Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

News

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...

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 11th January 2017.

Michael has urged people living in cold homes in Barnsley to seek help with their fuel bills.

He said many people living in fuel poverty this winter were unaware of the support they could receive to assist with the cost of heating their homes.

An estimated 189,400 households in South Yorkshire get the annual Winter Fuel Payment of £100 to £300 to help the elderly with their energy costs - an allowance introduced by Labour in 1997.

But Michael warned that, due to the "broken energy market", some people would turn off their heating because they feared they could not afford the bills this winter – even though help could be available from their energy supplier.

According to a survey carried out by poverty charity Turn2us, more than half of those quizzed (53%) were unaware that many energy suppliers offered help to some customers, particularly those on low incomes.

And, two-thirds (66%) were not aware that some energy suppliers have charitable trusts to help certain customers struggling with their fuel costs.

Michael backed the Turn2us charity’s “No Cold Homes” campaign to raise awareness of the help available and urged people in Barnsley to see if they could benefit from the various schemes.

Michael said:

“Far too many people in Barnsley live in fuel poverty and simply cannot afford to turn on the heating as often as they need.

“Thanks to our broken energy market, they are forced to live in cold homes and it is often  the elderly and the most vulnerable who are the hardest hit.

“I would urge people to see what help is available with their fuel bills. Friends and family can help by checking on their relatives and neighbours to see what assistance might be available for them.”

Michael calls for more help for people living in Barnsley in Fuel Poverty

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 11th January 2017. Michael has urged people living in cold homes in Barnsley to seek help with their fuel bills. He said many people...

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on January 9th 2017.

Michael is calling on ministers to introduce new measures to combat the soaring number of attacks on police in Barnsley.

His demand comes after new figures revealed that assaults on local police officers have continued to rise dramatically.

According to information released by South Yorkshire Police under freedom of information rules, there were 27 assaults on officers across all ranks in the Barnsley policing districts in 2015 – up from 19 assaults in 2014.

However, in the the first nine months of 2016, the number of assaults soared to 31 – already significantly higher than the whole of 2015.

The attacks come in the wake of the Government cuts of £160 million over five years to police budgets across the country that have put forces under increasing strain. More than £50 million has been cut from South Yorkshire’s budget since 2010 with the loss of 800 jobs last year alone.

Following a recent Commons vote, Mr Dugher is calling on PM Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to adopt a three-point plan drawn up by Labour, led by fellow Yorkshire MP Holly Lynch, to combat the violence.

The plan calls for:

  • Tougher custodial sentences for criminals who assault police because fines and suspended sentences are an insufficient deterrent
  • The Home Office to record all assaults on police and to standardise the process across all police forces to help police chiefs and politicians understand the scale of the proble
  • An end to Government cuts to police budgets to make sure police officers are not sent out on patrol alone

Michael said: “I know that the individual men and women serving in our police force across Barnsley do a magnificent job working to keep local people safe. They put themselves and their safety on the line every single day. We owe it to them to ensure that they get our every support.

“The Government must take urgent action to tackle the appalling and growing number of assaults on our police. We need tougher sentences for anyone who attacks a police officer so violent thugs realise they face a spell behind bars rather than just a suspended sentence or a fine. 

“The Government must also stop cutting police budgets so officers are not left vulnerable or lacking proper support when going about their duties.”

 

Michael demands Government action to tackle rising assaults on police in Barnsley

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on January 9th 2017. Michael is calling on ministers to introduce new measures to combat the soaring number of attacks on police...

On New Year's Eve we sing: "Should auld acquaintance be forgot?" Rather like the character in in the film 'When Harry Met Sally', I've never understood why we sing it. I certainly don't believe it.

Many of us have lost loved ones in the past year – friends and relatives. New Year's Eve is often when we think of them. I thought about my grandmother, who died before Christmas of dementia.

2016 was also year that saw the passing of so many of the 'great and the good' - pop stars, actors, and TV personalities.

For me, I'll always remember that 2016 was the year that Jo Cox was murdered. She had only been an MP for a year, but she made such a difference. 

I first met this fiercely brave Yorkshire woman 20 years ago. And this Christmas I thought in particular about her husband - my old mate Brendan - and their young children.

It's hard to see what good could possibly come out of the horrific circumstances surrounding her death. 

But before she died, Jo was working with MPs from all parties on tackling loneliness in our society. Her Commission on Loneliness will launch at the end of this month and will look at finding solutions to a problem that affects so many people in our society. 

According to Age UK, 82,500 people aged over 60 in Yorkshire and the Humber were on their own over the festive season.  Across the country, around 1.2 million people are said to be “chronically lonely” or had been coping with loneliness for years.

We should all be doing more to visit neighbours, relatives and friends that might benefit from a bit of company.

2016 was the year when we said a sad farewell to Jo Cox, but let's make 2017 a year when she will not be forgotten - and where we honour her memory by continuing the work she began. 

Michael vows to honour Jo Cox in 2017

On New Year's Eve we sing: "Should auld acquaintance be forgot?" Rather like the character in in the film 'When Harry Met Sally', I've never understood why we sing it. I...

This column appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday 30 December 2016.

Whatever else 2016 is remembered for, this will be the year when a new word really entered the English language: Brexit.

A couple of weeks ago I voted in the House of Commons for Brexit and for the Government to invoke so-called Article 50 – the process by which we get the ball rolling on Britain leaving the EU – at the end of March next year.

In the referendum I campaigned to Remain. I did so knowing most people in Barnsley would vote to Leave, which you may think is a little counter-intuitive for a politician.

But politicians should also do what they think is right and stand up for what they believe in – not simply go with the tide.

I was worried what might happen to the economy if we came out (with forecasts for growth being revised downwards and government borrowing set to be billions higher, I still am). When the economy goes belly up, places like Barnsley tend to struggle the most.

I also never believed the claim from some Tories and UKIP (who want to privatise the NHS) that Brexit would deliver billions more for our cash-strapped National Health Service.

Most importantly I did understand and shared many of the concerns that people had about the EU, especially the scale and pace of ‘free movement of people’ that can put pressure on communities and have a downward impact on pay and conditions.  I’ve argued for donkey’s years that Labour needed to champion tough new controls on immigration, despite its undoubted benefits in some areas.

But in the end I voted for Brexit because we must now respect the will of the people.

Yes, the Government needs a proper plan. Brexit can’t mean Britain going backwards on jobs and workers’ rights.

But I think it’s our job to get on with it – uncertainty itself is bad for the economy. And it’s our job to get the best deal for Britain and for Barnsley. That’s exactly what I intend to do in 2017.

I voted remain but want Brexit to give us the best deal

This column appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday 30 December 2016. Whatever else 2016 is remembered for, this will be the year when a new word really entered the...

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 30th December 2016 and Barnsley News & Sport on 4th January 2017.

Michael has condemned Government cuts to police budgets after new figures showed crime has soared in his Barnsley East constituency. 

According to the latest figures, the number of crimes in Barnsley East rose from 829 in September 2015 to 926 in September 2016 – a rise of 11.7%. 

Anti-social behaviour offences accounted for around half the reported crimes.

Worst hit was the Rockingham area where residents suffered an increase of 48.6% from 72 crimes in September 2015 to 107 crimes a year later.

The levels of crime also increased over the same 12-month period in Cudworth, Darfield and Stairfoot.

But crime dropped in Wombwell, Hoyland Milton and Worsborough, according to the UKCrimeStats think-tank. 

Figures were not available for the North East Ward in Barnsley East. 

