Vauxhall: Harini Iyengar (Women’s Equality Party)

Harini Iyengar, Women’s Equality Party Parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall

1. Housing

Women and people on low incomes need housing too. The gender pay gap in Vauxhall means men can afford around £700 more each month in rent. Local Housing Allowance cuts, Child Benefit freeze, Bedroom Tax and abolition of Discretionary Social Fund hit women hardest. The worst hit are the most vulnerable: single mothers, women fleeing domestic violence, BAME women, WASPI women, and disabled people. High childcare costs eat up mothers’ rent money. WEP will bring in universal free childcare for 40 hours a week from 9 months to 5 years, calculated to put £37 billion into the economy through tax income and reduced benefit claims.

I will:

  • Scrutinise Lambeth Council’s housing and demolition policy with proper Equality Impact Assessments
  • Use compulsory purchase powers to buy new land for more social housing
  • Ringfence housing for women’s refuges from domestic violence
  • Enforce Section 106 agreements and require developers to provide women’s refuges, nurseries and libraries
  • Create local jobs and apprenticeships for men and women in construction
  • Spread new homes right across Vauxhall

2. Environment

I was proud to sign the Clean Air Pledge for WEP to bring in a Clean Air Act within 100 days. Too many cars pass through Vauxhall every day. I also supported the Renewable Energy Association manifesto and pledged to divest MPs’ pensions from fossil fuels. Only 25% of London’s cyclists are women.

I will:

  • Fight for the Paris Climate Accord
  • Improve public transport
  • Make all jobs flexible by default and end rush hour
  • Create cycle lanes where women feel safe, including doing the school run with their kids
  • Restrict private car use to the most vulnerable: disabled people, the infirm, carers and families with babies

3. Brexit

I campaigned for Remain including debating publicly at Sadler’s Wells. I also organised and chaired a panel discussion called “Black Women’s Voices on Brexit” with 60 delegates. The wider debate ignored the views of women and minorities.

I will:

  • Listen respectfully to all constituents from all backgrounds
  • Create a new immigration system which values migrants and their contributions to our communities
  • Stop stamping their passports “No recourse to public funds” and let them access vital services like maternity care
  • Ensure EU citizens who have been at home caring for children get leave to remain not just EU paid workers

4. Local business.

Because of discrimination in the job market, many women, people of colour, and other marginalised groups set up their own small businesses. Local businesses are vital to a vibrant community full of character, like Vauxhall.

I will:

  • Require Local Enterprise Partnerships to support small businesses in Vauxhall with the initial costs of getting IT facilities for remote working
  • Invest in support structures women need to become entrepreneurs including existing local organisations who give micro grants and loans
  • Incentivise companies to provide on-site staff nurseries by exempting childcare facilities from business rates and fund it with an uplift in the rates for large premises like high street chains

5. Education

Education is a key investment in our future. Education should be free for all children and students. Gender stereotyping and sexual harassment start in school. Cuts in school staff damage the quality of education, and four out of five teachers are women.

I will:

  • Make OFSTED inspections mark schools on gender and race equality
  • Implement compulsory sex and relationships education covering all genders, sexualities and online safety
  • Reverse education cuts and recover £120 billion by effective action on tax debt, avoidance and evasion including offshore
  • Provide free sanitary protection
  • Give all children the best start in life with a healthy nutritious lunch

You can see the full list of questions here


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