As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th September, Stephanie wrote the foreword to the Education Supplement on the importance of education and the current state of the education system after years of slashes to budgets and resources. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Huffington Post on 12th September, Stephanie has accused the Government of dragging their feet over attempts to tackle Modern Slavery, after it was revealed the key independent role established to address this practice will be left vacant for half a year. Commenting, Stephanie said: “To lose one independent commissioner might be unfortunate, but to have two entire commissions vacant for the best part of a year starts to look careless. “They give every impression that they’d rather dodge independent scrutiny than welcome it, and no wonder when the Tory austerity is so badly damaging the very services that tackle modern slavery, protect the vulnerable and support the victims.” Stephanie also called on the new anti-slavery commissioner to make a priority of ensuring victims were given access to free education - something she has said Home Office bureaucracy was blocking. She said: “Ministers should end the cuts to the agencies that defend vulnerable workers, and listen to the calls for survivors to be allowed access to education, which will benefit both them and the whole community. That is an issue that I hope the new commissioner will look at, whenever they are appointed.” You can read Stephanie's full comments here.
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th September, Stephanie wrote her recent column the scourge of Modern Slavery and what must be done to tackle it. In particular, she paid tribute to local Northern College's dedicated course that provides education and learning for survivors of modern slavery. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th September, Stephanie commented on the proposed constituency boundary changes that would see the current Barnsley East and Barnsley Central constituencies affected. Commenting on the changes, Stephanie said: “The new boundary proposals will dilute Barnsley’s currently unified voice in Parliament at a time when it’s needed most.“In breaking up Barnsley borough from Barnsley East and Barnsley Central, the proposed boundaries will instead split Barnsley’s representation thinly across a number of constituencies with few or no existing ties.“Any changes should take into consideration our community’s ability to represent itself forcefully in Westminster.”
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th September, Stephanie recently visited the Barnsley Brick Project exhibition at the Experience Barnsley museum. This exhibition chronicles the history of the Barnsley brick manufacturing industry, and the local brickworks which provided the bricks to construct many local buildings. The exhibition also contains a display of contemporary ‘art bricks’, which focus on 21st century Barnsley. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It was a pleasure to pop in to the Barnsley Brick Project exhibition, and to see the work being done to remember Barnsley’s often-forgotten brick making industry. “It’s so important that we honour Barnsley’s industrial history and also celebrate our area as it is today, so it was great to see the exhibition’s combination of commemorating the past, and celebrating the present through the contemporary ‘art bricks.’’
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th September, Stephanie recently questioned the Government during Education Questions in the House of Commons. Stephanie’s question focused on the recent news that 341 former Carillion apprentices have been made redundant, and she urged the Government to take urgent action to ensure that all former Carillion apprentices are provided with alternative placements as soon as possible. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It is simply not good enough that 341 former Carillion apprentices have been made redundant. “As someone who employs a living wage apprentice in my office, I know that apprentices are often young, are just starting out on a career path, and have to work exceptionally hard to achieve their qualification. “I feel it is grossly unfair that 341 apprentices should be made redundant, with their careers and future prospects severely affected due to the incompetence of corporate bosses and political mismanagement of the situation by Government ministers. “That’s why I’m calling on the Government to take urgent action on this matter, to reverse the decision to make the apprentices redundant, and to ensure that all Carillion apprentices are provided with an alternative placement as soon as possible.”
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette, Stephanie has welcomed local figures that show an increase in the rate of one-year cancer survival in Barnsley.Latest figures from NHS England show that one-year cancer survival rates have grown by 0.9 per cent in Barnsley East.Macmillan’s research has shown by 2020 nearly one in two will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime; however, cancer survival rates in the UK are still among the worst in Europe because many people are diagnosed too late when their cancer is advanced.Stephanie is pushing for greater recognition of early diagnosis to give people the best chance of living better and fuller lives after diagnosis.Commenting, Stephanie said: "I’m delighted to see the progress made locally in one-year cancer survival rates, which have grown by 0.9 per cent in my constituency. "These increases are a real testament to the hard-work of local cancer services and our fantastic NHS staff. "But it’s clear we still have more to do, and I’ll continue to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis to help ensure more people not only survive cancer, but are able to live better lives after a diagnosis."
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 17th August, Stephanie wrote her recent column on exam results and social mobility. She wrote about how students from Barnsley will find it more difficult to get on in life compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the country, and how she'll continue to demand urgent action from the Government until every young person here in Barnsley has a proper opportunity to aspire, achieve, and succeed in life. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette, Stephanie recently visited the National Citizen Service.The National Citizen Service, launched in 2011, is a three phase course which is open to 15 to 17 year olds.The young people involved are taught a range of life skills, and plan a social action project which could make a difference in their communities.Stephanie attended an event where the young people on the Barnsley programme were putting the finishing touches to their projects.Commenting, Stephanie said:“I know what a difference brilliant young people can make in their local communities, and this National Citizen Service provides an opportunity for them to do so.”“It was great to pay a visit to the service here in Barnsley and see the social action projects being put together by our young people – these could make a real difference in our area.”
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette, Stephanie is backing the campaign to save free local cash machines.Many ATMs in Barnsley and across the UK provide free withdrawals for people to access their own money. These free-to-use cash machines are funded through a levy on banks, set by the network body LINK, but on July 1st the first of four rounds of cuts to the funding for free to use ATMs was put into action. Since this cut was announced five months ago 300 ATMs have closed per month with rural areas being more greatly impacted than urban centres. ATM providers have warned that the cut in funding goes too far too fast with the industry body ATIMA saying as many as 30,000 ATMs could be lost by 2030, that is 40% of the UK’s network. The local MP is backing a campaign to save cash machines in Barnsley, and ensure local residents still have free and easy access to their money. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Whilst we are slowly moving towards a cashless society, a demand for free cash points still exists and I strongly believe that people shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of accessing their own money. “These cuts risk isolating people who require cash machines to acquire their money for payments, or charging them unacceptable amounts to do so. “The impact of these cuts should be reviewed to ensure our cash points are saved for those who need them.”