Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

News

As patron of both the LIVE in Barnsley music festival and the charity Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society (BIADS), Michael is delighted to promote their current partnership. BIADS is LIVE in Barnsley’s chosen charity for this year’s festival and also it the chosen charity for ChoirFest 2017, which this year will be part of the LIVE in Barnsley Fringe Festival. 

The aim of LIVE in Barnsley is to showcase musical talent from the town and surrounding area and this year it will take place on Saturday the 17th June and numerous venues around Barnsley Town Centre. The festival draws thousands of local music fans and visitors to venues across Barnsley and the surrounding area.

Michael is not only a patron of the festival, he has played several times at the event. Details of the line up for the festival so far can be found here.

Commenting Michael said:

“LIVE in Barnsley is a tremendous event which gets better and better every year. They have a fantastic tradition of partnering with a different charity each year and this year I am delighted that they have chosen BIADS.

BIADS does truly wonderful work supporting people with dementia and their families. I am hugely honoured to also be a patron of BIADS and I hope that festival goers later in the year will donate all they can to this organisation. 

The continuing success of LIVE in Barnsley is testament to the hard work of the organisers, Steve Clifford and Dave Pearsall and I’d like to thank them for supporting BIADS this year”

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Michael Promotes BIADS' LIVE in Barnsley Partnership

As patron of both the LIVE in Barnsley music festival and the charity Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society (BIADS), Michael is delighted to promote their current partnership. BIADS is...

On Friday 24th March, Michael joined a delegation of local MPs to visit the XPO/ASOS distribution centre in his constituency. 

Michael hosted Labour colleagues Dan Jarvis MP, Angela Smith MP, Caroline Flint MP and Louise Haigh MP.

 

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They toured the site to see the distribution centre in action and met with staff and management.  They also met staff who are members of the Community Union, the trade union that has recently been recognised by the company.

This visit followed a meeting Michael had in Westminster on the 14th March with representatives from the GMB union, including General Secretary, Tim Roache, to discuss working conditions at ASOS.

Commenting Michael said:

“The XPO/ASOS distribution centre is a massive employer in the Barnsley East constituency and they are a hugely successful global company. It was great to see their continued considerable investment in the area.

"It was also good to meet with workers at the site - without the the supervision of management - where we had a frank conversation about working conditions. The staff were frustrated and indeed angry at what they felt was some of the unfair and absurd nonsense that it is reported outside the site about alleged working conditions for employees. But they acknowledged there was room for improvement, particularly around the issue of 'flex', and I was pleased to see that there are ongoing changes and conversations to further improve things. Myself and the other local MPs are determined to see that happen."

 

Michael hosts ASOS visit

On Friday 24th March, Michael joined a delegation of local MPs to visit the XPO/ASOS distribution centre in his constituency.  Michael hosted Labour colleagues Dan Jarvis MP, Angela Smith MP,...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has called on the Government to stop energy firms ripping off millions of people over their fuel bills.

Michael made the demand after new figures revealed that more than one in ten homes in his constituency are considered “fuel poor” because they are struggling to meet the cost of soaring energy bills.

Of an estimated 39,505 households in Barnsley East, there are 4,391 ‘fuel poor’ households – 11% of the total number of homes.

People are considered to be living in fuel poverty if they cannot afford to heat their homes properly at a reasonable cost even if one member of the household is in work.

Michael warned the problem of fuel poverty was made worse because the Government had failed to tackle energy providers over their failure to move customers off expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) to cheaper options.

An estimated seven in ten consumers are on these SVTs and pay up to £230 a year more than those on the cheapest available tariffs.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Energy companies having been ripping off consumers in Barnsley East for far too long.

“These figures show that more than one in ten local people live in fuel poverty and cannot turn the heating on as often as they need.

“The energy market is broken and failing everyone, especially the elderly and the vulnerable. It is time for the Government to get a grip and take action to fix it.

“We need a protected tariff – a maximum price the energy companies can charge.

“Through a protected tariff, that gives a fair price to customers who don’t switch suppliers, the Government can ensure that we all pay a fairer price and fewer people live in fuel poverty.”

 

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Michael Demands Tough Action on Rip-off Fuel Bills

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has called on the Government to stop energy firms ripping off millions of people over their fuel...

This week Michael signed Early Day Motion 1060, calling on the Government to give British Sign Language (BSL) full legal status as afforded to other officially recognised languages.

BSL is used by an estimated 151,000 people in the UK, 87,000 of whom are deaf. Affording BSL legal status would protect this language, and would provide opportunities to access the language.

For instance, legal status would put BSL on the national curriculum and ensure it if offered in schools, enabling BSL users to access education in their first language.

Michael was delighted to sign this motion, and recognise the campaign for BSL’s legal status led by Labour’s Dawn Butler.

You can see the full wording of the Early Day Motion here.

Michael Calls for Legal Status for British Sign Language

This week Michael signed Early Day Motion 1060, calling on the Government to give British Sign Language (BSL) full legal status as afforded to other officially recognised languages. BSL is...

This week Michael once again challenged the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in the House of Commons over the Government's handling of the NHS. 

Michael accused the Government's proposed Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) as being a 'Secret Tory Plan' to further decimate our NHS. that will change the make-up of our NHS, and further questioned the Government on their devastating cuts to local community pharmacies

You can see Michael’s question to the Health Minister here

Michael also took the Government to task again this week over their cuts to community pharmacies.

He revealed official figures from the House of Commons Library that nearly 1.3m people will have to travel further to their nearest pharmacy as a result of these cuts - including nearly 300,00 people who would have to travel between two-and-a-half and five miles. Around 70,000 people would have to travel more than five miles.

Michael has been leading the campaign against the Government's cuts to community pharmacies in recent months and you can read his full comments in the Telegraph, the Mirror and the Barnsley News and Sport.

 

Michael Challenges Government Again on the NHS

This week Michael once again challenged the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in the House of Commons over the Government's handling of the NHS.  Michael accused the Government's proposed Sustainability and...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Gazette, Michael called on the Government to end the uncertainty faced by residents and businesses in Barnsley over the proposed HS2 high-speed rail link.

Michael has written to HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to outline his support for the project and the boost it will give to the local economy.

But he said the Government must now formally withdraw a proposed “Meadowhall route” which would cut through a large part of the borough of Barnsley.

In a joint letter with Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis to Mr Thurston, Michael wrote:

“We remain committed to HS2 infrastructure improvements and believe that high speed rail improvements will make a significant impact on the region’s economy and future prospects for growth. 

“It is increasingly evident that the Meadowhall option proposed in 2013 is not realistic and is not a location we would support.  There must be no backtracking from the Government on the route.

“The ‘Meadowhall route’ cut through a large part of the Borough and many residents and businesses within Barnsley have endured four years of unwelcome uncertainty. 

“It is time to take away the blight of uncertainty on our communities by formally withdrawing the Meadowhall option and focus on the opportunities and challenges of the new route”

Michael has also stated that he supports proposals for a new parkway station along the new eastern leg route for all the main HS2 services which – combined with improvements to the Dearne Valley line – would make a “huge difference to the area and would offer real benefits to the City Region”.

You can read Michael’s full comments on HS2 here.

