Pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP
A year ago, I was proud to be elected as the Member of Parliament for Erdington. Our community made history as I became Birmingham’s first ever Black MP.
Since I was elected, I’ve helped more than 1,500 local people with casework, championed our community in Parliament, and become a strong voice raising the issues affecting people in Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale.
During the same period, the Government crashed our economy leaving millions of people facing financial uncertainty as families struggle to keep up with soaring bills and mortgages. 13 years of Tory governments have left our economy weak, and after more than a decade of cuts to the public sector, our vital services are a shadow of what they were under the last Labour government.
As a former nurse of 25 years, it breaks my heart to see our NHS on its knees. Nurses’ pay is struggling to keep up with the cost-of-living crisis, with inflation levels forcing many hospitals to set up foodbanks specifically for their staff. I’ve met nurses at my advice surgeries who simply do not have enough money to eat.
It’s astonishing that for the first time in 106 years, nurses went on strike after the Government refused to talk to them. Ministers were lining up to clap for our NHS staff during the pandemic but are now failing to give them a decent pay rise.
The Government’s delay getting around the negotiating table with the nurses’ unions has resulted in 140,000 cancelled NHS appointments, and patients are paying the price.
Local people are constantly telling me that they can’t get a GP appointment. Every morning at 8am, thousands of people call their local GP surgery to get an appointment but aren’t successful.
One constituent told me that she called her local practice and was fifth in the queue but by the time she got to the front, there were no appointments left. She told me ‘If you ring at 8:01am you’ll be on the phone for 40 minutes and you won’t get an appointment because they’ve all already gone’. Stories like these are sadly not unique.
After 13 years of Tory failure, our NHS is broken, working families are poorer and our economy is in decline.
The Tories are out of ideas, and their ‘sticking plaster’ approach no longer works but I’ll continue to stand up for Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale to ensure that local people’s voices are heard in Parliament.
For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org