Labour MP for Erith & Thamesmead

Teresa Pearce MP

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People’s Bank 2

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Teresa Pearce


I was pleased to read Jackie Ashleys article  ” Post offices can kickstart Labour’s radical agenda” in today’s Guardian.  Back in November I met with with Pat McFadden MP, Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to discuss which services the Post Office could offer in the future. I spoke with him about how Post Offices are a great British institution that have been part of our communities for over three hundred years and are trusted by the people.

I know how deeply people in Erith and Thamesmead care about the future of our Post Offices , so I want to see them offer more financial service.  It will give people in  access to a full range of banking products at an institution we trust and value. In Thamesmead their is currently no banking facility AT ALL. None.

And at a time when some banks and financial services companies are seeking to reduce face to face contact with customers, the Post Office stands out. It offers a trusted brand, and has more branches than the high street banks combined. It is ideally placed to bring banking services back to the heart of people’s communities.

Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business Began a consultation on what people want  and need from their Post Office.Information about the consultation was made available in all of the network’s 11,500 branches and consultation closed at end of February.

I have high hopes that there will be announcement on this in the Budget this week. Among the proposals are

  1. Post Office Current Account
  2. Post Office Children’s Savings Account – an account designed to encourage children to save through visits to their local Post Office.
  3. Post Office Business Bank Accounts – currently the Post Office offers access to business accounts from a few High Street banks. It could offer increased access to business accounts from other providers, as well as its own business account.
  4. A weekly budgeting account – many low income households are unable to take advantage of the savings that can be made by paying for services by direct debit. One way to tackle this problem is by offering a simple account that could ring-fence a proportion of income each week, and then pay out bills by direct debit on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  5. A closer link between the Post Office and credit unions – it can be difficult to access credit union accounts when people are not in their local area. The local nature of the Post Office makes it ideally placed to allow credit union savers to access their accounts across the country.
  6. Working to ensure all banks’ current accounts can be accessed at a Post Office – currently 60% of current accounts (around 25m accounts) can be accessed at Post Office branches. The Government wants more banks to allow their current accounts to be accessible at the Post Office.

I have my fingers crossed firmly that this weeks Budget will bring good news for Thamesmead and they can at last access the banking services they need.

Mr Foot 1

Posted on March 04, 2010 by Teresa Pearce
Mr Foot still canvassing in his 80s

Mr Foot still canvassing in his 80s


I was at a breakfast meeting in The City last week discussing the Banking Crisis and when stiffer regulation was mentioned the usual  cry of  ” oh we cant discourage top people or they will leave” went up.  I believe that is a mainly empty threat.  Of course if business was made impossible  then business would relocate.  But in recent years when business has been given a pretty free hand they have still restructured for tax purposes to put offices and contracts offshore so it seems the back scratching only goes one way.  People who want to make money will stay where money is made and money is made in London.

So it pleased me to read this quote from Mr Foot who died yesterday.

Quote from Mr Foot “We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.”


Well said and true. Rest easy Mr Foot.

Boris walks away… Comments Off on Boris walks away…

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Teresa Pearce


Boris Johnson today resigned as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, reportedly through lack of time – but no sign of him giving up his £250,000 second job on the Daily Telegraph….isn’t it time he put Londoners first? You can not just walk away when you get bored.

He also published his budget which at Page 6 point 5.16 he admits that police numbers are to be cut.  ( I reproduce the section below). In plain laguage they are to recruit 900 civilians to do work currently done by police officers releasing 550 to front line service but LOSING the other 450 altogether. So thats a cut in Police Numbers.  But when asking for you vote he said this

“I will provide strong leadership by taking responsibility and chairing the Metropolitan Police Authority and using my influence to tear up red tape and needless form-filling, so we can get more police out on the streets.”


“It is important for the Mayor to take a public lead, so I will chair the Metropolitan Police AuthoritI will provide strong leadership by taking responsibility and chairing the Metropolitan Police Authority and using my influence to tear up red tape and needless form-filling, so we can get more police out on the streets.”


5.16 Police officer numbers are to remain broadly unchanged over the forward planning period to 2012-13 with a forecast small decrease of 455 officers being offset by an increasing frontline presence through the Operation Herald scheme. This scheme involves recruiting 900 civilians to undertake the routine work in custody suites thereby allowing 550 officers to be released to frontline duties over the next three years.

Comments Off on

Posted on November 30, 2009 by Teresa Pearce


Hi there!!!

Not had time to write on here for ages as life has that habit of turning all your plans to dust. What’s that saying…” when men make plans , the gods laugh”. That is very true as it seems easy to think ” next week I will do this and do that” but then events take a different turn.

