This week Poplar and Limehouse MP, Jim Fitzpatrick signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.
Saturday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘The power of words’.
After signing the Book of Commitment, Jim commented:
“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Poplar and Limehouse and across the country to reflect on the Holocaust.
“The Holocaust was one of the most horrifying chapters in history, paying tribute helps ensure we don’t forget the past. As this tragedy moves from living memory, it becomes ever more important we all remember the victims and survivors.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:
“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance.
“We are very grateful to Jim Fitzpatrick for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, is backing a Bill introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck this Friday 19 January which will give renters a new legal right to ensure their home is ‘fit for human habitation’.
The new legislation, long campaigned for by Labour, could help renters in 147,000 dangerously unfit properties in London.
Nationally, there are over one million rented properties containing the most serious ‘category 1’ hazards, including homes that have unsafe electrics, vermin infestations, or aren’t fire safe.
The Labour Bill will give tenants new legal powers to enforce their right to a decent home by taking their landlord to court if the property they live in is not fit. This is a particularly important for council tenants such as those who lived in Grenfell Tower, because it is councils who are notionally responsible for enforcing standards, but local authorities can’t enforce against themselves.
This change in the law has been backed by Labour previously and was included in the Party’s June manifesto but has been blocked by the Tories on two previous occasions. However, following a Labour campaign, the government now say they will support the legislation.
Jim Fitzpatrick said:
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home yet we have 1 million homes in England unfit for human habitation, it’s right this Bill receives government backing.
“What happened at Grenfell Tower last year was sadly only one example of many preventable tragedies – it’s time legislation was introduced to protect people in their homes.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said:
“Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have the basic rights that we take for granted in other areas.
“In practice you have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer, and decisions made by Conservative Ministers have made it easier for bad landlords to let unfit homes. As a result, too many people are forced to put up with downright dangerous housing.
“After the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, it’s even more important that we ensure all homes are fit for human habitation.”
Since its launch in April 2016, The TUCs ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter now protects over half a million employees with companies such as Legal and General, Santander, Co-Op, Carillion, Rolls Royce and the Royal Mail joining E.On and signing up along with a number of public sector bodies including NHS trusts, police authorities and many local authorities.
The Dying to Work campaign was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. The campaign is calling for a change in the law to prevent the same thing happening to other working people.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:
“It’s shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that they’ve earned.”
“I’m proud to have supported the TUC ‘Dying to Work’ charter to protect my employees and I’d like to encourage businesses in Poplar and Limehouse to do the same.”
The campaign has also been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including The National Council for Palliative Care, Hospice UK, Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.
TUC Deputy General Secretary, Paul Nowak, said:
“Serious illness is tough enough without having to put up with extra hassle at work. Everyone can surely agree that terminally-ill workers deserve protection.
“That’s why unions, MPs, employers and charities are coming together to ensure that workers get the support and protections they need when times are toughest.”
This broad support was demonstrated in a recent Survation poll of over a thousand people which found that 79% of respondents support a ‘protected period’ for terminally ill workers where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition with only 3% opposing it.