I understand and share concerns about the implications of online retailers remaining open at this time. I have personally raised my concerns directly with the Chief Executives of local businesses, Barnsley Council, Government Ministers and Trade Unions and I will continue to push for Government guidelines on social distancing and workers’ safety to be fully implemented and enforced.Read more
I want to express my profound and heartfelt gratitude to all of those on the front line of the most serious public health crisis any of us have faced.Read more
The Coronavirus represents the most serious public health crisis any of us have faced. Getting through this crisis and safeguarding the most vulnerable people in our communities is going to require substantial changes to how we lead our lives in the short and medium-term. That’s why I strongly urge everyone to follow the latest guidance from the NHS and Public Health England in order to contain this disease, which can be found here.Read more
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