We have so much to be proud of in our community and these last few months I’ve been really pleased to be out and about seeing so much of our local work.
First, it was great to visit the Crystal Palace Community Trust at Anerley Town Hall. They are a brilliant charity who do so much for our local area.
They have a range of services on offer including benefit advice sessions, digital skills drop-ins, year-round youth clubs and a number of sessions for older residents including the very friendly Crystal Palace eagles over 50’s club! Find out more here: www.cpct.org.uk
It was also a huge pleasure to visit St John’s Primary School in Penge with my dad. He used to teach at the school in the 1970s and it was wonderful to hear his stories, meet current pupils and celebrate the fantastic work the school has done in recent years in the face of significant challenges.
Finally, I had a fantastic time with my children at the Penge Halloween Trail. It was such a lovely event for our community. Thank you to all the brilliant local businesses who took part and to the Penge Tourist Board for organising it.
But whilst we have so much to be proud of in our community, I also recognise how difficult times have been recently for so many. And this has been made worse by the Tories economic incompetence, crashing the economy with their ‘mini-budget’.
As a result, one local teacher told me they will have to find an extra £750 a month to cover their mortgage payment increases. Money they simply don't have. I raised this in Parliament and called on the government to apologise and reverse their actions.
Small businesses too are facing pressures all made worse by the Tories economic incompetence. As many of you may already know the much loved SE20 Cycles in Penge was facing an energy bill of £11,000 before winter even started.
They are a viable business but it’s only because of our brilliant community coming together and organising a local Crowdfunder that they were able to pay this. I raised this situation in Parliament with the Chancellor and called for more business support but received a poor answer.
And whilst mortgage increases, and energy prices are causing difficulties, inflation and rising food costs are also making it even harder for families to get by. After 12 years of the Tories, this is their record on the economy.
I am so proud of our community and everything we have here, but I believe we are being let down badly. I will continue to challenge the government and hold them to account for their decisions which are making life harder for so many of us.
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