It has been an honour to work with Jonny Wood and his family to fight for justice for Jacqueline Wileman. Many will know that last year Jackie was killed by four known criminals who stole a lorry and recklessly drove it through Brierley. They had a hundred convictions between them, including one for death by dangerous driving. Yet, they will only serve between five to seven years each. This is an outrage. And the law must be changed. I know many people across the community were deeply affected by Jacqueline’s death. The bravery of her family in campaigning to get the law changed in memory of Jacqueline has been inspirational. Despite one of the individuals being on probation at the time and suspected in the theft of the vehicle, attempts to locate the stolen lorry were limited. Cuts to police services mean there are fewer police on the street. This tragic case sadly shows how the justice system let down the family every step of the way. From police cuts to probation to sentencing. Even after they were behind bars the law couldn’t send the offenders to prison for long enough. Currently, the maximum sentence is 14 years. Yet, they will likely serve fewer. The sentence should be life. And we have been campaigning for that change to be made. Jacqueline’s family have worked tirelessly to change the law on dangerous driving to prevent this tragedy from occurring again. This summer I met with Johnny Wood the then Justice Secretary to campaign for increasing the maximum sentence to life. Expert judges, charities and the 160,000 people who signed a petition this year all agree that lenient sentences for death caused by dangerous driving should be scrapped. Since I was elected, holding the government to account on their failure to fulfil their promise to raise the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving has been one of my biggest concerns. In addition to meeting with the then Justice Secretary, I have asked a number of questions of the Government, given speeches in the House of Commons and written to the Ministry of Justice on this issue. I have also met with the road safety charity Brake that works across the UK to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries as well as supporting people who have been bereaved. And recently, myself Jonny Wood and his wife Jill meeting with the Community Rehabilitation Company, a probation service, to discuss how convicted criminals are supervised and what can be done to stop them from reoffending. There needs to be change across the board to our justice system. This tragic case sadly reflected a failing at every part of our justice system. Every step of the way victims’ families are being let down by the fragmented and flawed justice system. I am clear that we need tougher sentences, more funding to police forces and a tightening of probational rules. I will continue to fight for a better justice system. One that stands up for victims and their families.
The Proud of Barnsley Awards last night were as inspiring as ever, with so many stories of kindness, generosity, and community spirit from right across our area. It was a privilege to once again present the end of the night Special Award. Last year it went to sporting legend Dorothy Hyman. I was so pleased that following our campaign we were able to get Dorothy her long overdue Sports Personality of the Year trophy: https://www.barnsleychronicle.com/article/dorothy-finally-gets-her-hands-on-trophy-again This year’s award went to another local sporting hero, Barnsley FC’s all-time record appearance holder and scorer of three of the best goals ever scored for the club. He played for the first team for sixteen years, has been a club coach, and for ten years match day host at Oakwell. It was wonderful to present Barry Murphy with his much deserved Proud of Barnsley statue. The Triumph Over Adversity award was rightly presented to Johnny Wood for his campaign to change the law on dangerous driving in memory of his sister Jackie Wileman, who was tragically killed last year in Brierley. I have been proud to work with Johnny and his family to campaign for justice, and we will carry on that fight: https://www.barnsleychronicle.com/article/no-let-up-in-johnny-s-campaign-against-dangerous-driving As a community we have a lot to be proud about. It was an honour to attend the awards and share the stage with Johnny, Barry and all the other award winners being recognised for their contributions to Barnsley.
