Speeches and Articles

Karen in Parliament

Karen often speaks in Parliament about the various issues that matter to the people of Westminster North.

To search through all speeches, questions and debates that Karen has taken part in since being electe then visit Karen's page at TheyWorkForYou.com and ThePublicWhip.org.uk.

Please note that these are external sites and so we cannot be held responsible for the contents including accuracy.

My June article for the Wood and Vale

Posted: 20/06/14

To say that inner London experiences severe housing pressure is an acute understatement. We can see with our own eyes how new developments are dominated by luxury housing, not only wholly unaffordable to most local people but all too often sold ‘off plan' as investment opportunities for international capital, and in some cases, left empty as house price rises almost do away with the need for rent. We can see how buildings once used for public services- St John's Wood and Harrow Road police stations, the Jubilee Sports Centre, the Adult Education Centre- are converting to luxury homes- with the… » Read more


Education: London’s Lessons - Article for the Wood and Vale

Posted: 08/05/14

One of (a number of) success stories from the last 15 years has been the transformation of London schools in general, and Westminster schools in particular. During the 1980s and 1990s, London schools - with exceptions, of course- trailed behind the rest of the country, in reputation certainly, and outcomes frequently. When Westminster Council took over education in 1990, and shortly thereafter abolished their council inspection team, it contributed to a further worsening in performance in many schools. By early last decade, the old North Westminster Community School had declined to the point where only 18% of students achieved 5… » Read more


Karen’s latest article for the Westminster Chronicle

Posted: 04/04/14

Combining work with parenting is now pretty much the norm for most of us- whether through choice or financial necessity. So we need to be able to reply on really good childcare, and we need to be able to afford it. Compared to the mid-1990s, the landscape is transformed, of course, with new nurseries, hugely expanded nursery provision in schools and more financial help available for parents. The previous government supported the building of new nurseries, such as at Essendine, Macroom Road and Praed Street; built Children's Centres ( Bayswater, Church Street, Maida Vale, Queen's Park and Westbourne, amongst others)… » Read more


Karen’s article for the Westminster Chronicle

Posted: 12/03/14

Did you know just how close you live to the most polluted roads in the country? Air pollution is a public health challenge that has been neglected for too long, and we, in Westminster, are on the front line. Worst offender is Grosvenor Place, right outside Buckingham Palace, with Oxford Street next, and Marylebone Road coming very close behind. In fact, half of the 50 most polluted roads in England are right on our own doorstep.

And this isn't just a question of an unpleasant taste in the mouth, either. Polluted air is a silent killer. Air pollution is one… » Read more


Karen’s Latest Article for the Wood and Vale

Posted: 06/02/14

London is gripped by a deepening house crisis at almost every level, and most Londoners are worried about it. A poll last week showed 82% of Londoners agreed that there is a housing crisis, with the issue topping the list of concerns in the capital for the first time ever. Since then, 3 new pieces of information have added to the pressure.

Firstly, the average cost of a London home passed the £400,000, pushing home-ownership further out of reach then ever for middle and lower earners. Meanwhile, rents have continued to rise. To an average of £1278 a month in… » Read more


Karen’s Article for the Wood and Vale

Posted: 08/01/14

The sudden emergence of campaigns to defend local pubs- most recently ‘The Star' and ‘The Clifton' in St John's Wood, have brought together some distinct and important elements. One is, of course, a specific affection for the pubs themselves- the food, the beer, the service, the events held there. The second, related factor is the pub forming part of a sense of place- the pub within the neighbourhood. Of course habits change and, in the same way that high streets must adapt to our growing fondness for shopping on-line, many pubs are going under due to our different patterns of… » Read more


Karen’s Article for the St John’s Wood Society Autumn Newsletter

Posted: 08/11/13

The rise and rise of ‘Super Prime' - and what is may mean for our city.

The St John's Wood Society deserves all the credit it gets for its constant efforts to protect the quality of life of this unique and lovely corner of London. It is a corner rich in history and culture. A corner about which many stories have been told- some of them even fit for re-telling in decent company. But central London is changing fast and new pressures are emerging which challenge all of us who want to live in a dynamic but socially… » Read more


Karen’s Article for the South East Bayswater Residents Association

Posted: 08/11/13

It has been another busy summer, with e-mails coming in at the rate of 200+ a day, and on every subject under the sun. I was not entirely surprised to discover that Westminster North is the largest constituency in the country by residential population (139,000) but it helps explain the workload! However, I am certainly not complaining, as it is this communication that helps keep me informed about what is going on and what constituents think. Here are some of the local matters that have been occupying me so far in 2013.