Michael Calls for End to HS2 Uncertainty

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Gazette, Michael called on the Government to end the uncertainty faced by residents and businesses in Barnsley over the proposed HS2...

Michael has used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to attack the Government over its recent Budget, saying it does nothing for Scan0055.jpgthe people of Barnsley. 

The Budget included a tax cut for the wealthiest, in the form of a tax breaks on inheritance and for big business, while the Chancellor attempted to hit 5,300 self-employed people in Barnsley East with an increase in National Insurance Contributions. You can read the column in full here

Budgets: The Devil is in the detail

Michael has used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to attack the Government over its recent Budget, saying it does nothing for the people of Barnsley.  The Budget included a...

chron_cot1.jpgAs reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Gazette and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is calling for greater awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after new figures showed a rise in the number of tragedies in Yorkshire and Humberside.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013, the rates in Yorkshire and the Humber have increased by 38% and are higher than the national average.

Michael joined the baby charity in urging local authorities to ensure health professionals in Barnsley and across Yorkshire receive the training and support they need to deliver safer sleep messages to all families.

As part of the Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep Week, the charity commissioned a survey that found over 53% of parents in Yorkshire and the Humber were unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: putting a baby on its back for every sleep. Evidence shows that babies who are slept on their back for every sleep are six times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

Commenting, Michael said:

 “The results of this survey by the Lullaby Trust show we still need to do more to raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and make sure parents get good advice.

“We should recognise the important role of health professionals and family workers who offer advice on how to sleep their baby safely and the need to ensure they get training and support to continue their vital work.”

You can read Michael's full comments on SIDS and the Lullaby Trust's Sleep Safer Week here.

 

 

Michael calls for Greater Awareness of SIDS

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Gazette and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is calling for greater awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after new figures showed...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, on Tuesday 14th Michael attacked the Government for failing to tackle the NHS crisis as Barnsley Hospital again missed its target time for dealing with A&E patients.

The latest figures for January showed that Barnsley Hospital’s A&E unit saw only 87.1% of patients within four hours – well below the 95% target figure set by the Government.

However, the latest figure is an improvement on the 83.5% of patients seen at the A&E unit in December and is testament to the hard work of staff at Barnsley Hospital.

Nationally, A&E units endured the worst month on record with just 85.1% of patients seen within four hours.

Commenting, Mr Dugher said:

“This is further evidence of Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s neglect and mismanagement of the NHS.

“The Chancellor also had the perfect opportunity with the Budget to get the health service back on track with a major cash injection, but he failed to do so.

“Thanks to the hard work of the dedicated staff at Barnsley Hospital, January’s figures for A&E waiting times have improved and are heading in the right direction.

“But almost 900 patients had to wait more than four hours in A&E in Barnsley.   The Government needs to get a grip and do far more to stop these unacceptably long waits.

“People are finding it harder and harder to get a timely appointment with a GC, social care is in crisis, pharmacies are under threat and people are understandably turning up at hospital. This is a crisis made by Ministers”.

You can read Michael's full comments here.

Michael Attacks Government for A&E Crisis

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, on Tuesday 14th Michael attacked the Government for failing to tackle the NHS crisis as Barnsley Hospital again missed its target time...

This week Michael took part in a cross party delegation of MPs from the British America Parliamentary Group (BAPG) to Washington
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Michael met with a variety of people including congressmen, representatives of important congressional committees responsible for foreign affairs, business leaders investing in the UK, plus think tanks and others. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relationship between the UK and the US, particularly on trade, defence and security, post-Brexit. 

 

Michael joins UK delegation to Washington

This week Michael took part in a cross party delegation of MPs from the British America Parliamentary Group (BAPG) to Washington DC. Michael met with a variety of people including...

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, The Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has welcomed news that talks will be held to Scan0046.jpgget a better pension deal for former miners.

The trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) have written to Labour MPs from coalfield communities agreeing to their demand for a meeting.

The MPs called for the meeting to review an arrangement that has deprived ex-miners of billions of pounds in pension payments.

Under an agreement made by the Tory Government and the trustees of the British Coal pensions schemes in 1994, half of the surplus made by the MPS goes to the Government.

Since 1994, it has made £3.36bn from the scheme – despite making no contributions, even when the scheme was in deficit.

In response to demands from Mr Dugher and other Labour MPs, the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme have now agreed to a meeting with MPs.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I’m pleased the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme have agreed to our request for a meeting.

“Thousands of miners from Barnsley and across Yorkshire worked hard for decades to build up a pension for when they retired.

“I believe they and their widows should have a much bigger share of the huge surplus that has been built up.

“This country owes a massive debt of gratitude to our former miners. We owe it to them and their families to secure a far better, fairer deal for them and will continue to fight for justice.”

Read Michael’s previous calls for a fairer deal for miners and letter to the trustees here.

Michael Welcomes talks over Miners' Pension Scheme

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, The Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has welcomed news that talks will be held to get a better pension deal for former miners....

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, on Wednesday 8th Michael condemned the Budget for its failure to help Barnsley and tackle the key issues facing local people.

The Chancellor promised £2bn over three years for social care, but the reality is that the figure is far short of the cash needed to deal with the crisis. 

Commenting, Mr Dugher said:

"This Budget does nothing for families in Barnsley. It fails to tackle the funding cash shortages in our local schools or address the crisis engulfing our NHS.

“Whilst the Government concentrates on policies that help only a privileged few - such as inheritance tax breaks - this Budget has nothing for many more who are struggling to make ends meet.

“The Government has offered inadequate solutions that fall woefully short of what is required - the £2bn in social care funding over the next three years falls well short of the £4.6bn cut since 2010.

“A meagre £216m offered over the next three years to improve current schools will do little to address the £3bn expected to be lost a year by 2020 when schools in Barnsley alone are expected to lose £6.6m in funding cuts."

 

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Michael slams a Budget that does nothing for Barnsley

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, on Wednesday 8th Michael condemned the Budget for its failure to help Barnsley and tackle the key issues facing local people. The...

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has called on the Government to drop its plans to abolish Scan0047.jpgbursaries for student nurses and midwives.

All NHS bursaries are due to be scrapped from August in a move that could leave students paying tuition fees of more than £9,000 and forced to rely on student loans.

But Michael is fighting the planned move, which he warned would only worsen the recruitment crisis which had meant Barnsley Hospital and others were forced to rely on agency nurses to plug staffing gaps.

Michael is backing a Labour campaign that has called for a Government U-turn over the plan to abolish the bursaries later this year.

Latest figures show that students are already avoiding nursing degrees because of the extra financial burden on them.  Almost 10,000 fewer would-be nurses have applied for university courses – 23 per cent fewer than last year.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The latest figures show there has already been a big drop in the number of people applying to become nurses.  Worried constituents have also contacted me about the impact that cutting bursaries will have.

“That should be a wake-up call to the government which needs to rethink these flawed plans to abolish bursaries.

“We have seen the huge pressure that the NHS is under in Barnsley with a big increase in A&E waiting times and this misguided decision will just make matters worse.

“With Britain leaving the EU, we will need home-trained nurses more than ever.  But the government’s decision to charge student nurses is likely to worsen the staff shortages already faced by many hospitals.”

