Listening to a constituent’s experiences of discrimination
I met up in Parliament with Ruby Blyth-Smith, a visually impaired constituent and her guide dog Ziggy. Ruby is an inspiring young person, but it was concerning to hear about the discrimination Ruby and others like her still face in society. It is unacceptable for people to be turned away from shops, restaurants and other services on grounds of disability. I am proud of the work our Labour City Council in Norwich are doing to increase access for the disabled. For example, it is fantastic to see the work being done on Vauxhall Street shops. However, more could be done with greater resources. I hope Ruby enjoyed her tour of Parliament.
As part of my Shadow ministerial brief, I met up with Denise Massey from the Energy Innovation Centre. In the energy sector, it is often the SMEs based in places like Norwich that lead the way with innovation. Denise’s business help these SMEs overcome industry barriers like access to funding and new markets. It also places a large emphasis on ensuring that SMEs collaborate with energy network operators to provide the potential to benefit customers, the supply chain, and UK plc. I believe the services of businesses like the Energy Innovation Centre are crucial to boosting the Green economy of Norwich and the East of England.
Standing up for pensions security and British industry
Following revelations that the Tories intend to cut pension benefits to Tata steel workers, I joined Community’s march past Parliament in opposition to this move. This move would not only destroy the retirement plans of Tata steel workers, but also severely undermine pensions security in the private sector. Once the Government have created a loophole for companies to avoid meeting their pension obligations, many other companies will start using it. It is not the steel workers that caused the crisis in the steel industry, and it must not be them that pay the cost of its survival. The Government must address the underlying issues of procurement and preventing Chinese dumping. The Tories must stop kow-towing to China and start standing up for our steel.