Stephanie Accuses Government of Delaying Dangerous Driving Sentence Increases

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October, Stephanie has accused the Government of dragging its feet over plans to increase the maximum sentence for death caused by dangerous driving, as last week marked two years since the Government pledged to do so. On 15th October 2017, the Government promised to introduce life sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving. However, despite claiming a continued commitment to the increase, it has now been two years without the change being made. In that time, Brierley resident Jacqueline Wileman was tragically hit and killed by a HGV stolen by four men, one of whom had an existing conviction for causing death by dangerous driving. In their sentencing all four men were found guilty, but each will serve fewer than 10 years in jail before being released on license. Local MP Peacock has long campaigned with Jacqueline’s family to see the Government increase the maximum sentence, and earlier this year brought her brother Johnny Wood to Parliament to meet with the Government Minister in the MoJ. During that meeting, the Minister once again reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to amending the law, but no change has followed. Stephanie recently challenged the Justice Secretary in the House of Commons on the issue, and further called for a review into the probation service which was involved in the case. Commenting, she said: “It is now two years since the Government promised to increase the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, and families like Jacqueline’s are still waiting for justice. “I’ve called on the Government time and time again to honour this commitment and make sure no other family has to go through what Jacqueline’s has. “The Government must stop dragging its feet, immediately make this much needed change to the law, and I will continue campaigning on this issue until they do just that.”

Stephanie Votes on EU Withdrawal Deal

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October, Stephanie voted to support the principle of leaving with EU with a Withdrawal Deal in a recent vote in Parliament. Read more below:

The Campaign on Dangerous Driving

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October, there is no let up in Stephanie's campaign with the family of Jacqueline Wileman on sentencing for dangerous driving. Read the full story below.

Stephanie's Campaign on Bus Services Continues

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October, Stephanie met with Stagecoach Yorkshire’s Commercial Director, John Young, on changes to the 219/219a bus service in Great Houghton.Stagecoach, which operates the service, proposed changes in May which meant that any residents who live further into Great Houghton than the Welfare Hall would no longer have a direct bus link to Doncaster, with the direct bus turning round at the Welfare Hall, with only the bus which terminates at Goldthorpe completing the journey up into the village.Stephanie met with Stagecoach to outline her disappointment at their decision to proceed with these changes despite clear opposition and feedback from residents who use the service.Following Stephanie’s campaign with local residents against these changes, Stagecoach have stated that both of the services will continue into the village prior to 9:30am, ensuring a direct bus link to Doncaster prior to this time.However, with this direct service no longer operating after 9:30am, many residents in Great Houghton will still be left with no direct bus link to Doncaster, something the local MP has described as ‘incredibly disappointing’. Commenting, Stephanie said:“Despite widespread opposition to these changes amongst residents in Great Houghton, Stagecoach has decided to press ahead regardless.“While Stagecoach has relented on part of its plans and maintained the direct link to Doncaster before 9:30am, this still means that for much of the day, many residents in Great Houghton will be left without this important service.“This decision removes or severely restricts the services available to residents – for many of them, particularly elderly residents, this will have a significant impact on them and what they are able to do in their day-to-day lives.“I remain incredibly disappointed that Stagecoach have made these changes, but I will continue to push for improvements so that residents in Great Houghton have access to the best possible bus services.”

Stephanie Visits Stairfoot Art Tribute

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 25th October, Stephanie recently met with local Councillor Wayne Johnson to discuss an art installation on the Trans-Pennine Trail in Stairfoot, which celebrates Stairfoot’s heritage.The art was installed by the Stairfoot Station Heritage Park group, which was founded in 2017 with the aim of establishing a historical record of Stairfoot, which is being recorded on the group’s website.The art installation is based on the site of the old Stairfoot railway station.Commenting, Stephanie said:“Here in Barnsley, we’re blessed with such a rich and proud industrial heritage, from mining to the important role of our local railways in shaping our area.“That’s why I’m so pleased that the Stairfoot Station Heritage Park group has been founded, to record and preserve that heritage, and it was fantastic to learn about this impressive work of art commemorating another central part of our area’s rich history.”

Column: Climate Emergency

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 11th October, Stephanie wrote about the climate emergency, and the importance in tackling the threat cause by climate change. You can read her full comments here.

Stephanie Write to EU to Encourage Brexit Deal

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 11th October, Stephanie and her Barnsley colleague Dan Jarvis MP wrote to the EU this week to encourage the chances of agreeing a deal that would see the UK leaving the EU with key protections in place. You can read more about her letter below:

Stephanie Slams Government on Homelessness Deaths

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 11th October, Stephanie has labelled the Government ‘callous’ after figures show the biggest increase since records began in the number of homeless people who died last year. In figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), twice as many homeless people died in Barnsley last year compared to the previous five years combined. Last year, four people homeless people tragically died on Barnsley’s streets. This compares to two from 2013 to 2017. The figure reflects a huge increase nationally, in which an estimated 726 homeless people died across the UK. The number represents an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year – the biggest rise on record. Since data collection began, there has been an overall increase of 51 per cent in the number of homeless people dying on Britain’s streets. In Yorkshire and the Humber there were an estimated 70 deaths, up from 26 in 2014. Charities have identified increased drug use, austerity, and cuts to support services as the main cause of the rise. Commenting on the figures, Barnsley MP Peacock said: “People being left to sleep rough without a roof over their heads should shame us all, and the increase in those who have tragically died on our streets shows this is a national emergency. “After falling under the last Labour Government, homelessness is skyrocketing as the Tories have spent the best part of a decade slashing vital support services like housing benefit and funding for homelessness facilities. “Instead of removing the vital safety nets some of the most vulnerable people in our communities rely on, this callous Government should immediately address this homelessness crisis and end this national shame.”

Stephanie Challenges Education Secretary

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 4th October, Stephanie has challenged the Education Secretary over funding proposals after nearly a third of teaching assistants and school support staff in Barnsley’s schools have been lost under the Government. The exchange with the Government’s education chief Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons came following a funding announcement, which the Barnsley MP sought assurances would not come at the expense of further losses to school support staff. Peacock asked for a firm commitment from the Education Secretary to ‘rule out funding his plans by cutting school support staff further’. Williamson’s response included simply that ‘he does not determine staffing levels’. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Schools and teachers in Barnsley do incredible work giving young people in our community an education and chance to get on in life, but have been forced to do so amidst unprecedented cuts to resources and support staff. “Any increase to school funding is welcome, but must not come at the expense of already depleted resources. “After support staff and teaching assistants have fallen by almost a third in Barnsley, the Education Secretary did little to allay fears more could be lost under this Government’s continued obsession with austerity.”

Stephanie Signs Coalfields Pledge

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 4th October, Stephanie met with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust recently and signed their coalfields pledge to support the reinstatement of a specific fund for coalfield areas. The MP backed to the pledge, which the Coalfields Regeneration Trust says would allow it to scale up its activities and deliver positive socio-economic impacts in former mining communities like Barnsley. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust aims to champion and strengthen former coalfield communities and generate the resources to develop and deliver programmes that can make a difference for the people living in them. Barnsley MP Peacock has long supported the Trust, and took the opportunity to reiterate her backing and lend her support to their calls for a dedicated coalfield fund. Commenting, she said: “The Coalfields Regeneration Trust does fantastic work in coalfield areas across the country, and works tirelessly to ensure communities like Barnsley are not disadvantaged by our mining legacy. “A dedicated fund directly targeted at helping former coalfield communities could have a huge economic impact for local people, and I’m delighted to pledge my support for this excellent campaign.”