Michael Calls for U-Turn on Government's Nursing Bursaries Policy

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has called on the Government to drop its plans to abolish bursaries for student nurses and midwives. All NHS...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Gazette. on Tuesday 7th Michael called on local musicians to showcase their talents at this year’s LIVE in Barnsley music festival.

The popular festival is taking place on Saturday 17th June, and applications to perform can now be made online at the LIVE in Barnsley website here.

LIVE in Barnsley is a free music festival organised by local volunteers in the town centre, and showcases the diverse musical talents in the town and surrounding areas.

Mr Dugher, a patron of the festival, commented:

 "LIVE in Barnsley is something we should be enormously proud of in Barnsley. It has become one of the most popular events of the year, attracting thousands of visitors. It is also a real showcase of talent in the Borough and the surrounding area.

"Having performed at the festival every year since it first started, I know what a tremendous opportunity it is to play in front of the local crowd.

"I encourage all local musicians to get involved in this fantastic event."

 

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Michael Calls for Local Musicians to Showcase Talents

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and Barnsley Gazette. on Tuesday 7th Michael called on local musicians to showcase their talents at this year’s LIVE in Barnsley music festival. The...

Speaking to Pharmacy Business online, this week Michael criticised the Prime Minister over her recent remarks on pharmacies.

During Prime Minister's Questions, in response to a question on pharmacies Theresa May claimed that more has been spent on community pharmacies in recent years by the Government. 

In response, Michael commented:

"Theresa May’s comments show once again how the Government are wilfully oblivious to the reality of the crisis facing the NHS on their watch. 

"The Prime Minister says spending on community pharmacies has risen, but the reality is cuts of £113m for this financial year and a further £95m in 2017-18.

"The Government has previously admitted to not having the faintest idea how many pharmacies will close and whether these will be in areas of closer proximity or not.

"Ministers are equally clueless as to the downstream costs to other aspects of the NHS as reduced access to community pharmacies will see even more pressure on our already overstretched GP surgeries and A&Es."

You can read the full article on the Prime Minister's comments by Pharmacy Business here

Michael Criticises Prime Minister Over Pharmacy Comments

Speaking to Pharmacy Business online, this week Michael criticised the Prime Minister over her recent remarks on pharmacies. During Prime Minister's Questions, in response to a question on pharmacies Theresa...

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As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Gazette and the Barnsley Chronicle, this week Michael encouraged local pupils to design a stamp for the Royal Mail’s 2017 Christmas stamp design competition.

Centred on the theme ‘what does the Christmas season mean to you?’, the Royal Mail is giving pupils the chance to submit a design to be approved by the Queen and used on millions of Christmas cards.

There are 120 prizes to be won, with the winners seeing their designs used on stamps and receiving £1000 for themselves and for their schools. Area winners, runners-up and their schools will also receive prizes of £500 and £100.

Commenting, Michael said:

"The deadline for entries is 17th March and I have written to schools in Barnsley East to make sure everyone knows about this fantastic event."

"I would encourage everyone to get involved and have a go."

You can read Michael's full comments on the competition here.

You can read more details of the competition here.

Michael Calls for Royal Mail Christmas Stamp Designs

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, the Barnsley Gazette and the Barnsley Chronicle, this week Michael encouraged local pupils to design a stamp for the Royal Mail’s 2017 Christmas stamp...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has criticised the Government’s decision to further Scan0054.jpgcut local government funding as new figures revealed Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council will see its budget slashed by £9.3 million. 

The authority will see the funds it get from central Government drastically reduced by nearly 27 per cent from £34.56 million this year to £25.26 million in 2017/18. 

The funding from Whitehall is essential to the council and helps cover the cost of a range of local government services including social care, education, collecting rubbish and highways maintenance.  It is the latest in a series of cuts imposed over the years by the Tory Government.

The council will have to run its services with a total budget of £78.43m over the coming financial year and is being forced to explore others means of funding essential services. The most recent of these has been to increase the council tax precept to help pay for social care costs. Michael is urging residents to support a local petition that calls on the Government to properly address the growing crisis in social care. The petition states that funding adult social care through council tax gives areas the care that they can afford, not the care that they need. You can sign the petition here

Nationally, the Local Government Association has analysed the Local Government Finance Settlement and estimates that local authorities will receive £2.2 billion less in funding to run local services in 2017/8 than last year. Despite making savings of up to £20bn over the course of the last parliament, local government is facing a funding gap of up to £5.8bn by 2020.

Commenting, Michael said:

"This latest local government finance package is terrible news for Barnsley. Tory cuts to local government funding will put key local services under even more pressure and see local residents footing the bill.

The council has done an excellent job to protect services in very difficult circumstances. But these latest cuts will make that job even harder."

Michael Slams Local Government Funding Cuts

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has criticised the Government’s decision to further cut local government funding as new figures revealed Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council will see...

Column.jpgThis week, Michael used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to discuss the need for action, rather than words, when it comes to tackling mental health problems.

New figures from the Barnsley Child and Adult Mental Health Service provide a stark illustration of the problem, particularly among young people, and you can read Michael’s call for action to tackle the issues facing mental health care here

Michael Calls for Action on Mental Health Care

This week, Michael used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to discuss the need for action, rather than words, when it comes to tackling mental health problems. New figures from...

This week Michael was part of a cross-party delegation to Dublin for discussions with the Irish Government and political parties about strengthening the bilateral relations between Britain and Ireland, working together post-Brexit and defending the Good Friday Agreement. 

Michael met the Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD (pictured below), in Leinster House, home of the Irish Parliament in Dublin. Additionally Michael had meetings with the Irish Foreign Ministry and the British Embassy. 

Michael was also promoting the work of CHAMP, a cross-party, cross-community organisation that works to promote dialogue and relationships on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and the UK, strengthening the peace process and increasing opportunities to work together for the good of all. You can find out more here

Commenting Michael said:

"CHAMP does incredibly important work and I'd like to pay tribute to James Winston and Josh Stephens from the organisation. I'd also like to thank Conor McGinn MP, who led our delegation, and in particular Senator Frank Feighan for being such a great host". 

 

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Michael visits Dublin to discuss Brexit and promote CHAMP - working for peace in Northern Ireland

This week Michael was part of a cross-party delegation to Dublin for discussions with the Irish Government and political parties about strengthening the bilateral relations between Britain and Ireland, working...

On Tuesday 1st March, Michael supported a local petition that calls on the Government to rethink social care funding proposals.

Barnsley Council recently approved an increase in council tax, which includes a 3% precept that is ring-fenced for social care services. Grants from central Government have been drastically cut, meaning that services are increasingly underfunded and overstretched. In 2017/18, BMBC will see its budget slashed by £9.3m.

The Governments response to the growing crisis in social care has been to give local authorities the power to raise council tax to pay for the shortfall. A social care system funded through local taxes is neither fair nor proportionate, because it only gives areas like Barnsley the care they can afford, not the care that they need.

Since 2010, £4.6bn has been cut by central Government for adult social care services, which resulted in 1.2 million people across the country not getting they care that they need and that they are entitled to.

The petition calls on the Government to think again about social care funding proposals, and you can sign the petition here: www.barnsleylabour.co.uk

Commenting, Michael said:

“The council has done an excellent job to protect services in very difficult circumstances. But these latest cuts will make that job even harder.

