I am delighted to have been nominated by Members of Parliament from across our political parties to be Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
Grenfell, social housing and adult social care in particular are hugely important issues that require urgent attention. Here is my election statement to MP's in full:
The work of the Department of Communities and Local Government covers areas of policy that are vitally important to the lives of all of our constituents – particularly housing, adult social care and the delivery of public services through local authorities. If elected Chair I would work hard to ensure that these issues are at the top of the agenda and I plan to be a strong voice for Parliament in holding the government to account.
During my 17 years in Parliament I have always sought to be an independent-minded and collegiate Member of Parliament, and it is in this manner that I would seek to lead the Committee’s work as Chair.
In light of the Grenfell Tower fire it is my intention that the Committee will conduct an inquiry into building regulations and fire safety in tower blocks and social housing as soon as possible. It is clear that adult social care system is in need of reform and if elected Chair I will ensure that the Committee conducts work to support overdue and much-needed long term improvements to the social care system through scrutiny of proposed changes to social care funding and by working closely with the Health Select Committee and colleagues across all parties.
Other important areas that will require work include further devolution to City-Regions and Metro Mayors and the impact that Brexit will have on local government – particularly in terms of investment and whether powers transferred from the EU can be devolved.
If elected Chair I would work hard to ensure that the Committee is not London-centric in its work and I want to focus on local government finance outside of London, the funding formula for local authorities and issues that affect all of our constituents – particularly housing benefit and private landlords.
The Committee will hold evidence sessions in cities, towns and regions across the United Kingdom to ensure that every area has its voice heard.
Since returning to the backbenches in 2010 I have undertaken a great deal of work on our housing policies, particularly in relation to social housing and affordable housing, and in 2014 I published a 40 page report on the housing crisis.
As Chair of the Race and Community All Party Parliamentary Group since 2010 I have experience of working with colleagues from across all parties on issues around integration, race equality and community cohesion. These issues fall under the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government and I hope to be able to use my experience to ensure that these aspects of the Department’s work are scrutinised effectively. I have also been commissioned by the Government to conduct a review into the over-representation of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system and have worked across party lines across a range of policy areas.
I hope I can count on your support and do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your priorities further.