November has been hectic. I had planned to write to all the voters in the constituency go canvassing twice a week, finish my article on Fairtrade and finally get some blinds put up in the bedroom. BUT then there was a terrible murder of a young man in Thamesmead at the end of October which meant a total refocus of meetings and a number of community visits to try to address  the fears and concerns that such a tragedy brings to the forefront of our minds.

Then my partners 88 year old Mother had a fall which was very upsetting for her and all the family as it was the tipping point where she decided that independent living was no longer a real option for her. Its a situation that families up and down the country face every week and it makes for some heart breaking decisions. The knee jerk re action is to say ” come and live with us” but that’s not always a realistic answer and my Mum in Law dismissed that option straight away. She has enough self knowledge and wisdom to know that although both her sons were sincere in offering her a place to live, she would have hated it and in time it would have been the worst of all worlds.

So today she moves a few doors away into the nursing home that is just around the corner. She decided on this solution herself as its a place that’s familiar to her as she has been there over the years to place the piano for the residents and when she went for a day visit last week she met  number of old friends who already live there. Today she goes in for a two week respite stay to see how she gets on and if she likes it then a permanent place will be found there for her.  Its sad but I am hopeful that it will greatly improve her quality of life and that she will have the company and care that she needs.

Of course all this was made so much easier as she has financial independence which means we have more choices open to us. Care of the elderly is something that every family has to face at some point and I am hopeful that the Personal Care at Home Bill will become law next year and help all the families facing these difficult decisions by giving the the real option of the family member who needs care staying in their own home and receiveing that help.

Right…. now on with those 20,000 letters………

MPs staff why they need real employment law. 4

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

Its suggested that new rules would forbid MPs from employing their spouses and  I can understand why this is being considered. However it doesn’t tackle the real problem of  MPs paying members of their household out of the public purse as if it only applies to family what about housekeepers, nannies, cleaners and chauffeurs? Forbidding the employment of spouses is missing the real issue which is not “who” is employed but how they are employed and what they actually do.

We need to tackle the problem of people having “phantom” jobs. For instance a nanny being paid for parliamentary work because she takes phone calls and of course there is no need to go into the Conway debacle. What needs to happen is that staff working for MPs do so under a proper contract with the Commons Office and are annually appraised.

That way the public can be sure the person is actually doing a real job and the member of staff has equality with other people in the same job. This will make sure that parliamentary staff  are treated with equality and that MPs can not be tempted to use their staffing allowance to fund their domestic arrangements. MPs offices are often staffed by young politically committed people who are over worked or underpaid or by interns who are nt paid at all. This is a disgrace which must stop.

In the business world H M Revenue & Customs carry out Employment Tax Reviews and one of the avoidances they will look for is a family member on the payroll who does nt actually do a real job but is paid a salary . This is more often found in small family businesses than in large corporates and that is because a large company is more likely to have a separate HR function and an equal opportunities policy which ensures that the people are appointed on their ability to do the job rather than who they know or who they are related to.

Once again this debate highlights the need for the Parliament to move into the 21st century and to operate less like a club and more like a modern business. One of the arguments often used for MPs having second jobs is that it keeps them in touch with the real world but if that’s the case then I don’t understand why they leave those “real world” practises at the door when they walk back into the commons.

If we are serious about “cleaning up” politics then we need to look at the role of the fees office and set up a real finance & HR function. In any other walk of life employees from the cleaner to the chief exec have rules and policies they must adhere but Westminster still seems to operate under the old system of “must not question the word of a gentleman” and therefore there is no rigour in the expenses and allowance systems. The real change that’s needed is to have a modern parliament that acts like any other large accountable organisation not like some Victorian smoking club.

Question Time Comments Off on Question Time

Posted on October 12, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

I have been following with interest the debate regarding the invitation to Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time. There is the view that allowing the BNP on the BBC gives them status and credibility the other side of the argument is that they should be given the airtime so that their views can be challenged and exposed.

My position has always been that if Labour leaves a vacuum then the BNP will fill it. This is what we have seen happen in many of the areas where the labour core vote has felt ignored. I think that there is a long list of policies that have been delivered to help those who would be described as the traditional labour vote, such as the National Minimum Wage, Sure Start, Tax Credits, Winter Fuel payments for pensioners, outlawing racial discrimination in public functions, increasing child benefit, rights to 4 weeks holiday pay, free travel for pensioners, introducing NHS Direct, and more…BUT those voters feel they are ignored. So making sure that as Labour politicians we engage fully with those communities is paramount so that they can see the delivery of those policies is a result of Labour being in power. Focus less on Mondeo Man & Worcester Woman and get back on the streets and into the flats talking to Woolwich Woman & Thamesmead Teen.