“Please join us and call on the Government to rethink the unfair system in social care here.”

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Michael Backs Petition to Support Social Care Funding

On Tuesday 1st March, Michael supported a local petition that calls on the Government to rethink social care funding proposals. Barnsley Council recently approved an increase in council tax, which...

MS_Chron.jpgAs reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, The Star and the Barnsley Chronicle, on Tuesday 28th Michael backed a new campaign for “employment that works” for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The MS Society’s “Enough” campaign is fighting to get more help for people with MS who want to work.

The charity wants the Government to ensure that people with MS have the support they need to cope with the challenges they often face in the workplace because of their condition.

It is vital that the Government addresses this issue, and Michael is pleased to support this important campaign.

You can read Michael's full comments on the campaign here.

You can read more about the campaign here.

Michael Supports “Employment that Works” for People with Multiple Sclerosis

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, The Star and the Barnsley Chronicle, on Tuesday 28th Michael backed a new campaign for “employment that works” for people with Multiple Sclerosis...

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, On Tuesday 21st, Michael welcomed news that plans to extend Elsecar Heritage Railway have taken an important step forward. As a patron of Elsecar Heritage Railway, I’m delighted it has cleared this important hurdle towards extending the line, and you can read my comments in the Barnsley News and Sport here.Elsecar_Railway.jpg

Michael Welcomes Plans for Elsecar Heritage Railway

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport, On Tuesday 21st, Michael welcomed news that plans to extend Elsecar Heritage Railway have taken an important step forward. As a patron of...

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As reported in Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, On 21st February, Michael called on

 ministers to invest more in education after shocking figures released by Save the Children revealed one in five youngsters in Barnsley East are failing to reach speech and language standards.

As a Parliamentary champion of Save the Children, Michael is backing their campaign to get the Government to invest £65 million across the country in places like Barnsley to improve nursery education, and you can read Michael's full comments on the issue here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Calls for Early Years' Learning Funding

As reported in Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, On 21st February, Michael called on  ministers to invest more in education after shocking figures released by Save the Children revealed...

On Friday 17th February, Michael was lucky enough to see a new exhibition at Experience Barnsley called 'Dickie Bird: My Life in Cricket'.

Based at the fantastic museum in the Town Hall, the exhibition is a real treasure trove of memorabilia covering the remarkable career of a true Barnsley, Yorkshire and England sporting legend. Michael was fortunate enough to be taken round by the great man himself.

There's always plenty of things to do and see for kids at Experience Barnsley, so please do call in if you get chance over half term. The exhibition runs until 14 May and has free entry. You can find out more in this video here.

 

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Michael Visits Dickie Bird Exhibition at Experience Barnsley

On Friday 17th February, Michael was lucky enough to see a new exhibition at Experience Barnsley called 'Dickie Bird: My Life in Cricket'. Based at the fantastic museum in the...

On Friday 17th February, Michael visited Balmoral Tanks in Wombwell. This hugely successful global company, which exports all over Balmoral_tanks.jpgthe world, makes waste water, processing and anaerobic digestion tanks. Michael was welcomed to the site by Managing Director, Allan Joyce. 

After the visit, Michael said: “It was excellent to go and visit Balmoral Tanks.  This is a fantastic, growing, world-leading design & manufacturing firm right here in Barnsley.

"They are an incredibly valued employer, providing a large number of high-skilled, well-paid jobs, and their continued investment is greatly appreciated, as are their exciting plans to grow their business here in Barnsley in the coming months and years”.

You can find out more about what the company does here http://www.balmoral-group.com/balmoral-tanks/

Michael visits Balmoral Tanks in Wombwell

On Friday 17th February, Michael visited Balmoral Tanks in Wombwell. This hugely successful global company, which exports all over the world, makes waste water, processing and anaerobic digestion tanks. Michael was welcomed...

Michael spent Friday 17 February visiting Barnsley College in Town and Sandhill Primary School in Great Houghton.Q_A.JPG

Beginning with a 'Question and Answer' session with politics students at the College, Michael discussed subjects ranging from Brexit to how the Labour Party might win a general election again.

At Sandhill Primary School, shortly before pupils broke up for half-term, Michael spoke to Key Stage 2 children. He was asked everything from "what's the best and worst thing about your job" to "have you ever had an argument with Theresa May?" 

Commenting, Michael said: "It's always great to go to Barnsley College - an outstanding college in every sense of the word. A big thanks to students at the College for their questions. Thanks also to staff at Sandhill and to Governor Kevin Osborne. I think my favourite question of the day came from one little lad at Sandhill who asked me what would I say my hairstyle was?!"

Q&A sessions at Barnsley College and Sandhill Primary School

Michael spent Friday 17 February visiting Barnsley College in Town and Sandhill Primary School in Great Houghton.Beginning with a 'Question and Answer' session with politics students at the College, Michael...

This week, Michael used his blog in the Barnsley Chronicle to call for 'protection for the protectors'.

Attacks on the police have risen sharply in Barnsley, up from 27 in 2015 to 31 assaults in just the first nine months of 2016, and Michael is calling for more protection for the dedicated men and women of our emergency services who frequently go above and beyond their duties to look after us.

Recently, Michael has co-sponsored Holly Lynch MP's Bill that proposed tougher sentences for those who assault police officers, and has further supported the Police Federation’s 'Protector the Protectors' campaign.

You can read more about Michael's recent support for these campaigns here.

And you can read Michael's column in full here.

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Michael Campaigns to Protect Police and Emergency Service Personnel

This week, Michael used his blog in the Barnsley Chronicle to call for 'protection for the protectors'. Attacks on the police have risen sharply in Barnsley, up from 27 in...

As reported in The ChronicleBarnsley News and Sport and The Star; on February 13th Michael called for backing for local charity Barnsley Beacons in its battle for funds to continue its work in the community.

Founded in 2000 by a local mother after discovering her three sons were addicted to heroin, Barnsley Beacons does an incredible job working tirelessly to help those affected by alcohol and drug addiction.

It offers a range of services, including a telephone helpline, one-to-one and group support sessions, respite activities, social events, and coffee mornings for those suffering from addiction and their families and friends.

Last year alone, the charity helped 103 people over 605 sessions, and the demand for its services rose by around 20% in the last four months.

However, Barnsley Beacon’s future could now be in doubt unless it can raise more funds to sustain its work, and along with Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, Michael is calling for everyone to back this fantastic charity.

Commenting, Michael said:

“These are tough times when it comes to charities who rely on our support to survive and provide vital services in the community.

I would urge people and organisations who might be able to support Barnsley Beacon to get in touch with them so they can continue helping relatives and carers of people with drug and alcohol problems.”

You can find out more about Barnsley Beacons here: http://info75595.wixsite.com/barnsleybeacon

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Michael Calls for Backing for Local Charity

As reported in The Chronicle, Barnsley News and Sport and The Star; on February 13th Michael called for backing for local charity Barnsley Beacons in its battle for funds to continue...

Michael has written in the Yorkshire Post about the need for substance, not spin, for genuine growth in the North.

The Government has recently announced extra funding for its 'Northern Powerhouse' plans, including an apparent investment of £556m for the North.

