I write to you this month with a heavy heart following the heart-breaking scenes we are witnessing in the Middle East and the urgency of the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
The horrific acts of Hamas do not justify Israel’s response targeting the civilians in Gaza and I have called for the Government to use its influence to ensure Israel adheres to international humanitarian law and ends the military bombardment and seize of Gaza. The UK’s Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary must press all parties to agree to cease hostilities, release hostages, end the siege of Gaza and urgently allow unrestricted access of food, water, fuel and medical supplies into Gaza.
It is at times like these, when we are faced with the sight of unspeakable horrors, when we must, for the sake of our common humanity, find ways to come together: we speak out against atrocities and we call for responses that are lawful, and with the ultimate aim of finding a lasting solution for peace. The retaliation against Hamas’ barbaric actions must not sow even deeper, long-lasting hatred.
Mohammad Yasin MP
Constituents get in touch
- Animal welfare
- Dementia and Alzheimers awareness
Since my last newsletter my office has opened 701 cases, 210 of which are casework and the remaining 491 relating to campaign and policy.
Understandably many constituents have contacted me about the emerging and ongoing situation in Gaza. It is clear that the people of Bedford are hugely concerned about the humanitarian impact of recent events and I join those who are calling for a peaceful and immediate resolution to the situation.
Animal welfare remains a matter of concern for my constituents and my inbox has seen number of emails about tighter regulations for fireworks and for the Government to deliver on promises it made to improve standards in animal husbandry.
Health services are as ever under scrutiny and many supporters of the Alzheimer’s Society also contacted me as part of an awareness raising campaign and to invite me to visit the organisation’s stand at the recent Labour Party Conference. I have long supported the work of both Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Uk and will continue to do so.
In the constituency
Since my last newsletter I’ve held meetings with the community and local organisations. I was pleased to meet with the excellent Bedford Borough youth parliament members. It’s always brilliant to see young people engaging in politics.
I met with CPRE Bedfordshire to discuss housing and planning. It’s clear that we need more affordable housing and in particular social housing, but developments have too often not been accompanied by the appropriate infrastructure or considered the needs of existing residents nearby.
The Bedford Independent and representatives from the Public Interest News Foundation met with me to discuss the importance of local journalism, and the need to both reform legislation and funding arrangements to ensure that this vital sector can not only survive but thrive.
The community food pantry at Scott Hall is still running and is open to the residents of Cauldwell and Kingsbrook. 200 families use their service every month to obtain food, toiletries and other items at a significant discount and I was pleased to be able to visit the service run by the Jubilation Action Group to support residents during the cost-of-living crisis.
I attended the opening of Ashburnham Court by bpha following its multi-million pound refurbishment. This is part of the project to improve the tower blocks in Bedford Borough and I hope that residents welcome the improvements that have been made. Improving housing standards is incredibly important and I will always push for this to be a priority.
I visited the Emergency Department at Bedford Hospital to celebrate the installation of the new CT scanner which will be another useful tool in helping to diagnose and save lives.
I spent a fun evening supporting Bedford Town FC, firstly being taken on a tour prior to kick off. It’s important that we support our local sports teams.
It was a pleasure to attend Bedford Creative Arts first celebration evening, recognising their work over the last 18 months. I had the opportunity to speak to staff and artists about their work and future plans.
I stopped by the Kempston Climate Group stall at Bedford Hospital. Protecting our climate is so important: while the PM may be backing down on the UK’s climate commitments, Labour will ensure we invest in the green jobs of tomorrow.
I joined the Regional Director of Historic England and the Mayor to view the recent work that has taken place to buildings along the High Street as part of the ongoing High Street Heritage Action Zone works. This project assists business owners in renovating the shop fronts and buildings on the high street.
It was a pleasure to attend Age Concern Bedfordshire’s Ageing Well Festival and Exhibition for over 50’s. Ageing Well is a national programme promoting physical activity for mental and physical health and wellbeing for anyone over 50. I enjoyed meeting volunteers and charity workers who provide such a vital service for older people in our community.
The generosity of the residents of Bedford and Kempston was evident as always this month at a number of events I was invited to attend, including The Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends Art Sale 2023, raising funds this year for The Primrose Cars Service, a vital service which provides free transport to take patients for radiotherapy treatment from their homes to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. I also attended Simon Wrigley’s private art exhibition fundraiser, which included impressive artwork of Bedford all in support of those who are homeless and refugees.
I attended a charity coffee morning arranged by a constituent for Macmillan Cancer Support in Kempston, raising an impressive £900 for the charity. I visited the Poets area Jumble Trail, where there was a large variety of stuff for sale across many stalls, some of which were raising money for charities.
I spent a brilliant morning at the Tibbs Dementia Foundation’s “Stride Out For Memory” event in Bedford Priory Park. I helped out marshalling the car park and later was invited to speak about the organisation and their cause. Tibbs are a Bedford based charity who provide support for those with all stages of dementia, and their families.
I attended Bedford Marston Kerala Association’s event celebrating Onam ‘Ponnonam,’ 2023. It was a privilege to speak at the event and join in the festivities.
