For those who have been affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit, January brought some welcome news. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, announced that the roll-out of Universal Credit will be paused and some of its worst elements reviewed. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it comes too late for areas like Barnsley where the roll-out is almost complete.Read more
This Monday, 4th February, marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of Goldthorpe Main – the last pit in Barnsley. Although it would take a further 8 months to run down the supplies, February 1994 marked the end of an era.
Barnsley is a town built on coal. The pits are an inextricable part of our history – it is the coalminer and the glassblower stood together on our town’s coat of arms – and the winding wheels that remain in place, are a poignant reminder of our industrial heritage. Also testament to that heritage are the generations of men who spent their entire working lives underground, many of them paying the price of serious illness, ruined lungs and even their lives. It was the hard graft of Barnsley miners that powered our communities and industries – but in the quarter of a century since the last pit closed, miners and their families have received a raw deal from successive governments.Read more
As the old saying goes: ‘a week is a long time in politics’ – something that has never felt more true since the vote in parliament on whether to accept the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement on January 15.
That vote resulted in the biggest defeat for any government in the history of our Parliament. MPs from all sides – those representing constituencies that voted heavily to Remain; and those, like myself, representing seats that voted heavily to Leave – demonstrated that they did not think that the deal worked in the best interests of the country.Read more
If you get the train between Barnsley and Sheffield you will have faced the pain of increased ticket prices, with the average cost of a rail season ticket going up by an average of 3.1%.
If you were left waiting on a platform – or crammed into an overcrowded train – throughout the Northern Rail fiasco last year, you will know that rail passengers are not getting a fair deal.
Since 2010, rail prices have increased by 46.8% whilst the quality of services has deteriorated. Today we have the most expensive rail fares in Europe, whilst services routinely lag behind their continental counterparts in terms of quality and efficiency.Read more
Tuesday night saw the largest defeat of a sitting Prime Minister in living memory. It is therefore absolutely right that the Leader of the Opposition has put forward a motion of no-confidence in the Government.
How we exit the EU is the most important decision we have made in decades. It is vital that we do so in a way that works for both Barnsley and our country.
I voted against accepting the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement. I did so because, having both respected the referendum result and voted to trigger Article 50, I do not believe that her deal would have served the best interests of the people of Barnsley, or our country.Read more
As we look towards the New Year, it is important to reflect on the year that has just gone. 2018 has been a bitterly divisive year. For the first time in my life, our country feels fractured and disunited. The challenges posed by austerity and post-Brexit uncertainty are huge and getting bigger. Overcoming these will not be easy, but I know we will rise to the challenge.Read more
The Bishop of Leeds recently spoke about the importance of place, and how – despite the growth in social media and virtual friendship networks – we remained rooted and shaped by the physical communities and environments in which we live.
I agree, and I have always thought that the idea of place and community is at its strongest at Christmas. It is a time of year when all roads lead to home and we look forward to enjoying the company of those closest to us. At Christmas, everything takes on a special significance, whether that’s putting up the decorations, shopping for food, or watching films together as a family. There is no other occasion like it.
Christmas offers us a time to relax and recharge. To reflect on the year that’s passed and prepare ourselves for the year to come. It’s not just about the tinsel, the mistletoe and the laughter. It’s a chance to take breather from hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on what matters. And this Christmas break will be an especially well earned one for us all.Read more
We are living through a period of profound change. The challenges posed by austerity and post-Brexit uncertainty are huge. Overcoming them will require all of the innate resilience, talent and generosity for which the people of Yorkshire are known. If we are to tackle them, and make the most of any opportunities that arise, we must do so as a community, centred on the place we live – Barnsley.Read more
Today I am hosting a summit on homelessness. The event will bring together the region’s local authorities, MPs, leading organisations – such as South Yorkshire Housing Association and Crisis – and people who have first-hand experience of homelessness as we seek to eradicate homelessness in South Yorkshire.
We have seen a rapid increase in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets in recent years. You only have to walk along Cheapside, or through the underpass between the Alhambra and Sheffield Road, to see that the numbers of rough sleepers in Barnsley have risen in recent years.Read more