Industrial diseases

Many miners gave years of their life to powering our nation as they worked down the mines, and many were sadly left with underlying health conditions caused by industrial diseases as a result of coal dust inhalation.During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has relaxed rules on death certification by medical professionals, which may reduce the referrals to coroners of potential cases of deaths caused by industrial diseases. If deaths are attributed on death certificates to COVID-19 rather than underlying industrial diseases caused by service down the pit, this could impact on the rights of ex-miners’ families to receive the support and compensation they are entitled to.After this issue was raised by the National Union of Mineworkers, I, along with 19 of my Labour colleagues, wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to highlight this important issue.We asked the Government to outline its plans to protect the wellbeing of miners and their families, to provide additional funding for services which support miners, and to provide funding for research into industrial diseases and whether they increase susceptibility to COVID-19. We also pressed the Government to ensure that industrial diseases are considered in the event of an ex-miner sadly passing away.Miners here in Barnsley and around the country have given so much to our nation. They deserve support in their retirement. Yet sadly, alongside the injustice and unfairness of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, ex-miners are now facing a disregard of the health impacts of a life spent working underground. This is unacceptable.You can view the letter to the Government, and some of the media coverage of this issue, by clicking on the links below.Letter MediaBarnsley Chronicle report: Daily Mirror report: BBC report: ITV report: My interview on Radio Sheffield:

My work on ASOS

Over the last two months, a number of constituents have contacted me regarding the ASOS warehouse. I share many of the concerns which have been raised with me.I have written to the ASOS Chief Executive, Nick Beighton, on more than one occasion, and I have also written to Barnsley Council about this issue, to highlight the concerns which have been raised with me.It is concerning that there are now confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the ASOS workforce, and my thoughts are with the employees and families affected.It is important that every step is taken to protect the wellbeing of warehouse workers. They deserve the same protections as those who work in high street shops and offices.You can view my letters, and some of the media coverage of this issue, by clicking on the links below.LettersCorrespondence with ASOS: to Barnsley Council (sent 2nd April): Chronicle report: Are Barnsley report: Star report: News report, with my comments on this issue: News report: Post report: Post report on our letter to the Government calling for them to change their advice and provide warehouse workers with the same protections as those working in high street shops and offices:

Death certifications

The grieving families of coal miners are being denied post-mortems due to relaxed Covid-19 legislation on death certifications, cheating them the compensation they need and deserve. The Government need to listen to the concerns of miners and the National Union of Mineworkers now.…/uk-england-south-yorkshire-52820499

Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield on death certificate rules

I spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield on the impact of relaxing death certificate rules.Miners have spent years suffering from ill-health because of their time down the pits.Their former occupation makes them very vulnerable to COVID-19.They need support now.You can listen to my comments here.

Letter to the Government on death certificate rules

I've coordinated a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, signed by 20 Labour Coalfields MPs, which calls on the Government to ensure industrial diseases are recognised on the death certificates of miners who sadly die during COVID-19.Current guidance may stop grieving families from getting justice.

Pressing the Government to provide PPE for NHS and care workers

PPE is urgently needed by frontline NHS staff & care workers.I will keep pushing the Government to get them the resources they need to look after our community during the Covid-19 crisis.My thoughts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives.Read more on this here.

Pressing the Government to support manufacturing industries

A recent report by John Mills shows it's areas like Barnsley, with large manufacturing industries, that will help the UK economy bounce back from COVID-19.The Government needs to invest in local businesses now so they survive to help our economy recover tomorrow.Read more here.

Supporting Macmillan

We need urgent action to support people living with cancer during this crisis.I’m supporting Macmillan Cancer Support and calling on the Government to stop cancer becoming the “forgotten c” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pushing the Government to support local residents

Today's Trussell Trust report, which shows an 81% increase in the need for emergency food parcels, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children, shows how many households have been pushed into poverty due to COVID-19.Families are facing real hardship right now.I will keep pushing for the Government to give them the financial support they need to get through this crisis.

Meeting with food retailers

I met virtually with food retailers, including Morrison, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Coop, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on food supplies and distribution.Supermarkets play a huge role in feeding the nation, supporting the most vulnerable and ensuring access to essential items.