Residents in the Hoyland area have also seen a recent surge in car crime, according to reports to police.

Michael said he planned to discuss the latest crime figures with South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“I've warned in recent years that Government cuts on the police service on the scale that we've seen meant that our communities could see a boom in crime. 

“Our local police officers in Barnsley do a magnificent job protecting the public and they deserve all of our support and gratitude. But out of touch Ministers are letting them down by simply not giving them the resources they need to do the job when they are under increasing pressure. 

“It's clear these Government cuts are now taking their toll and it is Barnsley residents and businesses who are are paying the price through higher crime levels. 

“I will continue to press the Home Office over the impact of their cuts and I will discuss the latest figures with South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings who is trying his best to protect frontline community policing, despite the lack of proper funding from central government". 

Michael slams Government police cuts after crime soars in Barnsley

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 30th December 2016 and Barnsley News & Sport on 4th January 2017. Michael has condemned Government cuts to police budgets after new figures...

Michael recently took ‘Brassed Off’ actor Stephen Tompkinson to Grimethorpe to mark 20 years since the release of the film. After watching a rehearsal by the world-class Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Michael accompanied Stephen and band members at the local Working Men’s Club. 

They met with local resident and the band’s librarian Kim Ward, whose grandfather and father worked at Grimethorpe Colliery, to visit

 notable places in the village to see how it has changed over the last two decades. Michael also took Stephen to visit Experience Barnsley and the exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Oaks mining disaster

Commenting, Michael said:

‘Villages like Grimethorpe were decimated by the Thatcher and Major governments in the 1980s and 1990s. You come here today ST_montage.jpgand you can still see the wounds that were inflicted, with people still mourning the loss of the well-paid and stable working-class jobs that gave them a strong sense of pride and community.

‘Grimethorpe was the most deprived village in the UK and among the poorest in Europe following the closure of its pit in 1993 – which employed 6,000 men. Though it is great to see jobs returning to the village, the ones that have returned aren’t as secure, well-paid or as skilled as the ones that were lost.

‘It is great to see that Grimethorpe Colliery Band is carrying on the proud legacy of a hundred years’ hard work, serving as a reminder of the village’s rich heritage in coalmining’.

You can read the full feature article in the Daily Mirror by clicking here, and see a short video of the band rehearsal below:

Michael joins Stephen Tompkinson and Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Michael recently took ‘Brassed Off’ actor Stephen Tompkinson to Grimethorpe to mark 20 years since the release of the film. After watching a rehearsal by the world-class Grimethorpe Colliery Band,...

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd December 2016.

Michael has urged ministers to combat loneliness after new figures revealed thousands of people across Yorkshire and the Humber feel lonelier at Christmas.

According to new research from Age UK, a total of 82,500 people aged over 60 in Yorkshire and the Humber will be on their own over the festive season.

 The charity said an overwhelming 86 per cent of the people it had surveyed in the region believed there should be more help available for lonely people who are single, separated or widowed.

 And, seven out of ten (70 per cent) of those quizzed thought regular visits from a friend or relative would be helpful, while almost half (46 per cent) said a phone call would also ease their solitude.

Across the country, Age UK said around 1.2 million people were “chronically lonely” or had been coping with loneliness for years.

Michael said the Government needed to do far more to help deal with loneliness which can contribute to a range of health issues.

 He is supporting the work of a new Loneliness Commission set up in memory of murdered Yorkshire MP Jo Cox which is developing ways to deal with the problem.

 Commenting, Michael said:

“With Christmas around the corner, loneliness can have a terrible impact on people in Barnsley and across the region.

“It is a problem that affects thousands of older people, but is also something that can blight the lives of many younger people too.

“Loneliness can be enormously damaging to people’s physical and mental health and lead to conditions like depression.  

 “We know that lonely older people are more likely to need long-term care and tend to visit their GP more often.

 “The Government should be doing far more to work with charities like Age UK to help those who are most at risk.

 “But we can also do more by visiting someone who we know would enjoy some company or a chat over Christmas.”

Michael calls on Government to take urgent action to combat health risks of loneliness

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 23rd December 2016. Michael has urged ministers to combat loneliness after new figures revealed thousands of people across Yorkshire and the Humber feel...

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 21st December and Barnsley Chronicle on 30th December

Michael has called on the Government to double the number new homes reserved for the homeless.

His intervention comes after latest figures show the number of people sleeping rough in Barnsley has trebled.

The number of people sleeping on the streets of Barnsley and across the rest of the country has more than doubled since 2010, according to official Government figures. Rough sleeping in England has rocketed from around 1,768 people in 2010 to 3,569 in 2015 – up 30% in the last year alone.

Michael is demanding action from the Government and is backing a Labour plan to end the “national shame” of rough sleeping on the streets of Britain’s towns and cities.

Under proposals unveiled by Labour, the party would set aside 4,000 flats or houses for the homeless, if Labour were to win the next general election.

Labour would work with housing associations to double the size of an existing scheme that provides flats for the homeless in London and extend it to include parts of the country like Yorkshire.

It would build on the The Clearing House scheme run by homelessness charity St Mungo’s on behalf of the Greater London Authority which provides 3,750 flats in more than 40 housing associations across London for people who have a history of rough sleeping.

Michael said Labour would aim to end rough sleeping within its first term in government by removing the need for anyone to sleep on the streets.

He challenged the government to reach an agreement with housing associations to make the extra accommodation for the homeless available now.

Michael went on: “Whilst the number of people sleeping rough in Barnsley is still thankfully relatively low, the figures show an alarming rise.

“Homelessness is a problem that can be solved.   The previous Labour government achieved considerable success on homelessness. But it needs a determined approach from the current government to make sure that happens.

 “The rising number of people sleeping rough is unacceptable and Ministers should be doing far more to ease the crisis.

 “A future Labour government would put a stop to this national shame and provide homeless people with a place to call home so they can start rebuilding their lives.’

Michael backs Labour plan to end ‘national shame’ of rough sleeping

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 21st December and Barnsley Chronicle on 30th December Michael has called on the Government to double the number new homes reserved for...

As reported by The Star, Sheffield on 19th December 2016, the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News & Sport on 21st December

A shake-up in school funding will see previously ‘underfunded’ schools in Barnsley receive more cash, according to education secretary Justine Greening.

But Michael says he will believe the extra funding for education when he sees it, following the admission from the government that the borough has been short-changed for years, compared to some other areas.

According to the Department for Education, schools in Barnsley look set to gain, while the funding per pupil will be cut in areas like Manchester and Liverpool under current plans.

Despite Barnsley’s greater needs, the council has seen bigger cuts imposed on local services such as children’s centres and libraries than wealthier parts of the country. 

Plans outlined by Ms Greening show more than 9,000 schools in England will lose funding as cash is switched from major urban areas to schools that have received less cash.

Details of which areas will win and lose under the plan to end the “postcode lottery” of school funding were revealed in the Department for Education’s second consultation on its national funding formula. The document said: “We need to ensure the system for distributing this funding is fair. Similar schools and local areas receive unjustifiably different levels of funding right across the country.”

Teaching unions warned that even the so-called winners were likely to see their gains outweighed by cuts in real terms of up to eight per cent to their funding over the next three years.

More cash promised for ‘underfunded’ schools - We'll believe it when we see it

As reported by The Star, Sheffield on 19th December 2016, the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News & Sport on 21st December A shake-up in school funding will see previously ‘underfunded’...

