Almost a year ago I wrote about my fears for families facing migration from old benefits to Universa...
read more » 17th Sep 2018 16:22
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor of London are boosting the fight against violent ...
read more » 11th Sep 2018 11:34
"I chaired the launch of a report (5 September 2018) by the Fire Brigades Union entitled The Gr...
read more » 10th Sep 2018 15:55
John Cryer
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Monday 17th September 2018 - 16:22 Universal Credit Problems
Universal Credit Problems Almost a year ago I wrote about my fears for families facing migration from old benefits to Universal Credit amidst the Government's "clumsy" rollout, which was causing "homelessness and hunger wherever it goes".

With Universal Credit now established in Redbridge and recently rolled out in the Waltham Forest part of my constituency, now is a good time to review what progress the Government has made since then.

Despite an important concession on advance payments and a roll back on premium-rate charges for calls to the helpline, the transition from existing benefits to UC is still traumatic in far too many cases.

For instance, only 38% of claimants have been able to complete the online identity check. Anybody with irregular paydays can expect to have their benefit stopped when the system identifies them as earning twice as much as they actually are. Anybody with rent, council tax or utility bill arrears can have as much as 40% deducted from their benefit award to pay back the debt. And assessment times are still a problem: one in six claimants are waiting longer than the maximum five weeks to receive their first payment, and they will not receive a penny until their eligibility has been confirmed.

The result of all of this is a situation much the same as I described a year ago. This is concerning, not least because the DWP still has some work to do before the system is fully implemented. For the sake of the vulnerable, the Government must pause to fix the serious problems remaining with Universal Credit.
Tuesday 11th September 2018 - 11:34 Violent Crime Task Force
Violent Crime Task Force The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor of London are boosting the fight against violent crime in the capital by adding another 122 officers to the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce for the next three months.

The officers will temporarily move from the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command, and will be ready to start on Monday (17 September), boosting the size of the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce - a targeted team making arrests and taking weapons off the streets in the areas of London with the highest concentrations of knife and other forms of violent crime.

Leyton and Wanstead MP, John Cryer said:

"Violent crime has been on the rise since 2014 and in recent weeks we have seen too many lives lost on the streets of London to guns and knives. This is neither acceptable nor inevitable. We must all do more must be done to tackle both crime, and the root causes of crime. We need a police force with the resources to provide reassurance to communities, do the necessary prevention work and catch those who commit crimes."

The new move will give officers a greater presence in areas with high levels of violent crime, as well as allowing more intelligence-led and targeted stop and search, and the use of specialists in covert tactics. The taskforce seeks to target dangerous offenders and provide local officers with speedy and accurate intelligence to take them off the streets.

Sadiq Khan, said: "This is drastic action that I would rather we didn't have to take, but the Government's persistent refusal to give our police service the funding they desperately need has left with us with no choice.

"The level of violent crime in London is unacceptably high. As well as setting up the new dedicated Violent Crime Taskforce to focus on the areas worst affected, I'm bringing together the Met Police with local councils, charities, community groups and others to work on a public health approach to tackling knife crime, and we have created a new 45 million Young Londoners Fund to provide young people with positive alternatives to crime and to help those caught up in gangs to get into employment and training.

"The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, and involve culture, community, gangs, drugs, poverty and a lack of opportunities and have been made much worse by the Government's huge cuts to the Metropolitan Police and youth services across our city, resulting in police numbers falling to the lowest level in 20 years. Cuts really do have consequences."

The Mayor added: "I want to reassure Londoners that moving officers from the roads and traffic policing command is only a temporary measure. The Met will work to minimise the impact of their transfer, and policing our roads remains a key priority."
Monday 10th September 2018 - 15:55 Chairing meeting on new report on the Grenfell Atrocity
Chairing meeting on new report on the Grenfell Atrocity "I chaired the launch of a report (5 September 2018) by the Fire Brigades Union entitled The Grenfell Tower Fire: Background to an Atrocity. I have had a very long association with the union, including starting the Parliamentary Fire Safety Group, now the Parliamentary FBU Group, with John McDonnell some 15 years ago.

The event took place at the House of Commons (with FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack, Moyra Samuels of Justice4Grenfell and shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

It is very clear that the effect of the fire was related to deregulation, sub-contracting and an obsession with free market orthodoxy. After the fire, all the former residents were either dead or homeless. Even now, hundreds of buildings in Britain are clad with the same dangerous materials as Grenfell and the government has done almost nothing about this situation.

At the same time, the fire minister Nick Hurd (who was invited to the launch but was unable to make it) deals with questions on cuts to the fire service by mouthing the monotonous platitude that operational matters are nothing to do with him which, apart from anything else, makes one wonder why we bother having a fire minister.

A Labour government will reverse the drastic fire cuts (we have lost 50 per cent of our fire cover in Leyton and Wanstead) but we also need to radically reform building and fire regulations and make people safe in their homes.

