Clean energy and warm homes
The Energy Bill Revolution campaign – which ran ‘Cold Homes Week’ last month – estimates that there are over 5,000 households in my constituency living in fuel poverty.
I visited Diana Hinton-Davies, a constituent who recently contacted me to talk about how hard it was for her to heat her home on a low income – she was having to sleep in extra sweaters and a woolly hat to keep warm. We contacted her housing association to press for energy efficiency measures such as glazing to be installed, and it was good to see how much that had made a difference for her.
Ecotricity were also in Brighton to host a Green Britain Partnership Group meeting at Fabrica. I was very happy to take part, talk about my work, and witness the launch their new anti-fracking video.
International Women’s Day
On Friday, to mark International Women’s Day, I visited Dorothy Stringer School and spoke to students about my experiences as a female MP. On Saturday I was honoured to be asked to open the International Women’s Day event at the Dome (and to celebrate 40 years of the Women's Centre) before heading to the National Union of Teachers South East Region’s Women’s Conference.
I later took part in a panel discussion on sexism which was chaired by Razia Aziz of the Equality Academy, and also featured Lucy Holmes of the No More Page 3 campaign.
Last month I tabled an Early Day Motion in support of the new Fair Tax Mark scheme. Along the lines of the Fair Trade scheme, it’s a way for companies that pay the right tax on time to promote themselves to customers and show that they’re socially responsible.
I’ve now written to the 87 Brighton businesses who signed up to the Living Wage scheme encouraging them to join the Fair Tax Mark scheme. The Mark has enormous potential to help Brighton consumers who want to reward responsible businesses with their custom and to help local businesses that pride themselves on their social responsibility.
The beginning of the week saw another debate about flooding. I was pleased to be able to highlight the need for changes in land-use management (thanks to the Sussex Wildlife Trust for a particularly helpful briefing), for more resources to be available for councils to fund protection and clean-up, and, of course, the need to take urgent steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. I also spoke of the excellent co-ordination of services which we saw at Patcham with the "hub in the pub", which was appreciated by so many local Patcham residents. You can read my comments during the debate here.
I recently heard a figure that 40% of small businesses affected by flooding don’t recover. That led me to table a written question, which has now been answered by the Government. Shockingly, their response makes clear that they don’t know exactly how many businesses have been hit by flooding, nor have they carried out an impact assessment on the likely impact on small businesses of more flooding in future.
I’ve signed an Early Day Motion which supports the essential work of supply teachers in schools. It calls on the Government to encourage schools to employ them directly, rather than using agencies. This would help ensure supply teachers are paid and have access to training and pension rights on an equal basis with other teachers
The Arts in Brighton
The Brighton-based Fotodocument were in Parliament this week to launch the excellent “Boat Schools of Bangladesh” - powerful photos by Abir Abdullah, which bring home the reality of a region that has been hit hard by the kind of flooding associated with climate change, but which focuses particularly on local people's resourcefulness and ingenuity in coping with it. I was proud that their exhibition will be seen by many MPs.
University of Sussex Question Time
A packed meeting of students put questions to myself, and all the other candidates standing for the Brighton Pavilion seat at the next election. Questions ranged from Scottish Independence to the commodification of higher education - a great evening of debate and discussion.
If you are a local resident and want help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please contact me at the office of Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL. Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you want to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130. She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you want to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: email@example.com