Sharon Hodgson MP

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In her capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, read Sharon's reaction to the publication of the Childhood Obesity Strategy:

"After many delays and stumbles along the way, the Government has finally published their Childhood Obesity Strategy, sadly at a time when Parliament is not sitting and Members of Parliament are unable to scrutinise the document fully. It is clear why this is: the Government have failed to develop a 'game-changing' comprehensive strategy that we were all promised would help address the burgeoning crisis of childhood obesity in this country, and instead have received a 13-page plan which could have been a lot stronger and gone further to tackle this issue.

"Whilst this is a downgraded plan, there is still some measures, such as a re-commitment to the sugary drinks levy and the pledge that £10 million a year fund of that levy will be for breakfast clubs, which should be welcomed. It is also welcome to see that the Government have finally recognised the inequality seen in their fragmented school system where certain schools must abide by the new School Food Standards, however, they could have gone further with this and ensured that all schools had to adhere to school food standards. I will await with baited breath for the detail of how the Education Secretary will campaign to encourage all schools to commit to the standards.

"It is also welcome after the lobbying by the APPG on School Food, to see that the Government will be working to develop a new voluntary healthy rating scheme that will be taken into account as part of Ofsted inspections into healthy eating and lifestyles in our schools, along with the consultation with schools and experts on the new rating criterion. This will need close monitoring to see how the new scheme is developed and implemented. It is seven years since the last thematic review of school food by Ofsted, so I welcome the 2017 planned review on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools, which I hope will be the start of closer monitoring of school food.

"It will also be interesting to see what advice Public Health England will be giving to schools for those at the front-line of tackling childhood obesity, such as our school nurses, health centres, healthy weight teams in local authorities, not forgetting the vital role of our school catering teams.

"One significant omission from this plan is the Government's failure to address the double burden of malnutrition and children's access to good healthy food in our communities all year round. This summer has seen almost daily press reports on holiday hunger and with tens of thousands of children reliant on food banks in the country, Ministers have failed to make any commitments to address child holiday hunger.

"This childhood obesity plan could have gone a lot further in regards to the food our children are eating in school and in our communities. It could have made serious inroads into addressing an issue which is costing our nation's health, and to ensure that we finally tackle this issue. They have stated 'this plan represents the start of a conversation, rather than the final word', I, for one, will continue to hold the Government's feet to the fire and ensure that they deliver not only on what they have outlined but also ensure they think wider than this on how best we reverse the obesity trends in our country."

You can also read a speech Sharon delivered in the House of Commons on the Childhood Obesity Strategy in January 2016 here.

Sharon reacts to the publication of the Childhood Obesity Strategy

In her capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, read Sharon's reaction to the publication of the Childhood Obesity Strategy: "After many delays and stumbles along...

In her capacity as Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, Sharon has today written to the new Culture Secretary calling on her to put fans first after a Wembley fact-finding mission where a group of Members of Parliament saw first-hand the activities of ticket touts at the International Championship match between Liverpool and Barcelona on 6th August.

Key findings from the fact-finding mission include:

  • An example where a teenage Barcelona fan paid £170 for a ticket to the match, after a tout had told him the face-value of the ticket was £100, when in fact, it was £26.
  • There were also reports after the match that a family from Spain, who had purchased tickets outside the venue, were subsequently turned away as their tickets were invalid for entry.
  • A well-known name in the resale of tickets who was in operation on the day was Roger Leigh, business partner to David Spanton, who was responsible for the failure to deliver on 38,000 tickets and convicted in 2012. Other well-known touts in operation on the day, included Leonard Scott & Les Hawkins.
  • Touts were in operation from the steps of Wembley Park Tube Station all the way down Olympic Way, and specifically in the area in front of Wembley Park Tube Station where there were up to 30 touts in operation.

In her letter to the Culture Secretary, Sharon writes about what was uncovered on the fact-finding mission, along with calling for the Culture Secretary to begin the process of implementing the recommendations set out in the Waterson Review with her ministerial colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and back campaigns such as Fan Fair Alliance.

You can read the letter here

Following her letter to the new Culture Secretary, Sharon said:

"Following our fact-finding mission to Wembley, we uncovered the scope and scale of ticket touts operating on the ground and fleecing fans desperate to get tickets to a hotly anticipated football match at our national stadium. The fact-finding clearly reaffirmed the need for action to be taken by the Government.

"This is why I have written to the new Culture Secretary asking her to support our campaign by working with her colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and begin to implement the recommendations in the Waterson Review and with campaign groups, like FanFair Alliance, and finally ensure fans are put first is this unfair market."

  • The Wembley fact-finding mission on the 6th August was organised by the Office of Sharon Hodgson MP and Reg Walker of Iridium Consultancy, and on the day was attended by Sharon Hodgson MP, Kerry McCarthy MP, Nigel Adams MP and Reg Walker.
  • You can find out more about the APPG and their recent activity by going to their website here.

Sharon writes to Culture Secretary calling for her to put fans first following Wembley fact-finding mission

In her capacity as Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, Sharon has today written to the new Culture Secretary calling on her to put fans first after a Wembley...

Sharon has welcomed a letter of response from the Minister of State for Education, Edward Timpson MP, following the letter she wrote to him regarding the comments on social media by Baker Small Law Firm on SEND Tribunal cases. Parts of Sharon's letter can be read here.

In his letter to Sharon Hodgson MP, the Minister wrote that he shares the view that the actions of Baker Small were: “not a helpful action for a law firm to take, nor did it have the best interests of the child and their parents at its heart.”

This also backs up what the Minister said on the floor of the House of Commons during Education Questions on 4th July, when Sharon asked him to look into the matter of Baker Small further, and he said practices such as those of Baker Small are: “totally unacceptable” and he would “continue to watch carefully how matters develop”.

Further in his letter, the Minister mentions a research project being undertaken by the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) at Warwick University which is looking in-depth at the new system of disagreement resolution, which includes mediation and the Tribunal.

Sharon has welcomed this research project and is calling on parents of children with SEND to engage with the project, and said:

“It is welcome to see both in writing and during the last Education Questions that the Minister agreed with me that the practices of Baker Small law firm’s involvement in SEND Tribunals was completely unacceptable. As we both said during the passing of the Children and Families Act 2014, the system needed to be less adversarial – however, Baker Small didn’t seem to get the memo.

“The minister’s letter in response to my concerns is welcome, and I am glad to see that CEDAR are undertaking research into this area to fully understand what is going on within the tribunal system. I hope as many parents who have experiences of the SEND system as possible will get involved and engage with this vitally important research by CEDAR.”

This information also comes after Sharon Hodgson MP wrote to all 153 local authorities with responsibility for children’s services and received responses from 8 saying they had suspended all activity with Baker Small law firm, including Barnet, Cambridgeshire, Dudley, Essex, Slough, Southend-on-Sea, Westminster & Croydon councils, and over a third of councils who responded said they would never use Baker Small after the comments they made on social media.

You can read the letter from the Minister of State for Education here.

For more information regarding CEDAR's research project, please follow click here.

Sharon welcomes letter from Education Minister calling on parents of children with SEND to particpate in CEDAR Research Project

Sharon has welcomed a letter of response from the Minister of State for Education, Edward Timpson MP, following the letter she wrote to him regarding the comments on social media...


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