 

 

On Sunday 11th December, the day before the 150th anniversary of the disaster, Michael joined Cllr Brian Mathers, Cllr Wayne Johnson, Cllr John Clarke, Dan Jarvis MP and Cllr Linda Burgess, Mayor of Barnsley, and members of the local community to remember the 383 men and boys that were killed when explosions ripped through the Oaks Colliery near Stairfoot in 1866.

 

Last week, Michael visited the Experience Barnsley exhibition in the Town Hall.

 

The first explosion, thought to be caused by flammable gases, buried the miners in the workings, including young boys who were handling the pit ponies. A second explosion killed 27 of the rescuers who had volunteered to help the trapped and injured.

 

Barnsley Main Heritage Group came up with the idea of marking this disaster by planting 383 crosses on the site of the colliery, each bearing the name of someone who died. Michael was privileged to take part and planted a cross for Samuel Thorpe Neal, age 12.

 

160 bodies of the men and boys killed were never recovered and during the commemoration event, a short service was led by Reverend Dewey in memory of those who remain buried in the works.

 

Commenting Michael said – “I am so grateful to Cllr Brian Matthers and others from the Barnsley Main Heritage Group for devising such a fitting tribute. It was very moving to be there with family and meet local people to lay a cross inscribed with the name of a relative that died on that terrible day 150 years ago.

 

I am looking forward to the unveiling next year of the statue to commemorate the disaster, which has been designed by Barnsley sculptor Graham Ibbeson. It has been funded by the Oaks 150th Anniversary Disaster Memorial Fund Campaign, of which I am a patron. This will be a fitting and permanent memorial to the huge sacrifices that were made by our people in that industry”.

 

See Michael’s column for the Barnsley Chronicle here

Oaks Colliery Commemoration

    On Sunday 11th December, the day before the 150th anniversary of the disaster, Michael joined Cllr Brian Mathers, Cllr Wayne Johnson, Cllr John Clarke, Dan Jarvis MP and...

On the 13th of December, Michael supported the brilliant campaign by Labour’s Carolyn Harris MP to provide financial support for bereaved parents.

 

Approximately 5000 infants and children pass away each year in the UK, and the subsequent funeral costs often place a huge financial and emotional strain on already suffering parents.

 

Whilst a small number of authorities waive some or all of the fee required for children’s funerals, the estimated cost a year of children’s funerals in the UK is £10m, with some families forced to fundraise in order to raise the money.

 

The motion put forward calls for the Government to establish a specific fund to cover these costs and help parents, and Michael is proud to back it.

 

See the Early Day Motion here:

https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/775

 

 

Michael supports Motion for Financial Support for Bereaved Parents

On the 13th of December, Michael supported the brilliant campaign by Labour’s Carolyn Harris MP to provide financial support for bereaved parents.   Approximately 5000 infants and children pass away...

Today is National Postal Workers Day and one of the busiest posting days of the year.

In Barnsley, we have already seen the closure of Wombwell Post Office earlier this year, with a counter replacing it inside the Heron Foods shop on the High Street. In April, the Post Office announced plans to move 60 branches across the country into WH smith stores, forcing 2,000 job losses.

Last week, after having campaigned long and hard to stand up for post offices and their workers, Michael signed a Commons motion demanding that the Government develops a “strategy to safeguard the future of the Post Office as a matter of Urgency”.

Commenting, Michael said “The Post Office now at crisis point and Government action is required. We have seen the effect this has had in my own constituency and that’s why I am backing National Postal Workers Day today.”

"I'd like to pay tribute in particular to the CWU for all the campaigning they do all year round on behalf of their members and thus vital public service". 

“This vital service requires the hard work of all of our postal workers up and down the country. They need our support to continue, especially at this time of the year leading up to Christmas.”

Michael backs Postal Workers Day

Today is National Postal Workers Day and one of the busiest posting days of the year. In Barnsley, we have already seen the closure of Wombwell Post Office earlier this...

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 6th December and Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December.

 

Michael is calling on the government to reverse a rule change that makes it harder for former miners and their relatives to claim compensation for potential fatal lunge disease.

He is helping spearhead a campaign for an urgent rethink from ministers amid fears that ex-miners and their families could be "cheated" out of a vital cash lifeline. Thousands of miners contracted pneumoconiosis - also known as miner's lung or black lung after breathing in coal dust at work.

Under the 1974 Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Scheme, ex-miners, as well as their widows or family members, are able to claim for compensation for their illnesses.

But Michael has warned that a change in the rules for making compensation claims could affect thousands of families of ex-miners in Barnsley.

The Department for Work and Pensions, which administers the scheme, has rules that the relatives of deceased miners will be forced to include a grant of probate with any compensation claim.

The change will make claiming compensation harder because families are likely to have to pay for solicitor or legal advice to get the grant of probate, a legal document which proves they have the right to deal with the deceased miner's assets and administer their estate.

Michael has thrown his support behind a House of Commons motion calling for a U-turn on the changes amid fears that it is a move to cut the cash paid out under compensation scheme.

Michael said, "These changes look like a cynical attempt to cut the amount of compensation paid out under the scheme by making it harder to make a claim. It is despicable attack on those who are suffering the impact of a terminal lllness. The decision to change the rules should be reversed immediately."

Michael demands Rule Change to assist Miners' Claims

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 6th December and Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December.   Michael is calling on the government to reverse a rule change that makes...

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December.

A crackdown on ticket touts to stop fans being force to pay 'rip off' prices for major sporting and music events has the backing of a Michael.

Michael is demanding action to get fans a fairer deal and throwing his support behind Labour Party proposals that would see touts using automated software to bulk-buy thousands of tickets for resale at huge profits facing prison sentences.

He hopes Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson's plan to introduce criminal penalties for the worst offenders will stop sports and music fans paying extortionate prices on the secondary ticket market as a result of touts using specialist computer soft-ware called 'bots'.

Michael said: "As a keen music ands ports fan, I know people in Barnsley will be very disappointed about the government's failure to deal with ticket touting. Fans should not be forced to pay rip-off prices to see their favourite events just because touts can see the chance to make a fast buck. It is a scandal that outs are using ticket-harvesting bots to buy up thousands of tickets and then sell them on at hugely inflated prices.

"It's time we got a fair deal for fans and took action to deal with this problem once and for all."

Michael Targets Ticket Touts

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December. A crackdown on ticket touts to stop fans being force to pay 'rip off' prices for major sporting and music events...

The following piece appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December 2016.

150 years ago, at 1.15pm on 12 December 1866, a huge explosion was heard for miles around in Barnsley. As a powerful new exhibition at Experience Barnsley records, word spread quickly: "The Oaks has fired". 


The catastrophe at the Oaks Colliery near Stairfoot remains the worst disaster in the history of coal mining in England, killing 383 men and boys - including 27 volunteers who joined the rescue effort.

Our history is hugely important to us in Barnsley. As someone who grew up in a South Yorkshire pit village close to my Barnsley East constituency, I know that we must never forget where we came from. 


That's why it is fitting that there are a series of events planned to remember those who lost their lives in the Oaks disaster. 


I am honoured to be a patron of the Oaks 150th Anniversary Disaster Memorial Fund Campaign which has raised the money for a statue by local sculptor Graham Ibbeson to be erected at the site in the Spring.

With the funds raised locally and with the excellent backing of the NUM, the statue will be a permanent reminder of that terrible day. 


On Sunday morning, I will be joining local people at a special service on the site of Barnsley Main, which took over the Oaks Colliery workings, to remember those who died.

