In My View: Florence Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall

In Westminster, the economy is too often talked about in abstract terms with no focus on the human impact of stagnation.

But across my Vauxhall constituency, the evidence of 13 years of Conservative underinvestment is clear to see.

Earlier this month, the Post Office announced plans to close the Clapham Common branch early next year, because of the building owner’s desire to redevelop the site.

In response, the Post Office have concluded that there is no need to directly replace the shop.

I am joining with local councillors across Clapham to fight this, but the rising costs of running a high street business means the Post Office is now sadly part of a local pattern.

Just down the road, the Clapham branch of NatWest closed its doors for good earlier this year.

And in the last year alone, two much-loved community GP surgeries in Waterloo and Kennington have had to find new temporary premises because of unaffordable building rents.

Both the Waterloo Health Centre and Lambeth Walk practices are doing all they can to avoid patient disruption, but our doctors have enough to worry about without the stress of having to move locations.

We are seeing disruption in our schools too.

This summer, Archbishop Tenison’s School in Oval closed down because of a shortage of new pupils over many years.

The school had been a pillar of the community for centuries and its loss was truly sad.

One of the main reasons for the decline in pupil numbers is the extortionate cost of living for young families in London, which is forcing many parents out of the capital.

The common theme linking the closures of the high street services, GPs and schools is rising costs.

This is caused in the main by a weaker economy, which means there’s less money to go around. In turn, these closures have a dramatic impact on the communities impacted.

Every time a bank, Post Office, GP or school closes, my constituents have to travel further to access vital services.

This costs people both time and money that not everyone can afford.

So the next time you hear someone talk about the economy as if it is something which can’t be changed, remember that none of these closures were inevitable.

They are the result of political decisions by a Tory Government that has neglected our high streets for too long.

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