As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport on 27th November, Stephanie recently visited Hoyland Springwood Primary School, where she presented prizes to the first, second, and third placed entries from the school in her Christmas card competition. Year 6 student Kelan Ibbotson designed the winning entry which will now be sent to thousands of people across Barnsley and down in Westminster. Said Stephanie: “It was fantastic to visit Hoyland Springwood Primary and announce the winner of my Christmas card competition.“Kelan’s entry was such a fabulous design, and a deserving winner.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd November, Stephanie wrote her recent column on poverty, and how it's about time this Government took action to urgently address this national scandal by tackling the root causes of poverty, and immediately set about rebuilding the vital safety nets that help out the most vulnerable people in our community when they need it most. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport on 21st November, Stephanie has forced the Government to admit it doesn’t know how many people in Barnsley and South Yorkshire have been affected by a benefits calculation error that has seen thousands of people underpaid. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently conceded a mistake had been made with Employment and Support Allowance payments – the benefit paid to those who are ill or disabled and require either financial support or tailored personalised help to work. It’s estimated the error has seen 180,000 people across the UK underpaid by around £1.5bn since 2011. However, following questions from the Barnsley East MP on the numbers of eligible claimants in Barnsley and South Yorkshire that were underpaid, the value of these underpayments, and how many have subsequently been refunded a back-dated payment, the Government admitted it did not know these figures. Following the years of errors, the Government pledged to offer backdated payments to those affected by the end of 2019, but have subsequently stated around 75,000 of those who have missed out may have to wait until 2020. It follows an attempt by the Government to only offer backdated payments from 2014. Commenting on the revelations admitted by Government in response a number of her Parliamentary Questions to the now former Secretary of State for the DWP Esther McVey, Stephanie (pictured) commented: “It’s unacceptable that through no fault of their own thousands of people across the country have been short-changed and not provided with the vital funds they’re entitled because of an error by this Government. “Yet following my questions, the Government went further and admitted they don’t even know how many people here in Barnsley and the wider South Yorkshire area have been underpaid, or how much they’ve been underpaid by. “These welfare benefits are essential for so many disadvantaged people to get on in life, yet this Government have denied them the help they’re entitled to. It’s vital vulnerable people here in our community are properly compensated and given what they’re owed.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport on 21st November, Stephanie is backing a campaign that will enable more terminally ill people to access benefits more quickly and easily, regardless of the condition they have. She joins the MND Association and Marie Curie, who are working together to push for a change in the law that will enable terminally ill people to get quicker access to the benefits they need to live well until they die. Currently, someone is only considered terminally ill if there is a reasonable expectation of having six or less months left to live. This definition excludes people with complex and unpredictable terminal conditions from accessing the financial support they need in a timely manner. The current bureaucratic process for accessing crucial benefits can be lengthy, complex and instructive. The proposed change in the law will allow clinicians to determine whether a person is terminally ill, instead of an arbitrary time-limit decided in years gone-by. This would mean that people with complex and unpredictable terminal illnesses, such as motor neurone disease, can apply for benefits in a way far better suited to their needs and circumstances. Said Stephanie: “It’s more than likely that, like me, nearly everyone in Barnsley has been affected by a close one suffering with a terminal illness “It’s absolutely crucial that we make sure that anyone facing such a difficult time gets all the care and support they need, when they need it, and that’s why I’m backing the scrap6months campaign”
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th November, Stephanie joined local residents in Darfield this week to mark Remembrance Day centenary commemorations. Taking place on Sunday 11th November at All Saints Church, the local MP was joined by councillors Dorothy Coates, Pauline Markham, and Caroline Saunders. She laid a wreath on the war memorial there to commemorate those who had been lost, before visiting displays in the church and a further memorial on Doncaster Road. Commenting, Stephanie said: “The Remembrance Day service in Darfield was incredibly moving, and I was pleased to join so many residents there to mark this important anniversary. “As we commemorate the Armistice and end of the First World War 100 years on, it’s as important now more than ever to remember the sacrifices made by those in that devastating conflict and all of the wars since.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th November, Stephanie wrote her recent column on the upcoming Remembrance Day commemoration, and the importance of remembering the sacrifices made 100 years on. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and The Star on 6th November, Stephanie has held a broadband surgery in Hoyland, with Superfast South Yorkshire. Stephanie held the surgery so that local residents concerned about broadband connectivity and speeds could drop in and raise their concerns directly with her and Superfast South Yorkshire. She also raised the issue in the House of Commons, questioning the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on what he plans to do to improve connection standards in the area. Stephanie said: “The internet is absolutely vital to everyday life, from helping local businesses to function and compete, allowing people to apply and access welfare help they desperately depend on, to preventing digital isolation in rural communities.”
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette and Barnsley News and Sport on 6th November, Stephanie welcomed members of the 46thBarnsley Brownies to parliament recently. Along with parents and staff, the local Member of Parliament hosted a group of 42, ensuring they were given a tour of the historic Westminster building. The Brownies met Stephanie before having a chance to ask her questions on her role as their representative in parliament. Said Stephanie: “It was such a pleasure welcoming Brownies from Barnsley to Westminster, and giving them the opportunity to experience parliament. “I’m confident they were the biggest group who’ve visited me yet, but they were an absolute delight to meet and a real credit to our community and the 46th Brownie organisation.”
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette on November 2nd, recently attended a meeting at Barnsley Hospital with Stephen Wragg and Richard Jenkins, the Chair and CEO of the Hospital Foundation Trust.During the meeting, attendees discussed a range of issues facing the Hospital, including preparations for the winter.Commenting, Stephanie said:“I was pleased to attend this productive meeting at Barnsley Hospital.“I want to commend the Trust’s leaders and all the staff for their efforts to ensure that the NHS continues to provide high quality services here in Barnsley.“I’ll continue to support our hard working NHS staff and press the Government to provide our health service with the funding it so desperately needs.”
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 2nd November, Stephanie recently visited Brierley Church of England Primary School.During her visit, Stephanie was given a tour of the school by the headteacher, Samantha Benson, and met staff and students.Commenting, Stephanie said: “I really enjoyed visiting Brierley Church of England Primary School, and meeting the staff and students.“It was good to speak to Ms Benson about her plans for the future, and meet the brilliant students at the school.“As I always am when I visit our local schools here in Barnsley, I was struck by the fantastic work our teachers are doing, and how bright and engaged the students are.”