A total of 383 crosses, with a name of a man or boy who perished etched on each one, will be placed at the commemoration in a fitting tribute devised by Barnsley’s deputy mayor, Cllr Brian Mathers.


The disaster at the Oaks shattered a community well accustomed to the difficult and dangerous work of miners.  The bodies of some of the victims were never recovered.

The youngest boy to die was just 11.


The coal industry powered an industrial revolution in Britain and it made a few people very rich indeed. But it also came at an incredible cost to many of the communities and people who worked in it. 

Oaks Disaster 150th Anniversary

The following piece appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th December 2016. 150 years ago, at 1.15pm on 12 December 1866, a huge explosion was heard for miles around in Barnsley. As...

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on December 8th

 

Michael has signed a “green pledge” to defend the UK’s countryside and support UK action on climate change.

Michael's move comes amid warnings from campaigners that environmental protection rules could be weakened after Britain voted for Brexit because the rules were drawn up in Brussels and could be scrapped.

Dozens of the UK’s environmental rules, including aimed at securing cleaner beaches, lower levels of air pollution, and the protection of marine environments and rare species – from bitterns to butterflies – started life as European agreements.

The pledge signed by Michael calls on the Government to ensure strong environmental standards following the EU referendum vote. It has so far been signed by more than 140 MPs from all parties.

The pledge was initiated by a coalition of 13 national organisations which  are campaigning to ensure that, when these EU rules are replaced, it is with new standards at least as strong as those set by the EU. This will ensure that the UK’s environment is healthy and our unique wildlife and countryside remain a national treasure.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I signed the pledge because I want the Government to make sure we protect the beautiful countryside throughout the UK, including around Barnsley, and that we continue to tackle important issues like climate change and air pollution.

 

“Everyone must now respect the Brexit vote, but following the EU referendum it’s vital for us to reassert the importance of a clean, green and healthy environment – whether that is in Barnsley, across the UK or overseas. Britain can and should be a world leader in dealing with environmental issues.”

Ben Stafford, Head of Public Affairs at WWF-UK, said:

“By signing the Pledge for the Environment, Michael has shown that he understands that a healthy environment is critical to a successful future for our country.”

Michael calls on Government to protect Yorkshire Countryside

As reported by the Barnsley News & Sport on December 8th   Michael has signed a “green pledge” to defend the UK’s countryside and support UK action on climate change....

As reported on 1st December by The Sheffield Star and 30th November on Barnsley News & Sport

The move comes as fears grow that post offices across Yorkshire could be forced to shut due to falling incomes. Barnsley had already seen the closure of Wombwell Post Office earlier this year, although a post office counter has opened inside the Heron Foods shop on the High Street. In April, the Post Office announced plans to move around 60 branches across the country into WH Smith stores and shed up to 2,000 jobs.

Michael warned that the Post Office was now at a “crisis point” and called for Government action. He has signed a Commons motion that demands that the Government develops a “strategy to safeguard the future of the Post Office as a matter of urgency”.

Michael’s intervention came as managers at Crown Post Offices voted for further strike action on Saturday (December 3) in their continuing dispute over job losses, branch closures and pension changes.

Unions have said the action at Crown Post Offices, which are the larger branches that are usually located in High Streets, could disrupt Christmas mail. 

Commenting, Michael said: “Whilst there is no immediate closure threat to our local post offices in Barnsley, the post office network is at crisis point over its future.

“We have already seen many local bank branches close down and I fear some post offices face a similar fate, unless the Government takes urgent action to safeguard them.

“Ministers must come up with a robust strategy to help get post offices on a sound financial footing and help them grow their income if this cherished part of our community is to survive.

“The Government should look at establishing a Post Office Bank to develop the financial services post offices already offer. That could help fill the gap left by the closure of so many bank branches.”

Michael calls on the Government to Safeguard the Future of Local Post Offices

As reported on 1st December by The Sheffield Star and 30th November on Barnsley News & Sport The move comes as fears grow that post offices across Yorkshire could be forced...

Michael visited local schools that participated in his annual Christmas card competition this week to award prizes to winners and runners up. As part of this annual competition, Michael invites pupils from local primary schools across Barnsley East to submit designs, the winning one of which is used to send to nearly 3,000 people in Barnsley, the UK and across the world.

A panel of judges, which includes the Mayor of Barnsley and local sponsors, poured over hundreds of entries from ten schools thisbirkwood_winners.jpg year and selected the winning entry that features on the front of the card, plus winners from each school that are included on the inside of the card. Each school is presented with book vouchers for taking part and the winners and runners up are given certificates and individual prizes.

The winning design which will feature on the front of Michael's Christmas card was from Birkwood Primary School. The winner is pictured here with Michael, together with the runners up from that school. You can also view a video of the presentation at Birkwood here.

The other school winners and runners up from other schools were:

Hoyland Common Primary School – Judd Osborne, 9 (winner), Isabelle christmas_card_montage.jpgLaw, 6, and Betsy Watts, 6 (runners up)

West Meadows Primary School, video here – Declan Merrick, 8 (winner), Charlotte Jones, 6, and Aimee Hughes, 10 (runners up)

Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre – Alaska Pancott, 10 (winner), Trinity Green, 8, and Liberty-Angel McGrevy, 9 (runners up)

St Michael and All Angels Catholic Primary School – Olivia Brakes, 11 (winner), Cheyanne Boak, 10, and Ashna Shibu, 10 (runners up)

Churchfield Primary School – Millie Parkin, 9 (winner), Libby Jukes, 9, and Ella Lyman, 10 (runners up)

Hoyland Springwood Primary School – Ellie Hobson, 9 (winner), Kelsey Hastie, 11, and Natasha Goulding, 8 (runners up)

There was also a school winner and two runners up from St Helen’s Catholic Primary School. They are pictured above too. 

Michael announces Christmas card competition winners

Michael visited local schools that participated in his annual Christmas card competition this week to award prizes to winners and runners up. As part of this annual competition, Michael invites...

Michael has praised the work of volunteers from Barnsley Foodbank Partnership and Fairshare at a collection at the Tesco store in Stairfoot. Michael met with the store manager Peter Fay on Thursday, along with volunteers who were collecting for Barnsley’s food banks.

Last year, Tesco collected around 38 million meals for food banks nationally, with around 12,500 of those collected in Barnsley in the run up to Christmas. In particular, the local food banks are running short on tinned fruit, tea bags, dried paste, UHT milk and breakfast cereals.

Commenting, Michael said:Tesco_food_bank_collection.jpg

“I want to thank the hard work of the volunteers from the Barnsley Foodbank Partnership and Fairshare for giving up their time to take action on food poverty in Barnsley. I also want to thank Tesco, who do a brilliant job within the community and are always on hand to help out good causes such as this.

“The fact that we are one of the richest countries on earth, yet there are so many people depending on the generosity of others to put food on the table is a national shame. Over 90% of the food distributed by food banks comes from members of the general public and it is heart-warming to see the generosity of shoppers here in Barnsley”.

To find out more about the work of Barnsley Foodbank, visit their website here

Michael visits Tesco food bank collection

Michael has praised the work of volunteers from Barnsley Foodbank Partnership and Fairshare at a collection at the Tesco store in Stairfoot. Michael met with the store manager Peter Fay...

Michael paid tribute in a Westminster Hall debate to charities such as Be Child Cancer Aware and CLIC Sargent, and the incredible work they do providing support for children and young people diagnosed with cancer. 

