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.
As featured in the Barnsley Chronicle on 11th August, Stephanie calls for police to be given the resources they desperately need. Read full column here.
As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley Gazette, on the 9th of August Stephanie called for action to be taken over 'super-size' classrooms after revealing over 3000 pupils in Barnsley are in classes of over 30 children. The statistics, from the independent House of Commons Library, show that 3414 Barnsley primary pupils are now in classes of over 30 pupils. Of those students, 195 of those are in classes of 36 or more children, and one class is thought to have 45 pupils. This means that more than one in six Barnsley primary school pupils are now in over-size classes. Herself a former teacher, Stephanie said: “These figures just show the impact of the Tories’ neglect of Barnsley’s schools. “Local head teachers are facing a budget squeeze from Tory cuts, and our kids are paying the price. As a former teacher myself, I know how important reasonable class sizes are for teaching. “I know how hard teachers work, and it’s a testament to them that despite the difficulties faced by schools across Barnsley we have still seen success in attainment levels. “But instead of tackling the shortage of teachers, the Government has missed its recruitment target in each of the last five years. “We need to recruit and retain enough teachers to cover every class, and build new schools where they are needed. “We should give every child the education they deserve rather than cramming them into super-sized classes. I’m demanding action to get a better deal for Barnsley East’s children, and that means fair treatment for Barnsley’s schools.” You can read the full article here and here.
As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Barnsley Gazette and Barnsley News and Sport, on July 6th Stephanie called for an urgent debate on police recourses as figures show officer numbers in the area have fallen drastically since 2010. According to figures released by South Yorkshire Police, the number of police officers has fallen by 458, from 2952 in 2010 to 2494 in 2016 – a decrease of over 18%. Commenting Ms Peacock said: "My first question in the House of Commons was to demand a proper debate with the Government on police resources. “When I’m talking to people locally, time and again constituents voice their concerns about policing and security in our communities. "Yet at a time when people need them most, we are seeing fewer and fewer police officers patrolling our streets. "Despite the incredible job our hard-working police services do, Government cuts to their budgets have slashed officer numbers and it’s our communities that will suffer. "Our police services and officers do a fantastic job protecting us and keeping us safe. It’s about time they were given the resources and support they desperately need." You can read Stephanie's full comments here, here and here.