Column: Hollow words from the new Prime Minister

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 30th August, Stephanie wrote about the hollow words from the Prime Minister on helping forgotten towns like Barnsley, and the real offer the Tories have for communities like ours. You can read her full comments here.

Stephanie's Comments on Bus Timetable Changes

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th August, Stephanie has commented on the proposed changes to bus timetables in Barnsley that are set to take effect from September. Commenting, she said: “Buses are a lifeline for people in communities like Barnsley, and changes to services can have a profound impact on the lives of residents. “Reductions and redirections can leave people isolated, unable to attend appointments, get to the shops, or faced with the choice of using expensive alternatives to go about their lives. “As I’ve stated in Parliament, bus services should be operated with the needs of passengers in mind, not profit, and the impact of these amendments will provide further evidence to the Sheffield City Region review currently underway as to whether private bus companies are best placed to manage services.”  

Column: Children's Services Cuts

In her Barnsley Chronicle column on 16th August, Stephanie wrote about the impact of cuts to children's services in Barnsley. You can read her full comments here.

Stephanie Calls for Housebuilding Action

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd August, Stephanie has called for action on affordable housing, after new analysis shows at the current rate of building it will take 130 years to house all 1.1m people on council housing waiting lists. Analysis undertaken by the Labour Party shows that over the last three years for which there are figures, an average of 2,123 council homes have been build, whilst 6,374 homes for social rent have been built.  That’s a total average of 8,497 affordable homes being built a year. Yet there are 1,114,477 households on local authorities’ waiting lists. 1,114,477 divided by 8,497 equates to 131 years to house everyone on council waiting lists at the current rate of building. Just 6,434 homes have been built this year by the Conservative Government, compared to 33,491 in the last year of the Labour Government. And in Barnsley, with nearly 4,000 households on the council housing waiting list, local MP Peacock has called on the Government to address the housing shortage when Parliament returns following its summer recess. Commenting, she said: “After the best part of a decade of austerity imposed on our town and local authority, the Conservative Government urgently needs to address the affordable housing crisis it has created. “As demand rises, it is unacceptable that communities like ours are losing affordable homes when they have never been so badly needed. “The Tories need to get to grips with this housing crisis, and Labour has a ready-made plan: stop the conversion of social homes into more expensive housing, build a million low-cost homes, and develop the infrastructure like new schools and roads needed to support the changes.”    

Stephanie's Summer Survey

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd August, Stephanie has launched her summer survey this week, to give residents the opportunity to tell her what issues matter to them. The survey gives residents of the local MP’s constituency the chance to communicate with her on problems they might be facing and their priorities for the community. Commenting, Stephanie said: “I’ve seen first-hand the effects of nearly a decade of austerity under this Government as I’ve been out across Barnsley, meeting residents, community groups, charities, businesses, and our emergency services. “I know people feel strongly about these issues, want to have their say on the decisions that affect them, and tell me exactly what they think. “So I’ve launched my summer survey which will give people the chance to do just that. “Direct communication between constituents and their MP isn’t just a vital part of our democracy, it’s also the best way for me to give Barnsley a voice in Westminster and represent our community there. “I hope as many residents of Barnsley East as possible take part.”

Stephanie Slams Government on Transport Spending Figures

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd August, Stephanie  has criticised the Government after new figures show London will receive over seven times more transport funding per person than Yorkshire and the Humber. The figures were revealed by the Institute for Public Policy Research North think tank in their 2019 ‘Transport Investment in the Northern Powerhouse’ report. According to the report, London is set to receive £3,636 per person on transport spending from 2018/19 onwards. This compares to £1,247 across the North. However, the figures are even more stark when compared to Yorkshire and the Humber, who will receive just £511 per person in the same period. This means that planned transport spending on London is 7.1 times more per capita than on Yorkshire and the Humber. These spending plans are on top of the vastly disproportionate historic spending, where over the last decade London has received two and half times more public transport spending per person than the North. In their report, the think tank concluded that “despite five years of the Northern Powerhouse agenda, the government continue to underinvest in northern transport infrastructure”. Commenting on the figures, local MP Peacock has slammed the Government over the continued disparity in spending: “Further confirmation of the Government’s neglect of transport in the North will come as no surprise to residents in Barnsley who are all too familiar with our region’s creaking and dilapidated transport systems. “From commuting on antiquated trains that belong in museums, to seeing local bus routes cut and cancelled, people in Barnsley and across our region have put up with underinvestment in transport for too long. “Platitudes about the Northern Powerhouse project from the Tories won’t cut it any longer – people in Barnsley need proper transport funding on a par with London and leafy shires in the south.”