By raising awareness of the struggles faced by children and families, encouraging the early diagnosis of cancer, and providing invaluable support to those diagnosed, charities such as these fight tirelessly for children and young people with cancer. In doing so, they provide a crucial support network and make an invaluable difference. 

However, there is still a lack of awareness surrounding the dangers of cancers with young people and children. Cancer is the most common form of death from illness in those aged 1-15, and although 0.5% of cancers affect children, the impacts are often devastating.

Michael emphasised that more must be done to tackle these figures, and both child cancer research and increasing the awareness of the threats faced are paramount to this fight. Charities such as CLIC Sargent and Be Child Cancer Aware are integral to this, and deserve recognition for the impact they have on children in difficult times. 

Find out more about the work these charities do here:

Be Child Cancer Aware: http://www.bechildcanceraware.org/

CLIC Sargent: http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/

And see my intervention here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/eac0e840-b934-48c7-87d3-41432f643ae5 from 16:41:29

Michael shows support for Early Diagnosis and Family Support in Cancer Debate

Michael paid tribute in a Westminster Hall debate to charities such as Be Child Cancer Aware and CLIC Sargent, and the incredible work they do providing support for children and...

 

Michael has backed Labour’s demand that the Government give the NHS the funding it desperately needs.

The NHS is operating with a deficit of £2.45bn – the worst on record and around 3.9 million people in England are on waiting lists to start treatment.  Some 1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year - up over 400 per cent since 2010 and one in four patients have to wait a week or more to see or speak to a GP or nurse, or do not get an appointment at all

In addition, proposed cuts to community pharmacies will result in added pressure on A&E units and GPs and Michael has been at the forefront of the campaign to stop these cuts.

This weekend, Labour supporters in Barnsley have been out campaigning on the issue, including on Saturday morning in Hoyland market. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“Our overstretched NHS is underfunded and understaffed. In Barnsley hard working NHS staff do a fantastic job, under immense pressure, as they struggle to keep up with demand for their help. But the Government seems to be ignoring the NHS and has done nothing to address the problems in social care. As we face another looming winter crisis in A&E, Labour’s campaign aims to care for the NHS give it the support it needs”.

Find out more about Labour’s Campaign Day here: (http://www.labour.org.uk/nhs)

Michael backs Labour’s Care for the NHS Action Day

  Michael has backed Labour’s demand that the Government give the NHS the funding it desperately needs. The NHS is operating with a deficit of £2.45bn – the worst on record...

Michael is urging members of the public in Barnsley to support the charity Cash for Kids’ flagship campaign ‘Mission Christmas’, which makes sure that vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the region receive presents at Christmas. Recent figures by End Child Poverty revealed that 14,150 children are living in poverty in Barnsley, which amounts to 27.84%.

Last year, the campaign raised over £1.1 million and gave 21,438 children across South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield gifts at Christmas. Around 2,075 of these were from Barnsley. Social services, NHS, community groups, organisations, food banks and local charities are eligible to apply for gifts for children under their care and support.

Michael, who is patron of the charity, visited the operation HQ in Sheffield on Thursday (24 Nov) to meet the volunteers co-ordinating efforts to distribute donations from across the region to those that would otherwise be left without over the festive period.

This follows a plea from the charity for local businesses and residents in Barnsley to support the campaign by donating gifts or offeringcash_for_kids_montage.jpg their business premises as a ‘drop-off point’. Allan Ogle, the charity manager, is also asking local support agencies and families in need of support to apply to the scheme.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It was fantastic to meet the charity manager Allan Ogle and his team to see the hard work they do making sure that vulnerable children in Barnsley and in our region are not left without at Christmas. If residents just buy one extra gift, it will mean all the difference to a child from a struggling family or in the care system.

“The charity does great work, but a slow uptake in Barnsley means that many children in our town could be facing a bleak Christmas. I would urge all local residents and businesses to support the charity and those needing support to get in touch with them.”

You can see more about the Mission Christmas campaign and the Cash for Kids charity by clicking here.

 

Michael urges Barnsley residents to support ‘Mission Christmas’

Michael is urging members of the public in Barnsley to support the charity Cash for Kids’ flagship campaign ‘Mission Christmas’, which makes sure that vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the...

Michael joined the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Brian Mathers, on Thursday to recognise the efforts, achievements and hard work of volunteers across Hoyland and Rockingham. At the inaugural ‘Stars of Hoyland’ awards, which took place at Barnsley Town Hall, Michael presented awards to residents that have dedicated their time to fundraising for charity, volunteering or making a special contribution to the community.

The winners were:

Young Volunteer – Kasey Parkin, Morgan Parkin and Jason Penton (Hoyland Milton) and Erin Marrison (Rockingham) stars_of_hoyland_montage.jpg

Environmental Achievement Award – Mark Arnold (Hoyland Milton) and Little Acorns (Rockingham)

Community Business and Contribution Award – Tesco

Outstanding Contribution to Sport and Recreation – Daz Wilkie

Outstanding Contribution to Art and Culture – Dan Smart

Good Neighbour – Andy Hodgkinson (Hoyland Milton) and Margaret Haigh (Rockingham)

Volunteer of the Year – Pat and Richard Sullivan (Hoyland Milton) and Janet Payling (Rockingham)

Community Group – Friends of Elsecar Park (Hoyland Milton) and West Bank House (Rockingham)

Commenting, Michael said:

“It was a great privilege to join with the Deputy Mayor and local councillors to celebrate the achievements of volunteers in such a wonderful community. All of the winners and nominees make a special contribution to their community and make it a better place to live.

“I would also like to thank the Deputy Mayor Brian Mathers for supporting the event and for local councillors, Jim Andrews, Tim Shepherd, Mick Stowe, Chris Lamb, Emma Dures and Robin Franklin for the hard work they do in the community and for making the event possible.”

Michael presents at inaugural ‘Stars of Hoyland’ Awards

Michael joined the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Brian Mathers, on Thursday to recognise the efforts, achievements and hard work of volunteers across Hoyland and Rockingham. At the inaugural ‘Stars of Hoyland’...

 

 

As reported in the Sheffield Star on 15th December

 

On the 22nd November Michael attended a RNIB's (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Parliamentary reception and backed their call to reduce the increasing number of cancelled and delayed appointments at hospital eye departments.

 

Appointments are being increasingly cancelled or postponed as a result of rising demand for eye care services. This is especially the case for patients with chronic eye conditions like wet age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. These conditions require long-term monitoring and treatment. If appointments are delayed or cancelled patients can be at risk of irreversible sight loss. According to the RNIB, last year in Barnsley 5292 appointments were missed with a further 484 cancelled by hospitals.  

 

No one should lose their sight because of cancelled or delayed appointments. Find out more about the RNIB's campaign here: www.rnib.org.uk

Michael backs RNIB Campaign to Save Eyesight by Reducing Appointment Delays

    As reported in the Sheffield Star on 15th December   On the 22nd November Michael attended a RNIB's (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Parliamentary reception and backed...

As reported by the Sheffield Star

24 November 2016

Michael is calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act as new figures from mental health charity Mind reveal that just 33 per cent of trainee GPs in Barnsley East had a training placement that gave them mental health experience in 2015.

These figures are well below the national average of 46 per cent of trainee GPs who gained mental health experience on a placement last year. The figures come at a time when spending on mental health care in Barnsley is already well below the national average.

Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group has increased the amount it is spending on mental health this year by just 0.19 per cent, to £33m. This represents 8.09 per cent of Barnsley CCG’s total £408 million budget for this financial year – below the average 9.79 per cent spent on mental health by other CCGs.

