As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 12th April, Stephanie recently visited High View Primary Learning Centre.During her visit, Stephanie chatted to Year 6 students about the House of Commons and her role as an MP.Stephanie then took part in a Q&A with students and had a walk round the school.Commenting, Stephanie said:“It’s always great to see young people here in Barnsley interested in politics and what it entails.“So it was a real pleasure to visit High View Primary – I really enjoyed chatting to Year 6 about the House of Commons and my role as their local Member of Parliament.”
As reported by BBC Radio Sheffield, BBC Look North and ITV Calendar, Stephanie has been pushing the Government to amend the maximum sentence for convictions of death by dangerous driving, following the tragic death of Jacqueline Wileman in Brierley. You can hear Stephanie's recent interview with Radio Sheffield on this issue here.
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 5th April, Stephanie has backed the Labour Party’s declaration of a national climate and environment emergency. The decision was taken by the party in the House of Commons, following a wave of motions passed by local councils declaring a climate emergency and calls to tackle increasing global temperatures. The ‘Climate Emergency’ is an internationally recognised declaration being used around the world to publicly declare concern over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings. The IPCC’s recent Special Report, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise in global temperatures would cause. Last week it was revealed that the UK will miss almost all its 2020 nature targets, with 14 out of 19 biodiversity targets currently not being met by the government. Said Stephanie: “Species decline, habitat destruction and climate change are progressing at an alarming rate, risking livelihoods, food supply, landscapes, infrastructure, and public health – it’s absolutely vital we address this threat now with urgent action. “But rather than the radical action required, austerity under this Tory government has had a serious impact on our natural world, with vital agencies such as Natural England having their budgets slashed in half and staff morale at an all-time low. “Labour will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution, and invest in clean transport and energy that will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 5th April, Stephanie has revealed Government figures that show a 40 per cent increase in time taken to consider benefit decision appeals in Barnsley. The statistics show that mandatory reconsideration of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decisions increased on average by 13 days for the last 12 months in which figures are available. Mandatory reconsiderations allow claimants to challenge DWP decisions on PIP if they disagree with the initial ruling. In February 2018, the average time taken for the Government to fully consider a mandatory reconsideration in Barnsley was 31 days. By January 2019, this had increased to 44 days – meaning applicants are forced to wait over six weeks for a decision. Across South Yorkshire, clearance times increased by 17 days. Nationally, the average time taken for mandatory reconsideration rose to 54 days, an increase of over 86 percent over the same period. Personal Independence Payment provides help to people with long-term ill-health or disability, helping with daily activities or getting around. The figures were admitted by the Government through parliamentary questions submitted by the Barnsley MP, who commented: “PIP is a vital source of help for people who require assistance because of ill-health or disability, yet those in need are finding it increasingly difficult to access under this Government. “The time taken for the DWP to decide on mandatory reconsiderations of their own decisions have increased by nearly 2 weeks in Barnsley alone over the last year. “People in desperate need of assistance and support should not be made to wait for increasingly long times by this Tory Government for the help they need just to go about their daily lives.”
As reported in the Barnsley Gazette, Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 29th March, Stephanie has slammed Government Ministers after revealing that they have quietly delayed closing a loophole that allows bosses to keep workers on insecure contracts and poverty pay. The latest admission, in answer to a parliamentary question from the Labour MP, contradicts a previous assurance given in the Commons earlier this month by Business Secretary Greg Clark that he would reconsider the timetable. It also undermines the Prime Minister’s announcements on workers’ rights, intended to win over trade unions and Labour backbenchers to her Brexit deal. Just weeks ago, Theresa May had cited her action on agency workers as a reason to trust her Brexit agreement to protect workers’ rights, and key trade unions have a reacted with anger to news that the measure had been delayed. Agency workers are meant to be treated equally to permanent staff but employers can dodge the rules by using so-called ‘pay between assignment’ contracts, under which the agency itself is considered the employer, even when the worker is in fact permanently placed in one workplace. The Resolution Foundation found bosses used the loophole to underpay workers by £173m a year. Business Secretary Greg Clark had announced that he was accepting the recommendation of the ‘Good Work’ Review to close the loophole. The Review, undertaken by Matthew Taylor, had first been commissioned by Theresa May in October 2016 and reported in July 2017. However, Ministers admitted to the Barnsley East MP that they had quietly delayed implementing the change until the 2020-21 tax year, leaving agency workers unprotected for both the current and next financial year. When she challenged Clark on the date in the Commons earlier this month, he told the House that “I have had representations from the trade unions as to the timing, and we will reflect on that.” But junior minister Kelly Tolhurst has now confirmed that the government is not reconsidering the delay, so as “to allow time for businesses to realign their contractual arrangements”. The government has faced similar criticism for delaying legislation to ensure waiters are entitled to tips left until the next Queen’s Speech, despite the change first being promised in May 2016. Commenting on the revelation, Stephanie said: “The Prime Minister keeps asking us to trust them but once again she has shown exactly why we can’t. The Business Secretary promised me in the Commons that he’d reconsider this delay only to renege at the very first moment he thought he could get away with it. We simply can’t take their word for anything, let alone on an issue as important as our fundamental rights at work. “This is the government that took two and a half years with a review, a consultation on the review and a consultation on the consultation, yet still leaves agency workers waiting until 2020-21 for equal treatment. Apparently Tory Ministers are unwilling or unable to implement even their own limited promises. “Vulnerable workers here in Barnsley and across the country need urgent action, not more dithering from a government in chaos.” The news came weeks after Tolhurst admitted that the government was also delaying a flagship promise to ensure that tips left by customers for staff in bars and restaurants go to staff. Legislation on fair tips had first been proposed by the government in May 2016, and the Prime Minister made it a key announcement at Conservative Party Conference in October 2018. The government’s ‘Good Work Plan’, heralded by the Prime Minister this week, boasted about “the government’s record … including ensuring tips left for workers go to them in full”, despite this promise remaining unfulfilled. But challenged on the discrepancy by Stephanie Peacock in the Commons, Tolhurst replied that they would “bring forward legislation in the next Session…”, meaning that no Bill will be tabled until the next Queen’s Speech.
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 29th March, Stephanie wrote her recent column on the crisis in our social care sector, and the increased pressures placed on vulnerable people who depend on it by this Government. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 22nd March, Stephanie resigned her position as a Labour Party Whip last week in order to vote against the prospect of a second referendum on the UK's exit from the European Union. Commenting, Stephanie said: “In 2016, Barnsley voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union, and a year later I was elected by the people of Barnsley East on a manifesto promise to respect this decision. “I have long been honest and clear that I feel a second referendum risks undermining this result and ignoring the clear message we received at the ballot box both locally and nationally to leave EU “Simply abstaining on the issue of a second referendum was not sufficient in honouring this commitment, and I felt compelled to resign my frontbench position in the Party and vote against this approach. “It has been a privilege serving the Labour Party on the frontbench as we face down this damaging Tory Government and their woeful handling of our exit from the EU. “But I will always prioritise my representation of the people of Barnsley East who elected me, and the commitments I have made to them.” You can see the full story here:
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 22nd March, Stephanie took part in a miners memorial in Barnsley to commemorate two miners who lost their lives in the miners' strike of 1984. Commenting, Stephanie said: “It was a real honour to lay a wreath at this incredibly moving memorial for David Jones and Joe Green, who sadly lost their lives on the picket line in 1984.“We must never forget the injustices done in the miners’ strike, where the Government did all they could to break the miners and their way of life in communities like ours here in Barnsley.“And we must always remember David and Joe, brave men standing up for their communities and their way of life, whose lives were so tragically cut short.”
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th March, Stephanie wrote her recent column on the International Women's Day. She paid tribute to the many incredible women in Barnsley, but outlined the burdens placed on their shoulders by the Tory Government's policies. You can read her full comments here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 15th March, Stephanie recently held a meeting with the Coal Authority at her office in Hoyland.The Coal Authority is responsible for licensing all coal mining in Britain, and also addresses legacy issues relating to mining, such as water pollution and subsidence.The meeting was attended by James Lowth, the Coal Authority’s Director of Operations.During the meeting, James outlined the work the Coal Authority does, and Stephanie pressed them on the work they’re doing to address the challenges faced by Barnsley East.Commenting, Stephanie said:“As a proud mining area, the closure of the pits has had a profound impact on the economic, social and cultural life of our community here in Barnsley.“As well as fighting injustices like the unfair surplus sharing arrangements in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, I’m committed to helping my constituents to deal with other issues stemming from our mining heritage, such as water pollution and subsidence.“That’s why I felt it was important to meet with the Coal Authority, and to speak to them about the work they’re doing here in Barnsley East.”