It was a very busy end to the Parliamentary session as we headed into summer recess, and I was pleased to contribute to some of the key pieces of Government business. In particular, I took the opportunity to remind the Government that as we progress with a new immigration system through the Nationality and Borders Bill, we must have a process in place which is compassionate and humane, whilst also being efficient and well-resourced. I also stressed the importance of integration and called on the Government to build on the success of the resettlement scheme.
I also spoke in support of the Building Safety Bill, another positive piece of legislation which will not only improve the safety of homes, but also move towards ending the anxiety which has plagued many constituents who are private leaseholders, often with very moderate incomes. One of the points I did make to Ministers was to ensure it was clear what exactly is required to meet the new standards set out in the legislation. This will help prevent people from having unnecessary work done and ensuring that appropriately qualified professionals are available for those who do need work to be completed. Similarly, I expect Ministers to properly engage with councils like Harrow and Hillingdon, who have very good building control departments, to ensure that we are learning from the best practice already seen in the market.
Outside of the main Government business, I have been working hard to improve the offer that we provide to children. I have been engaging with officials at the Department for Education to change the approach given to extra-curricular activities. Improving this element of the school curriculum, as well as supporting schools in delivering, it has the potential to do a lot of good for children’s mental wellbeing, personal agency, self-efficacy, and social skills. I am pleased this has now received Ministerial approval and we shall be moving to trial the scheme in schools and colleges.
Looking more broadly at policies across Government, it does sometimes feel that there is not sufficient joined up thinking when it comes to children. Children’s policy is something which is all too often done in isolation by various Government departments and so I was very pleased to secure a Westminster Hall debate to consider how we can have a cross- Government strategy to improve the outcomes for children and families.
Now that we have reached the summer recess, I am really looking forward to continuing with my in-person surgeries and getting out and about across the constituency. Just this week I was welcomed by the Iron Aid Foundation to the site of the former Northwood Police Station. They have some very ambitious plans to not only restore this historic building to its former glory, but also to make a brand-new community centre which will be available not only for their group but for other residents and groups in the area too.
First published: My Local News, August 2021