The Muslim community of Bedford and Kempston celebrated the birthday of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). I was thrilled to join the procession today alongside hundreds of men, women and children.
19 October 2023 – Signed Early Day Motion – Protecting civilians in Gaza and Israel
Harriet Harman (who I voted for) has been elected chair of HoC Standards Committee.
Cat Smith has been elected chair of HoC Petitions Committee.
Liam Byrne has been elected chair of Commons Business and Trade Committee
I co-signed a letter from the Royal College of Podiatry to the Shadow Health and Social Care Team to discuss the workforce challenges faced by podiatry services across the NHS. They are deeply concerned that unprecedented Podiatry vacancies across the NHS are negatively impacting the treatment our constituents receive. In particular, they are concerned about the rapid rise in the number of people having preventable lower limb amputations following diabetic (and non-diabetic) foot complications, and the impact this has on their life expectancy.
I supported a letter from the Institute of Customer Service’s (ICS) Service regarding their Respect campaign calling on the Government to make assaults on retail workers an aggravated offence.
I signed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for VAT to be removed from sunscreen.
LUHC Select Committee
16-21 October: Attended Committee site visit to Canadian Parliament to Inquire into Electoral Registration, housing and refugee policy.
12/09/23 Committee published a Special Report today which expresses ‘concern and disappointment’ at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for its persistent poor performance in the timeliness of Government responses to Committee reports.
12/10/23 Government responds on RAAC housing risks correspondence.
The Secretary of State’s letter (29 September) says that, to date, there have been no reported incidents of RAAC failures in residential buildings and outlines the Government’s advice to residents, landlords and local authorities.
The Secretary of State’s correspondence also sets out the Government’s expectation that RAAC mitigation funding for social housing should primarily come from rental income.
The Secretary of State’s letter states that the Office of Government Property (OGP), a Cabinet Office body, is overseeing a cross-government working group on RAAC in the public estate.
Education Select Committee
Education Committee publishes Government response to landmark childcare report.
Support for childcare and the early years: Government response to the Committee’s Fifth Report,
27/09/23 – Education committee advises government to tackle the school absence crisis with better mental health and SEND support and urgent legislation.
21/09/23 – Education Committee welcomes Government’s response to Careers Education report
I left this year’s conference feeling confident though never complacent about the offer Labour has for the country, so I wanted to share with you some of the new policies announced in October as we begin to prepare for the General Election, expected about a year from now.
Get the NHS back on its Feet
Cut waiting times by giving the NHS the staff, reform and technology it needs.
End the 8am scramble for GP appointments, giving patients a choice of in person or phone appointments.
Improve cancer survival rates and reduce deaths from heart disease and suicide.
More care in the community so patients aren’t stuck in hospital.
£1.5bn will be set aside to clear the NHS backlog through funding extra overtime and £171m annual equipment fund, paid by scrapping non-dom status.
Labour will fund NHS dentists to offer 700,000 more urgent appointments, incentivise dentists to work in the most in-need areas, reform the NHS dental contract and start supervised toothbrushing for young children in schools in areas with most dental problems.
Take back our Streets
Labour will get more police in our town, fighting antisocial behaviour, taking back our streets by restoring neighbourhood policing with 13,000 new neighbourhood police and PCSOs, guaranteed patrols in the heart of our towns by dedicated officers, Respect Orders issued to persistent repeat adult offenders of antisocial behaviour. Labour will end the epidemic of shoplifting and violence against shop workers.
We willcreate Young Futures, a new cross-government national programme aimed at giving Britain’s young people the best start in life, with a specific strand of activity targeted at those young people at most risk of being drawn into violent crime and delivering support for young people struggling with their mental health.
Labour will tackle violence against women and girls, put rape investigation units in every force, and stop rape victims being forced to give up unnecessary medical records or mobile phone data in investigations.
We will strengthen our border security and run a properly controlled and managed asylum system to clear the backlog and ensure the UK does our bit to help those fleeing persecution and conflict while those who are not refugees are swiftly returned. We will deploy hundreds more police and investigators to go after the smuggler and trafficking gangs to stop the boats before they reach the French coast.
Get Britain Building Again
Build more homes and help first time buyers with ‘first dibs’ on new homes in their area.
1.5 million homes over the next parliament, a generation of ‘new towns’, hand mayors greater housing and planning powers, fast-track brownfield developments and a “blitz” of reforms to accelerate planning decisions.
Switch on Great British Energy
Labour has pledged an Energy Independence Act, to break Britain’s dependency on fossil fuel dictators. We will unlock £200bn of private investment to “rewire Britain” with a new home-grown clean energy grid to cut energy bills, deliver energy independence, and grow our economy.
Break down barriers to Opportunity
Create a modern childcare system with breakfast clubs in every primary school to give children the best start.
Recruit 6,500 new staff, paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools.
Train more primary teachers in maths and train ‘maths champions’ in nurseries, liven up maths lessons with real-world example. A revamped apprenticeship levy would fund new specialist training colleges.