Welcome to my second Animal Welfare Round-Up, where I regularly update you on some of the animal causes I have been campaigning on. You can read my inaugural AWRU #1 by clicking here.
I stepped back in time this week, taking to WaterAid’s Victorian Street to mark 150 years of Britain’s modern sewers. I was exposed to the sights and smells of an era in which sewage and waste littered our streets, roads and rivers.
Over a third (39%) of the world’s population today still live without sanitation, this is why supporting international developed and UK Aid is so crucial, and why charities like WaterAid are so important.
Lots of people have been in touch with me through emails, letters, tweets and Facebook about yesterday’s debate in Parliament over the Conservative Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. Given the way events have unfolded over the past week and how it has been reported in the media, I can understand the genuine concerns that people have been raising.
Let me say at the outset that I am fundamentally opposed to the changes which the Conservatives are trying to introduce which will hit the vulnerable and worsen poverty in our country. Some of the measures they are trying to bring in were contained in last week’s Budget and some in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill that had its Second Reading in the House of Commons yesterday.
Just over two weeks ago, Labour members and supporters -old and new – met at the Factory Youth Centre in Longbridge to discuss our victory in Birmingham Northfield, our defeat nationally and the challenges and opportunities facing Labour over the coming five years.
Workshops were on themes ranging from low pay to housing; from children and young people to the economy and the role of the private sector. Reports from the workshops are being written up and will help inform both Labour’s work in South west Birmingham and our contribution to policy making nationally.
I opened the event with some personal reflections on the election and on the future. Here is what I said:
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, IPSA, have now announced their decision in respect of the future of MPs’ pay. As the name suggests, IPSA is independent of Government and of MPs ourselves.
Before IPSA made its final decision, I set out my view about its proposals several times over the last year. I thought the proposals were ill judged, particularly when average pay rises elsewhere were running lower than they are at the moment.
IPSA said they would review their decision after the election. They have now done so and announced, that, subject to a change in respect of the formula for future pay rises, they will go ahead with their planned changes. Here is the link to the IPSA report so you can see for yourself what it says.