The Tories have left Norwich and Norfolk behind. If I am re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Norwich South, here are some of my priorities for our city, county, and region.

1. Wages, deprivation and the cost of living

In the East of England, we’ve seen some of the worst wage stagnation in the country. Workers in Norwich earn some of the lowest wages in cities.

According to the latest data, in the year up to January 2023, our real incomes dropped more than those of most other U.K. cities.At the same time, costs in Norwich have been rising higher than average, with South-East rents and prices making the city one of the most difficult places to get by in.

Chronic low pay has enormous effects on our city. Around 30% of families are classed as economically deprived, and a third of children live in poverty. This also affects our children’s ability to learn. Norwich’s educational attainment is near the bottom for England as a whole.

At a foodbank in Norwich
At a foodbank in Norwich
2. Climate and Environment

East Anglia is the U.K. region most at risk from early climate impacts. Climate breakdown has already arrived in East Anglia. Between 2022 and 2023, the number of flood reports in Norfolk doubled. In 2023, the Wensum River in Norwich burst its banks. Several Broads villages were plunged underwater.

Climate breakdown means thousands of people’s homes could be flooded yearly, rendering them unliveable.

This could happen in just a few years. Half of U.K. communities at risk of evisceration by coastal erosion are in Norfolk, too. Environmental regulators even warn we could run out of water in the summer by 2050.

Clive Lewis speaks at the Energy For All rally outside Parliament
Clive Lewis speaks at the Energy For All rally outside Parliament
3. Tackling Norwich’s health crisis

People in Norwich and Norfolk are more likely to self-harm, more likely to die by suicide. More of our children and adolescents are struggling than in the rest of England, and overall, we have higher rates of self-diagnosed mental health issues. That alone is perilous, but East Anglia is a terrible place to have a mental health issue.

Our health trust – NSFT – is notorious for being the worst in the country. Since the Conservative Government took power in 2010, NSFT has been put under special measures four times, had eight CEOs and has been the spotlight focus of crisis after crisis. Instead of solving its problems. Between 2019 and 2022, eight and a half thousand people died “unexpectedly” within months of leaving NSFT care. An “Unexpected death” is defined as the death of a patient who had not been identified as critically ill or whose death was not expected by the clinical team.

Norwich is a dental desert. Dentists are rarer than hen’s teeth, with just one dentist here per 2,600 people, which is well below the national average. No dental practices are accepting new NHS patients in our area for the second year. Not one.

Norfolk children under five have some of the worst tooth decay in the entire country. Shamefully, thousands of people have had to go to A+E in Norwich and around Norfolk for abscesses and caries that should have been dealt with long ago and easily. We need more dentists.

I supported the University of East Anglia’s successful effort to establish the Norwich Dental Development Centre. It’s the first step in setting up an undergraduate school of dentistry in the region, and I will advocate for UEA’s right to do so.

News article about Clive Lewis raising Norwich
News article about Clive Lewis raising Norwich's dentistry crisis in PMQs
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