Jon Cruddas' June column for the Barking and Dagenham Post and Romford Recorder. Published the week commencing Monday 11 June.

I don't think I can ever recall a more divided Government than the current Tory one - with Cabinet members routinely stabbing each other in the front, and the back.

The Brexit debate does throw up strong emotions, but most people in communities like ours just want to get on with it.

A consultation has launched asking residents for their views on proposed changes to community urgent care services.

A 12-week consultation was launched by Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Havering’s Clinical Commissioning groups which asks questions on the way services are accessed in all three boroughs. The CCG’s are asking for opinions to change and improve local community urgent care services.

The consultation includes proposals for changes to local GP hubs, walk-in services, and GP Out of Hours services.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers.

A carer is someone who provides care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

We must never forget the strikes at the Dagenham Ford plant. This week we celebrate this major contribution to British post-war history. The brave actions of these local women some 50 years ago led to the Equal Pay Act - a major turning point in achieving equality at work between men and women in this country. Dagenham has a long proud history of working class women standing up for their rights, and the fight they started back in 1968 is one that continues today. We have come on leaps and bounds since 1968 but there is still a prevalent gender pay gap which needs to be overturned.

The Sycamore Trust has launched a new project for pre-school children across Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge. Starting in September 2018, “Speak With A Picture” has been funded by the BBC Children In Need and is aimed at pre-school children with a social communication disorder living within the listed borough’s.

Penguin, the book publisher, is on the lookout for new writers. ­Write Now is a programme which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers and illustrators from communities under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves. The programme includes a range of opportunities for budding writers and illustrators to get involved with including workshops and mentoring with Penguin’s own editors and designers for a year to develop a book or artwork.

This week Jon Cruddas MP was one of over 100 MPs that co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging action on the ‘unscrupulous contract changes’ announced by Sainsbury’s in March. The changes being proposed would see some employees receive a welcome pay rise, whilst 10 per cent of staff would suffer a staggering loss in wages of up to £3,000 per year.

On May 17th 2018, local autism charity ‘The Sycamore Trust’ released a statement regarding funding cuts implemented by Havering Council. Two of the trust’s Wednesday night clubs had been told to ‘shut down immediately’ after the local authority withdrew vital funding. Both youth clubs provided activities for children and young people with autism, and adults with learning difficulties.

This week is Dementia Action Week 2018 (21st-27th of May). There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Approximately 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 are living with dementia and approximately 40,000 are living with young-onset dementia (onset before the age of 65).

Janis Cottee a star volunteer of Jon Cruddas MP and committed dementia campaigner, recently attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia meeting. Attending as a carer, Janis participated in conversations around dementia and disability.

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, has praised new powers for TfL to crack down on illegal taxi and private hire activity and enhance passenger safety. These new powers are part of the Mayor of London’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan, which will drive up standards, boost the quality of service for Londoners and will help deliver the greenest taxi fleet in the world.

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