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My record on Brexit

The Referendum in 2016 was a democratic vote, which demanded the result should be respected.

It was also an instruction to the Government to act on this basis to negotiate the terms for Britain leaving. This was – and remains – the duty of Government, as only governments can negotiate Britain’s withdrawal from or acceptance of international treaties.

Britain’s exit should have been done and dusted by now. But for more than three years, the Tories have failed to negotiate a good enough deal to command support in parliament or in public. So the country remains in deadlock and ever more deeply divided.

Labour – in Opposition and with around 60 fewer MPs than the Tories – has consistently argued for a better Brexit deal than the terms the Tories have tried to agree, that gets us out of the EU but does not cut us off from Europe. This is also what I have argued for, both in public and in the Labour Party.

I believe there is a good Brexit deal to be done in both UK and EU interests, and the…

135,000 children homeless this Christmas

New research from the housing charity Shelter has found there will be 135,000 homeless children this Christmas, including 810 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

This is shameful.

Rising homelessness is a direct result of decisions made by the Tories over the last ten years in Government: slashing investment in new low-cost homes, refusing to help private renters and making huge cuts to housing benefit and homelessness services.

The Conservatives' manifesto makes clear they have no plan to tackle the crisis of rising homelessness.

A Labour Government will end rough sleeping within five years and fix the root causes of rising homelessness with the biggest council and social housing programme since the 1960s, stronger rights for renters and extra funding for homelessness services.

The future is ours - Labour's youth manifesto

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Labour has launched a Youth Manifesto with a commitment to votes for 16-17 year olds and an additional £1 billion investment in youth services.

The Tories, and their previous coalition partners, the Lib Dems, have made life harder for young people.

With surging housing prices, stagnating wages, rising student debt, escalating knife crime and a mental health crisis – these are just some of the challenging facing young people after a decade of austerity.

The climate emergency has also created great uncertainty for young people, but the Conservatives have failed to take meaningful action to address the crisis.

In Labour’s Youth Manifesto we have pledged to tackle intergenerational inequality and deliver real change for young people.

The manifesto outlines radical steps to ensure that every young person has the support they need to fulfil their potential and feel secure in their future.

Labour has announced an additional £1 billion in annual revenue expenditure for youth services, twenty…

Compensation package for Waspi women

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Labour has pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.

Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000.

The scheme will be delivered within Labour's first full five year term of government.

Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked.

David Cameron's coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women's state pension age to 65 in November 2018 - followed by 66 in October 2020.

Labour will introduce a compensation scheme as rapidly as possible for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron's Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011.

It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on his pledge to help those affected.

He dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered.

The next Labour government will compens…

Labour's promises to pensioners

Labour has set out its promises to pensioners in more detail - after the Tories' chose to ignore the biggest issue affecting older people in their manifesto; the social care crisis.

Our polices will restore dignity and support for older people living in Britain.

They include plans to:

Introduce free personal care and invest £10.8 billion in social care provisionKeep the free bus pass for older peopleRestore 3,000 bus routes that have been cut under the Tories and give councils the powers to regulate services againStop the Tories taking free TV licences from over-75sCompensate the nearly four million women that lost out unfairly when the change in the state pension age was changed without fair noticeInvest in Warm Homes for All with insulation for every homeEnd the injustice of the state skimming 50% off the mineworkers’ pensions schemes
The Conservatives have cut £8 billion from social care since 2010 – and have not allocated one penny extra to social care in their manifesto.

Accor…

Labour will end miners' pensions injustice

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Labour will boost ex-miners’ pensions and put right the historic injustice of the unfair distribution of bonuses in the mineworkers pension scheme.

After the privatisation of British Coal in 1994 the Mineworkers Pension Scheme was structured 50/50 which meant any surplus would be shared 50/50 between the miners and the Government.

Labour announced in the manifesto launched yesterday that it would rebalance the ratio of redistribution from 50/50 to 90/10 in favour of the mineworkers.

The manifesto says:

This is something I’ve fought for in shadow cabinet because it will make a big difference to ex-miners in our area, who currently get an average pension of just £84 a week.

The closure of coal mines by the Thatcher government decimated communities like those in the Dearne and left many miners out of work and out of pocket.

Along with many Labour coalfield MPs I’ve called on the Conservative Government to review the scheme, but we’ve been ignored.

