COLUMN: Arts and Heritage

As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on March 29th, Stephanie's recent column focused on our local arts and heritage centres. She wrote about the museums, heritage centres and arts hubs Barnsley has to offer, how these are flourishing despite lower funding across the country, and how we should show these off. You can read her full comments here.   

Stephanie Gives VIP Tour

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 29th March, Stephanie and Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West and a Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, recently visited some of Barnsley’s fantastic cultural spots. They visited the Experience Barnsley museum in Barnsley Town Hall. The new ‘Barnsley On Film’ exhibition brings together historical footage of Barnsley to give an insight into the town’s past. past. They also visited the Elsecar Heritage Centre and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which showcases art from around the world.Commenting, Stephanie said:“It was a pleasure to visit these fantastic cultural sports.“Culture builds pride in our communities and the creative industries are the fastest growing sector in our economy. It’s great that this is so well supported in Barnsley.”Kevin, Labour’s Shadow Minister, commented: “Culture and our creative industries are so important for local communities.“Cultural sites such as these provide unique experiences for local people, and can breathe new life into an area.“I’m pleased to see that so much good work is being done in Barnsley and South Yorkshire to ensure that sites such as these are properly supported, so that they can continue to make an important contribution to the cultural life of the community.”  

Stephanie Visits Barnsley College

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Barnsley Gazette and Barnlsey News and Sport on 27th March, Stephanie and Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West and a Shadow Minister in Labour’s Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport team, recently visited Barnsley College, where they were able to see the different facilities offered to students and the local community. They were also interviewed by Media students for the College radio station. Said Stephanie:  “It was a pleasure to visit this excellent College in Barnsley town centre; to see the facilities, and hear about the work the College is doing.” Kevin added: “I signed off the funding for the fantastic new college building when I was Further Education minister in 2009, and it was great to see the result. “The brilliant facilities at this College show why infrastructure projects and investing in our future are so important.”  

Stephanie joins in Central Area awards celebrations

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport on 21st March, Stephanie recently attended the Central Area Council Celebration and Awards Evening. The Central Area Council covers the five wards of Central, Dodworth, Kingstone, Stairfoot and Worsborough. The awards evening was held to celebrate the achievements of people in those five wards. The local MP took the opportunity to speak about the importance of young people getting involved in civic and community life, and handed out awards to ‘highly commended’ young people and five Young Volunteer of the Year awards. She said: “It was great to attend the Central Area Council awards evening to celebrate the achievements of people in Central, Dodworth, Kingstone, Stairfoot and Worsborough wards. “It’s fantastic to see young people engaging in and actively helping their local community, and it’s important their efforts have been recognised.”  

Stephanie Reveals Unequal Lottery Funding

As reported in The Mirror and the Barnsley News and Sport on March 24th, Stephanie challenged Ministers over the distribution of National Lottery funding in the Commons today, revealing that the West Suffolk constituency of Tory Culture Secretary Matt Hancock had received over £22m compared to just £13m for Barnsley East. The amount given to her South Yorkshire constituency is dwarfed by the £63.9m in grants handed out in Prime Minister Theresa May’s seat of Maidenhead, and is less than half the £27m given to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s wealthy Runnymede and Weybridge patch in Surrey. Tory culture minister Michael Ellis responded by saying that over 70% of lottery funding goes outside London, though London had under 15% of the UK population at the last census, suggesting that it still receives a disproportionate amount. Overall, the capital has received around £7.3bn in lottery funding since the programme began in 1995, while the South East received another £2.8bn, and the South of England overall has been allocated £12.4bn in grants. This is compared to just £2.4bn given to Yorkshire across the same period. Stephanie slammed the unequal distribution in lottery grants, demanding the Secretary of State explain the staggering difference in funding. She said: “It’s just not good enough for Tory ministers to hide from this issue when they are overseeing a system that is clearly unfair to people in Barnsley. “When the wealthy constituency of the Culture Secretary is getting almost double the amount that my own constituency has, it is a clear sign that something is deeply wrong. “Our research starkly illustrates the problem. Yorkshire has received just £2.4bn, while London and the South have been handed £12.4bn – over five times as much. “We need real change – it’s time that towns like Barnsley got our fair share.”

Stephanie Visits Hoyland Common Primary School

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd March, Stephanie recently visited Hoyland Common Primary School.Stephanie spoke to two classes of Year 5 students about her role and what it’s like to work in Parliament, before answering the students’ questions. Commenting, Stephanie said:“I was delighted to visit Hoyland Common school to speak to their Year 5 students about my role.“I’m proud of being the MP for Barnsley East, and it was a pleasure to speak to the students about what it’s like to be their representative in Parliament.“As a former teacher, it was great to get back in the classroom at this brilliant Barnsley school.”  

Stephanie Celebrates Local Awards

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport on March 22nd, Stephanie recently attended the Central Area Council Celebration and Awards Evening. The Central Area Council covers the five wards of Central, Dodworth, Kingstone, Stairfoot and Worsborough. The awards evening was held to celebrate the achievements of people in those five wards. The local MP took the opportunity to speak about the importance of young people getting involved in civic and community life, and handed out awards to ‘highly commended’ young people and five Young Volunteer of the Year awards. She said: “It was great to attend the Central Area Council awards evening to celebrate the achievements of people in Central, Dodworth, Kingstone, Stairfoot and Worsborough wards. “It’s fantastic to see young people engaging in and actively helping their local community, and it’s important their efforts have been recognised.”  

COLUMN: Cuts to Free School Meals Hard to Stomach

As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on March 16th, Stephanie's recent column focused on free school meals. She wrote about the importance of a good, warm meals for children, and the risk of that 3,300 children in Barnsley could lose their entitlement under new Government regulations. You can read her full comments here. 

Stephanie Criticises Government's Spring Statement

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Chronicle on 16th March, Stephanie has criticised the Government’s Spring Statement as one of that ignores the reality in Barnsley. The economic Statement, read by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday, laid out the Government’s assessment of the country’s finances. But local MP Stephanie Peacock suggested the Chancellor’s words of optimism will do little to ease the struggles faced by people in Barnsley. Commenting, Stephanie said: “Once again, the Government has shown they’re capable of ignoring the reality faced by hard-working people in Barnsley. “Whilst the Chancellor lauded the effect of their austerity measures, people here in Barnsley have seen the real impact it’s had on day-to-day life. “Our public services are at breaking point; crime is up whilst police numbers are down, the NHS is missing vital targets as vulnerable patients are put at risk, and local councils have been stripped to the bone. “The Tories’ obsession with austerity has had a devastating impact on our community, and no amount of warm words from the Chancellor will help people."    

Paying Tribute to our Local Museums

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 16th March, Stephanie praised Barnsley's museums and heritage centres in Parliment this week. You can read Stephanie's full words below: