Opening the new Barnsley Brew factory

I really enjoyed visiting Barnsley Brew​ and opening their new factory in Grimethorpe.I’ve always loved a good cuppa - I’ll be drinking Barnsley Brew from now on!

Tackling crime in our area

A number of constituents have got in touch about the increase in crime in Hoyland, Hoyland Common and Elsecar.This is very concerning – people should feel safe and secure in our community. I’m currently working closely with our local police on this, and I’m pleased to hear that the police have been out and about visiting businesses in our area to provide reassurances and work with them on crime prevention.I’ll be meeting with the police in the near future to discuss the rise in crime and how I can work with them and local residents, businesses and community groups to tackle these issues. This Saturday, I’ll be out and about talking to residents – if you’d like me to pop round and see you, just let me know.The police have informed me that arrests have been made and a number of enquiries are ongoing. In the meantime, I want to hear your views and experiences of crime in our area – you can fill in my survey here:

Guide Dogs Access All Areas

Excellent Access All Areas campaign by Guide Dogs to ensure assistance dog owners can access taxis, shops and restaurants. Delighted to support the initiative!

Tackling Puppy Smuggling

I met with the Dogs Trust recently to discuss the cruel practice of puppy smuggling. They described the appalling conditions some dogs are transported and brought my attention to the terrifying experience puppies and even pregnant dogs face when falling victim to this trade. I support the Dogs Trust’s campaign to tackle this practice with tighter controls and stronger penalties for those caught.  

Column: Our NHS over Winter

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 4th January: With the festive season over, it’s a perfect time to say thank you to everyone who worked over Christmas and New Year. Whilst many of us were spending time with friends and family, lots were busy making our lives easier and safer rather than taking a well-earned break. And for the incredible staff working in our NHS, the work continues in earnest as the coming months are some of the hardest of the year. Pressure on the NHS hits its peak during winter, with increasing numbers of people seeking help in our hospitals and health services. And combined with almost a decade of austerity, cuts and underfunding under this Conservative Government since 2010, our NHS already looks to be under huge strain. In November for instance, over 50,000 people waited more than four hours in A&E departments across the UK. In the same month, just 87.6 per cent of patients were admitted, treated or sent home within four hours of attending A&E – the worst November on record and well below the standard target of 95 per cent. Here in Barnsley, thanks to the superb work of the staff results over the last few months have been outstanding. In Barnsley Hospital, targets on emergency care and waiting times have not only been met but regularly surpassed, and staff there should be incredibly proud of their efforts. But last winter, we saw what an impact the Government’s lack of planning and preparation can have on our local hospital. Despite the heroic efforts of staff, A&E waiting time targets were missed, bed occupancy rates rose above safety targets, and ambulance handover delays increased as a result. The Government must learn from this, and ensure our local health services and NHS staff are provided with the vital resources and support they depend on to help residents here in Barnsley. Another NHS winter crisis made by Tory ministers over the coming months is simply unacceptable.  

Questioning the Government on the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme

The Government continues to take money from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme without putting a penny in, and it’s former mineworkers and their families who are paying the price.I raised this in Parliament recently, and you can watch my comments here.

Attending the Civic Carol Service

It was lovely to attend the Civic Carol Service in Barnsley.

Speaking on sexual harassment in the workplace

The code of practice on sexual harassment at work is a welcome step, but the Government must listen to the concerns of the Fawcett Society and provide a formal duty on employers to prevent harassment in the workplace, without which the code falls short.I raised this with ministers in the House of Commons recently, and I am pleased the Minister agreed to look into this. You can read more on the Fawcett Society work on this here:

Challenging the Government on homelessness

Homeslessness has drastically increased in the last ten years with a shocking increase of 24% in the number of rough sleepers who have lost their lives in the last five years.It is a sad and devastating consequence of austerity and one that cannot go on.The Government must act.I spoke on this in Parliament recently, and you can watch my comments here.

Challenging the Government on workers' rights

The Government’s announcement on worker’s rights falls way short of what’s required; two years after their promises and still no progress has been made.Instead, their record reads: a review, a consultation on the review, and a consultation on the consultation.This isn’t good enough, so recently I offered the Minister my ready-made Private Members Bill to speed up the process and provide the rights that will properly help people in insecure work.But I won’t hold my breath.