On the last Parliamentary session before the Summer Recess, I wanted to raise to the house the ongoing issue regarding St. Francis Tower and their abhorrent treatment by Block Management Ltd. The entirety of the tower has been covered of the tower block in a shrink-wrap for up to 12 months and scaffolding has been erected to fix a cladding issue.
The handling of this issue, which I have been following closely, remains an absolute disgrace. I was invited by residents to visit the block and see for myself the conditions that they are being forced to live in. The lack of natural light and the limited ventilation they have, during a pandemic and with temperatures like this, must be unbearable.
I have to say in all my time being a Member of Parliament, this is the most shocking thing I have come across. I wanted to raise this issue, to give my constituents basic dignities in living conditions. As despite repeated interventions by myself to try and resolve it, I have still not had a response from them to any of my recent letters.
I understand this cladding needs to be removed, but this must be done in a sensitive way that keeps in mind the living conditions and mental health of the residents of St. Francis Tower. I wanted to raise this with the Government today to see how we can hold Block Management to account and to support my constituents at this time of great distress. I will stand by my constituents on this issue, and I will raise the matter of Block Management’s disregard of my constituent’s well-being as many times as I need to, in order to see them meet with the residents to resolve this.
I was invited to Number 10 this afternoon to discuss special educational needs with some of the Prime Minister’s advisers. A national level SEND review is currently taking place and I was glad to be able to feed in some of my views.
We also discussed prison education and the worrying fact that such a large proportion of those in prison have learning disabilities. I am pushing hard to try and make sure that everyone entering the prison system meets a education psychologist so that they can be properly assessed. We need to know the true scale of the problem.
As I’ve said before. The stakes are very high when it comes to getting SEND provision right. Get it right and we can empower some of our most creative unconventional thinkers to make a huge contribution to society. Get it wrong and sadly, too often, we are seeing with people whose needs aren’t being met in the criminal justice system.
I was very pleased to hear that the PM shares passion. I will promised that there are likely to be some significant anouncements over the coming months.
Yesterday, I spoke in the National Borders debate to highlight the welcoming nature of Ipswich towards those who legitimately come over to the UK fleeing persecution, and who want to contribute to society. I also highlighted how this Bill seeks to promote those who come over here legitimately but is also firm in stopping a trade that costs many lives, and risks even more.
In Ipswich we have extended the hand of friendship to many refugees over the years. Places like the Suffolk Refugee Centre have done amazing work to support communities like the Kurdish to settle over here. I recently visited the Bloom Lounge in Ipswich, a bar started by Francesko and his brother Erion; refugees from Albania. It’s a great example of not only how welcoming Ipswich can be, but as Erion is a Conservative councillor, that it is the Conservative party that supports those that need it most.
We need to recognise that those who decide to come over here illegally, each one limits our capacity to show compassion to those that need refuge and asylum. This bill is there to deter the illegal trade and to put a stop to some of the scenes we have seen this week. It sends a message to those who think that setting foot in the UK is enough for success to think again, and that the UK will not tolerate this illegal activity.
I know this is a bill that most people support. It is a bill that takes control and does not rely on the French border police to do it for us. I am confident that the British public are behind us, but I am aware their patience is running thin, and we must deliver. I think this bill makes a real start.
Today I intervened on the Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister’s response to the National Borders Bill. I listened as the Shadow Minister, following speaker after speaker from Labour, essentially accusing all individuals who supported this bill as racist. It’s stark how out of touch the Labour party are. They seemed to suggest a two-tier system for judging immigration, looking at how they arrive and not what they have left.
In my intervention I mentioned that if you have broken the law and arrived from another safe European country compared to someone who has followed the correct legal process then these should be treated differently. We must prioritise those who want to come over her properly. It is not wrong to do so, and for the Labour party to pedal these illogical notions shows how their desire for open borders will cause severe turmoil and encourage a dangerous and illegal human trafficking trade to continue. I notice that the Labour front bencher failed to answer my point and continued to follow his orders from up high.
I’m doing my best to represent my constituents who live in St Francis Tower as forcefully as possible. The work needs to be carried out but it needs to be carried out in a way which is sensitive to the living conditions and mental health of those who are currently living in the tower. Expecting residents to live in near darkness for potentially up to a year is clearly not an option that any reasonable person would be prepared to accept.
I’m sure there is a way around this and of the way taking place in a much more acceptable way for local residents. Situation made more difficult by the seeming refusal of the managing agent to even bother responding to letters.
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