Policing Westminster:Station closures and changes to… » Read more


Karen Buck’s latest article for the Westminster Chronicle

Posted: 28/10/13

The nature of my job means that I am regularly travelling around in the constituency and across London late at night- getting on or off the tube at Westbourne Park, Queen's Park, St John's Wood, Maida Vale, Warwick Avenue and other stations, as well as catching buses. Whilst I rarely if ever feel unsafe on public transport, it is always pleasing to come through a station and see staff around. Unfortunately, even with overall crime down, we do from time to time see patterns of robberies targeted at people leaving stations. Thieves are well aware of when stations are least… » Read more


Karen’s article for the Westminster Chronicle on the Cost of Living Crisis

Posted: 27/09/13

Most people are simply not feeling the economic recovery that is-finally- being talked about. Bank bonuses may be back, luxury property prices may be soaring and yacht sellers reporting good business again, but millions of working people, pensioners and those looking for work are still feeling the pinch. As wages fall behind prices month after month, this is not a recovery that is boosting living standards.. And it is gas and electricity prices that are causing more concern than almost anything- for small businesses as well as for people worried about paying their bills and heating their homes this winter.

» Read more

Karen’s article on childcare and the importance early years education

Posted: 21/03/13

Bringing children up in central London is frequently tough, and always expensive. Everything costs more, from leisure to childcare, and all but the richest feel the lack of space, especially outdoor space. We have been fortunate, though, in having some outstanding nursery provision, with dedicated nursery schools, like Dorothy Gardner and Mary Paterson, Children's Centres, such as the Portman, and nurseries run by what was Westminster Children's Society (now the London Early Years Foundation). All these share a commitment to excellence in early years provision, understanding that childcare should be at least as much about enriching children as it is… » Read more


Karen Buck’s Speech on Apprenticeships

Posted: 13/03/13


Karen Buck MP’s December article for the Westminster Chronicle

Posted: 13/12/12

Few indeed are the people who greet the day on which figures emerge from the 2011 Census with anything approaching excitement. I am amongst the few. And I was not disappointed, for the figures are indeed fascinating and tell us important things about the society in which we live and the policy challenges we face. Locally, Westminster must once again struggle with the consequences of an undercount of population, which matters in respect of levels of government funding for services, though slightly less than may be thought because government grant has both minimum and maximum levels by which it can… » Read more


Karen article on the US Presidential election and superstorm ‘Sandy’

Posted: 05/11/12

As I write, none of us knows who will emerge victorious from this most closely fought US Presidential election, but what is strikingly clear is the extent to which one weather event changed the tone and direction of the election with just days to go. The superstorm ‘Sandy', that devastated parts of Haiti, Cuba and New York may or may not have been directly caused by the change in our climate but, like the summer's drought in the US, Hurricane Katrina a few years ago and our terrible rain soaked summer, it may have been. Most importantly, climate change makes… » Read more


Inspiring thoughts on the St John’s Wood Society annual meeting

Posted: 25/10/12

Given the gloom and despondency which so often accompanies any discussion of civic life- declining membership of associations, apathy, lower levels of participation- it was a joy to turn up to the annual meeting of the St John's Wood Society this month to find standing room only and a lively discussion about various aspects of life in NW8. I anticipate the same later in the autumn when it comes to the meeting of the South East Bayswater Residents' Association, which similarly seems to sprinkle some magic dust on the pavements of W2. Less affluent communities often struggle harder to generate… » Read more


Closure of the Jubilee Sports Centre

Posted: 20/09/12

So Westminster Council has confirmed that the closure of the Jubilee Sports Centre in Queen's Park will go ahead, despite widespread opposition from across north/west Westminster. Yes, we will get a new and probably very good sports and leisure centre just outside the borough boundary into Brent. I know, and understand the reasons for there being. some support for this development, especially from those closer to the Moberly centre, and from amongst potential users who point to upgraded facilities for gymnastics and health and fitness facilities. Yes, Westminster has also now conceded, as a result of pressure from the ‘Save… » Read more


‘Turning our sports centre into £800,000 houses is a betrayal of the Olympic Games” by John Dunne

Posted: 23/08/12


The Olympics and it’s legacy

Posted: 22/08/12

London has gone gently and delightfully bonkers for the Olympics, and quite right too. Not only have we seen triumph after triumph from British athletes and stunning achievements from athletes the world over but many of the pre-Games fears and anxieties- about security, about the capacity of the transport system- have proved unfounded. Some criticisms of the ticket sales process, yes, but the park itself is a wonder, from the dramatic stadium at its heart to the wild-flower-lined banks of the river. London has looked a treat, and imaginative, even witty, use has been made of the city as the… » Read more


The Riots, a year on and what needs to be done to stop them happening again.

