Column: Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 5th July, Stephanie wrote about the importance of screening in tackling breast cancer, and her efforts to secure a Parliamentary debate on what more can be done to increase early diagnosis. You can read her full comments here.

Supporting Assistance Dog Users

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 5th July, Stephanie is supporting a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners. More than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country recently converged on Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the Barnsley MP spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals. It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that over three out of every four assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog. Taxis and minicabs were often cited – experienced by 73 percent of those reporting refusals in the last twelve months. Refusals at restaurants, newsagents and high street shops were also common.  Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training, so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It was disappointing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners. No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog. “I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign to ensure all businesses are aware that assistance dog owners have the same rights as anyone else to go about their daily lives, and should not have the door shut in their face. “We need to use education to tackle the misunderstandings that cause access refusals, and make sure businesses are held accountable when they occur.”

Barnsley Youth Choir 10th Anniversary

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, this week marks the Barnsley Youth Choir's 10th Anniversary. Commenting, Stephanie said:

Children's Funding Petition

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, along with other MPs, Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, and Leader of Barnsley Council Sir Steve Houghton, Stephanie handed in a petition to Downing Street last week calling for the Prime Minister to make mre funding available for local children's service. Read more below. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Children’s services have been gutted by cuts under this Government, and it’s young people in places like Barnsley that have felt the effects. “At the start of her premiership, Theresa May talked about tackling ‘burning injustices’, and now at the end she has the opportunity to do just that. “Alongside colleagues up and down the country we called on the Prime Minister to take action before it’s too late, and make sure young people in Barnsley don’t pay the price of Tory austerity for any longer”

Ladywood School Visit

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on June 28th, Stephanie  visited Ladywood Primary School recently to meet with their School Council.The School Council recently visited Parliament, where they discussed issues in their local area.Following their visit, they met with Stephanie to talk through those issues, as well as chatting about her role as their MP and ways they can get involved in their local community.Commenting, Stephanie said:“It’s always a pleasure to visit local schools and chat to bright, engaged young people here in Barnsley. “So it was lovely to pop in to Ladywood Primary School and meet with the School Council.“We chatted about my role as their MP and issues in our local area, and it was great to hear how excited they are to get more involved in our community.”  

Chamber of Commerce Meeting

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, Stephanie recently met with representatives of the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce at her office in Hoyland.The meeting was held with Andrew Deniff, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and Matt Travis, who manages Enzygo, a Sheffield-based environmental consultancy.During the meeting, Stephanie, Andrew and Matt discussed regional business issues, along with ways Stephanie can support local businesses and enterprise in her constituency of Barnsley East.Commenting, Stephanie said:“It was a real pleasure to meet with the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.“We had a really productive meeting, discussing a range of issues affecting local businesses here in Barnsley and right across South Yorkshire.“I look forward to continuing my work in supporting local businesses here in Barnsley, and working with the Chamber of Commerce in future.”

Armed Forces Day Flag Raising

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, Stephanie recently attended the Armed Forces Day flag raising ceremony in Barnsley town centre.The yearly event, held to mark the start of the week leading up to Armed Forces Day, was held at the war memorial outside Barnsley Town Hall. Stephanie joined leader of Barnsley Council Sir Steve Houghton and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis at the ceremony. Commenting, Stephanie said:“As a long-standing backer of our armed forces, I’ll always do all I can to support service personnel and veterans.“Armed Forces Day is a fantastic opportunity to support our armed forces community here in Barnsley and around the country.“So it was an honour to attend this important event here in Barnsley, as we marked the start of the week leading up to Armed Forces Day.”

Little Litter Champions

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, Stephanie has launched her ‘Little Litter Champions’ campaign in partnership with schools in her constituency. The campaign, a summer holiday project for local students, aims to educate on the importance of recycling, and tackling litter to protect the environment. The campaign also asks the children taking part to consider environmentally friendly alternatives, from reusable tote bags to paper straws. Said Stephanie: “As a former teacher myself, I know just how important a summer project can be for students, to fill the long summer holiday, and make a real difference in the community at the same time.That’s why I’m so pleased to have launched my ‘Little Litter Champions’ campaign in partnership with local schools. “This is a fantastic way for young people in our area to learn more about environmentally friendly alternatives, and how we can better protect our beautiful local environment here in Barnsley.”

Northern Powerhouse Failure

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 28th June, Stephanie has marked the five-year anniversary of the day the Government’s much-vaunted ‘Northern Powerhouse’ project was announced by labelling the initiative an ‘abject failure’. The project formed part of the Government’s plans to boost the lagging Northern economy by investing in transport, skills and business. However, half a decade after the announcement, recent research suggest that results have fallen short of  the promises made by former Chancellor George Osborne. New independent analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) North has outlined some improvements, such as the devolution of some powers through the creation of “metro mayors”, but suggests that the project has overwhelmingly failed to have the intended impact. Amongst their findings, IPPR North states that the project has proceeded amidst £3.6bn cut from public spending in the North since 2010, compared to £4.7bn rise in the South East and the South West. Despite promises on transport funding, increases on per person spending on transport in the North (£149) was less than half of that experienced in London (£330). The number of cancelled and late trains in the North has more than doubled from 20,000 in 2014/15 to 47,000 in 2018/19. Meanwhile, the think tank has stated that 200,000 more northern children are living in a poor household, meaning there are 800,000 children living in poverty in the North. According to answers given by the Government to parliamentary questions submitted by Barnsley MP Peacock, show the percentage of people earning either the national minimum wage or the national living wage in South Yorkshire and the Humber are higher than the UK average. The Government also stated that there are an estimated 5,500 workers in Barnsley currently earning this wage. Said Peacock: “As we’ve come to expect from this Government, affluent areas in the South and London continue to prosper whilst the North and towns in it, like Barnsley, are neglected. “What started as a raft of bold promises about addressing generational inequality has proved to be an abject failure, and many places in the North have been left even worse off. “Missed targets and token gestures for good PR by the Tories just won’t cut it anymore – places like Barnsley deserve proper investment and an effective industrial strategy that properly addresses the neglect we’ve experienced for too long.”

Column: More in Common

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 21st June, Stephanie wrote about this year's Great Get Together event, and the importance of coming together to remember Jo Cox's words that 'we have more in common'. You can read her full comments here.