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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits the UK
 
I was honoured to welcome the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to the UK and to both welcome him the UK Parliament for a tour with the Speaker and to also participate in the largest ever community reception which was extended to him by the Indian diaspora in the UK.
Among the hundreds of performers from up and down the country who entertained a 60,000 strong crowd of well wishes at Wembley Stadium, there were also several talented artists and children from Harrow. I was able to raise some of the issues affecting the Indian community in the UK directly with Modi and we discussed the potential for more bilateral trade between our nations.
 
Since my last edition, I have continued my programme of street surgeries all around the constituency and I have been doing my part as your representative in Westminster.

Here are a few of the events and engagements I have taken part in recently:

 
HCHA SHELTERED HOUSING SCHEME
I made a visit to the newly completed £5 million sheltered accommodation scheme in Stanmore at the invitation of  Christopher Holley, CEO of Harrow Churches Housing Association (HCHA). The scheme has provided 28 new one bedroom flats for people over the age of 55, on top of the 41 currently available.
SHOUTOUT UK EVENT
I was pleased to sponsor and take part in a panel discussion in Parliament which gathered young people to debate political education in schools. The event, chaired by Channel 4 News Presenter Fatima Manji, discussed what Parliament and society at large can do to get more young people interested in politics, considering the low youth turn out at elections.
DURGA PUJA CELEBRATIONS
To mark the beginning of Durga Puja, the Panchamukhee Durgotsav was celebrated at Harrow Arts centre by members of the Bengali community, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Bengali traditions via dance and drama. I joined in and wished those celebrating a Happy Durga Puja.
NO PATIENT LEFT BEHIND
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Liver4Life held a ‘No Patient Left Behind’ event, at which I pledged my support for improving hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment and care for patients in the South Asian community. where prevalence is over five times higher than it is in the general adult population of England.

NAVRATRI AND DIWALI CELEBRATIONS
I took part in the various events held for these two major Hindu festivals which occur in October and November each year.
Navratri is a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and I have been watching Gerba and joining in Dandia Ras for nearly thirty years now. I make an effort to go to as many local events as possible, including ones held at the KP Hall, Harrow Arts Centre, Byron Hall, SKLP Northolt, Greenford Hall and the also joined the Lohana Community at their celebrations (pictured right), and at the Sai School of Harrow (pictured below).
For Hindu New Year, I do an annual 'Tour of Temples'. I visited the Swaminarayan temple in Stanmore, the Kum Kum temple on Honeypot Lane, Haridham on Woodcock Hill, Kenton Mandir, Willesden Temple, the Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir on Ealing Road (pictured left) and the large temples in Neasden and Kingsbury to wish them well and to take part in their celebrations.
I also co-hosted the annual Diwali Reception in the House of Commons. The event, which was organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), was a cross-party endeavour and was also sponsored by Keith Vaz, Nigel Dodds, Caroline Lucas, Angus Robertson MP and Lord Dholakia.
The guests were warmly welcomed with a  traditional ‘tilak’ and an ‘offering of prasad’ by the volunteers of the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Kenton who also organised the ceremonial ‘Anna Kut’, meaning ‘Mountain of Food’. Attendees included the Conservative Candidate for Mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, Indian Diaspora Champion, Priti Patel, Lord Popat, and also the High Commissioner of India, Ranjan Mathai.
 
SUPPORTING TOURISM IN NEPAL
I went to the Embassy of Nepal in London to show support for their 'Post-Earthquake Destination Promotion Program' and to take part in the discussion on how best to help Nepal's tourism industry following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake earlier this year which damaged a lot of hotels and cultural landmarks.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
I laid a wreath at the War Memorial outside the Civic Centre once again this year. The annual event is held in November on Remembrance Sunday to honour veterans as well as those who gave their lives to serve the nation and this year it the procession was led by Pipers of the Glen Trew Pipe Band. Lord Popat (pictured) was also in attendance.
 