But Michael has written to outline the failed promises and spin of the Government when it comes to the Northern Powerhouse, meaning their plans are little more than an empty Northern PR-house.

You can read the full article on Michael's blog here.

Why Substance, Not Spin, is Needed for Northern Growth

Michael has written in the Yorkshire Post about the need for substance, not spin, for genuine growth in the North. The Government has recently announced extra funding for its 'Northern...

Last Week, Michael supported Barnsley's 'Pride Over Prejudice' Festival, a celebration of Barnsley's LGBT history and the 50th Anniversary of the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality.

Commenting on the Festival, Michael said:

"I am proud to support equal rights for the LGBT community. That's why I voted for equal marriage when I was first elected to Parliament."

"As a community here in Barnsley, it is also important that we celebrate our diversity and it is why I am keen to support the family-friendly POP festival."

You can read more of Michael's thoughts on LGBT rights and the POP festival on his blog here.

And you can read more on the Pride Over Prejudice festival hereLGBT.jpg

Michael Supports 'Pride Over Prejudice Festival'

Last Week, Michael supported Barnsley's 'Pride Over Prejudice' Festival, a celebration of Barnsley's LGBT history and the 50th Anniversary of the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality. Commenting on the Festival, Michael said: "I am...

See Michael's interview with Chemist and Druggist about keeping up the campaign to protect community pharmacies here: 

http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news/pharmacy-champion-slams-every-step-dh-cuts-approach?cid=SOC-CDNEW-TWITTER-CD 

Michael's Interview On Pharmacies with Chemist and Druggist

See Michael's interview with Chemist and Druggist about keeping up the campaign to protect community pharmacies here:  http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news/pharmacy-champion-slams-every-step-dh-cuts-approach?cid=SOC-CDNEW-TWITTER-CD 

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley ChronicleA_E_Chron.jpgon Thursday 9th February, Michael accused the Government of presiding over a National Health Service at breaking point, after figures released show patients treated under four hours at Barnsley Hospital Accident and Emergency Department in December fell to a new low of 83.5 per cent.

The Government targets 95 per cent of A&E patients to be treated within four hours, but this figure at Barnsley Hospital fell from 87.7% in November to only 83.5% in December.

Barnsley Hospital has not met these target since August, treating only 94.7% of patients within four hours in September, 93.2% in October, and 87.7% in November.

Nationally, the figures for January suggest a record number of people spent more than four hours waiting in A&E units, whilst a record number more waited for more than twelve hours.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Government is presiding over a National Health Service at breaking point, with Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May in complete denial.

It's harder than ever to see your GP and A&E has come under enormous strain, but these latest figures on waiting times are genuinely shocking.

Cuts of £4.6 billion to the social care budget have left hospitals unable to discharge patients and cut the number of available hospital beds. 

Hospitals are overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded. The Government’s disastrous policies, including cuts to community pharmacies, will only make things worse. 

The staff at Barnsley Hospital do a fantastic job in increasingly difficult circumstances, and it is high-time our Government got a grip and gave them the support they deserve.”

Michael Accuses Government of Presiding Over NHS at Breaking Point

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, on Thursday 9th February, Michael accused the Government of presiding over a National Health Service at breaking point, after figures...

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and The Star; On Tuesday 7th February Michael is co-sponsoring Holly Lynch’s fantastic Bill that would ensure tougher penalties for criminalsScan0023.jpg who
assault police officers and other members of the emergency services.

The Bill will be discussed in the House of Commons, and Michael is pleased to add his backing.

In Barnsley alone, there were 31 assaults on police in the first nine months of 2016, more than the entire number of 27 across 2015.

Across the country, there were an estimated 23,000 assaults on police officers in 2015.

Along with Holly Lynch’s Bill, Michael is supporting the Police Federation’s ‘Protect the Protector’s’ campaign. This campaign was
launched on 6th February, and similarly calls for better protection for police officers. You can read more about the campaign here: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/home-affairs/policing/press-release/police-federation-england-and-wales/83073/national 

Commenting, Michael said:

“Our police and emergency services do an incredible job in difficult circumstances, and this Bill will give them the necessary support and security they need to continue keeping people safe in Barnsley and across the country.”

 

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Michael Co-Sponsors Bill to Crack Down on Police Assaults

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and The Star; On Tuesday 7th February Michael is co-sponsoring Holly Lynch’s fantastic Bill that would ensure tougher penalties for criminals who assault police officers and...

To mark "Time to Talk Day" on 2 February, Michael is encouraging people to join a campaign to get more people talking openly about Scan0014.jpgmental health issues. Started in 2014, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that many people struggle along with mental health as a result of being too afraid to talk about it. 

He has raised the issue a number of times, including with the Health Secretary, urging him to act after figures released in November showed just 33 per cent of trainee GPs in Barnsley East had a training placement in 2015 that gave them mental health experience. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“One in four people will experience a mental health problem, but many are afraid to talk about it.

“Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult. It can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or go for a walk and listening to someone talk about how they feel.

“Mental health is a topic that we should all feel able to talk about. Having these important conversations can make a big difference to many people. The more we talk, the more lives we can change.”

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “Mental health problems are common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health for fear of being judged.

“Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to open up about mental health - to talk, to listen, to change lives. We want to get the nation talking round the clock, whatever the time, whatever the place and wherever you are. It’s easy to take part and make a change.” 

Michael urges people to open up on mental health

To mark "Time to Talk Day" on 2 February, Michael is encouraging people to join a campaign to get more people talking openly about mental health issues. Started in 2014,...

Michael joined South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, along with police officers, councillors and officials from BMBC, to meet local residents on a walkabout in Kendray.

As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, following persistent reports of anti-social behaviour in the Birk Avenue area of Kendray, which led to constituents contacting Michael and local councillors raising their concerns, he went to see first-hand what is being done to tackle the issues. Recent reports have included missile throwing, stopping buses by pressing the emergency buttons and even climbing on the roof at Kendray Hospital and urinating on the entrances.

There has been a multi-agency response to the recent problems and several arrests have been made. Despite large cut backs Kendray_walkabout.jpgimposed by central government, Michael was pleased to see Alan Billings restate his commitment to prioritise neighbourhood policing.

Along with local councillors Karen Dyson and Brian Mathers, Michael also paid tribute to local police officers and PCSOs working in the area including Police Sergeant Ian Bailey and PCSOs David Bagshaw and Stewart Kylie.

Commenting, Michael said:

"I am determined that we have a zero-tolerance approach to crime and anti-social behaviour in Kendray and elsewhere in Barnsley. Behaviour of this kind by a handful of individuals will not be tolerated in our community and I whole-heartedly support South Yorkshire Police in taking a strong stance against it. It was great to have the support for our Police and Crime Commissioner.

"The overwhelming majority of the people in the area are law-abiding, decent people and we cannot let a tiny minority cause misery and mayhem for the rest of the community. 

"Despite working in incredibly difficult circumstances, including dealing with huge cuts in resources from central government, the police service are doing a fantastic job trying to keep on top of the situation for residents in Kendray". 

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South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner joins Michael on visit to anti-social behaviour hotspot

Michael joined South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, along with police officers, councillors and officials from BMBC, to meet local residents on a walkabout in Kendray. As...

