I’ve met with South Yorkshire Police’s new borough commander for Barnsley, Sarah Poolman.We discussed the issues facing Barnsley, from crime and anti-social behaviour to off-road bikes.We also talked about what the new neighbourhood policing team, covering Hoyland, Rockingham, Wombwell and Darfield, will do to keep our community safe.
Households and businesses are still struggling in the wake of the floods last November.Following my Commons debate last week I spoke to ITV’s Calendar and will keep pushing for the resources we need from this Government.You can watch my comments on Calendar here.
As part of the Armed Forces Scheme I visited the RAF Museum.Hendon was London’s first airport and after the RAF100 has lots of exhibitions for young people interested in STEM while showing RAF history.And I learnt about Vulcan bombers and how the RAF keeps us safe today.
I met the Business Minister with Labour MP Nick Smith to continue our Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme campaign. We discussed: - Protecting ex-miners’ bonuses - The current surplus split - And a fairer deal for former miners
The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 7th February:Working class pub culture has been at the heart of communities like ours for hundreds of years. Local breweries and pubs are an important part of our area and economy here in Barnsley. They occupy a central place in the cultural heritage of our community, providing somewhere to meet and be sociable with friends and family.The brewing and pub sector add a lot to our local area. The Acorn and Geeves breweries produce world-class beer, which I know is enjoyed not just across Yorkshire but also in Parliament. In addition, over 561 jobs rely on these breweries and the 65 locals from Barnsley.However, pubs across the UK are currently under threat. The UK has one of the highest tax rates in Europe, leaving pubs struggling to survive. Even though they contribute £12.1million to our local economy almost £1 in every £3 pounds pubs make is sent to the taxman.Pubs and breweries should be supported by this Government instead of taxed into bankruptcy. This is an issue I have spoken about in Parliament after seeing pubs and breweries from our area forced to close their doors due to unaffordable beer duties, business rates and VAT.A cut to beer tax is the only solution to keep their doors open. For this reason, I have supported the Long Live the Local Campaign that celebrates pubs whilst drawing attention to the specific challenges they face.On average each pub in the UK pays more than £140,000 a year in tax. It is a huge burden that had left many publicans and landlords no option but to give up on pubs that have existed for hundreds of years.This is nothing short of a tragedy. Communities like ours risk losing buildings that have been part of the physical and cultural landscape of our areas for hundreds of years.As I’ve mentioned in Parliament, we have already lost the Black Bull Pub, which was 250 years old. Hardworking publicans, many of whom have worked in pubs their entire lives alongside their parents and grandparents, are struggling to make ends meet.If we are to save pubs and breweries it is crucial that the Government reconsider the beer tax in March’s budget. This would allow pubs to compete with cheap supermarket alcohol.Breweries and pubs are at the heart of British communities like ours. I will continue push for a reconsideration of the tax burden that is currently placed on these British institutions and stand up for them in Parliament.
I met with the Rail Minister and representatives from the DfT Operator of Last Resort (DOHL) and Network Rail to discuss the impact of stripping the rail franchise from Northern. I raised the unacceptable delays and cancellations experienced by passengers over the last few years. We discussed the logistical challenges of changing the train operator as well as the capacity of trains, the cost of travel and getting new trains for Barnsley travellers. I will be meeting them again in two months so please get in touch if you would like an update or have a query.
Universal Credit has left too many households struggling to make ends meet.It should be scrapped.You can watch my comments on this in Parliament here.
I’m calling on the Government to fully fund our cancer workforce.Our hardworking doctors and nurses need resources now.
I was glad to pop into The Book Vault, Barnsley's new independent bookstore, on their launch day!I found a weekend read.
I recently led a debate in Parliament about the recent flooding that hit Barnsley and South Yorkshire.We need the Government to commit funds urgently to support homes and businesses affected and invest in flood defence measures to stop damage like this from happening again.You can watch part of my speech in the debate here.