Michael warned that children and young people in Barnsley were also being let down when it comes to the mental health services, with spending on Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services decreasing this year, despite a growing demand for help.

With a third of all GP appointments connected to mental health issues, Michael said it was vital that more was spent on mental health and that all GPs and practice nurses had improved training to help them support patients.

Michael said: “Barnsley is already spending significantly less on mental health than other parts of the country which means we are failing some of the most vulnerable people in society."

“People are having to wait far too long to get access in Barnsley to the mental health services they need. That has to change.

“Our doctors and nurses do a fantastic job under immense pressure that has made their work far harder because of Government cutbacks to the NHS and pharmacies budgets. Improved training would give them the confidence to deal with people seeking support.”

Michael demands Improved Training for GPs and Nurses, to help local people with Mental Health Illnesses

As reported by the Sheffield Star 24 November 2016 Michael is calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act as new figures from mental health charity Mind reveal that just...

Michael has condemned the Chancellor’s financial blueprint for failing families in Barnsley.

He attacked the Government’s chaotic handling of the economy after Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed soaring borrowing, slower growth and higher prices in his Autumn Statement.

The Government will borrow an extra £122bn by 2020. The total amount of Government debt is predicted to rise by £210bn to almost £2 trillion by 2020.

Slowing economic growth is expected to increase unemployment across the country from 4.8% to 5.5% by the end of 2018, while inflation is expected to be up next year to 2.3 per cent – a big leap from the previous forecast of 1.6 per cent.

Michael warned poorer households in Barnsley would be hit hardest by the Chancellor’s plans, while 85 per cent of the income tax cuts still to come in this parliament will go to the richest half of households.

In real terms, average weekly earnings will be £15.20 a week lower at the start of 2021 than forecast in the Budget in March.

Michael said the Autumn Statement would do nothing for the “Just About Managing” households that PM Theresa May claimed she wanted to help.

He also criticised the Chancellor’s partial reversal in planned cuts to universal credit, allowed those affected to keep an extra 2p for every pound they earn as “a tiny token gesture”.

The Chancellor reduced the so-called taper rate at which universal credit is withdrawn as recipients’ earnings rise from 65p to 63p in every pound. But Mr Hammond rejected Labour calls to reverse £3bn of benefit cuts.

Before the Autumn Statement, Labour set the Government three vital tests:

1.    We need a credible fiscal framework that ends austerity and supports investment

2.    We need actual support for those in work on low and middle incomes

3.    We need secure and properly funded public services.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Autumn Statement shows yet again that the Government is failing - and it's people in Barnsley struggling to get by who'll pay the price. 

“Theresa May claimed she wanted to help those people who were 'just about managing', but even the Government's own figures show that less well-off working households with families are hit the hardest. 

“The Chancellor seems to be ignoring the NHS and has done nothing to address the crisis in social care. 

“The Government have admitted borrowing will shoot up, growth will slow, prices will rise and working people will suffer a drop in earnings.

“After six wasted years, this failing Tory Government has yet to come up with a convincing economic strategy to boost living standards, invest in the future and protect our public services.”

Michael says Autumn Statement shows Government is failing - and it's working families in Barnsley who will pay the price

Michael has condemned the Chancellor’s financial blueprint for failing families in Barnsley. He attacked the Government’s chaotic handling of the economy after Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed soaring borrowing, slower growth...

Michael joined members of the Wombwell & District Operatic Society, of which he is patron, and local residents at a charity Christmas coffee morning on Saturday to help raise much needed funds for maintenance and shows.

The fundraiser took place at their HQ on George Street in Wombwell, where volunteers had come together to put on raffles and festive stalls for members of the public to support their local Operatic Society.

Commenting, Michael said: operatic_society_montage.jpg

“The Wombwell & District Operatic Society has been going for over 80 years and this is only down to the hard work of volunteers, whether they are part of the performing team, sewing team or painters. But it is also important to make sure that as members of the community we do our bit to support them too.

"The Wombwell & District Operatic Society puts on performances all year round, and it is important that we show our support and go to some of their fantastic performances. It was great to see so many people coming together to support them”. 

You can find out more about their performances by visiting their website: www.wombwelloperatics.com

Michael joins Wombwell Operatic Society for Christmas fundraiser

Michael joined members of the Wombwell & District Operatic Society, of which he is patron, and local residents at a charity Christmas coffee morning on Saturday to help raise much...

Following last night’s Proud of Barnsley Awards ceremony, Michael has congratulated those picking up awards for exceptional achievements, charity work and volunteering in the community. The event which is organised by the Barnsley Chronicle every year and sponsored by businesses from across Barnsley.

This years winners were:

Young Superstar: Charley Dyson

School of the Year: Hoyland Common Primary

Children's Champion: Bill Winstanley, Royston Dynamos

Sporting Achievement: Horizon U15 Girls' Cricket Team

Love Where You Love: Dodworth Village Community Group

Start-up of the Year: Pura Cosmetics

Exceptional Achievement: Less Binns

The Best of Barnsley Award: Barry Hines 

Volunteer of the Year: Terry Haynes

Carer of the Year: Sybil Davey

Charity fundraising team: West Stand Bogs

Community Hero: Ged Brearley

Hospital Hero: Ward 14

Community Group: Friends of Wombwell Cemetery

Charity Fundraiser of the Year: Jonathan Booth

Triumph Over Adversity: Claire Throssell

Surprise Award: Shaun Dooley 

Michael had previously nominated Friends of Wombwell Cemetery, who scooped the Community Group award, and Tala Lee Turton for her achievements in ballet and Major John Lomas for his hard work and dedication with the Army Cadet Force.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Proud of Barnsley Awards have been running for a few years now and each year that goes by more and more extremely talented, dedicated and inspiring people keep coming forward. I want to congratulate the winners and all those that were nominated. It is important that we celebrate and recognise the contribution to our community and our town.

“Having judged the awards in previous years, I know that all those shortlisted are of extremely high calibre and they should also be congratulated for the work that they do volunteering in the community, championing causes that help others or working hard to achieve remarkable things. These people keep on proving time and again that we have every reason to be proud of Barnsley”.

Michael congratulates Proud of Barnsley winners

Following last night’s Proud of Barnsley Awards ceremony, Michael has congratulated those picking up awards for exceptional achievements, charity work and volunteering in the community. The event which is organised...

Michael has given his support to a campaign by the shopworkers' union USDAW in a bid to raise awareness of the verbal and physical abuse targeted at shopworkers everyday. 

The campaign follows research that revealed that every minute of the working day, another shopworker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. 

Commenting, Michael said:Keep_your_cool_USDAW.jpg

"The shocking research by USDAW shows that abuse is a real problem in particular for shopworkers. Every person should have the right to go to work free from the fear of verbal or physical assault. I'm proud to support their campaign. 

"USDAW is a great campaigning union. I would like to pay tribute in particular to my good friend Cllr Pauline Markham, who does an excellent job on behalf of the union promoting their campaigns and making sure their members have a strong voice here in Barnsley.

For more information about USDAW and this important campaign, please visit their website by clicking here

Michael backs USDAW's 'Respect for Shopworkers' week

Michael has given his support to a campaign by the shopworkers' union USDAW in a bid to raise awareness of the verbal and physical abuse targeted at shopworkers everyday.  The...

 

This week Michael spent two nights visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as part of a delegation led by Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson. Michael met with Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem to look at coexistence projects bring both communities together, as well as meeting Members of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) from Labour's sister party. He also visited Yad Vashem, the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and attended a special wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.