On 1st February, the first vote on the Government’s Article 50 Bill took place in the House of Commons. This is the Bill that will enable the Government to begin the process of negotiating Britain's withdrawal from the EU. This vote followed a non-binding vote on 7th December, in which a majority of MPs, including Michael, agreed that the Government’s plan to trigger Article 50 by March 31st would be backed.

Michael voted in favour of the Bill and it was carried by 498 to 119. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“As I have previously made clear, I believe Parliament voted to let the people decide the issue about our membership of the EU in the referendum - it is only right therefore that Parliament abide by the outcome of that referendum.”

This means the Bill will now move on next week to what is called 'the committee stage' where it will be scrutinised by the House of Commons and where amendments can be considered.  Labour tabled a number of amendments to ensure the UK gets the best possible deal from the UK’s exit. These included an amendment to secure full access to the single market and protect workers’ rights, another to guarantee the legal rights of EU nationals living in the UK and another seeking to retain existing EU tax avoidance measure that would prevent the UK from becoming a tax-haven.

There are also amendments that will ensure accountability and scrutiny of the Government’s actions. Amendments have been tabled to ensure the progress being made on exit negotiations are reported to Parliament every two months, impact assessments are made of potential trading arrangements and devolved administrations are consulted throughout negotiations.

The full list of Labour’s proposed amendments can be found here: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/156404587259/labour-tables-targeted-amendments-to-article-50

You can read more about my position on Brexit here in my new year column in the Barnsley Chronicle: http://www.michaeldugher.co.uk/i_voted_remain_but_want_brexit_to_give_us_the_best_deal

Michael Votes on Article 50 Bill

On 1st February, the first vote on the Government’s Article 50 Bill took place in the House of Commons. This is the Bill that will enable the Government to begin the...

On Wednesday 1st February, Michael backed the Bone Cancer Research Trust in their ‘The Biggest Fight Against Bone Cancer – Ever!’ campaign. 

The Bone Cancer Research Trust is dedicated to fighting primary bone cancer and Michael was delighted to support their aim to raise £1.1m in 2017.

During an event for the charity in Parliament, Michael met Matt Cottle-Shaw, from Hemingfield, who is the Head of Fundraising and Communications at the Bone Cancer Research Trust. His father Lawrence was diagnosed with bone cancer at 23 and died 17 years later in 1997.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I am proud to support Matt and so many families affected by this devastating illness.”

You can find out more about the Bone Cancer Research Trust and their campaign here: https://www.bcrt.org.uk/

 

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Michael Backs Bone Cancer Research Trust

On Wednesday 1st February, Michael backed the Bone Cancer Research Trust in their ‘The Biggest Fight Against Bone Cancer – Ever!’ campaign.  The Bone Cancer Research Trust is dedicated to...

As reported by Politics Home and The Scottish Herald, on Wednesday 1st February, Michael outlined his position on the potential UK visit of US President Donald J. Trump. There has been much in the media this week about the proposed visit of the newly-elected US President Donald J. Trump to the UK.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I am a big supporter of the 'special relationship' between Britain and America – it delivers huge benefits for our economy and our security. But there are clearly strong views being expressed as to whether a visit by Trump at this time is right or not. For my part, as a Member of Parliament, I've made clear that I certainly think it would be wrong for him to be afforded the privilege of addressing our Parliament”

Michael has signed Early Day Motion 890, which seeks to prohibit the President making any formal address anywhere in Parliament and has already been signed by a vast number of MPs, which you can see here: https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/890

The full wording is as follows:

This House deplores recent actions taken by US President Donald J Trump, including his Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees, and notably his comments on torture and women; notes the historical significance and honour that comes with an invitation to address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster; and calls on the Speaker, Lord Speaker, Black Rod and Serjeant at Arms to withhold permission from the Government for an address to be made in Westminster Hall, or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster, by President Trump.

If the President is afforded the privilege of addressing Parliament, Michael has stated he will boycott the event.

You can read more of Michael’s thoughts on the issue here: https://www.politicshome.com/news/world/united-states/donald-trump/news/82931/excl-mps-plan-donald-trump-speech-boycott-state

Michael Speaks out on Donald J. Trump Visit

As reported by Politics Home and The Scottish Herald, on Wednesday 1st February, Michael outlined his position on the potential UK visit of US President Donald J. Trump. There has...

As reported in The Yorkshire Post, Barnsley News and SportThe Doncaster Free Press, The South Yorkshire Times and the Scan0016.jpgBarnsley Chronicle, on Tuesday 31st January Michael renewed his call to review the arrangements for the Mineworker’s Pension Scheme (MPS).

Michael has jointly written to the Trustees of the MPS in order to meet and discuss the arrangements. Previously, he had signed Early Day Motion 671 that calls for a review, the full wording of which can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/671

50 per cent of the surplus made by the MPS is received by the Government, who since 1994 have made £3.36bn from the scheme despite contributing nothing to it.

Commenting, Michael said:

"This is not good enough, and the former miners and their families deserve a far better deal."

 

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Michael Calls for Review into Miners' Pension Scheme

As reported in The Yorkshire Post, Barnsley News and Sport, The Doncaster Free Press, The South Yorkshire Times and the Barnsley Chronicle, on Tuesday 31st January Michael renewed his call to review the...

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has condemned the Government's 'appalling mismanagement' of the education system, which is leading to more teachers leaving the profession. Figures obtained by the Barnsley Chronicle showed that 53 primary schools and seven secondary schools spent nearly £3 million plugging shortages in staff. 

Commenting, Michael said:

"These figures are evidence of the Government's failure to meet national targets for teacher recruitment and its complete failure to retain those already in the profession. Despite the efforts of our dedicated teachers and teaching assistants in Barnsley, many schools are forced to reply on temporary staff at a cost of £2.8m to taxpayers.

"It is the appalling mismanagement of government ministers that have put local schools in this situation. A fewer choose teaching as a profession, government spending cutbacks have understandably increased the pressure on teachers and many have chosen to leave their jobs".

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Michael calls for government action on teacher recruitment

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has condemned the Government's 'appalling mismanagement' of the education system, which is leading to more teachers leaving the profession. Figures obtained by the...

Michael has marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 by stressing the importance of reaffirming our commitment to teaching future generations about the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur and Rwanda.

Reflecting on a recent visit to Israel, where he paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, Michael said:MD_HMD.jpg

"Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to pause and to remember what happened. But it also offers an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to teaching future generations. When I signed the Holocaust Education Trust's Book of Condolence in Parliament recently, I wrote: "This happened. So it could happen again."

"It is our responsibility to mark Holocaust Memorial Day to ensure that it never happens again". 

You can read Michael's blog reflecting on Holocaust Memorial Day here

Michael reaffirms commitment to remembering victims on Holocaust Memorial Day

Michael has marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 by stressing the importance of reaffirming our commitment to teaching future generations about the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia,...

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 25th January 2017.

Jonathan Bates’ bid to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 has received the backing of Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher.

Jonathan, aged 46, of Worsbrough Bridge, is in Disability Shooting Great Britain’s talent and development programme, but the team’s funding has been cut because they failed to win any medals at the Rio Olympics last year, so he urgently needs sponsorship to continue his Olympic dream.

