At some point in our lives, most of us end up in debt. Whether that is a mortgage, a credit card, or finance for a car – we’re used to facing debt in our daily lives. But what happens when debt gets out of control? When working families are taking out loans with eye-watering levels of interest just to get to the next pay day? The risk of uncontrollable debt is that people end up bankrupt and lives end up ruined, while loan companies and legal loan sharks make a killing.Read more
Of all the issues that I face as an MP, the one that keeps me awake at night is the epidemic of poor mental health amongst our children and young people. As a dad whose children are currently in education, I empathise with those young people, and their parents, who are struggling in the face of extreme pressure (both in school and from wider society) and who do not have the necessary support structures in place. In terms of the challenge this poses to our public health policy, I genuinely fear we are facing a ticking time-bomb unless there are radical improvements in how the health and education systems support our young people.Read more
This week, the South Yorkshire council leaders and I agreed a plan for getting the South Yorkshire devolution deal over the line. After years of negotiations between local leaders and the Government, there is now an agreement in place that enables South Yorkshire to secure £30 million a year in additional resources and access a £35 million adult education and skills budget; gives me the powers that I need to continue to transform our regional economy and local communities; creates thousands of decent, well-paid jobs; and sets out a blueprint for South Yorkshire’s political direction in the coming years. These negotiations haven’t been easy, but we are making progress towards putting South Yorkshire on an equal footing with other parts of the country that already have devolution deals in place.Read more
The first thing that faces many of us each New Year is the annual increase in rail fares, effective from January 1. This year has seen a 2.7% increase in fares, hitting hard-pressed commuters in the pocket whilst services are deteriorating. Northern Rail are a prime example of rising fares and worsening services. Commuters across the North of England, myself included, know only too well the parlous state Northern are in: botched changes to timetables; unacceptable delays; and the continued use of 1980s pacer trains despite repeated promises that they would be phased out.Read more
The debate over Brexit has destroyed faith in our political system and brought Parliament to an agonising impasse for more than two years. I know from the hundreds of people I spoke with during the election campaign how much they want us to move on from the never-ending bickering, Parliamentary manoeuvring and talk of a second referendum.
Following the general election result, the government now has a renewed mandate from the British people to deliver the referendum result. The Prime Minister’s revised European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed its Second Reading, meaning Britain will leave the EU in January and we will begin the next stage of negotiations: our future relationship with Europe.Read more
I’m honoured to be re-elected as MP for Barnsley Central. I’d like to pay tribute to my brilliant team and all of those who knocked on doors in the cold and the seemingly never-ending rain. They looked at the challenges facing our community, rolled up their sleeves and got involved.
But above all, I’d like to thank my constituents for giving me the opportunity to serve them again.Read more
The issue of a lack of GP appointments is one that many local residents have raised with me. Across the Borough, too many people are having to wait weeks to get to see their local doctor or are forced to spend hours each morning on the phone trying to get an appointment for that day. Understandably, this is making people anxious and worried that they are not getting the care they need, when they need it. It’s also piling on the pressure on the out-of-hours service I-Heart and, in turn, on our Accident and Emergency Department at the Hospital.Read more
Last night the House of Commons voted to hold a General Election on Thursday 12 December. I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for Barnsley Central. I’m standing because my commitment to Barnsley is a long-term one.
Although Brexit has dominated our political debate in recent years, this election is about so much more than our future relationship with Europe.
A decade of Tory austerity has devasted our town and our country. Too many people are in low-paid and insecure work, too many children face barriers to opportunity. Our public services and infrastructure are rapidly deteriorating due to chronic under-investment and we are in the midst of a climate emergency.Read more
Barnsley doesn’t have the fondest memories of the 1980s – the Miner’s Strike, a decade of Thatcherism, mass unemployment and the impact this had on our local communities. It looked as though another relic of the 1980s – Northern Rail’s pacer trains – would also be consigned to the dustbin of history to the relief of Barnsley commuters, myself included. These trains, which are essentially old-fashioned buses on rails travelling at average speeds of 35mph, should have been put in a transport museum years ago. Instead, for those of us who regularly travel by train between Barnsley, Sheffield and Leeds, they are a regular feature on our railways. The recent admission by Northern Rail that pacers would continue to be used well into 2020 is simply not good enough. Barnsley’s commuters are sick and tired of being treated like second-class citizens.Read more
I want to take the opportunity to explain to my constituents the reasoning behind my votes in the House of Commons last night on the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
In 2017, I was elected on a manifesto commitment to respect the outcome of the referendum, prioritise jobs and living standards, and rule out a no-deal exit.Read more