Labour will change the rules to mean the…

Labour's manifesto launched

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Yesterday I was in Birmingham for the launch of Labour's manifesto.

Read the manifesto in full here.

This election will shape our country for a generation. It is your opportunity to transform our country, so that it works not just for a few, but for all of us.

Labour pledges "housing revolution" amid big fall in social rented homes built in Rotherham and Barnsley

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Labour's manifesto launch yesterday included new plans for the biggest council and social housing programme in decades.

We're going to kick start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades.

At the current rate of building social rented homes in Rotherham, it would take 303 years to house all 6,674 people on the council housing waiting list.

The number being built fell from 147 in 2010/11, when the last Labour government’s funding for councils was still being delivered, to 22 in 2017/18, the last financial year for which there are figures.

There are 3,888 people waiting for a council home in Barnsley but not a single home was built for them last year. In 2010/11, 385 social rented homes were built.

As well as the Labour candidate for Wentworth & Dearne, I'm also Labour's Shadow Housing Secretary.

So I'm leading Labour's plan to fix the housing crisis, which includes:

scaling up council h…

NHS needs Labour's £26bn rescue plan

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Today's NHS statistics reveal the Conservatives have ushered in the worst A&E crisis on record.

A&Es are overwhelmed and there's an ever growing queue of people waiting for treatment.

The Tories spent a decade cutting over 15,000 beds.

The figures show why patients desperately need Labour's rescue plan.

We'll end the Tory NHS crisis with a £26 billion real terms funding boost to provide safe quality care, recruit the thousands of staff needed, rebuild crumbling facilities and provide modern state of the art equipment.

We'll also:

Guarantee a greater priority for mental healthIntroduce free prescriptions and car parkingProtect the NHS from Boris Johnson's sell out Brexit deal with Donald TrumpIncrease NHS capital budgets to rebuild hospitals and community facilitiesRestore a training bursary for nursesRecruit 24,000 extra nurses and expand GP training places to 5,000




Free childcare for all 2-4 year-olds

Labour will give 30 hours free childcare a week to all 2-4 year-olds.

It will benefit 2,565 children in Wentworth & Dearne and save families thousands of pounds a year.

We'll also open 1,000 new Sure Start centres - one in every community - to replace all those closed under the Tories.

Childcare costs have risen twice as fast as wages under the Tories.

Investment in the early years can transform the lives of children and their families. This will give all our children the best possible start in life.

Labour will also provide free school meals for all primary school children, and give every school the funding it needs.

This is the real change the next Labour government is going to bring to people's lives.

School mental health counsellors needed in our area

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Having campaigned for better mental health support for young people, I welcome Labour's pledge to put a trained counsellor in every school.

My survey of local schools last year found nearly all had seen mental health worsen.

I then took local headteachers to see the schools minister Nick Gibb, which helped win £1.7m from the government for extra mental health support in schools.


The number of children experiencing mental health problems is increasing, and I know through constituency casework how hard parents find getting help. Our mental health services are stretched to breaking point and have long waiting lists.

We need to invest fully in frontline mental health support.

Labour has pledged an additional £845 million per year for a Healthy Young Minds plan that will:

Establish a network of open access mental health hubs to enable 300,000 more children to access mental health support directly.Recruit almost 3,500 qualified, on-site secondary school counsellors to ensure accessible p…

Government on a go-slow on flooding

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Over the last few days I’ve been out visiting properties affected by flooding.

I’ve talked to residents in Wath and Kilnhurst and businesses in Parkgate.

I’m dealing with a number of problems people have raised with me and am in close contact with the senior director at Rotherham Council who is co-ordinating the response.

I have offered my support to the headteacher at Kilnhurst Primary School and checking the plans in place to make sure children can continue learning while the school is closed.

After visiting businesses in Parkgate on Sunday, I reported back to Rotherham Council and urged immediate help.

As floods recovery minister for the Labour government in 2007, when our area was so badly affected, I helped set up help for businesses through the Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, since abolished by the Conservatives:

a £2m fund for small businesses, with up to £2,500 per businessa £3m fund for larger businesses, with up to £100,000 per business
The funds were availabl…

Campaigning starts for General Election 2019

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Our campaign to win a Labour government in 2019 is under way!
We've already been campaigning in Rawmarsh, Wickersley and Wath with several more sessions planned soon.
Get in touch if you'd like to join us - you'd be very welcome.