Wheelchair-bound Jonathan, who is married with two children, was left disabled after a serious road accident on his motorbike in February 2015. He broke his neck, back and ribs and several bones, injuries which left him paralysed from the chest down.

While he was recovering from his injuries, Jonathan took part in the Spinal Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium as part of the shooting team from the Northern General Hospital Spinal Unit last year, and was talent-spotted by Team GB coaches.

Jonathon said: ‘I was one of only five people asked to go back with other GB coaches present for extra shooting judgement. Only three of us passed and they have been training me since, as they believe I have great potential to win medals.”

Michael said: “Jonathan’s hard work and dedication after such a terrible accident is an inspirational tale of bravery and courage. It would be great if he could join the list of Olympians from Yorkshire and represent Barnsley as part of Team GB at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

I wish him the all the best in his attempts to get the sponsorship he needs and I hope people will get behind him.”

Michael backs wheelchair athlete’s bid for Tokyo Paralympics

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 25th January 2017. Jonathan Bates’ bid to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 has received the backing of Barnsley East MP Michael...

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is supporting a new drive to encourage more women to get tested for cervical cancer.

Latest figures show that cervical screening coverage in Yorkshire and Humberside is only 75.4%, meaning that one in four eligible
Scan0012.jpgwomen in the region did not attend their screening appointment.

Michael is backing Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which runs until January 28, and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to help raise awareness of the disease and the importance of cervical screening.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

Every year around 3,200 women in the UK are given a cervical cancer diagnosis. Almost 900 lose their lives to the disease, but the cervical screening programme saves an estimated 5,000 lives every year. However, the number of women taking up this potentially lifesaving test is declining and uptake is now at a 19-year low in England.

Michael said: “I am very concerned that more than one million women in England – including one in four across Yorkshire and Humberside – did not attend cervical screening last year.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 and is on the rise in women over 50. Screening provides the best protection against the disease and can detect abnormal cells which, if not treated or monitored, could develop in to cervical cancer.

We need to raise awareness about the importance of cervical screening and I am glad to support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We have one of the best cervical screening programmes in the world which saves approximately 5,000 lives a year. However, the number of women attending their screening is at a 19-year low.

If we do not increase investment in prevention, we will be faced with more women facing the physical and psychological cost of cervical cancer, increased burden on the NHS and state, and more lives lost.” 

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Michael speaks out in support of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is supporting a new drive to encourage more women to get tested for cervical cancer. Latest figures show that cervical screening coverage in...

Michael is backing a new Breathing Space scheme to help families struggling to deal with their debts, after figures showed a post-credit crunch high in household debt.

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As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on 23rd January 2017.

Michael is backing plans for a new scheme to help local families struggling to deal with their debts.

His intervention comes after new figures revealed there are an estimated 3,227 families in Barnsley East, including 5,629 children, living with problem debts, according to the Children’s Society and debt charity StepChange.

Michael is supporting a proposal by the two charities to introduce a statutory “Breathing Space” for families in debt.

Such a scheme – which is being considered by the Government – would build on protections offered under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland and would support families sticking to an affordable repayment plan so they are not hassled by aggressive creditors.

New Bank of England figures reveal that unsecured household debt has risen at its fastest rate since the financial crisis in 2008, and evidence from The Children’s Society shows the impact household debt can have on children’s mental health.

The two charities warned that aggressive action from lenders and pressure to repay debts at an unaffordable rate can lead families to cut back on essentials like food, take out other, expensive loans, or fall further behind on bills.

The proposed Breathing Space scheme would offer people seeking debt advice a 12-month legal protection from mounting interest, charges and enforcement action.

Michael said: “It’s terrible that children’s mental health is suffering because some lenders are unfairly pressurising people over their debts.

Families with debt problems in Barnsley East need time and space to get back on their feet.

By giving them a period free from additional interest, charges and enforcement action, this new Breathing Space scheme would help families recover their financial situation and put in place an affordable plan to repay their debts.”

The Government now needs to act by putting a comprehensive Breathing Space scheme in place.”

Michael backs plans for new Debt Scheme

Michael is backing a new Breathing Space scheme to help families struggling to deal with their debts, after figures showed a post-credit crunch high in household debt. As reported by...

Reported by the Barnsley News & Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, on 19th and 20th January Michael visited the 2nd Battalion of Scan0015.jpgthe Yorkshire Regiment, known as 2 YORKS, at the Somme Barracks at the Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire. The visit was as part of Michael's membership of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, where Parliamentarians volunteer to spend at the least 15 days a year in uniform with members of the Armed Forces. The scheme seeks to educate politicians about our Forces and is a chance for MPs to demonstrate their personal commitment to those serving. 

During his visit, Michael met with personnel from across the Battalion - from private soldiers, NCO's and officers - and he was briefed on their work by the Commander Officer of 2 YORKS, Lt Col Sam Humphris MBE.

2 YORKS, who traditionally recruit many soldiers from Barnsley, are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan later this year. The Battalion is a light mechanised infantry battalion, meaning they are experts in dismounted close combat.  As part of the visit Michael was shown examples of all the equipment they use on deployment. He also took tour of the accommodation and participated in a counter terrorism simulation exercise.

Commenting Michael said:

“It was a great privilege to get to get to spend time with, and importantly show my support for, the brilliant and brave personnel serving in 2 YORKS. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude and must ensure they get every support they deserve. 

"I would like to thank Colonel Sam and his team, including Capt Tom Flanagan (who it turned out went to my old school!), for taking the time to show me the amazing work that they do”. 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael visits Catterick Garrison

Reported by the Barnsley News & Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle, on 19th and 20th January Michael visited the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, known as 2 YORKS, at the Somme Barracks at...

This week, Michael used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to talk about the ongoing crisis in our NHS under this Tory Government. You can read this here.

On Saturday, Michael joined a number of campaigning sessions across the constituency where activists asked the public to support Labour's calls for the Government to act on the current crisis in our NHS.

He joined members and residents in Worsbrough, Darfield and Hoyland, which were well attended and where residents were supportive of the campaign. 

There was also campaigning in Wombwell and elsewhere in Barnsley. 

Michael said: "A big thanks to everyone who came out and supported our campaign to highlight the crisis facing our NHS - from local councillors to residents from across Barnsley. We had a great reception from the public who were understandably very concerned about what's happening to our NHS."

 

Michael campaigns in Barnsley to Save our NHS

This week, Michael used his column in the Barnsley Chronicle to talk about the ongoing crisis in our NHS under this Tory Government. You can read this here. On Saturday, Michael...

One of Barnsley East's councillors has been recognised by the Labour Party for 50 years service to the party and to her local community. Councillor Dorothy Higginbottom, Labour councillor for the North East Ward, was given the Labour Party Merit Award for Outstanding Service at an event at Barnsley Town Hall. 

Commenting, Michael said:FullSizeRender.jpg

"This award is the very least we could do to recognise the extraordinary contribution of someone who has given five decades of public service to the people of Barnsley. Dorothy Higginbottom is a great community champion and a tireless local campaigner who always brings kindness, compassion and common sense to everything she does. We owe Dorothy a huge debt of gratitude."

