Weekly Round-Up 14 October 2022

Conference Recess was a great opportunity to visit local businesses and organisations in the constituency, but Parliament has now returned and I was able to contribute to the debate on the situation in Iran following the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. The debate took place on the UN’s International Day of the Girl. It was deeply concerning that the Minister’s answer did not focus on the myriad challenges that girls face. Those women in Iran are an inspiration to girls across the world. Beyond commenting on sanctions, the Minister did not say much about how the Government are supporting wider civil society. These women and teenage girls in so many cases, are incredibly brave and an inspiration, but we must do more than merely send best wishes and sanction the Iranian Government. We must support the wider civil society movement to help them fight for the rights they want to see and develop a society with whom we can cooperate and be on friendly terms with. These women and girls deserve this at the very least.

I’ve been busy with various meetings this week, including the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the British Irish Parliamentary Association. The former committee is vital in scrutinising the Government’s actions and holding them to account. We have been finalising our inquiries into the Electoral Services Commission and Governing England and should be ready to conclude the inquiries soon.

Today I’ve been out and about in the community canvassing, and it’s been great to chat to people in the streets and on the doorstep about the issues that are concerning them and what opportunities we are all keen to unlock. It’s clear that the cost-of-living crisis is foremost in people’s minds and there are huge concerns about how people are going to keep comfortable this winter with the cost of energy bills. This week we received new polling data from Survation for 38 Degrees. It is deeply troubling to see that 61% of Bristol South residents fear that they won’t be able to afford their energy bills next year. 32% worry that they will have to resort to food banks within a year and a staggering 25% fear homelessness within a year.

It’s become clear that there are a lot of words coming from this Tory Government, but when push comes to shove there is nothing forthcoming. We are heading for a difficult winter that will not only affect people’s finances but also their health. I will keep working to demand more from this Government and to remember their pledges to help hard-working people during this crisis.

We should never forget, nor forgive, the Tory Government for their actions in wrecking the UK economy. Mortgages are rising at astronomical rates because of their Mini-Budget and their decision to close our nations gas storage facilities has put us in danger of blackouts this winter.

Written Questions are a weapon in the arsenal of MPs to hold the Government to account. I asked about recent discussions the Government has had with Adult Social Care providers on the impact of rising energy prices on care sector stability. For those will care needs, simply turning off the electricity or reducing usage is simply not an option. The Government response was lacking: “Officials regularly engage with adult social care providers and representative bodies to discuss the impact of rising energy prices and the Government’s New Energy Bill Relief Scheme.” What will be the impact? I want to know what the Government expect to happen with the Adult Care Sector and what plans they are putting in place to deal with the problems that arise. Warm words will not keep the heating on. You can read more about the questions I ask and the responses I get here.

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.