February Community Update
Welcome to my Community Update for February. This month I’ve enjoyed meeting with people in Parliament, where I have been working on developing Labour’s plan for Electric Vehicles, and in our constituency, where I have met with many local stakeholders.
Access to NHS Dentistry
During Health Questions this month I raised the case of my constituent, Helen. Sadly, her story is not uncommon. She explained that she called 25 dentists in Sheffield and was told by all of them that there was a three year waiting list for NHS treatment. This is unacceptable and made worse because existing NHS patients are unable to get appointments.
Despite being in power for 13 years, the Minister blamed the Labour Party. Thousands of people across the UK are unable to register for NHS services, instead they are being offered expensive private treatment while they wait.
This is unfair and unsustainable. The British Dental Association described the Government’s response to this crisis as ‘simply rearranging the deck chairs in a service in crisis’. This sums it up perfectly. No plan, no action, and all the while people are suffering.
Concord Junior School Council
I always enjoy visiting schools and hearing about the issues they are experiencing and the work they are doing in our communities. I was pleased to meet with the newly elected school council at Concord Junior School this month.
We spoke about the importance of taking part in elections and then I answered lots of questions, including what a normal day as an MP looks like; if I have ever met the King; and have I been on a tram. Congratulations to the new school council and best of luck.
I met with representatives from Labour Cycles, a group which campaigns in favour of active travel schemes. We spoke about the current barriers people face to cycling and walking as part of their everyday routines, and how Labour in Government could ensure that these options are open to all.
Industry Roundtable on Electric Vehicle Charging
This month, I joined Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, and Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Net-zero, in hosting two roundtables on electric vehicles. One with manufacturers and one with businesses implementing charging infrastructure.
These were positive meetings, attended by some of the most high profile businesses and organisations that are working in the field. Having the input and engagement of these companies was incredibly valuable and shows that the business community see Labour as a government in waiting.
It was useful to hear about the challenges facing the electric vehicle sector and their needs from government. It was clear that they need more ambition from the Government to roll out charging infrastructure.
Only a Labour government will make sure we will be ready for the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
Debates in Parliament
The Government are failing to meet their own targets for electric vehicle infrastructure. In addition to the roundtable I have held lots of other meetings to find out about the needs of businesses and consumers.
At this month’s Transport Questions I challenged the Government on their botched roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In 2019 there were 33 electric vehicles per rapid charger, today there are almost 90. If we are serious about the rollout of electric vehicles, it is crucial we have the infrastructure to deliver it. That is why I called on the Government to set binding targets to speed up the roll-out.
I also represented the Opposition during two Westminster Hall debates. The first was about a petition to make it a legal requirement to stop when a car hits a cat, the second was about improvements to Junction 28 of the M1.
You can watch my question and debates at: gillfurniss.com/feb-update