Weekly Round-up :: 14th July

I started the week in Uxbridge supporting the efforts of Labour’s candidate Danny Beales in the by-election that is taking place next week.
It’s clear that the people in Uxbridge are annoyed and frustrated with what they see as an absentee MP and want an MP who will representative them to Parliament and be a real party of their community.

Listening to voters in Uxbridge, there were lots of overlaps with the issues I am contacted about by my constituents in Bristol South. From the Cost-of-Living Crisis, particularly rising mortgage and rent costs, food price rises and soaring energy bills to concerns about our health service and police numbers. Only a Labour Government can now give the country a fresh start and deal with the issues that ordinary people are facing every day.

In Parliament this week, I was pleased to speak on the importance of pharmacy services, the way they can help ease pressure on GPs and A&Es and highlight the challenges that people are facing when trying to find a local pharmacist.

Across the country, those who rely on local, accessible pharmacies are finding it more and more difficult to access the services they need. Whether it is because of the closure of pharmacies on the high street or supply problems leading to situations where women are having to chase around to find the correct prescribed dose of hormone replacement therapy drugs, it is not good enough.
The repeated announcements from the Government’s plans to expand the role of community pharmacies have not been followed up with action and the needed updates to legislation that could help has not been brought forward.

The House of Commons keeps ending earlier than normal and there is plenty of time for MPs to consider the rule changes that could help pharmacies so there is no good reason for this problem to continue.

Continuing the focus of pharmacies, I was able to speak at the launch event for the Pharmaceuticals sponsored report on ‘Model of Pharmacy in Years 2025-2030’.

There has been some fantastic research from Sigma Plc and the University of Bath into the work that pharmacies can offer. I’m pleased that the Labour Party has committed to ensuring that community pharmacies will be a key part of our reforming agenda if we win the next election.

I met students from Bedminster Down, Merchants Academy and Bridge Learning Campus. The students visited London and Parliament as part of the South Bristol Youth programme to help young people find out about apprenticeships, higher education and high-quality employment. Unfortunately, the timetable meant I didn’t get to see the pupils from Ashton Park and St Bernadettes. These visits happen because of great work done by South Bristol Youth and Parliament’s Democratic Access tours and the students were great at quizzing me about my work and role and key issues for Bristol South. Top of the issue list being buses.

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) met this week to talk to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to examine standards and the appointment processes in Government.
We also spoke to Darren Tierney, the Director General of the Propriety and Ethics Team.

There has been concern recently with appointments to the House of Lords after the former Prime Minister’s resignation honours list provoked controversy. It is unclear how many of his appointments will contribute to just and effective law-making and highlights the need to reform the House of Lords and bring much needed openness and transparency.

Today, I had a wonderful visit to Knowle DGE, a specialist academy for young people with additional educational needs. I am always pleased to see students thrive in an environment where their individual needs and challenges are understood. The staff are supportive and allow the learners to achieve their potential while meeting the demands of the national curriculum in areas such as speech and communication and emotional mental health.

The school is a caring and enthusiastic place with happy students.  I can only say “Thank you” for having me!

I’m looking forward to another hectic weekend in the constituency – I’ll be visiting the Holy Nativity ‘Open Church’ event and the Wilmott Park Bowls Club. If you’re also going to be there, please come and say hi – I’d love a chat!

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.