The FBU has long had a slogan, Cuts Cost Lives. That has never been more accurate."
Monday 10th September 2018 - 15:00 Boundary Changes
"These final boundary recommendations are nothing but an undemocratic power grab by this Tory Government. With no plans to reduce the number of Ministers, the Government is weakening the role of Parliament and creating unprecedented levels of executive dominance at the expense of backbenchers, when Parliament is meant to be taking back control.

"Labour has repeatedly said that a boundary review is needed ahead of the next General Election, but we cannot support the Government's undemocratic proposals.

"We stand ready to work with all political parties to agree an accelerated timetable for a new review that benefits our democrac, not just the Conservative Party."

"Cutting the number of MPs by 50 as we prepare to leave the European Union is further proof this Government is clamouring to tighten its grip on power. With the workload of MPs set to rise after Brexit, with thousands of pieces of important legislation expected to come through parliament, it would be utterly ludicrous to go ahead with these boundary changes.

"Theresa May needs to think again. The political context has changed significantly since these flawed proposals were first agreed under David Cameron.
Tuesday 17th July 2018 - 16:08 Waltham Forest Housing Consultation
Waltham Forest Council are consulting on proposed changes to their Housing Strategy.

Housing is probably the biggest challenge for any council. For London councils it is even more difficult. I cannot recall a recent advice surgery where I have not met at least one or two residents with serious problems concerning homelessness, temporary accommodation, over-crowding or disability-related housing issues. With councils being asked to do more with less year on year, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better.

In Waltham Forest alone, nearly 10,000 households are waiting for a more suitable property because their own property is over-crowded or not suitable for their needs. About 2,300 Waltham Forest families are homeless, living in temporary accommodation. The council is unable to source enough temporary accommodation locally because the Local Housing Allowance and benefits cap mean local rents are too expensive, and are unable to build enough council houses due to government rules on borrowing.

Despite this, the council can still make a positive difference by running housing allocations in the right way. It is incredibly important that they receive feedback from service users before making the decisions which will affect provision in the coming years.

I would encourage anybody affected by housing issues to respond to the survey, which can be completed online here: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NZLGL8D.

The Consultation runs until 5th August.
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Wednesday 16th May 2018 - 13:26 Gaza Atrocities - Statement
"There is nothing that can justify the slaughter in Gaza. President Trump's behaviour contributed directly to the massacre and to the flouting of international law. We need a full, independent inquiry by the United Nations, something that Trump is currently blocking."
Tuesday 24th April 2018 - 10:47 Caribbean Migrants Treatment by Home Office
As your Government prepares to host the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, I join my colleagues who have written to request an immediate and effective response to the growing crisis facing British residents who arrived in Britain from the countries of the Commonwealth prior to 1973.

I fully support the sentiments in the joint letter from my colleagues in both Houses.

Largely in their 60s and 70s, these are grandparents and great-grandparents, nurses, schoolteachers, hardworking people who helped shape modern Britain, contributing to so many aspects of life in this country.

These individuals and their families were born as Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies or as Citizens of the Commonwealth and enjoyed the right to enter and remain in the United Kingdom, just as those born in Britain enjoyed and exercised the right to move to the farthest reaches of the Commonwealth.

Yet many have in recent years been incorrectly identified as undocumented or 'illegal' migrants, with the Home Office having lost its own records and with many of those who arrived as children no longer able to rely on the paperwork of parents long since deceased. All too often these routine bureaucratic errors bring about the separation of families and irreparable damage to lives. To mothers and fathers losing the right to work, to rent property, to receive pensions, to access their bank accounts or even to access vital healthcare - a particularly cruel twist of fate as so many of those affected have spent their lives in the service of the NHS.

Compounding this crisis, too many of those who do have the right to be here are too afraid to approach the Home Office for help with their paperwork in case they are detained, stripped of their rights or separated from their families and removed to countries of which they have no real memory.

Britain has a proud history as a welcoming country, as an open and diverse nation. This June we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, and of a generation of people who brought with them their talents, their cultures and their dreams and helped build a confident, prosperous and outward looking Britain. Yet we will also observe, in just a few days, the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech, a moment in history which reminds us that we are all of us responsible for defending the shared values of our Commonwealth.

As Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, we stand with the representatives of the sovereign nations of the Commonwealth, members of the Commonwealth diaspora communities in Britain and civil society on this issue, and further we specifically request that you direct your Government to urgently put in place procedures for the swift resolution of this growing crisis.

We urge you to guarantee the status of all Commonwealth nationals whose right to remain is protected by law and to provide an effective, humane route to the clarification of their status. It is a simple act that will transform life for so many people who have given so much of that life to Britain. We also urge you to meet with Commonwealth nationals, their legal representatives and the groups campaigning on their behalf to address this crisis. Surely the time has come to give them the security they deserve.

