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Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards column for January 2023

Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly column for the community.

Ruth writes:

Last Friday we marked Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating all of those who were murdered by the Nazis and in genocides since.

I was very fortunate to be able to go to the National Holocaust Museum in Newark.

The museum provides a permanent memorial to the victims of the holocaust, houses several exhibitions and hosts events and talks with survivors.

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At a time when there is so much disinformation and antisemitism online, it was heartening to see so many school groups there, engaging with the exhibitions.

The many personal stories told at the museum put faces and names to the almost unimaginable number of people who were murdered.

I would really encourage everyone to go and see for yourselves. You can find out more about the museum and its work here.

In Parliament this month, we have been focused on the NHS, strikes and energy prices.

Across the country, we have seen record numbers of people attend A&E this winter (2.3 million) and very large numbers of people in hospitals with flu. I know the QMC has also been struggling with high numbers of patients who are medically fit to be discharged but are waiting for the social care they need in the community.

That’s why I urged the Secretary of State for Health to make sure that more funding to speed up hospital discharges was delivered to the frontline in Nottinghamshire as soon as possible.

I’m glad that £4.1 m was released to our local health authorities earlier this month and that the Government has today announced a further £1bn package to fund additional beds and ambulances as well as expanding services in the community and those provided by NHS 111.

It is also vital that people suffering mental health crises have an appropriate place to be treated, so I am relieved that £2.7m has been delivered to Nottinghamshire last week to fund new places of safety.

This month we have also introduced our Minimum Service Levels Bill in regard to strikes.

The Bill ensures that we have minimum safe levels of service across key public services such as ambulance, fire and transport in the event of a strike.

This balances the right to strike with the ability to do so safely, ensuring patients get the life-saving treatment they need.

Some unions do this already of course, the Royal College of Nursing did in December, but others don’t. The new measures will bring our laws up to date with equivalent laws in most European countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Through my work on the Business and Energy Select Committee, I remain very focused on energy.

Both on our future energy supply, through our inquiry into decarbonising the UK’s power network and on the current issue of high prices.

As wholesale prices dropped back towards the end of last year, to levels seen before Russia invaded Ukraine, we should expect this fall to soon be passed on to consumers.

Of course, energy companies have bought a proportion of their supply ahead at the previous very high prices, but we must make sure that the benefits of lower prices are felt by households and businesses as soon as possible.

We also need to stop the practice of forcibly moving vulnerable customers who are struggling to pay onto prepayment meters. The Government has already taken action to stop energy suppliers from forcibly moving customers onto prepayment meters and last week in Parliament, I pressed the energy minister on what measures were available to Government if energy companies didn’t play fair with their customers and pass on price reductions. I will continue to raise this issue with Ministers as it’s of utmost priority in helping to get inflation down and tackle the cost of living.

I’m writing this on a train speeding towards London, where I’ll be taking part in defence questions this afternoon and trying to ask a question in the Government statement about today’s £1bn Urgent and Emergency Care Plan.

My husband meanwhile will be cleaning up after last night’s donkey rampage.

Yes, Sgt Wilson and Godfrey broke free and destroyed the display of winter plants I’d arranged by our front door. They took out a small Christmas tree and appear to have swallowed some other plants whole as we can find no trace of them. They bid me farewell for the week from their stable this morning, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. Some things never change…

The main image shows Ruth Edwards at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum with Leo Brosh from the Jewish Leadership Council, Sam Cousens (right) and Jill Robinson (left) from the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. They are standing beside a pillar under which is buried soil from each of the six Nazi death camps in which millions of men, women and children were murdered.

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