Recess? What recess?!
Whatever your plans, have a lovely weekend.
As ever, Anna
Shocking report exposes long term abuse of children in care
This week saw the publication of a report into child abuse at chidren’s care homes in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham. Its findings are as shocking as they are distressing though when I read it, I also felt angry. You can read the report here.
When the state removes a child from its birth family it is a very serious matter. It requires an order from a Judge after careful consideration, usually involving numerous court hearings and careful examination of what is in the child’s best interests. I know there will be people reading this who have fostered or adopted children born into the most terrible of circumstances – babies born addicted to heroin or alcohol, toddlers physically and emotionally abused children and babies who have been sexually abused. With few exceptions, we can be confident every child placed in care is vulnerable and invariably damaged so he or she is in particular need of being provided with the love, support and opportunities the vast majority of us have benefitted from in our own families.
But instead, and for decades, hundreds of children in the care of Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Council found the abuse and brutality they’d been born into continued at the hands of the very people who were meant to be caring for them.
The horrors of this abuse are outlined in the report, along with a succession of profound failings by both Councils, their officials, workers and councillors.
The report (and I confess this was the part that made me angry) identifies that even by 2011, and up to a few years ago, the police and both Councils were failing the victims.
There are no excuses and none have mercifully been offered. Instead the leaders of both Councils (and in particular Nottinghamshire County Council’s Kay Cutts) have apologised and promised they will act on the report’s recommendations.
I urge anyone with any evidence – victim or former employee of either council – to contact me if I can advise or assist them in providing evidence to the police whose enquiries continue.
Working with other local MPs, I will also meet with the leaders and Chief Executives of both Councils, the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner to get more answers to a number of outstanding questions and to ensure swift action on all the recommendations.
I visited the Nuthall Horse Fair on Saturday and found it to be full of… horses. The main event was on Sunday when the horses were traded, notwithstanding the dreadful weather. I am told the weekend passed off with little, if any, of the predicted trouble. I have had a number of complaints about the effect on local traffic with queues stretching way down the A610, which is more of a weekday problem than at the weekend. I will raise those concerns with our new senior police officer, Inspector Pete Brand.
It also appears local pubs and restaurants opened as normal, enjoying the extra trade from travellers and visitors to the Fair.
I am bound to ask whether we would see such vociferous opposition to the Horse Fair if antiques rather than traveller’s horses had been on sale.
Universal Credit in Broxtowe
Universal Credit for new claimants in Broxtowe started last November. In preparation for the new benefit I organised a meeting of officials and Councillors from Broxtowe Borough Council and our Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Together they have been highly effective in helping people claiming UC for the first time. However, the UC system has some important failings meaning some claimants are seriously short of money and others face long waits on busy telephone lines. I have taken up these problems with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and you can read my letter to Amber Rudd here.
The Star Inn, ‘LocAle’ Pub of the Year
Congratulations to the Star Inn, Beeston who have won the 2019 Nottingham LocAle Pub of the Year Award. The 2019 Competition featured a public vote and then scoring by judges. The Award will be presented to the Inn on Friday 9th August at 8pm.
I joined the People’s Vote campaign at Saturday’s Pride event in Nottingham. It was a great day with people of all backgrounds and every persuasion in rainbow colours celebrating the rich diversity of the City and surrounding area.
The rain did not dampen spirits and we received an excellent response on the People’s Vote stall.
Check out Nottingham People’s Votehere.
I took time out on Tuesday to campaign for Jane Dodds who won yesterday’s by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire. This Lib Dem / Conservative marginal seat went to the polls after the Conservative MP pleaded guilty to two expenses connected criminal offences. Political parties campaigning against a disastrous “no deal” Brexit and for a People’s Vote stood aside to give the Lib Dems a clear run – most notably Plaid Cymru as well as my party TIG for Change and the Greens. Jane Dodds won well. Looking at the swing, it’s clear she attracted Conservative voters disaffected with their party’s shift to the right and support for “no deal”, and Labour voters appalled at the state of Corbyn’s Labour Party, who backed the only “remain” candidate. Like it or not (and I very much do like it) British politics is changing and I am pleased to be playing a part in that much needed change.