EQUITABLE MEMBERS ACTION GROUP AGM
I headed up to Birmingham to be the keynote speaker at the Equitable Members Action Group (EMAG) AGM. As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Justice for Equitable Life Policyholders, I remain at the forefront of the campaign to secure full compensation for victims of the scandal.
EVERY CHILD A LIFESAVER
I joined the Every Child a Lifesaver campaign shortly after its launch last year as I fully support efforts to increase awareness of the dangers of cardiac arrest and to prepare as many people as possible to provide life-saving CPR. The Every Child a Lifesaver campaign is a joint initiative from St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation, and the British Red Cross.

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
STOP HATE UK
Stop Hate UK works alongside local strategic partnerships to tackle discrimination and encourage reporting and support the individuals and communities affected by hate crime. You can find out more about the services available in Harrow, here.

LOCAL OPPORTUNITIES

I have been made aware of a few local apprenticeships which might be of interest to readers, so have decided to include details here to encourage young people to apply:

HARROW COUNCIL
Currently recruiting for an Engineering Apprentice. Please see a brief outline below:
  • £16,000 a year
  • 12 months Apprenticeship contract
  • EXCELLENT CAREER PROGRESSION
  • Young person must be 16-24 years old
  • Ideally someone who has studied / passionate about Engineering

ONLY EGGLESS
Currently recruiting for 3 Apprentices to work in their Customer Service team in Wembley.
  • The role will be to take customers’ orders over the phone, and passing them onto the Bakery team. To give excellent customer service at all times. To give information to customers about products / services.
  • This company pledges to look after their young apprentices and give them an opportunity to grow.

To apply for any of these roles, send your CV to Thomas Paul, Business Engagement Broker, at: Thomas.Paul@harrow.gov.uk, or call 020 8420 9512 (ext. 5605) for more information.
 

IN PARLIAMENT
 
You can read some of my most recent contributions in Parliament below:

Backbench Business Debate on Tax Credits - Debate Contribution
"I start with sympathy for the people affected. When we reduce people’s benefits, they will always complain. When we increase the tax threshold so that they pay less tax, they will be quite happy and will not complain. When their wages are increased, they will not complain. But if we take benefits away, they will squeal. We clearly must look at the effect on individuals in the round. We must have the utmost sympathy for those people who are working full time and have no alternative but to receive tax credits to top up their wages. What can they do? They suffer a loss of income, and that will have an impact on their families. Therefore, the first thing I would like the Chancellor to do is examine the measures so that people in full-time work suffer no impact whatsoever, because otherwise this is grossly unfair on them."

Point of Order: Swastika Projected onto the Houses of Parliament
"On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Last night, on Remembrance Sunday, a picture of a swastika was projected on to the House of Commons with a message saying, “Modi not welcome”. As you will be aware, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is visiting here later this week. Can you confirm that this will be thoroughly investigated, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Government or the House authorities, and that the perpetrators will be caught and suitably punished?"

Transport for London Bill: Revival
"The discrete scope of the Bill should be taken as indicative of a desire by TfL to meet its business needs more flexibly, and cost-effectively. One of the key issues that has been identified during the whole process, which I think we all agree on, is the opportunity to maximise the development of assets for housing purposes. If the Bill were finally to become law, TfL would release more than 300 acres of land in London to help create more than 10,000 new homes across London. Sixty-seven per cent. of this phase of development is in travel zones 1 and 2."
 
Read more online, here.
 

IN THE MEDIA

GET IN TOUCH
 
If you have any issues or concerns which you feel I could help you with, please don't hesitate to get in touch using the contact details below:
 
Email: bob.blackman.mp@parliament.uk
Please remember to include your full name and address, even if you've written to Bob before!

Phone:
To discuss a case, report an issue or make a surgery appointment, please contact Bob's office in Harrow, on 020 8421 3323
For diary, media or tour enquiries, please contact Bob's office in Westminster, on 020 7219 7082


Write to:
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
or
209 Headstone Lane, Harrow, HA2 6ND

 
Copyright © 2015 Bob Blackman, all rights reserved.