As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, on Wednesday 6th Stephanie recently visited a foodbank collection point in Hoyland, to encourage donations and raise awareness. Located at the Tesco in Hoyland, the collection point gives shoppers the chance to add extra items into their shopping trolleys before donating them to the foodbank on their way out. Tesco has also promised to give an extra 20 per cent on all products donated by the public. Foodbank usage in Barnsley has increased over recent years, and the foodbank in Wombwell alone gave out 4,256 three-day emergency food parcels last year. This rise is replicated across the country, with the number of people dependent on the emergency food packages increasing 7 per cent since last year. The local MP (pictured) visited the collection point to encourage shoppers to donate items, and raise awareness of the many people in Barnsley who are dependent on foodbanks to keep food on their table. Stephanie commented: “It was wonderful to see such kindness and generosity in our community as people gave so much to those less fortunate than themselves. “But particularly at this time of year, it’s a scandal that people still require the use of foodbanks to put food on the table. And their use is only increasing, including here in Barnsley. “Until the Government acts to end the appalling dependency on foodbanks, I encourage everybody to contribute where possible and ensure nobody here in Barnsley goes hungry over Christmas.”
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle, on November 30th Stephanie called for urgent action from the Government after recent figures revealed Barnsley has one of the lowest levels of social mobility in the country. In their annual ‘State of the Nation’ report, the Social Mobility Commission described a stark postcode lottery for social mobility in Britain, identifying Barnsley as one of the worst areas in the country. Whilst London is pulling away, the Commission found ‘coldspots’ for social mobility, including former industrial communities. In areas of London such as Kensington and Chelsea, for instance, around 50 per cent of disadvantaged young people go on to university. However, this figure falls to around 10 per cent in Barnsley, one of the lowest levels in the country. Said Stephanie: “These figures paint a damning picture of the appalling levels of social mobility inequality in the UK. “A record of Tory failure has led to a stark postcode lottery, where the place you are born can determine your life chances. “Children born here in Barnsley are simply not provided with the same opportunities in life as those lucky enough to be born in places like Chelsea and Kensington. “This is unacceptable, and children should all have the chance to succeed in life no matter where they are born. “I’m demanding urgent action from the Government to address this scandalous imbalance, and make sure every child in Barnsley is given the best opportunity to succeed.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 24th November, Stephanie outlined her thoughts on apprenticeships and the importance of offering young people apprenticeship opportunities. She took the opportunity to offer her own apprenticeship, to work in her busy constituency office. You can read the full column here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 24th November, Stephanie outlined her thoughts on the upcoming community poll. She commented on the importance of securing a devolution deal, her support for Barnsley Council's decision to let the public decide, and her backing for the One Yorkshire deal. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Stephanie has condemned the budget as a plan that does nothing to address the key issues facing people in Barnsley. Despite the Chancellor announcing a number of policies, Ms Peacock (pictured) suggests these ignore the needs of people Barnsley and fall way short of what is needed. She said: “This budget does nothing to address the real issues affecting people here in Barnsley. “It fails to tackle the huge challenges facing our social care system, and the £2.8bn offered to the NHS falls way below the £4bn it desperately needs. “The Chancellor did not even mention policing – despite the massive cuts to our local force and increased crime rates in the area, or the public sector pay cap which has caused a real terms pay cut for so many hard-working nurses, firefighters, police officers and other public sector workers here in Barnsley. “Hard-working people here in Barnsley needed a budget that tackled the effects of nearly a decade of Tory-imposed austerity, but the Government instead offered paltry solutions that fall woefully short of what’s needed.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 10th November, Stephanie outlined her thoughts on the continued importance of our Remembrance Day memorials, and how there's some things more important than politics. You can read the full column here.
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport on November 10th, Stephanie recently quizzed a panel of experts on the industrial strategy for Barnsley. The move was part of her role on the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee, which oversees Government policy and conduct on science, engineering and technology, who were undertaking a public evidence session with industry experts. One of the experts had recently authored an article on the effects of previous industrial strategies on Barnsley, surmising the effects were simply not sufficient. Stephanie, who was recently elected to the Select Committee, subsequently took the opportunity to press the witnesses with a local angle. She questioned the experts on the effects of previous science policies on Barnsley, what the Government could be doing with regards to science and technology to advantage the area, and the importance of addressing the disparity between towns like Barnsley and other larger cities. She said: “In my role as member of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee, we are given the opportunity to grill expert witnesses on Government conduct and policy. “In our discussion on the industrial strategy and science budget, I took the chance to press them on issues that matter to Barnsley. “It’s important that science and technology policy benefits communities like ours and makes sure we’re not left behind. “On my election to the Select Committee I pledged to use the opportunity to keep Barnsley at the forefront of developments, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport on 8th November, Stephanie has pledged her support for the Living Wage Campaign. Living Wage Week, taking place between the 5th and 11th of November, shows backing for a real living wage that, contrary to the Government’s current national living wage, is actually based on what employees need to live on by taking into account the cost of living. In Barnsley alone, 26.4 per cent of workers currently earn less than this real living wage, meaning 19,000 people are earning less than they need to get by. In the wider Yorkshire and Humber region, around 546,000 employees are receiving less than the real living wage. Said Stephanie: “Every employee deserves to paid a good wage for a hard day’s work, but many people here in Barnsley are missing out. “People are working full-time jobs and their fingers to the bone, only to receive an income that doesn’t even cover the basic cost of living. “A real living wage is essential to make sure people across Barnsley are properly rewarded for their hard work, and I support the Living Wage Week campaign. “I’m calling on employers in our community to offer their employees a real wage that properly reflects how much people truly need to get by.”
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport on November 1st, Stephanie recently visited Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth to meet the school's council. The Cudworth-based school’s pupil council had the opportunity to discuss the importance of civic engagement with the recently elected MP, who shared advice on representing other students and people. The Birkwood pupils then had the opportunity to question Stephanie more on her role as a Member of Parliament, and the steps she has taken to help schools and students in the constituency. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It was a real pleasure to visit Birkwood Primary and chat to the school council there. “The students gave me a real grilling on my job and the work I do, and their enthusiasm was great to see.”
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on October 18th, Stephanie recently switched on the annual Diwali celebration lights in Barnsley. She was joined by the Gujarat Association of Barnsley, the Indian Welfare Association of Barnsley, and Deputy Mayor of Barnsley Councillor Linda Burgess.Chairman of the Gujarat Association Harshad Kumar Patel said Barnsley should be proud that it continued to have Diwali lights each year and is one of only a few town centres still to do so.“It was a great occasion, an historic for us, as it was the first time we’ve had a Barnsley MP attend the switch on event.” Diwali is a festival of lights celebrated throughout the Indian subcontinent.