Rachael Maskell MP - Press Column
Rachael Maskell MP - Press Column

After Labour’s victory in the city local elections, it is time for change in the rest of the country.

Power has moved. The country has spoken, rejecting the authoritarian orthodoxy of ruling parties and making Labour the lead party in local government, including here in York.

Ahead of our new Labour administration lies a host of possibilities to make your lives better, not for the sake of doing things differently, but because our values are deeply embedded in addressing injustice and inequality, of which there is much to do in York.

Our sights now turn to the General Election, a chance to embrace a fair future for all.

We will root out corruption and complacency and will work tirelessly to get our country back on track.

With another 18 months to run of this Tory administration, it is Labour’s ambition to ensure that we have two Labour MPs in York to work with our Labour council, giving residents in York Outer the chance to see the difference Labour’s candidate Luke Charters can make as a Labour MP – an MP who will work relentlessly to make a difference for York’s suburbs and villages, and who will always be there serving York’s communities.

Here and now, there is still much to do. My ‘Airbnb’ Bill has largely been adopted by Government and is currently out for consultation

Responses will need to be back by June 7, however we are setting out guidance so that York can respond to the scale of holiday lets that have littered our city centre.

I will be advertising a community meeting in the next week, where I will guide people through my Short Term and Holiday Let Accommodation (Licensing) Bill, and the Government changes; and how to positively respond to the consultation.

Please look out for this meeting, come along and have your say, as we seek to put residents’ concerns first.

With Government announcing it is dropping its reforms for leaseholders and backing off from necessary house building targets, I believe that housing must be a priority for the next Labour government.

After all, it was the radical Labour government of 1945 that built a generation of housing ‘fit for heroes’.

Now Labour has committed to retrofitting these homes, with 19million homes benefitting from our programme over the first two terms of the next Government, cutting energy costs and ending the damp and mouldy homes that so many residents in York have had to endure.

With Labour, homes are never enough.

We want residents to have rights. While long promised by the Tories, they have failed to give private tenants’ rights; Labour will.

We want people to live in active communities with good public transport routes and the support and services that help communities to thrive.

Already committed to adding 13,000 policing staff to our community policing teams, Labour will ensure that every community is safe and has the opportunity to thrive.

Good housing is at the heart of building healthy communities too.

This week in Parliament I will be speaking on different aspects of the importance of healthy communities. In Mental Health Awareness Week, I will be highlighting the challenges that I know many of you are facing, and calling for action when it comes to our mental health services.

Ending my week in Parliament there is a debate on how ‘public access to nature’ is so important to enhancing our mental and physical health. I will be making the case as to how a therapeutic environment, where all can thrive, will play a crucial part in sustaining a healthier and happier society.

As we protect our planet, we must ensure that all can engage with all that is on our doorstep, here in North Yorkshire, as well as greening our urban landscapes through better planning. I am still ambitious that York will one day have a city farm too!

While power has moved, and new administrations have been given a mandate across the country, it is vital that the charge for change is led from within our communities.

Your power to determine your neighbourhood, city and country’s future, in partnership with Labour, will secure the very best for all.

You have given Labour your confidence. As we move to that much-needed General Election, let us use all our power to build the society we long to see.

This article was first printed in the York Press on 17th May 2023

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