Marking International Workers' Memorial Day

A privilege to speak and lay a wreath at the Barnsley International Workers’ Memorial Day event alongside the trades council and local trade unions.It is so important we remember the dead and fight for the living.

Attending the Mayor's charity ball

I had lots of fun at the Mayor of Barnsley’s charity ball raising money for two fantastic local charities, BIADS​ and Barnsley Hospice, including auctioning the Barnsley FC Portland stone plaque that my aunt carved.

PCSO crime prevention stall in Hoyland

Popped by Tesco in Hoyland, where local PCSOs were running a crime prevention stall.If you have any concerns or questions you can find their details here.

Visiting Shafton Primary Academy

Great to pop in to Shafton Primary Academy to meet headteacher Mrs Charalambous.It was lovely to be shown around the school by a number of pupils!

Column: Green Industrial Revolution

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 26th April: You may have seen on the news recently the protests down in London on climate change. There was some controversy over the protestors’ decision to block roads, stop traffic, and shut down certain areas. But whilst we may disagree with their methods, we shouldn’t overlook their message. Because though their exploits down in the capital likely didn’t affect people here in Barnsley, climate change certainly will. The environment is vital to us all. It’s the foundation of our economy and our lives as we know them. It’s the basis of what we eat and drink, our wellbeing and security. But the evidence is here; climate change is with us, and if we don’t act soon we’ll be past the tipping point where the effects are irreversible, and utterly devastating. Radical action is urgently required, and we can start with responsible energy. This does not mean fracking, which ignores local communities it affects, increases air pollution and locks us into a high carbon energy infrastructure. So if fracking is not the answer, what is? Investing heavily in new technology and projects that will help generate wind, solar, hydrogen and other renewable or low carbon energy sources is key. We should target a seven-fold increase in offshore wind, a doubling of onshore wind and a near tripling of solar power – enough to power nearly 20m homes. And this is also where a crisis can be an opportunity. The development of technologies and undertaking new projects mean an entirely new industry. In fact, a recent report from several energy industry experts estimated a radical plan that properly tackles climate change could be worth 410,000 jobs. These ‘green’ jobs could be highly skilled, properly trained, secure, and well paid – exactly the sort of employment Barnsley needs since the last energy industry that powered our nation left our town. People in Barnsley could be the next generation of green energy engineers, scientists, developers and construction experts. Climate change and our economy can’t be separated, and damage to our environment will damage our work and livelihoods. But positive action on climate change could also power our economy. A Green Industrial Revolution will benefit us all, and proper investment in areas like ours could mean it is people in Barnsley that are driving it forward.  

Funding for local bus services

So many people in our community here in Barnsley rely on local bus services – for many, they’re the only way to get to the shops, to town, or to important appointments.But for too long, bus services in our country have been run in the interests of profit, not the passengers who rely on them – 3000 bus routes have been cut since 2010, and privatised bus companies have made £3.3 billion in profit in that time.What’s more, figures on spending suggest that the amount of transport infrastructure spending per person from 2018 onwards will be five times higher in London than in our region, which will receive the least in the country. This is simply unacceptable, and unless it changes it’s residents here in Barnsley who will pay the price.That’s why I’m so pleased to see Labour promise that we would spend £1.3 billion a year on reversing cuts to bus routes – this would be a vital step towards making sure local services are run in the interests of passengers who rely on them, not the profits of private bus companies.

Questioning the Government on life expectancy

After doubling over the last 180 years, life expectancy in the UK has flatlined recently.   This is particularly the case in post-industrial and former mining towns like Barnsley – which has one of the lowest life expectancy levels in the country.   The decrease in life expectancy is largely down to a rise in mortality rates – a drastic change which has occurred since 2011 and the onset of austerity, which has had a devastating impact on our NHS, public health and social care systems.   The Government should look very seriously at the evidence of a link between austerity and life expectancy, and this is something I raised in Parliament today.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

Questioning the Government on the probation service and death by dangerous driving

Following my question in the House of Commons today, the Government have accepted that maximum sentences for death by dangerous driving should be increased to life, and they have agreed to meet with me.The law needs to be changed, for Jackie’s family and so others won't have to suffer like them.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.

Supporting the removal of rights from fathers convicted of rape

I was proud to be in the House of Commons recently supporting Sheffield MP Louise Haigh’s call for legislation to remove rights from fathers convicted of rape.The law needs urgently changing.You can read more on this here.

The Great Elsecar Treasure Hunt

Lots of fun popping in to the Heritage Centre to see the Great Elsecar Treasure Hunt!Find out more about how you can get involved here.