Helena is Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings and Rye. She was born and bred in East Sussex, attended local state schools and spent her lockdown as a volunteer vaccinator in Hastings supporting the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Helena has a professional background in international development. Her work at Save the Children took her from refugee camps in Bangladesh to war zones like Yemen, where she stood up for the world’s most vulnerable children. Now she is using that experience to stand up for Hastings and Rye, campaigning on issues like long Ambulance waits and ending the dumping of sewage in our sea. If elected as the Labour MP for Hastings and Rye, Helena would fight for every resident of Hastings and Rye at Westminster to deliver a fairer, greener future for all.
My Priorities for Hastings and Rye
Here are my top priorities for our community:
Our local NHS
Our NHS is struggling after a decade of Conservative mismanagement. It is a real struggle to get a GP or a dentist appointment and health issues that could be addressed are left to get worse, putting more burden on the NHS. We are one of the worst places in England for getting a GP appointment, with the Old Town Surgery having 1 GP per 15,000 patients. A&E waiting times at the Conquest have increased, and people have had operations cancelled due to a lack of staff.
I've seen from my own experience how our local ambulance service is at breaking point, and the data I obtained through Freedom of Information requests shows we are waiting longer than the rest of Sussex. Read more here.
I have launched a campaign to urge the government to address poor waiting times. You can sign my petition here.
As your Labour MP, I would fight for our local NHS services to get the resources it needs. Labour would launch the biggest expansion of the NHS workforce in history, training thousands more doctors, nurses and midwives. Read more here.
Fairer, Greener Future: cleaning up our sea and tackling the Climate Emergency
Our community is on the frontline of climate change and we already see the effects. As your Labour MP, I would throw everything into tackling the climate emergency with the urgency it needs. Our own MP and Conservative Government have voted down Labour attempts to crack down on water companies who dump sewage in our sea.
Sewage dumping is an emergency and we need bold action. A Labour Government will put an end to this disgraceful practice, and clean up our water system. Read more about our plan to end sewage dumping here.
As a coastal community, we can be at the centre of the green jobs of the future. As your Labour MP, I would work with the government and East Sussex College to ensure we are offering young people the chance to train in the green jobs of the future. You can read more about Labour's plan for a fairer, greener future.
Taking action on the cost of living and our local housing crisis
We have a housing crisis, and locally the problem is made worse by Airbnbs which have reduced the number of properties for long term rent. The system is stacked against the younger generation and key workers are being priced out, even from renting. Where will our nurses, teachers and firefighters come from if they can't make a home here?
I will campaign to change the law to give local councils like ours the power to control the number of Airbnbs and levy extra council tax on these Airbnbs to support local services and ensure our local hotels do not get undercut.
Our local Labour-run Hastings Borough Council, and Icklesham Parish Council, are doing pioneering work to provide more social homes, but the challenges are immense.
A Labour government will take action to build the homes we need and address the supply issues in the housing market.
Education and transport
Education: Our schools and early years services have been decimated and I know a child born today won’t get the chances I did growing up here. Our children and young people deserve better, and need a Labour Government.
It is outrageous that half our young people are leaving school without the equivalent of a C in Maths and English. The Sure Start centres that Labour opened now lie empty, closed by Conservative cuts.
Teachers are being expected to do more with less and it’s no wonder that our schools are struggling.
We can and must do better for every child in Hastings and Rye.
Transport: Better transport infrastructure and links would provide the boost our local economy needs. We need more affordable, reliable and regular buses and trains. It will help people into employment, get to work and reduce our emissions. The Conservatives have promised the earth to people here but have nothing to show for it. Back in 2015 local Conservatives promised high-speed rail and now we hear nothing of it. Whilst this government breaks their promises I am working with local transport campaigning groups, such as Marsh Link Action Group (MLAG), and shadow ministers to get the issue back on the agenda.