The Government has serious questions to answer about the unprecedented resignation of a senior civil servant.I asked them to disclose the publicly financed figure of the financial settlement offered to Sir Philip Rutnam to secure his silence.Read more here.
I was proud to speak as the Parliamentary Chair of Hope not Hate at the launch of their report, The State of Hate 2020.The mainstreaming of far-right ideas threatens communities across the UK and must be challenged. Click here to read more.
Our transport system here in Barnsley is in major need of improvement, from overcrowded trains to cancelled bus routes and damaged roads.I've created a transport survey so you can help identify and suggest improvements to make our trains, buses and roads better - you can fill this in here.
It was good to meet with the Chair, CEO and Director of Communications at Barnsley Hospital recently.We discussed the work being done by our fantastic NHS staff here in Barnsley, and the broader challenges the NHS is facing, from the winter crisis, to shortages of beds and access to GP appointments.The Government must do more to support our health service and address those challenges, and I will continue to press for them to do just that.
It's incredibly disappointing that Yorkshire Bank will be closing its Wombwell branch in August.Local branches are so important for people in our community - I will be writing to Yorkshire Bank and will be seeking an urgent meeting with them to outline my opposition to this decision.Read more here.
I pressed the Government from the Front Bench on their support of Northern veterans and the need to invest in employment services for ex-servicemen and women.The Forces in Mind Trust reports that 50% of veterans in London described their experience of finding the right job as ‘easy’, compared to 39% in the North.I will keep campaigning to end this regional inequality.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.
I attended the APPG on Motor Neurone Disease with the Motor Neurone Disease Association to learn more about motor neurone disease and what it’s like to live with the disease. People affected by MND should have access to high-quality services and care.A world free of MND is a possibility, we just need to make it happen.
I’m pleased to support the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign to empower women and make sure farmers around the world are paid a living wage.
The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 21st February:Here in Barnsley we are immensely proud of the service of our friends, family members and neighbours in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.From Armed Forces Day to the Remembrance and Armistice Day events that pay tribute to the sacrifices of servicemen and women, we come together throughout the year in support of our armed forces community.Last November I attended the unveiling of the region’s first HM Armed Forces Commemorative Walkway, which memorialises those who have served and lost their lives in defence of our country. It’s so important that the next generation learns about and understands the sacrifices of the brave men and women who fought for our future.As a member of the Armed Forces Parliament Scheme, I have worked alongside the Army, and now the Royal Air Force. I have seen first-hand what life is like for our servicemen and women.I have also met representatives of the military charity sector, including the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provide welfare support for both serving and retired armed forces personnel.By 2028 there will be approximately 1.6 million veterans living in the UK.They deserve lifelong support from the Government, which spans from mental and physical health to employment and education assistance.The Royal British Legion reports that large number of veterans experience problems with self-care and have difficulty looking after themselves. Depression currently affects 480,000 members of the ex-Service community and many describe feelings of social isolation.Across the country veterans who sacrificed everything are facing stigma.Indeed, one in five UK employers is unlikely to consider hiring a veteran because they think they either do not have the skills or would not fit into the workplace culture.Our veterans, their families and dependants deserve better.In my role as the Shadow Minister for the Veterans’ Office I will continue to challenge the stigma veterans encounter, pushing for better services and resources to help them with post-service life struggles.This Parliament I have questioned the Government on their support of our veterans. Following the announcement by veteran’s mental health charity, Combat Stress, that it was no longer able to accept new referrals due to funding cuts, I pressed the Government on its commitment to helping veterans overcome difficulties they face on return to civilian life.I will continue to campaign both inside and outside Parliament to ensure the needs of veterans are met. Our veterans sacrificed everything for this country. Their commitment and dedication to keeping us safe should be honoured.
I spoke from the Front Bench in the debate on beer and taxation.We have so many great pubs and breweries in Barnsley.I will continue to call for them to be supported as national and community institutions.You can watch part of my comments here.