Stephanie presses Government to protect pensioners

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 2nd August, Stephanie has challenged the Government in the House of Commons on take up of Pension Credit, changes to TV licences, and the affect this is having on pensioners here in Barnsley.Introduced by the last Labour Government, Pension Credit is a Government top up which is provided in two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.The former is income-related, and tops up weekly income to £167.25 for single people or £255.25 for couples, while the latter is an additional payment for those with savings for retirement, such as a pension.Nationally, 40% of eligible individuals do not claim Pension Credit.In Barnsley East constituency, 7350 households are claimants, and in 4108 of these households, the main claimant is over 75.In Parliament, Stephanie highlighted the unfairness of a system where 40% of pensioners are not claiming something to which they are entitled, at the same time as more than 4000 pensioners in Barnsley East are set to lose their free TV licences.Commenting, Stephanie said:‘This Government’s approach to Pension Credit and TV licences highlights yet again just how little the Tories care about pensioners here in Barnsley and around the country.‘That’s why I challenged the Government in Parliament, and will keep putting pressure on them to protect pensioners in Barnsley who worked so hard for our area and for our country, and deserve a fair deal in their retirement.’

Column: summer holiday challenges

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 2nd August, Stephanie wrote about the challenges families face over the school holidays, from the cost of school uniform to food poverty. You can read her full comments here.

Alzheimer's Society exhibition

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 26th July, Stephanie joined the Alzheimer’s Society photography exhibition in Parliament recently to showcase the human cost of the dementia care crisis. The photo exhibition, 'Dementia Care: The Crisis Behind Closed Doors', depicts the human cost of a care system that the charity claims is unfair, unsustainable and in urgent need of reform up and down the country. At the exhibition, Stephanie met with people affected by dementia to hear about how the dementia crisis has affected them and their families.  Alzheimer’s Society is calling for a Dementia Fund in the upcoming Spending Review to end the dementia penalty, bringing fairness into the system and improving quality of care. Responding to the Alzheimer’s Society event, Stephanie said: “I am proud to stand with people affected by dementia and make the case for more funding for dementia care in the upcoming spending review. “One million people will have dementia by 2021 and it is vital that we are able to deliver high quality dementia care to everyone that needs it."

Column: Defence Spending Inequality

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 19th July, Stephanie wrote about levels of defence spending, and how where investment is made is also important. You can read her full comments here.

Stephanie's Donation to BSARCS

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 19th July, Stephanie visited the Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Services (BSARCS) to donate to hand over a cheque over over £1,600. The money was raised by the Barnsley East MP in the London Marathon for the local charity which provides specialist services for people affected by sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, and any kind of sexual violence. Commenting, Stephanie said: “BSARCS is a local organisation that does vital work supporting vulnerable people in Barnsley. “The specialist services they deliver are crucial to helping people affected by sexual violence of any kind, and hopefully the money raised will help them continue to make a huge difference in our community. “I want to thank all the people in Barnsley who sponsored me, and I’ll continue to support the fantastic BSARCS in any way I can.”  

Barnsley Academy Breakfast Awards

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 12th July, Stephanie recently spoke at the Barnsley Academy celebratory breakfast.The yearly event, held to celebrate the achievements of the Academy’s outstanding students, was also attended by local councillors Wayne Johnson and John Clarke, and the South Yorkshire Police Commander for Barnsley, Scott Green.During her speech, Stephanie congratulated the students on their success, spoke about the importance of hard work in achieving your goals, and spoke about the real difference young people here in Barnsley can make in their communities.Commenting, Stephanie said:“It was a real pleasure to attend the Barnsley Academy celebratory breakfast.“It was great to meet so many talented, dedicated young people, and to hear about their outstanding achievements at Barnsley Academy over the last year.“We’re so fortunate that, here in Barnsley, we have so many brilliant, hard working young people who are keen to make a difference in their community, and I can’t wait to see what they achieve in future.”  

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”