Foodbanks across the country are preparing for a record-breaking increase in emergency food parcels this Christmas. Our country’s welfare system is to blame. The Tories disastrous Universal Credit (UC) policy is driving people to foodbanks. Labour will scrap it. Today, the Trussell Trust has revealed that the top three reasons mentioned by people needing emergency food were insufficient benefit income (36%), delays in benefit payments (18%) and changes to benefit (16%). A programme that was supposed put six previous benefits and tax credits into one has, instead, forced millions of people into poverty, unable to pay rent or put food on the table. UC was imposed in full in Barnsley July 2017. Since then, vulnerable individuals and families have been forced to wait 5 weeks for the first payment, a ‘two-child’ limit has banned extra benefits for third or subsequent children and, in many cases, sanctions have been used to punish people unfairly. A record number of working people now live in poverty. In the last six months 47,722 emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in Yorkshire and Humberside. More than a third of these were to children. Over the last two years I have raised the concerns of Barnsley East constituents over Universal Credit in Parliament as well as voting against the introduction of a system that will punish those who can’t work and those who are on low hours. I questioned the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the disproportionate effect of UC on people from Northern England. UC has simply functioned as a vehicle for Tory cuts, causing severe hardship wherever it is rolled out. It is telling that Tory Ministers, including the then Prime minister, paused the rollout of UC in their own constituencies. The very creators of the programme were unwilling to expose their constituents to its consequences. Nearly 10 wasted years of Tory government have left the benefits and tax credits system of this country in shambles. A Labour Government will scrap Universal Credit, replacing it with a social security system based on fairness. It will protect people from poverty, not drive them into it. It will introduce an emergency package of reforms to immediately deal with the worst aspects of UC, including the benefit cap and two child limits, which alone will stop up to 300,000 children from being pushed into poverty. It will also suspend the punitive sanctions regime and the ‘digital only requirement’. Labour has pledged to halve foodbank usage within our first year in office and end it within three years. I will continue to campaign for a benefits system that protects people from hunger and poverty. Continue reading
It was right a COBRA meeting was held in response to the flooding in South Yorkshire. This is a national emergency and many people are still struggling. Residents affected by the flooding need urgent assistance. We need flood relief funds now to support the ongoing resilience effort. Barnsley Councillors are working hard to help residents affected by the flooding alongside blue-light services, the Environment Agency, Highways England, Yorkshire Water, NHS, Public Health England, DEFRA, DHCLG & others. Recovery work is currently underway and will continue into next week. Thank you to everyone, including members of the public for their individual acts of kindness and those who have supported the emergency aid appeal. I will continue to fight to ensure local communities get the support and resources they need at this very difficult time. If you are concerned that an elderly person, vulnerable adult, child or young person may be in danger, please call (01226) 787789. Up-to-date advice can be found here: https://www.barnsley.gov.uk/…/flooding-updates-wednesday-1…/ https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings… #floodaware You can donate to the South Yorkshire Community Foundation flood disaster relief appeal here: https://www.sycf.org.uk/south-yorkshire-flood-disaster-rel…/ Continue reading
Stephanie Peacock, Labour’s candidate for Barnsley East in the upcoming general election, attended events across the constituency in support of our armed services community. The Festival of Remembrance was organised by the Royal British Legion and held at St Mary’s Church last Thursday. Performances by the Barnsley Metropolitan Band and North Gawber Male Choir were fitting tributes to those who lost their lives during war. On Sunday Stephanie laid a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday service in Grimethorpe, where she joined veterans and representatives from serving organisations and emergency services at the ceremony. The Grimethorpe Colliery band led the march through the village and played a concert of remembrance to a packed room at the Bullet Social Club after the service at St Lukes. On the eleventh of the eleventh Stephanie attended the Armistice Day remembrance outside the town hall along with hundreds of Barnsley schoolchildren. Handmade wreaths were presented by local children and young people to be laid by Peacock and others at the event. It honoured the service and sacrifices of veterans and current servicemen and women. Dan Jarvis, the Labour Candidate for Barnsley Central, and the Mayor of Barnsley were also in attendance with Stephanie. Commenting, Stephanie said: “I have been honoured to attend a number of Remembrance events across Barnsley East. I was a privledge to lay a wreath at the moving Remembrance Sunday Service in Grimethorpe, which was proudly supported by so many people from our local community. “As the First World War has slipped from living memory, it is more important than ever that children from our community learn about the sacrifices of those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. “Barnsley is rightly proud of the contribution its servicemen and women have made to our county, and these events are important opportunities to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice.” Continue reading
Barnsley is a community built on coal. I have demanded the Government stop taking money from miners’ pensions and I will continue to fight for a fairer deal for the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. https://www.barnsleychronicle.com/article/mps-label-pension-scheme-as-gross-injustice-to-miners?fbclid=IwAR0IYF5nBHIekvX41Hz-A5DMSQElZX6vnE5dtbJHjGkzVX_yYevfG1UwLHI Continue reading