Cambridge is a beautiful city, home to diverse and tolerant communities – I am proud to represent it, and I really enjoy all the opportunities I get to learn more and more each day about our vibrant and exciting home.
Although Cambridge is a brilliant place to live, it has its challenges too. We have very high living costs, and this puts pressure on those renting and buying in the city. I’ll continue working with the council to stand up for Cambridge in Parliament, and urge the Government to make more resources available for housing. I also believe that renters need better protections – working on the Tenant Fees Bill Committee with Labour colleagues allowed us to secure more rights for renters.
Many of us in the city are concerned about homelessness, as we see more people sleeping rough on the streets of Cambridge. Local organisations like the city council, Wintercomfort and Jimmy’s do a great job with their limited resources, but we need drastic Government action if we are going to solve the problem – action was taken under the last Labour Government, hugely reducing rough sleeping, and we need the same dedication to solving the problem again now after preventative services have been cut by the Conservatives over the last nine years. I’ve worked with local charities and fundraisers to improve provision, but the Government must act to change the system to improve housing security – councils have been cut so dramatically that they do not have the resources to solve the problem alone, so I have urged the Government to act.
Low wages and insecure work have contributed to some of the financial pressures that people feel in the city – coupled with expensive housing costs, this can make some of our residents feel vulnerable. Working with university students and Cambridge Universities Labour Club (CULC), we have been campaigning for all the colleges of the University of Cambridge to commit to paying the Real Living Wage, as well as the central university.
The Conservative Government has attacked our city’s institutions with an onslaught of cuts – and Cambridge Labour has fought against this austerity. With councillors and other campaigners, last year we fought to save Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, and as a team we convinced the Government not to close it. However, we now need to protect our Crown Post Office, which has been threatened with closure, and make sure that our police retain their presence in the city. Austerity has made people feel less safe, and stretched our police forces hugely; when I recently spent a day shadowing the local police, I saw first-hand the important work they do in keeping us all safe, and have called on the Government to make sure they’re properly funded.