Posted: 14/07/12

It is almost a year since riots swept Britain's cities, and more than twelve months since the government issued a ‘Gangs Strategy' in recognition of a growing problem of gang membership and violence in London and elsewhere. Yet only last week police warned that riots could recur and that they would be ill-prepared to respond to them if they do. And whilst Westminster is far from being the most challenged local authority when it comes to gang activity, enough incidents have occurred this summer to counsel against a hint of complacency.

No-one believes that the riots, or the… » Read more


Leisure scheme raises many concerns

Posted: 27/06/12

Westminster Council's proposal to close the Jubilee Sports Centre in favour of a re-built sports and leisure centre on the site currently used by the Moberly centre has run into what, for them, is probably unexpected opposition. Despite claims that every home within two miles of the Jubilee Centre was leafleted about the plans, responses pouring in to local councillors and to me express shock and surprise, with many people being unaware that this is what the Council was proposing before we told them. Many pointed out the irony of putting forward the closure of thee Jubilee Centre this year… » Read more


MP on the proposal to close the Jubilee Sports Centre for the Westminster Chronicle

Posted: 30/05/12

Westminster Council's proposal to close the Jubilee Sports Centre in favour of a re-built sports and leisure centre on the site currently used by the Moberly centre has run into what, for them, is probably unexpected opposition. Despite claims that every home within two miles of the Jubilee Centre was leafleted about the plans, responses pouring in to local councillors and to me express shock and surprise, with many people being unaware that this is what the Council was proposing before we told them. Many pointed out the irony of putting forward the closure of thee Jubilee Centre this year… » Read more


Housing the perfect storm

Posted: 02/05/12

The recent media storm over London councils, including, but by no means confined to, Westminster, seeking accommodation for homeless households as far away as Stoke, Derby and Nottingham may only be the first squall in a monsoon season of bad housing news.

Homelessness is rising steeply, up by nearly a fifth in the last year, even before the impact of cuts in housing support for low income households in private flats has fully worked through the system . Now further warnings are being issued, as mortgage rates begin to drift up for the first time in several years. Nearly a… » Read more


Why youth services matter

Posted: 23/03/12


Housing benefit cuts: schools in the firing line

Posted: 14/07/11


Councils tighten housing allocations as cuts hit

Posted: 12/07/11


MP on ‘catastrophic’ Euro defeat from Ham & High

Posted: 16/06/09

THE British National Party won two seats in the European Parliamentary elections as Labour suffered its worst post-war election result - and hundreds of votes were cast for the far-right party in Westminster.

The result signalled a shift to the right in British politics, with the Tories winning the Euro race and thousands of voters switching their allegiances to parties such as UKIP and the BNP.

In Westminster, the Conservatives won almost half of the vote with 15,248 supporters.


» Read more at Ham & High

Youth Crime speech – WH 10th June 2009

Posted: 10/06/09

Ms. Karen Buck (Regent's Park & Kensington North) (Lab):

I am pleased to have been successful in obtaining the debate. A large part of the reason why I wanted to initiate it on the back of the publication last week of the report by the Select Committee on Home Affairs entitled "Knife Crime" was that agencies and individuals in my constituency made a very important contribution to that report. At the time, I did not appreciate that there was going to be an Opposition day debate on knife crime last night-a debate in which I took part. As an aside,… » Read more


Housing speech – Tuesday 9th June

Posted: 09/06/09

Ms. Karen Buck MP (Regent's Park & Kensington North) (Lab):

I, too, should like to welcome the Minister for Housing to that most important post. About three quarters of householders in this country are home owners. For most of those people, most of the time, being a home owner has been a happy and successful experience. It has benefited them and their families enormously. Obviously, the majority of people still aspire to be home owners.

However, people in many of those families are experiencing real pain because of a combination of factors, including lack of affordability and changes in their… » Read more


Private Members Bill to limit the forcible entry powers of Bailiffs and protect vulnerable clients

Posted: 02/06/09

This afternoon I introduced a Private Members Bill which seeks to repeal existing laws that allow bailiffs to forcibly enter households to recover unpaid criminal fines and aims to protect vulnerable people from the effects of disproportionate enforcement.

Last month the Justice Secretary Jack Straw decided not to proceed with Government plans to extend bailiffs' powers to use force when entering a home and seizing goods to settle civil debts.

My Bill aims to go further and repeal the existing laws which still provide Bailiffs with the right to use force over unpaid criminal fines under the 2004.

With personal… » Read more


Article for Progress: Child’s Play

Posted: 06/04/09

Budget 2009: Ending child poverty is not just a moral imperative, it could help beat the recession as well

06 April 2009

Something seems to have snapped in the public mind regarding the acceptability of inequality. Perhaps it was the dramatic manner in which recent events have revealed that fabulous wealth does not seem to correlate with competence, let alone worth, but research indicates that a majority of us believe that the gap between rich and poor is too wide. The overwhelming sense is one of an injustice being perpetrated by the… » Read more