Stephanie Launches School Uniform Initiative

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th August, Stephanie has launched a school uniform initiative that will ensure parents can acquire uniforms for their children for the coming school year. Read more below:

Stephanie Comments on Bullying Exclusions

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th August, Stephanie has commented on the news that exclusions for bullying have increased over the last year in Barnsley's schools. In response to news that exclusions for bullying have increased by 18 per cent in Barnsley, Stephanie commented: “No child should be forced to endure bullying at school, which can have devastating consequences on both their health and educational attainment. “Schools should take appropriate action against bullying, and exclusions should be reserved as a last resort where other alternatives have been exhausted.”

Stephanie Put Through Paces with Army

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th August, Stephanie has been put through her paces at a British Army training camp as part of her membership in the Armed Forces Parliament Scheme. Following the commencement of Parliament’s summer recess, the Barnsley East MP spent a few days working alongside the army at the British Forces’ Cyprus base. The trip was part of the armed forces scheme, which gives parliamentarians the chance to learn more about the armed forces, and see up-close how they operate. During her trip, Stephanie took part in several weapons training exercises, seeing first-hand how the infantry train with a range of military equipment and weaponry. Along with British service personnel, the local MP met with UN delegations, to gain a greater understanding of the UK’s role as part of international security efforts. Stephanie was also tested by the army’s new physical fitness trials, which set the in-service physical standards for those serving in the infantry. Compared to previous base fitness tests, the new gender-free standards seek to replicate real-world requirements that are likely to be undertaken by service personnel, including casualty extraction from military vehicles. Aside from the physical rigours of the visit undertaken by the Barnsley MP, she also met Darfield’s Corporal Robert Lee, serving as an engineer with RAF No1 Air Control Centre, British Forces Cyprus. Commenting, Stephanie said: “The visit was a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand how our forces operate abroad, and how they maintain the high standards they are known for around the world. “It was a real bonus to meet my constituent Robert who grew up on the same street that I live on in Darfield – our whole community can be proud of him and others that dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. “I want to thank the British Army and Corporal Lee for hosting me in Cyprus and allowing me to spend time training alongside them.” “The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme has given me the chance to work closely with our army this year and has provided an invaluable insight into the work they do – I’ll continue my support for our incredible armed forces in the future.”

Stephanie Meets with Road Safety Charity to Continue Campaign

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on August 9th, Stephanie has met with the road safety charity Brake to continue her campaign to increase the maximum sentence for those found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. The meeting took place in Parliament and gave the MP the chance to discuss how she can work alongside the charity to push the Government to make the changes. Peacock’s campaign comes after the tragic death of Brierley resident Jacqueline Wileman, who was killed in 2017 by four men driving a stolen HGV lorry. Working with Jacqueline’s family and brother Johnny Wood, the MP secured a commitment from the Government to increase the maximum sentences that can be handed out to those found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, following the sentences given to those responsible for Jacqueline’s death. The MP recently coordinated a Parliamentary meeting between the now-Justice Secretary Robert Buckland MP and Johnny. However, despite reaffirming their pledge to increasing maximum sentences, the Secretary of State was unable to provide any date to do so. Following the meeting, press reports emerged over the Government’s intention to increase sentences, and the Barnsley MP has written to the Justice Secretary to confirm the Government’s pledge to do so. ar Peacock has subsequently met with the road safety charity, and committed to working alongside them to continue pressing the Government to make changes to the sentencing regulations. Commenting, she said: “Following the tragic death of Jacqueline Wileman, her family have bravely campaigned to increase the maximum sentencing for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. “The Government have committed to do so, but continue to drag their feet in bringing forward the necessary legislation required to make the changes. “Following my meeting with Brake, I’ll work alongside them and continue to push the Government to increase the sentences and provide justice for Jackie and her family.”