 

 

Michael has written a blog about his recent visit for Politics Home here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael visits Israel and the Palestinian Territories

  This week Michael spent two nights visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as part of a delegation led by Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson. Michael met with Israelis and...

15 November 2016

 

As reported by Barnsley News and Sport

 

Michael is demanding improved training for GPs and nurses to help local people with mental health illnesses.

 

He is calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act as new figures from mental health charity Mind reveal just one in three (32 per cent) trainee GPs in Barnsley East had a training placement that gave them mental health experience in 2015.

 

The alarming figures for Barnsley East are well below the national average of 46 per cent of trainee GPs who gained mental health experience on a placement last year.

 

The figures come at a time when spending on mental health care in Barnsley is already well below the national average.

 

Furthermore, the amount spent on young people and children with mental health issues has fallen.

 

Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has increased the amount it is spending on mental health this year (2016/17) by just   0.19% to £33 million.

 

The £33 million represents 8.09% of Barnsley CCG’s total £408 million budget for this financial year – well below the average 9.79% spent on mental health by other CCGs.

 

Michael warned that children and young people in Barnsley were also being let down when it comes to the mental health services.

 

The spending on Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Barnsley is £3.6 million in this financial year – a drop from the £3.7 million spent in the last two years despite the growing demand for help.

 

With a third of all GP appointments connected to mental health issues, campaigning MP Mr Dugher said it was vital that more was spent on mental health and that all GPs and practice nurses had improved training to help them support patients.

 

Commenting, Michael said:

 

“Barnsley is already spending significantly less on mental health than other parts of the country which means we are failing some of the most vulnerable people in society. 

 

“People are having to wait far too long to get access in Barnsley to the mental health services they need.  That has to change.

 

“Our doctors and nurses do a fantastic job under immense pressure that has made their work far harder because of Government cutbacks to the NHS and pharmacies budgets.

 

“Giving proper mental health training to GPs and practice nurses would help people in Barnsley get more help for mental health issues.

 

“Improved training would give them the confidence that they have the knowledge to deal with people coming to surgeries because they need advice and support over their mental health.

 

“The Government must do more to make sure all GPs and nurses get mental health training which will ease some of the pressures they face every day.”

 

According to Mind, practice nurses – as well as GPs – need more training because its figures showed more than four in five (82 per cent) practice nurses said they felt ill-equipped to deal with aspects of mental health.  And, more than two in five (42 per cent) nurses said they had no mental health training at all.

 

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said he increased training would help patients with mental health problems.

 

Mr Farmer said: ““GPs and practice nurses have an incredibly difficult job to do, under enormous pressure and demands.

 

“A significant number of patients they come into contact with will have experienced mental health problems, yet many primary care staff tell us they haven’t had sufficient training to be able to deal with them.

 

“That’s why we’re urging the Government to ensure structured training is in place for trainee and qualified GPs and practice nurses.”

 

Michael said he was also concerned that – despite extra Government funding this year for mental health services – many areas appeared to be cutting back on spending.

 

Michael backed a House of Commons Early Day Motion in October that called on ministers to make sure extra money earmarked for mental health services reached the services and patients for which the funds were intended.

Michael calls for more training for Doctors and Nurses to boost Mental Health Services

15 November 2016   As reported by Barnsley News and Sport   Michael is demanding improved training for GPs and nurses to help local people with mental health illnesses.  ...

Each year Michael supports a different local branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and today he joined local councillors and residents in Wombwell to honour the Fallen. 

Michael joined the Wombwell RBL branch president, Tony Dutton, who led the procession to St Mary's Church, where Michael and his family attended the annual remembrance service. Michael did the readings at the service before laying a wreath at the cenotaph.

As a member of the Hoyland Branch of the Legion, Michael then went to the Hoyland Centre to join local councillors and veterans at reception which followed another successful Remembrance Sunday there. 


Commenting, Michael said:remembrance_montage.jpg

“It was a privilege once again to stand with so many veterans to pay tribute to their service and to honour all those serving our country today and in the past. In particular it is a time when we rightly reflect and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedoms.

"The turn-out from the public in Wombwell was fantastic, as it is throughout the Borough, and it was great to see so many young people from the cadet forces and local schools and the scouts, guides, cubs and brownies. My thanks goes to Tony Dutton in Wombwell who did a magnificent job, including stepping in at the last minute for our poorly vicar!

"A big thanks also to everyone in Hoyland, where everyone agreed it was the biggest crowd ever". 

Remembrance Sunday

Each year Michael supports a different local branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and today he joined local councillors and residents in Wombwell to honour the Fallen.  Michael joined...

diwali_montage.jpgOn Saturday evening, Michael and his family joined the Gujurat Association of Barnsley at the annual Diwali celebrations at the Rockingham Centre in Hoyland. Launching the event with the Mayor of Barnsley, Councillor Linda Burgess, Michael performed the traditional coconut breaking ritual. Those attending were treated to an evening of traditional dance, music, food and fireworks.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The annual Diwali celebration is one of my favourite events of the year.  Diwali is about the triumph of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, and is a great celebration of our diversity here in Barnsley. A big thank you once again to the Gujurat Association of Barnsley, led by Harshad Patel, who do a fantastic job every year". 

Barnsley Diwali celebration

On Saturday evening, Michael and his family joined the Gujurat Association of Barnsley at the annual Diwali celebrations at the Rockingham Centre in Hoyland. Launching the event with the Mayor...

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th November 2016.

9 November 2016

Michael has demanded urgent action to help the soaring number of people forced to rely on Barnsley’s food banks.

He also condemned the "shocking" and "shameful" ten per cent rise in the number of adults and children now using local food banks, blaming the Government's austerity policies. 

His call comes after the Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network , published new figures this week (November 8) revealing how many emergency food parcels it has delivered in Barnsley.

According to the charity’s mid-year figures, volunteers at its Barnsley food banks delivered 2,113 emergency food supplies to adults and children in Mr Dugher’s Barnsley East constituency between April and September 2016.

A total of 866 of the emergency aid parcels, which contain enough food for three days, went to children in the constituency.

The figure are a sharp ten per cent rise on the 1,914 people – comprised of 1,122 adults and 792 children - who received parcels over the same period last year.

Across the UK, the Trussell Trust’s network of 420 food banks distributed 519,342 food packages to people in crisis between April and September 2016 – compared to 506,369 over the same period last year.

Mr Dugher said Government’s austerity policies were to blame for the growing use of food banks, seen as a barometer of poverty, in Barnsley and across the country.

He backed the Trussell Trust’s call on the Government to set up special telephone hotlines between food banks and the Department for Work and Pensions to enable volunteers to help those using food banks solve their problems more quickly.

The Trussell Trust said problems with benefit payments, including administrative delays and benefit sanctions, were the biggest reason why individuals were referred to food banks.

Commenting, Mr Dugher said:

“It’s shocking that number of people in Barnsley who are forced to rely on food banks has continued to rise.

“I have visited several food banks in Barnsley and whilst the volunteers there do an amazing job, it is shameful that so many people, including children here in Barnsley, have been pushed into poverty because of the policies of this Tory Government. 

“As one of the world’s richest economies in 2016, families should not be reliant on emergency food handouts just to survive.

"We can and must do better than this.  Many of those who turn to food banks need the help because of delays with their benefit payments.  That’s why I support the Trussell Trust’s idea of a new hotline to help the most urgent cases.”