I hope you will urgently review the matter raised and I look forward to receiving a positive reply.

Yours sincerely

John Cryer MP
Friday 13th April 2018 - 13:08 Syria Statement
We are all deeply aware of what seems to have been a horrific chemical weapons attack in Syria. The use of chemical weapons has carried a visceral fear since they were first used during the first world war and this is no exception.

There is now growing pressure on the British government to commit itself to military intervention, to which I have two points to make.

First, I am very doubtful as to whether any intervention by the west will make matters any better and it will probably make them worse. We should never intervene unless there are outstanding reasons for doing so; but to do it on the coat tails of perhaps the most dangerous and unstable US president in history seems to be to an extremely bad idea.

Second, parliament should be consulted about this. I have heard several MPs say that we need to respond quickly and therefore it has nothing to do with parliament. On that basis, let's get rid of democracy altogether. On the narrow issue of whether the Prime Minister has the right to go to war without asking parliament, the constitutional answer is that she does as it is a royal prerogative

However, prime ministers do not in general go to war, even in Victorian times, without asking elected representatives. It always used to be done on a technicality (the adjournment of the Commons) but the only good thing, in my view, to emerge from the Iraq war was that Tony Blair asked parliament to vote on a substantive motion. We were voting very clearly on going to war.

It is therefore difficult to see how a post-Iraq prime minister can go to war without asking the same question. If this premier does go to war without any debate and vote, she will probably pay a very heavy price in the near future.

However, the bottom line is that I would oppose military intervention in Syria, as I did three years ago and as I did in the case of Iraq.
Monday 12th March 2018 - 14:17 I Support Keeping Refugee Families together
I Support Keeping Refugee Families together This Friday I will be in Parliament to support the Refugee Family Reunion Bill.

As with most MPs, Friday is a day that I normally dedicate to constituency engagements, however many local residents have contacted me about this humanitarian issue and I agree that the measures in the bill are well worth supporting.

Nobody chooses to be uprooted from their home by war, genocide or persecution, so it is heartbreakingly unjust when that process divides families. People who have fled such cataclysmic events as the war in Syria need those closest to them to help them overcome the trauma they have suffered, and yet under the current arrangements too many families remain separated by thousands of miles with no means of reuniting.

I am supporting this bill to allow child refugees, such as those who have arrived here under the Dubbs Amendment, the right to sponsor close family members to settle here while they rebuild their fractured young lives. I also want to see the parameters of family reunion provisions expanded, so that youngsters who happen to have turned eighteen are not excluded from joining their parents, and the elderly are not deprived of the chance to continue living with family members they rely upon. Crucially, the Bill will allow those pursuing family reunion to once again receive legal aid. In my experience the immigration system is nothing short of labyrinthine bureaucracy, so access to legal assistance is a must if the other reforms are to mean anything
Wednesday 17th January 2018 - 15:48 Opportunity to support deaf children
Opportunity to support deaf children John Cryer joined the National Deaf Children's Society at an event in Parliament last week (Wednesday 10 January) to learn about how pre-school deaf children in Waltham Forest and Redbridge can benefit from transformational technology.

Radio aids are a piece of technology that amplify speech and cut out background noise, helping deaf children to hear their parents more clearly and develop their language and communication skills at a faster rate.

The benefits of radio aids are well known in education, but recent research from the National Deaf Children's Society shows that they have significant benefits for deaf children when used in the home too, particularly during the early years when language development is at a critical phase.

The research showed that using radio aids at home is key for increasing conversations between parents and deaf children under-5 in noisy environments. When a radio aid is used in the car for instance, conversations with a deaf child increased by 144%, and when outdoors by 88%.

Almost 50 MPs from across the political spectrum joined deaf children, parents, teachers and campaigners in Parliament to show local authorities like Waltham Forest Council and Redbridge Council why they should be providing this life changing technology to pre-school deaf children in their area.

Nicola Ward, London Regional Director at the National Deaf Children's Society said: "Waltham Forest and Redbridge are two of the 54% of councils in England who do not consistently provide deaf children in the early years with this transformational technology to use at home. With the Department for Education making funding available for this through the Special Provision Capital Fund, local authorities like Waltham Forrest and Redbridge will now be able to fund this vital technology."

Nicola Ward went on to say that "As this research shows, funding radio aids will have a huge impact on so many deaf children locally, helping them to hear their parents more clearly, allowing them to thrive, acquire language at a faster rate, and to help them achieve just as well as their hearing friends."

John Cryer MP, who attended the event in Parliament added:

"It was wonderful to meet so many deaf children and their parents from across my constituency at this event. Hearing their views, and learning about the support they need was an eye opener. I will be speaking to Waltham Forrest Council and Redbridge Council to see how they can use this new funding to get radio aids for deaf pre-schoolers in our area."