The BNP have targeted the areas where voters feel no one is listening to their concerns and fears. They have told people that they will speak up for them. This has resulted in the BNP winning elections at local and european level. It is for that reason that Labour must appear on Question Time with the BNP. There is a large group of people in this country who voted for the BNP (not because they are racists, although some of course are) because they felt no one heard their voices, to ban the BNP would effectively say to those people that we ignored you and now we continue to ignore the party that is claiming to speak for you. It would play into the BNPs twisted argument that they act for the underdog when nothing could be further from the truth. The BNP is the party of targeting and scapegoating the underdog, lying to the public and inflaming and inciting social division and unease.

The BNP go door to door telling people whatever they want to hear, whatever you are against they will be against it too. They say they will pull out of Europe, stop working with other countries for common good, bring back national service, end immigration, if you are are a family who have no jobs or security they will invite you to blame your neighbour. They say all these things without challenge and without the truth ever getting in the way of their propaganda. Let’s shine a light on them and expose them and their tactics for what they are:  anti freedom, anti liberty, anti progress and anti democracy.

It is no good saying that by allowing them on the BBC gives them credibility as for the growing minority in this country that are minded to vote for them they are already credible. They already have members who are receiving tax payers’ money as elected councillors or MEPs.

Trying to deny them the “oxygen of publicity “ has failed so we need now to bring them forward to show people that a fascist in an ill fitting suit is still a fascist.

I have said in the past that I would never share a platform with the BNP. I no longer stand by that statement. By refusing to acknowledge that the BNP is a party that has won votes then we ignore those voters and it’s that very perception of being ignored that gave the BNP a foot in the door in the first place.



Happy Independence Day 1

Posted on October 01, 2009 by Teresa Pearce





Today 1st October 2009 is Nigeria’s 49th Independence  Day.  So I wish all our  Nigerian members, their family and friends and all our african members a  happy day and I hope they have good celebrations.

All at sea in brighton 2

Posted on September 29, 2009 by Teresa Pearce


At LP conference in Brighton and having a strange time. I’m not a delegate so I dont have a voting role to play. I’m not an MP so dont have that role, I am a PPC but not a new shiny one so dont seem to be included in the photo calls, offers to speak from platform or Q&A’s. All in all tis a bit lonely.

A morning in court No 1 Comments Off on A morning in court No 1

Posted on September 08, 2009 by Teresa Pearce



Today Mr Ian Clement former leader of Bexley Conservative Council and former deputy Mayor of London stood in court and faced five charges of fraud relating to allegations regarding his use of a corporate credit card. He declined to enter pleas to the charges at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the case was adjourned until 6 October.


Mr Clement resigned  his post of deputy mayor after his corporate credit  card was confiscated when it was revealed the he had been using it for personal expenditure on items such as groceries and  meals. The GLA spotted the mis use of the credit card as they have checks and procedures in place to do so.


It is a great concern to me as a Bexley resident that he had a similar pattern of expense claims whilst leading Bexley Council which went unchallenged. Bexley appeared to have no process in place to make sure that corporate credit cards are used for appropriate reasons and there are serious questions to be asked of the former Chief Executive and Finance Director as to why there was no due diligence in authorising that use of public money. In my opinion if they knew and did nothing to challenge the expenditure they are complicit and if they did not know then one might say they were incompetent. 


On a personal note ( I know this wont be popular) I did feel sorry for Mr Clement today. He cut a lonely figure with only his legal team for company. If one of my friends found them self in his position I would hope that although I would nt condone, in any way, the actions that had resulted in such serious charges I would not turn my back on a friend in a time of need they way his ex colleagues seem to have done.



Erith’s historic past 4

Posted on September 02, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

                                                   With the curator at the British Library                                                  

I think it is a tragic waste  that Erith does not make more of it’s history. The wonderful people who have kept Erith Museum going know only too well that there is much to interest us if only it was all brought together. With this in mind I accepted an invitation from the British Library to a viewing of their exhibition  “Henry VIII – Man and Monarch” which was fascinating.

As local historians will know Erith played a part during the reign of Henry VIII (1509 – 47) .  Henry is believed to have spent a night here on his way to France . Part of his naval dockyard was founded at Erith, and his famous warship, Henri Grace à Dieu or ‘Great Harry’, was fitted out here in 1515.

Erith has a rich and varied history that is rarely discussed or celebrated. There is a fascinating  history of smuggling in the 17th and 18th century, as well as the more recently uncovered role in the East India Companies trading and I am sure that many people moving to the area do not realise that the reason there are roads around the “pom pom ” area called Friday and Crusoe is because the real life mariner Alexander Selkirk ( upon whom Robinson Crusoe was based ) came back to UK after his shipwreck arriving at Erith on 14 October 1711.

I think Erith deserves a permanent building to house a visitors and education centre to celebrate the history or Erith and the river and I will be campaigning to make that happen.

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