I hope everyone has had a good Easter. I am sorry that this is my first newsletter since January. In February I broke three of my fingers. I was walking in a hurry and eating a sandwich, not looking where I was going. This was a mistake as there was a large pothole in my way…
As a consequence of breaking my fingers I have been unable to type or drive for six weeks. This has made correspondence difficult and put even more pressure than usual on my staff in Newcastle and London. Thanks to Tony, Carol, Mark and Kath for all their help and support.
A lot has happened over the past few months, and not only Newcastle United’s ascent to European competition. Osborne’s budget really set out the political priorities of this Government. It was a budget that rewarded millionaires and punished the working poor, one that tried to present tax rises for pasty eaters and pensioners as kindly simplifications.
Greggs is a Newcastle company, one of the most successful ones we have. But that is not the only reason I am with them in opposing the pasty tax. As with many of the measures in the budget, it will hit the poorest hardest. That is not right. On April 6th Today 1220 families in Newcastle lost their working tax credits. That is not right.
Just before the budget the campaign to kill the Health and Social Care Reform Bill failed – the Bill was passed by the Lords and the Commons thanks to the support of the Liberal Democrats. But if it failed in its ultimate objective the campaign did succeed in showing that the Government is out of touch with both patients and NHS professionals. Health is particularly important to us in Newcastle. We have some of the worst health in the country – high levels of heart disease, obesity and diabetes – even though we have some of the best hospitals. It is particularly important for us that we hold this Government to account over how it treats our health service.
In the House
To highlight health in Newcastle I held a debate in Westminster Hall entitled Health Inequalities in the North East. A number of MPs came to speak and there was a significant amount of media coverage, local and national. However the response from the minister was weak, to put it politiely.
I also held a debate in Westminster Hall on the economic potential of Clean Coal.
I asked questions in the Chamber or intervened on the impact of the change to feed in tariffs on Carillion here in Newcastle (twice), on Government spending on consultants, the over £30,000 raised at a Newcastle fundraiser for Syrian relief, the need for better broadband, NHS Risk Register, tax avoidance, the decision to locate the Green Investment Bank in London and Edinburgh , Hostage Rescue Operation (Nigeria) , Empty Homes , Green Investment Bank , rural broadband, Pharmaceutical Industry , Health and Social Care Bill , Police Commissioner elections, DNA Database
- Quoted many times in Chronicle and Journal, as well as an as well as appearing on BBC and ITV and various blogs and trade press .
- I continue article a monthly column for Computerworld and use twitter extensively (@chionwurah)
Kath Smith was appointed junior caseworker, the last remaining permanent position. I offer work experience/volunteering to interested constituents and have a one-day week LSE intern. I continue to receive a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls, over 1500 per week.
- Meetings included: Eurim, driving the Digital Single Market, Royal Society of Chemistry, Total Politics Roundtable Breakfast on Entrepreneurs (raised Cake and Red Rascal), PLP meeting with Bill Gates, Peter Culham, Martin Cave, Peter Ingram, Bioindustry Association, Carillion, Christian Engstrom of Pirate Party, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and Smits of Research, Ken Ducatel and Robert Madelin of InfoSoc and ERA dinner; meetings with various EU agencies and the EU ambassadors of Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Egypt, the Gambia and South Africa. Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), Showmen’s Guild, Narec Capital, Charles Hendry, Knauf Insulation, French socialist MP Elisabeth Guigou, BMA Medical Students Committee, Georg responsible for ‘Energy Vision’ in the German Department of the Environment, Tour of innovative Peterlee businesses with Graeme Morris, Newcastle Pakistan Muslim Association, Cruddas Park Pensioner’s Group, IET Annual Dinner, Eagles Basketball Match, Sikh Gurdwara Sod cutting, Peter Culham & Martin Cave, Meet British Retail Consortium, Centrica, OBV, Blueline taxis, Cambridge trip including TTP, Centre for Science & Policy Cambridge, Adam Higgit of Ofcom, Surrey Satellite Technology, Balfour Beatty, Fujitsu, Live Theatre, St Bedes School, Discover Islam week, Newcastle Uni, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, EEF, Practical Action, Newcastle Mental Health Trust, Delegation of French Senators, Go Northeast, Barclays, Conducto consulting, William Webb, English Tourism North East, Grangertown Residents Association, British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference, Nexus, Speak up for Libraries, Parmjit Dhanda & Leslie Manasseh of Prospect, APPG Nigeria Business Dinner, Huawei phone interview, Hilton Primary School, Dr Mark Pearce Newcastle University and Action on hearing Loss, Princes’ Trust Get Into Construction course, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, IPPR, Internet Watch Foundation report launch, Saga, Aviva, Hooper Intellectual Property report launch, ACLGI (African Centre Local Gov Improvement), BT, BBSRC Innovator of the year, Peter Ingram, Imran Khan of CASE, Innovator of the Year Networking & Award Reception
- Speaking engagements included: aHUS, Labour AGM, Northern RICS Conference, FINNOV, Association for Black Engineers Student Engineering Network, Syrian Fundraiser, Royal Academy Gearing UK for Growth breakfast, Newcastle University International Development Conference, BEN Television Annual Lecture: Global Terrorism Challenges Facing Africa, Cambridge Fabians, BBC Richard, Dimbleby Lecture Dinner , Voice of the Future where interrogated by young scientists on Labour policy, Board of Deputies of British Jews board session in Newcastle, Nigerian non-oil sector trade conference, Labour Left Launch, APPG Africa Diaspora Women & Democracy in Africa, New Political Economy Network (Npen) Regional Economy seminar, The financial revolution in Africa: Mobile payments services in a new global age