey Corner

My latest survey has been launched today. I would like to know how you feel about the changing of coronavirus guidelines and the easing of restrictions.You can take part the survey here.

The results of my last survey are as follows:

  • 87.1% of people agreed that the government should provide crisis funding to Luton Council
  •  90.3% of people agreed that there should be a 'National Care Service'
  •  83.9% of people agreed more funding should be provided to reduce NHS waiting times

Find out more

See my Letter to the government regarding the illegal annexation of the West Bank here.
Watch my video of me backing Unite's 'Universal Discredit' campaign here.
See my letter to the government regarding the humanitarian crisis in Yemen here.
To mark the NHS 72nd Birthday I baked a cake and reaffirmed that the NHS belongs in our hands.
Rachel Hopkins MP for Luton South