COLUMN: Cuts to Free School Meals Hard to Stomach

As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on March 16th, Stephanie's recent column focused on free school meals. She wrote about the importance of a good, warm meals for children, and the risk of that 3,300 children in Barnsley could lose their entitlement under new Government regulations. You can read her full comments here. 

Stephanie Criticises Government's Spring Statement

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 16th March, Stephanie has criticised the Government’s Spring Statement as one of that ignores the reality in Barnsley. The economic Statement, read by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday, laid out the Government’s assessment of the country’s finances. But local MP Stephanie Peacock suggested the Chancellor’s words of optimism will do little to ease the struggles faced by people in Barnsley. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Once again, the Government has shown they’re capable of ignoring the reality faced by hard-working people in Barnsley. “Whilst the Chancellor lauded the effect of their austerity measures, people here in Barnsley have seen the real impact it’s had on day-to-day life. “Our public services are at breaking point; crime is up whilst police numbers are down, the NHS is missing vital targets as vulnerable patients are put at risk, and local councils have been stripped to the bone. “The Tories’ obsession with austerity has had a devastating impact on our community, and no amount of warm words from the Chancellor will help people."    

Paying Tribute to our Local Museums

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th March, Stephanie praised Barnsley's museums and heritage centres in Parliment this week. You can read Stephanie's full words below:  

Green Heart Awards

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th March, Stephanie welcomed constituent Claire Tinsley to Parliament this week to collect her ‘Green Heart Hero’ award. The awards – as part of The Climate Change Coalition’s 2018 ceremony – celebrate those across the UK working to protect people, places and wildlife from climate change. Claire, of Brierley, was in the Parliament to collect her ‘Best Green Heart’ award for her hare-inspired design of The Climate Change Coalition’s green heart logo. Commenting, Stephanie said: “I was delighted to meet Claire in Parliament and congratulate her on her fantastic design and well-deserved award. “Climate change is a huge issue that could have profound consequences on our community, and I’m delighted to see people here in Barnsley conscious about tackling this problem.”  

COLUMN: Dementia

As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on March 2nd, Stephanie's recent column focused on dementia. She wrote about the how people in Barnsley East are affected, what can be done to help those living with it, and the steps she is taking to make Barnsley East more dementia friendly. You can read her full comments here. 

Stephanie Comments on Police Cuts

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on March 2nd, Stephanie has warned the Tories are ‘failing to protect the public’ after new figures revealed Government funding to South Yorkshire Police is to be cut for an eighth consecutive year. The news comes as police officer numbers nationwide fall to the lowest level in three decades., and the Labour Party are calling on the Government to properly fund the police with crime rocketing. New crime figures released last month showed the highest annual rise in police recorded crime since comparable records began in 2002. Since 2010 South Yorkshire Police has lost 480 officers, and 36 per cent of its PCSOs, meaning almost 600 fewer frontline staff. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Our police are at breaking point and the Tories prescription is yet more reckless funding cuts for our local force. The Government are failing in their duty to protect the public.” “With crime soaring and officer numbers dwindling, our local police force simply cannot afford more cuts.”

Stephanie Supports Women's Vote Anniversary Events

As featured in the Barnsley News and Sport on February 28th, Stephanie is supporting a year-long programme of events organised by the UK Parliament to mark 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave all men and some women the vote for the first time. The Vote 100 programme includes a wide range of events and activities commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality. The Representation of the People Act extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. Throughout the year there will be a major exhibition in Parliament – “Voice and Vote” – as well as an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament. There will also be a number of UK-wide events, such as EqualiTeas and UK Parliament Week 2018. The local MP is encouraging schools and community groups in Barnsley to get involved in debating and celebrating this important anniversary in our democracy. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It’s important we mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act which was an absolutely vital step towards the rights women have today. “The anniversary provides the opportunity for us reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the extreme bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought – and in some cases died – for equality. ““Whether it’s chatting about the issues over a cup of tea, or engaging with one of the many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week, there are countless opportunities for schools and community groups across Barnsley to get involved in this key anniversary. “Despite the progress made since this Act, there’s still so much more we can do and I look forward to working with people across Barnsley to ensure we create an even more equal society.”

Column: employment

As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th February, Stephanie's recent column focused on the Taylor Review into employment. She wrote about how the Taylor Review's recommendations didn't go far enough in tackling issues with modern work, and about how the Government has failed to meet even the most basic of the review's recommendations.

Stephanie visits RSPB Old Moor nature reserve

As reported in the Barnsley Gazette, Stephanie got the chance to see local school children getting inspired by nature on 26th January when she paid a visit to the RSPB Old Moor nature reserve to see the reserve’s successful outdoor learning programme.Children from Goldthorpe primary School came to the reserve for a day with Old Moor’s expert team, discovering pond minibeasts and the habitat they live in. The children spent time in the habitats, where they followed the national curriculum-led sessions, learning about the wildlife and nature. The children were joined by Stephanie, who took the opportunity to discuss the important work the reserve is undertaking to protect the natural environment and wildlife, and how she can work alongside the reserve in future.Stephanie said: “It’s really important to get children active, with hands-on learning experiences in nature from a young age, as it has a positive impact on their physical health, emotional wellbeing and their education."

Stephanie raises concerns over falling results

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th February, Stephanie has blamed the Government after she revealed results achieved in key subjects by students on free school meals in Barnsley have fallen drastically. The figures were obtained from the Government by Stephanie through a written parliamentary question.They show that since 2011, the percentage of students eligible for free school meals (FSM) achieving the expected grades at key stage 2 in English and Maths has substantially decreased. In 2011, the number of pupils on FSM achieving a Level 4 grade in English was 72 per cent, but this has fallen to just 50 per cent reaching the expected standard in 2010. Similarly, the 56 per cent of FSM-eligible pupils achieving the expected grade in Maths in 2017 is considerably lower than the 73 per cent who did so in 2011. After acquiring the figures, Stephanie is blaming the Government for the fall in standards as a result of consistent cuts to school budgets.Stephanie said: “Children on free school meals can be some of the most vulnerable in our community, and often struggle the most to get on in life. That’s why it’s absolutely vital they get the best start with a good education, but these figures show fewer of them are. With schools here in Barnsley already funded significantly less than other areas, savage cuts to budgets over the last seven years by this Tory Government have had a devastating effect on teaching. With schools under-resourced and under strain, it’s the children in our community who need help most who are suffering from these brutal cuts.”