After travelling down from Wombwell on Monday, I've been given my first insight into Parliament this week. It's fascinating to see the building and begin to find my way around, and the new Labour MPs were allowed into the House of Commons chamber itself for the first time. But there's no time to be overawed. It's somewhere I plan to spend a lot more time, giving Barnsley East its voice down here and speaking loud enough to make sure the Government can't ignore us like it has in the past.
I am very proud to be elected as the Member of Parliament for Barnsley East, and I want to thank everybody who has put their trust in me to represent you in Westminster.
Today I visited the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to meet the chair of trustees Peter McNestry and Chief Executive Gary Ellis. The Trust was established by the Labour Government in 1999 with the intention of investing in coalfield communities that were left behind by pit closures and are still suffering from the effects today. Since it was established, the Trust has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in coalfield communities across England, Wales and Scotland, supporting projects that help people develop skills to gain qualifications, find work, set up businesses and grow existing ones, and to encourage people to be more active in their communities. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is a fantastic organisation that is needed now more than ever in communities scarred by the legacy of closure and a significant lack of investment. Tory cuts to vital services has made this situation even worse. Today's meeting provided a great opportunity to discuss the Coalfields Regeneration Trust with Peter and Gary, and if elected next week, I look forward to working with them.
I enjoyed taking part in the NUT hustings in Elsecar yesterday evening as a former teacher and NUT member.We were fortunate enough to be joined by a number of teachers and education workers, and discussed a range of issues including grammar schools, falling teacher numbers, educational maintenance allowance, and free schools meals amongst other things.I put forward Labour's case for our education system: to reverse damaging cuts and prevent the £3bn more expected under the Tories, to listen to schools and provide them with the funds they so desperately need, reduce rising class sizes, and increase teacher retention by tackling workloads and giving them the pay and support they deserve.This was in stark contrast to UKIP's pledge to join the Tories and establish grammar schools across the country; an expensive and selective vanity project that would leave far too many of Barnsley East's children behind.I was pleased to be able to discuss these issues with local teachers. If elected I will fight hard to ensure that every child in Barnsley East is given the best chance to succeed at school.
If elected as your MP for Barnsley East, I'll fight for a better deal for our pensioners. The Tories launched an assault on pensions in their election manifesto, and revealed their plans to break previous pension promises that could hit over 17,000 elderly people in Barnsley East. Continue reading
People naturally want to feel safe and secure in their homes and when they're out and about in the area, and our local police forces are vital to this. But frequently I'm hearing concerns that Government cuts to our police services are making it harder and harder for the police to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour. Continue reading
Today I was joined in Barnsley East by Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner. She joined me to help highlight the bad deal schools and children in Barnsley East are getting as a result of the Government's mismanagement of the education system. Continue reading