Labour this week revealed how, under the Tories, civil-service spending has risen steeply, with lax rules allowing millions of pounds of frivolously wasted tax-payer money spent using government procurement cards (GPCs).
Labour’s analysis of expenditure revealed Ministers spending unashamedly on exclusive restaurants, hotels and entertainment at an eyewatering cost, whilst the public work harder yet earn less, facing sharp rises in living costs, including food, energy and fuel.
The next Labour government will bring a halt to this immoral waste of money whilst implementing our plan to bring about economic growth.
Britain can and will achieve great things under Labour.
Mohammad Yasin MP
Constituents get in touch
- Teacher’s pay
- Mileage rates
- Customer Service Points
- Retained EU Law Bill
This month, my office has opened a total of 486 cases, 168 of which are casework and the remaining 318 relating to campaign and policy.
Constituents in Bedford and Kempston have contacted me on a wide range of issues, from Britain’s arms trade with Israel, to hospice energy bills, ending no fault evictions and Labour’s plans to end the VAT exemption on private schools.
A key topic of correspondence has been the impact that this cost of living crisis is having on civil servants and public sector workers. I have been written to regarding the recent NEU teachers’ strike nearly 20 times, with constituents calling for support for a pay rise for teachers, as well as proper funding for schools.
Similarly, I have received emails on civil servant pay and the ongoing PCS strikes, as well as public sector pensions. My inbox has also seen over 20 emails supporting the uprating of HMRC’s approved mileage rates for employers reimbursing staff for the cost of using a vehicle for work. As UNISON has highlighted, motoring costs have increased nearly 40% but rates have been frozen since 2011. Not only is this resulting in workers effectively subsidising their employers, but I also worry that this may worsen staff shortages in the public sector. After years of stagnating pay, the Government needs to urgently address this cost of living crisis that is hitting public sector workers and the general public alike.
Following Royal Mail’s announcement that they are reviewing the use of Customer Service Points across the country, I have received many campaign emails asking for closures to be prevented and protect staff jobs. Thankfully, Royal Mail has since decided to maintain the current estate of Customer Service Points.
Continuing from last month, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill has been at the forefront of my inbox, with nearly 40 more emails on this issue. Some of this correspondence has focused specifically on the risk this Bill poses to animal welfare protections, such as legislation on animal testing. Whilst the Bill is currently in the House of Lords, I have made sure to assure constituents that I will press the Government on their concerns should this come back across my desk in Parliament.
In the constituency
There have been many events and meetings that I’ve attended here in Bedford and Kempston this month.
I was pleased to chair a meeting between the residents of St Bede’s on Bromham Road and management company Orbit to discuss a number of issues relating to the building such as maintenance, management, and energy costs. It was a productive meeting with several commitments made by Orbit to follow up on matters raised and information shared about some of the work currently in progress.
I had the privilege of attending the stone laying at Sri Guru Ravidass, a wonderful ceremony laying the foundation for the Worship Hall, Langar Hall and Community Hall.
I met with Junior Doctors at Bedford Hospital to discuss their work, the pressures they face, and Labour’s positive 10 year plan to fix our NHS. The importance of retention alongside recruitment was highlighted and I will of course continue to press the Government for the resources our NHS needs. Whilst there I also met with the Chief Executive, and Senior executives of Bedford Hospital to discuss the pressures facing the hospital more widely.
Train services on the Bedford to Bletchley line were suspended until further notice following confirmation on 1st December that Vivarail (the company which maintains the trains on the route) entered administration. I met with representatives from the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership to discuss how we work together to get the train services on the line back up and running as soon as possible. A Rail Replacement Bus Service has been operating during this period but the service is far from ideal and there are issues over access and appropriate space for bikes.
I subsequently met with LNR who confirmed they have provided the Department for Transport with a range of options to resume rail on a sustainable basis and are currently waiting to hear back from the Government.
I met with Aquavista, energy suppliers for the residential moorers at Priory Marina to discuss the change in the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) rate which will be a big blow to small businesses facing high energy costs. Disgracefully, moorers are yet to receive any money from the EBSS Alternative Funding.
I was pleased to participate in a tree planting ceremony in memory of Queen Elizabeth at All Saints Church. Thank you to the Queens Park Community Orchard for securing trees which had been used in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
I spent a wonderful evening at the 75th Independence Day celebrations for Sri Lanka with Lord Lieutenant Susan Lousada, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust David Carter, Doctor Roshan Jayalath and Speaker of Bedford Borough Council, Councillor Mohammed Nawaz.
I was pleased to visit schools this month, speaking with sixth formers at Bedford Girls School and told them about my role as MP and how I became elected. I also had a wonderful visit to Scott Primary, where I spoke with Year 6’s about my role as an MP and the work I do in the constituency. Afterwards, I had the difficult task of choosing my favourite for the Year 5 art competition – all of the entries were excellent.
Sharon de Leonardis of SpectaculArts, a community organisation in Bedford working to showcase our talents in music, dance and performance, met with me recently regarding her upcoming events in the constituency and how I could offer my support.
Further afield I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, based at Cranfield University, who are doing very impressive work converting conventionally powered aircraft into hydrogen fuel cell. A move away from a reliance on fossil fuels to sustainable and renewable energy is key to tackling climate change and can play a big part in helping the aviation industry reach net zero targets.
I also had the chance to visit the Luton Blood Donor Centre to see the donation process first hand. Blood donation saves lives and the professional teams working across our county help to ensure that Hospitals have a regular supply of blood for blood transfusions.
I spent a fascinating couple of hours at the Anglian Water site at Grafham Water this week, discovering the incredible processes behind treating water to supply 1.5 million customers in Bedford and beyond. The site is Anglian Water’s largest surface water treatment works and produces an average of 330 megalitres of water a day from a reservoir.
I was reassured to see the care that is taken to ensure the safety of drinking water from surface treatment facilities and will continue to work with Anglian Water to raise my constituent’s concerns with the company.
May 2023 Bedford Borough Elections
Labour have set the following five pledges for the May 2022 Bedford Borough elections.
1.) Renew Bedford Borough.
2.) Protect and improve local health services.
3.) Zero tolerance of anti-social behaviour.
4.) Prioritise the climate emergency.
5.) A quality education for all.
Bedford Borough Labour will be launching their manifesto in due course and should you have any local or Borough level ideas you wish to share you can email Mayoral candidate Saqhib Ali at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to find out who is standing in your Ward, here are all the Bedford Borough Labour candidates in my constituency:
Castle & Newnham
Mohammad Khayrul Islam
This month, Parliament has debated some particularly important and complex Bills, including the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill and the Online Safety Bill.
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill includes important and overdue measures to improve our response to economic crime, including regarding transparency requirements on companies, the need for which has been highlighted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I was pleased to support this Bill, as well as a number of amendments which were pushed to a vote.
The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill has, rightly, been a subject of great concern. I strongly oppose this Bill on principle and by virtue of its unworkability – I have voted against it at every opportunity and Labour are committed to repealing it in government.
Lastly, the Online Safety Bill – which has been ongoing for many months – returned to the Commons. It has been subject to huge delays, and whilst I have supported the Bill as a key piece of legislation to protect people online, I have also supported amendments to strengthen the regulation and crack down on harmful content.
There have been several Opposition Day Debates this month, and I was pleased to be able to speak at the debate on Crime and Neighbourhood Policing. I raised the importance of ending violence against women and girls, and prioritising supporting the victims of crime.
I have also attended a number of events and met with individuals in Parliament, such as meeting with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, signing the Holocaust Education Trust’s Book of Commitment, and continued to represent my constituents at the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee.