This week has gone by in a flash, with some great progress on campaigns close to my heart. Apologies if you felt you couldn’t escape me on the airwaves this week, but with our work on banning credit cards from gambling sites in the news, I was on BBC Radio Four, Five Live and LBC taking the fight to the greedy gambling bosses. The Gambling Commission has finally decided to put this ban in place, which is a real victory. Research has shown that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards online are classed as problem gamblers. We must do more to help protect people from the cunning and exploitative tricks used by the gambling industry. The new rules will not stop the odd bet here and there by those who gamble responsibly, but if you want to gamble, you’ll have to use your debit card where there is a limit – and make it harder to run up huge debts with borrowed credit card cash.
There will also be regulations put in place mandating that gambling sites participate in the GamStop scheme. People who want to limit their gambling or stop themselves from accessing gambling sites can sign up to prevent themselves from accessing the websites for their chosen time period. You can read more here. If you need any support on this issue, please do contact my office. The contact details are found at the bottom of this round up.
On Tuesday I met again with the fabulous team from the KnowYourMenopause campaign. We had a really productive chat about how we can better raise awareness of the impact of the symptoms of the menopause, getting posters informing people of the symptoms into GP offices and waiting rooms. Knowledge around women’s health is often weak and in order to ensure that women are supported in work and in life in general, we need awareness of the symptoms affecting them. This campaign is making sure that the message is out there and if you visit your GP and cannot see a poster, visit the Pausitivity website to download one to display! We want them up in every GP across the country.
In Justice Questions this week, I asked the Minister for a meeting with myself and representatives of the charity Birth Companions. There are a number of concerns around the care for pregnant women and new mothers in our prisons and although the current review of the operational guidance of the Mother and Baby Units in prisons is welcome, we do not feel it is enough. Birth Companions have made a number of recommendations in their new Birth Charter Toolkit including the need for mandatory standards so that prisons can be rightly scrutinised and held to account for their perinatal care. The House of Commons Committee report published in September last year highlighted concerns around the quality of care given to pregnant women and access to basic necessities. This is unacceptable in twenty-first century Britain and we must work harder to ensure that the rights of women and mothers are upheld and that they are looked after.
I have also met with the Internet Watch Foundation this week to discuss how we can work together to improve internet safety online and to reduce child exploitation online. Children and young people these days have grown up with the internet and accept that it is part of their everyday lives. Whereas we knew clearly the dangers outside in the real world and have, as parents and guardians, been able to give our children the tools they needed to recognise danger and safety (the usual don’t talk to strangers etc.), it’s perhaps taken us a lot longer to recognise and understand the dangers of the internet, something some of us don’t understand as well as the younger people in our lives! The Internet Watch Foundation works with people around the world to remove child sexual abuse images and videos. With the Marie Collins Foundation they are working with young men to help them navigate the internet safely and let them know what to do if they come across content they think might be sexual abuse of anyone under 18. If you want to report any suspected criminal content or see what work they are involved in, check out their website here.
As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01792 462054.
I hope you all have a great (and slightly drier) weekend!