The Trussell Trust says the new hotline would focus on the most urgent cases and provide vital, trouble-shooting support for people referred to food banks because of problems with a welfare claim.

It would help ensure the underlying causes of people’s crises are tackled faster, reducing stress and negative impact on the mental wellbeing of people due to delays, admin errors and instances where benefit sanctions have been questionably applied.

David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, said:

“To stop UK hunger we must make sure the welfare system works fairly and compassionately, stopping people getting to a point where they have no money to eat.”

Michael blasts “shocking” rise as hundreds more forced to rely on Barnsley’s food banks

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport and the Barnsley Chronicle on 9th November 2016. 9 November 2016 Michael has demanded urgent action to help the soaring number of people forced to...

9 November 2016

As reported by Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has urged parents to have their say on fresh plans to change school terms and holidays in 2018.

Barnsley Council has unveiled plans (November 3) for possible changes to terms dates for the academic year 2018/19.

The possible shake-up is back on the table after the Council dropped proposals earlier this year to shorten the summer holiday and extend the school break in October.

Parents and families are now being asked for their opinions on three possible options set out by the council.

The options are:

1: A new pattern which would change the summer and October half- term breaks – giving an extra week in October and a week less in  the summer.

2: Keeping the long summer break unchanged.

3: Fixing the same dates for the Easter break every year - rather than changing year on year, allowing parents to plan well in advance.  

Commenting, Michael said:

“Barnsley Council is keen to hear the views of as many parents as possible on the future shape of school terms and holidays .

“I’d urge parents to consider what would work best for their children’s education and make sure they have their say on these important proposals.”

The consultation is open until 5pm on Friday, 2 December. People can give their views at Barnsley Council’s consultation site here: http://consult.barnsley.gov.uk/portal

The results will be presented to Barnsley Council Cabinet members in February 2017.

The Council plans to make a decision and circulate the results to schools and other interested parties in March, with any changes introduced at the start of the academic year in 2018.

Michael urges Barnsley Parents to have their say on proposed shake-up of school holidays

9 November 2016 As reported by Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has urged parents to have their say on fresh plans to change school terms and holidays in 2018. Barnsley...


As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has made a speech arguing against the Government’s plan to cut the budget for community pharmacies by £113 million this financial year and a further £95 million in 2017-18.

During a debate in the House of Commons, which you can read here, Michael spoke about the increasing importance of community pharmacies to local communities, to patients and to the wider NHS.

Michael also joined Jon Ashworth to lead a protest against the cuts on College Green with many community pharmacists and Labour MPs.

The protest was attended by delegates of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee, including delegates from Barnsley, and also by Steve Lo, Managing Director of Lo’s Pharmacy.

Commenting, Michael said:


Community_Pharmacy_College_Green.jpg“The Government's proposal for our pharmacies is a prescription for disaster. 

“Ministers are pursuing a scorched earth policy that is bad for Barnsley and will force the closure of hundreds of pharmacies in Yorkshire and thousands across the country.

“The expertise and dedication frontline healthcare staff out in our communities supporting the NHS will be replaced by empty shopfronts, with patients forced to travel further for the medicine and advice they need. 

“MPs must send a message to the Government to think again and drop these flawed plans for the sake of the health of more than two million people who have already signed the biggest ever healthcare petition opposing to their plans.”

Steve Lo, Managing Director of Lo’s Pharmacy, who travelled to Westminster to watch the debate, added:

“If these cuts go ahead, they will force pharmacists to review their costs.  For those who are not forced to close, that is likely to include reduced opening hours and fewer staff, as well as stopping the provision of services that they are not obliged to provide - like home delivery of medicine.”

Michael speaks against community pharmacy cuts in the House of Commons

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has made a speech arguing against the Government’s plan to cut the budget for community pharmacies by £113 million...


Chronicle_Orgreave.jpgAs reported by the Barnsley ChronicleDaily Mirror, the Daily TelegraphThe SunITV NewsLabour List and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has criticised a Government decision to rule out an inquiry into the policing of the Battle of Orgreave.

In a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Monday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told MPs that there would be no inquiry into Orgreave.


The decision comes following a campaign by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to launch an inquiry into what happened at Orgreave.

You can find out more about the campaign here.

Responding to the decision, Michael said:

“The Government’s decision to rule out an inquiry into what happened at Orgreave is a callous betrayal of campaigners and a spit in the face for every former coalfield community.

“Ruling out an inquiry denies truth and justice and it maintains secrecy around the policing of the Miners’ Strike. This is nothing less than a political decision to protect the interests of the Tory Party who presided over this appalling period.

“The anger about the policing of the Strike is still felt today in the former coalfields. No one is criticising the brilliant rank and file police staff in today’s South Yorkshire Police. But an inquiry into Orgreave, especially after Hillsborough, was a golden opportunity to once again rebuild trust and confidence in South Yorkshire Police and to deal with another bitter chapter in its history.”

You can find out more by visiting the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign website here.

 

Michael responds to Government decision on Orgreave

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Daily Mirror, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, ITV News, Labour List and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has criticised a Government decision to rule out an inquiry into the policing of the...


Brexit_Chronicle.jpgAs reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has commented on the result of the High Court case this week where it was ruled that the Government should consult MPs before triggering Article 50.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union, and will be used following the result of the EU referendum on 23 June.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Parliament must respect the will of the people, as expressed in the recent referendum. Voters in Barnsley were overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit and that is what I would vote for in the House of Commons.

“But I also think it's incumbent on the Government to consult Parliament on the terms of our withdrawal. People wanted to leave the EU, but they also want to see us protect the economy, jobs and working conditions.” 

Michael comments on Article 50 High Court Case

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has commented on the result of the High Court case this week where it was ruled that the Government should consult MPs before...


As reported in the South Yorkshire Times, Michael is backing a new campaign to ease the financial burden of cancer on families.

He is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to act after children and young people’s cancer support charity CLIC Sargent highlighted the problem.

The move comes after CLIC Sargent released its Cancer Costs report, which revealed that parents spend on average an extra £600 when their child needs cancer treatment. The extra costs put a huge strain on family finances and force many into debt.

The typical extra bills that parents face when their child is ill include paying for more fuel when travelling to and from hospital, covering parking charges, and the extra expense of eating away from home.

Every day, ten children and young people receive a cancer diagnosis. CLIC Sargent campaigns to make life easier for these cancer victims and their families.

Michael is supporting the charity’s campaign and is urging the Prime Minister to take action to help ease these financial problems.

Commenting, Michael said:Scan0001.jpg

“The anguish of discovering a family member has cancer puts a huge strain on any family.

“But the cost of coping with extra expenses that come with dealing with cancer can often be a crippling burden on a family’s budget.

“CLIC Sargent is right to highlight the impact of these costs that mean families with a child needing cancer treatment have to find on average an extra £600.

“It’s time the Prime Minister recognised this problem and did far more to help cancer sufferers and their relatives with these costs.”

Kate Lee, Chief Executive Officer of CLIC Sargent, added:

“The pressure of managing finances causes considerable stress and anxiety during what is an already impossible time for families. This is not right or fair.

“Following the initial shock of diagnosis, treatment often starts immediately and can take place far from home. Suddenly families see their lives transform, as their priorities shift to support their child through their illness.

“That is why we are calling on the Government, banks, energy and transport companies to implement a series of measures that will make a real difference to families coping with childhood cancer."

Michael backs Cancer Costs campaign and calls on Theresa May to act

As reported in the South Yorkshire Times, Michael is backing a new campaign to ease the financial burden of cancer on families. He is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May...

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