As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 29th September Stephanie pledges support for deaf children. Stephanie met with deaf teenager Erin McKay at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton to discuss how support for deaf children can be improved. Erin, 17 attended the conference as a Youth Advisory Board member for National Deaf Children’s Society which recently launched a ‘right to sign’ campaign for BSL British Sign Language to be an option at GCSE. Erin said “BSL is one of the languages of the UK so I think everyone in the country, deaf or hearing should get the chance to learn it. Sadly, most people miss out because it’s not taught at school and private lessons are expensive. “I want to break down the barriers to learning BSL, so it was great to speak to Stephanie to help her understand this issue because she has the power to make a difference” Erin and Stephanie also talked about the charity’s ‘Listen Up’ campaign to improve children’s audiology services. Mandatory inspections were scrapped in 2012 and a voluntary accreditation scheme was introduced instead. But many services, including the New Street Health Centre in Barnsley haven’t been inspected for years. Jess Reeves, Campaigns Manager for the National Deaf Children’s Society, said “there are more than 40,000 deaf children in England, and a good audiology service is a vital lifeline for them but without mandatory inspections this cannot be guaranteed”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 29th August, Stephanie outlined the unsustainable situation in Barnsley with fewer police recourses, less pay for officers and a mounting number of 999 calls being made. You can read the full column here.
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, Stephanie has started the new Parliamentary term highlighting the importance of animal welfare by meeting with the RSPCA and their inspectors at the House of Commons. In 2016 alone, the RSPCA received over 1.1 million calls to its cruelty line and investigated just under 160,000 complaints of animal cruelty. Said Stephanie: “I’m proud to support the RSPCA and the work that they do to protect animals in Barnsley East. “It was fantastic to meet some of their hard-working inspectors and to thank them on behalf of the animal lovers in our area for all that they do. “I know how important animal welfare issues are to my constituents and it is an issue that I intend to take up on their behalf in this Parliament, and I look forward to working with the RSPCA moving forward. David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA, commented: “It is always a pleasure to be able to highlight the work that our outstanding team of inspectors do day in, day out, twenty four hours a day. “Despite having limited resources the RSPCA continues to be the leading enforcement organisation for animal welfare in England and Wales, as the fact that we receive a call to our Cruelty Line every 27 seconds shows. “The RSPCA has been working to improve the laws that protect animals since we were founded in 1824. “As the UK exits the European Union there are all sorts of animal welfare issues that we need to work with politicians to make progress on; from protecting animal sentience to working to end live animal exports, from reforming the Common Agricultural Policy to encourage better farm animal welfare to improving food labelling.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 15th September, Stephanie calls on the Government to give our hard working public sector employees the proper pay and support they deserve, and finally scrap the cap You can read the full column here.
As reported in Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Gazette and the Barnsley Chronicle on 31st August 2017. Stephanie opened the new community sporting pavilion at Wombwell Main Community and Sports Association in her Barnsley East constituency. The Association is a local charity that provides a home for a several sports teams and a number of community and educational groups. The new pavilion caps off a tireless effort by many at the club over five years to modernise and refresh the facilities, including sourcing significant capital funding. Stephanie sad: “Wombwell Main Community and Sports Association is a great asset to the community, and their new pavilion is a welcome development. “A number of people have worked incredibly hard to make it happen, and I’m delighted to see their work pay off. I congratulate those involved and look forward to the positive effect the new pavilion will have on our community.”
As reported in Barnsley News and Sport on 21st August. Stephanie has called for South Yorkshire Police to be given the power and resources to tackle criminals using off-road bikes and mopeds in Barnsley. She has raised the issue after hearing of the problems caused by off-road bikes, quads and mopeds which have been particularly involved in antisocial behaviour in numerous areas. Local residents have been affected by riders on bikes that have often been stolen, with bike theft rising in recent years. Riders are often masked and riding without proper registration. Under the current laws, the police are able to seize bikes under antisocial behaviour legislation. But Stephanie is calling on the Government to clarify whether the police are legally allowed to pursue bikes and mopeds, and provide the adequate resources for them to do so. She said: “Our local police do a fantastic job, but brutal cuts to their resources and the loss of officers on our streets has hindered their ability to tackle anti-social behaviour. “As a result, I hear of far too many incidents of anti-social disturbances and crimes caused by bike, quad, and moped users – many of which are stolen or illegally used. “Residents across Barnsley should be able to feel safe and comfortable in their homes and our community, but many of them have been affected by this anti-social behaviour. “Our officers need the power to pursue bikes legally where it is appropriate, but ministers have been dragging their feet on clarifying the law. “It’s about time the Government gave them the resources and powers they need to keep our community safe”.
In a piece for the Yorkshire Post on 19th August, Stephanie wrote about the impact of insecure work and the need to tackle an issue which impacts people in Barnsley and across the UK. She discussed the various forms insecure work takes, the effects it has, and how it can be tackled. You can read the full article here and here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on the 18th August, Stephanie is backing Yorkshire Water's 'Be a Binner' drive. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the damage done from flushing products such as wet wipes down the toilet, after Barnsley resides one of the UK's highest areas of sewage blockages. Commenting, Stephanie said: "After spending time with Yorkshire Water examining first-hand the problem of sewer blockages, it's clear how important it is to properly dispose of waste - particularly wet wipes. "Sewer blockages are a far too frequent occurrence in Barnsley East, so much so that our constituency holds one of the highest blockage rates in the country and is often faced with internal sewer flooding and pollution to the local watercourses. "I was also surprised to hear that wet wipes are often incorrectly labelled as 'flushable' when they do not in fact disintegrate. An industry standard to prevent misleading labels is urgently required. "I'm supporting Yorkshire Water's 'Be a Binner' campaign to ensure our waste and wet wipes are disposed of in the correct way." You can read the full story below.
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 18th August, Stephanie outlined the need to tackle holiday hunger and the increasing use of foodbanks. You can read the full column here.
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley Gazette on 15th August 2017. Stephanie is calling for answers from the Government after revealing shocking figures that show two-thirds of Barnsley residents who applied for social security were initially refused government support, only to be found entitled on appeal. Stephanie forced Ministers to admit the figures through a written Parliamentary question. According to the Government, 68% of Barnsley residents who appealed their rejection to Employment and Support Allowance in the last 12 months were found to be entitled to the payment. Similarly, 63% of those who appealed against rejections for PIP were also found to be eligible, with the ruling eventually overturned. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Basic support in work or at home is vital to so many local people who are unfortunate enough to have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. “But this shocking admission from the ministers shows just how callously they have been treated by the Tory government. Being unfairly refused that support will have had a terrible impact on many people’s lives. “The shocking number of overturned decisions shows that the government’s priority is anything other than helping those in need. When they are getting more than two out of three decisions wrong, it is clear that the system isn’t working. “These figures are unacceptable, and I will be demanding answers as to why so many people in Barnsley are wrongly denied the crucial help they are entitled to.” You can read the full story here and here.