Michael and Dan Jarvis were hosting an event at the town hall, where Rachel Reeves MP was talking about her book, Alice in Westminster, which celebrates the life of Alice Bacon, Yorkshire's first female MP. Councillor Sharon Howard chaired the event, where members were given an opportunity to ask Rachel questions about the book and Alice's life. 

You can read more about Rachel's book, Alice in Westminster: The Political Life of Alice Bacon, here

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Labour Party honours Cllr Dorothy Higginbottom

One of Barnsley East's councillors has been recognised by the Labour Party for 50 years service to the party and to her local community. Councillor Dorothy Higginbottom, Labour councillor for...

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on 18th January 2017 and Barnsley Chronicle on 20th January 2017.

Michael is encouraging local groups to cash in on a supermarket charity scheme.

Tesco uses the money raised from the 5p levy on single-use plastic bags to fund its “Bags of Help” project that awards grants to community projects across the country.

Under the retail giant’s scheme, administered by environmental charity Groundwork, projects that promote community participation in the development and use of outdoor spaces can apply for grants.

Every month, three projects in each area will get a grant based on the number of votes that customers cast in their local Tesco by putting a token in a box.

The scheme with the most votes will get up to £5,000, with up to £2,000 available for second place and up to £1,000 for the scheme coming third.

Michael recently visited the Tesco at Stairfoot to promote efforts to support local food banks in Barnsley.

Among the local projects that could apply for an award are Milefield School Community Farm Project which is aiming to raise money to buy two Alpaca sheep.

Michael said: These are difficult times for anyone in Barnsley trying to raise money for community projects. Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme is a great way of improving and conserving some of our outdoor spaces.

Shoppers can have their say on where the money should go by casting their votes and local projects could get some badly needed funds, whether it’s £5,000 or a few hundred pounds.”

Michael urges local groups to help themselves to Bags of Cash

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on 18th January 2017 and Barnsley Chronicle on 20th January 2017. Michael is encouraging local groups to cash in on a supermarket charity scheme....

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on 16th January 2017 and Barnsley Chronicle on 20th January 2017.

Michael has called for urgent action on the NHS crisis after new figures revealed just 87.7 per cent of patients admitted to Barnsley Hospital’s A&E unit were since within the four-hour target time.  

Michael blasted the Government’s “shambolic mismanagement” of the NHS after the number of A&E patients seen at the town’s hospital with the target time fell dramatically.  

Hospitals nationwide have been set a target of seeing 95 per cent of A&E patients within a four-hour target time.

Michael had a meeting last week (Friday 13 January) with the chief executive of Barnsley Hospital to discuss performance at A&E and ongoing challenges facing the NHS in Barnsley.

But Michael said Government mismanagement, bed shortages and difficulties in accessing GP appointments meant Barnsley and hospitals across the country were struggling to cope – despite the best efforts of their dedicated staff. There have been reported problems of ambulances not being able to process patients into hospital adequately too. And Government cuts of £4.6 billion to social care have also put huge strains on A&E. 

The latest figures for Barnsley Hospital A&E unit shows that only 87.7 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in November – down from 94.7 per cent in September and 93.2 per cent in October.  

The figures show that 832 of the 6,788 patients who attended Barnsley Hospital’s A&E unit  in November waited more than four hours.

The figure is a sharp rise from the previous month when more people attended the unit but far fewer waited more than four hours.  In October, 7,097 attended Barnsley’s A&E, but only 484 patients waited more than four hours. 

Michael warned the pressure on hospitals like Barnsley would only increase if the Government ignored his campaign to keep open community pharmacies and pressed ahead with its cuts to the network of chemists.

On Wednesday, Michael voted in favour of a Labour proposal at Westminster  that called on the Government to inject more cash into social care services to help overstretched hospital departments cope this winter. 

His intervention comes after a week of turmoil in the NHS saw the British Red Cross described the situation as a “humanitarian crisis” with many patients left on trolleys in corridors.

 Commenting, Michael said:

“Despite the very best efforts of the dedicated NHS doctors, nurses and other staff at Barnsley Hospital, more patients are having to wait longer than the four-hour target at the A&E unit.

“Our health service is on its knees and one third of hospitals across the country have asked for urgent help to deal with the number of patients coming through their doors.

“The Tories cut £4.6 billion worth of funding from social care in the last Parliament, putting extra pressure on already overstretched A&E departments and GPs surgeries. They wasted billions on a top-down reorganisation that nobody voted for. And if planned cuts to community pharmacies go ahead, this will only make a dire situation even worse.

“Instead of changing the policies, Jeremy Hunt wants to change the targets for A&E. This will not solve the problem for patients who have to endure long waits for treatment or relieve the pressure on dedicated NHS staff. 

“The Government must bring forward the £700m of social care funding planned for 2019/20 now and halt its ill-thought out cuts to community pharmacies”.

Michael says NHS "on its knees" and demands urgent cash boost after Barnsley Hospital misses A&E patients four-hour target

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on 16th January 2017 and Barnsley Chronicle on 20th January 2017. Michael has called for urgent action on the NHS crisis after new...

British politics is at risk of being ‘infected by this contagion’, says report by Michael.

Tech companies and the media must do more to combat the spread of fake news stories to avoid British politics being “infected by this contagion”, Michael, who is  leading an investigation into the phenomenon, has warned.

Writing for the Guardian, Michael said the issue of demonstrably false stories being spread via social media was not just a problem for fringe websites, but also more mainstream news outlets.

The problem of fake news emanated from ostensibly leftwing sources as well as from the right, said Michael, who has been asked by Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, to look into the issue. 

Michael Dugher 

With the US president-elect, Donald Trump, using the term to describe the leaking of unverified allegations about his private life, “the global scale of the problem with fake news is clear”, the Michael.

“Even someone with views as grimly unpalatable as Trump deserves to be scrutinised on the basis of truth and reality – not on fake news,” he argued.

There was, Michael said, a duty for news organisations and journalists to verify information they used and “avoid the temptation to publish clickbait nonsense in a voracious quest for web traffic”.

The idea of fake news had taken off during the US presidential election campaign, Michael said, adding: “In Britain too, our politics risks becoming infected by this contagion.”

The dominance of tech giants such as Google and Facebook in disseminating information posed a similar challenge to UK governments over plurality as they face with the concentration of newspaper ownership in a few hands, he wrote.

He said the need for tech firms to do more did not mean there was no need to tackle inaccurate reporting in the traditional press.

Michael  said: “No one has done more than Tom Watson when it came to highlighting the failings of the newspapers over phone-hacking and other corrupt practices or to challenge the influence of the Murdoch empire on politics. That is why we will continue to support change.

“But we in the Labour party, who have so often been on the wrong side of misrepresentations and unfair attacks from the rightwing media, also have a responsibility to be vigilant and reject fake news material on social media and elsewhere – even if it purports to come from the left.”

Michael has been asked by Watson to look into “the changing way news is consumed and shared online, and at the practical, political and ethical issues raised by fake news”. He is due to report on the spring.

Fake news poses threat to threat to British politics warns Labour

As reported by The Guardian. See the report by the BBC here and see Michael's op-ed in The Guardian here.   Labour calls on media and tech firms to combat spread...

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