Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West

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Sharon has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day.

Sharon supports #wearitpink campaign 12.09.14

Sharon has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day.

Sharon has extended her attack on the Government’s bedroom tax at Prime Minister’s Questions today.

Sharon at PMQs

 

Sharon was drawn to ask the first question at the first Prime Minister’s Questions session after the Government suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons over the policy, with a proposed change to the law which would water it down being passed by 306 votes to 231.

Following her speech in the debate before last Friday’s vote, Sharon used the opportunity of appearing first in the proceedings to brand the policy “discriminatory” and “damaging”, before challenging William Hague, who was standing in for the Prime Minister, to scrap the policy completely.

Speaking after the session Sharon said: “The House of Commons sent a strong message to the Government last week that the Bedroom Tax needs to go. They can’t continue to ignore the views of MPs and the constituents they are sent to Parliament to represent.

“If they won’t scrap this hated tax – which it looks like they won’t – then a future Labour government will.”

The Bedroom Tax is estimated to cost almost 37,000 of the poorest households across the North East around £700 a year, with many of those affected suffering from disabilities. 

Sharon's full exchange with William Hague was as follows:

Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab): If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 10 September.

The First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr William Hague): I have been asked to reply on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who is with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in Scotland today to listen and talk to voters about the huge choice they face. Their message to the Scottish people is simple: from the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we want you to stay in the United Kingdom.

I join the Prime Minister in the tribute he paid on Monday to Jim Dobbin who died at the weekend. He was a proud Scot, and a hard-working and principled parliamentarian who was respected on both sides of the House. He will be very sadly missed, and I know that the thoughts of the whole House are with his family and friends.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this House I shall have further such meetings later today.

Mrs Hodgson: I join the Leader of the House in paying tribute to our very good friend Jim Dobbin. He was a kind and thoroughly decent man and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and their family.

The bedroom tax is discriminatory, damaging, and it is not even working. Last Friday the House was very clear. Will the Government now listen? Will they scrap that wretched policy, because if they will not, we will?

Mr Hague: This is a basic issue of fairness. For someone who lived in private rented accommodation and received housing benefit, these rules applied throughout the whole of the last Labour Government, and we had a situation in which neighbouring households could be treated unequally. The hon. Lady asked about the private Member’s Bill. The proposals in that Bill could cost the country up to £1 billion. Because we have introduced a cap on overall spending, making those changes would mean finding savings elsewhere. I have not heard any suggestions on that from the Labour party.

Sharon attacks bed tax at PMQs 10.09.14

Sharon has extended her attack on the Government’s bedroom tax at Prime Minister’s Questions today.

Sharon branded the Government’s penalty for those deemed to have too many bedrooms as ‘vindictive and incompetent in equal measure’ as she joined other Labour MPs in voting for a Bill to dilute it in Parliament today.

Sharon speaking in the debate

The Bedroom Tax has caused hardship for hundreds of thousands of people across the country, costing low-income families an average of £700 a year. Two thirds of those hit by the Bedroom Tax have disabilities and 60,000 are carers. In the North East alone almost 37,000 households have been affected.

Despite having been part of the Government which introduced it, Liberal Democrat MPs joined Labour in voting for the Bill – which will exempt certain households from paying the tax - to progress to the next stage of the law-making process. The Government, which officially opposes the Bill, were defeated by 306 votes to 231.

Sharon with Rachel Reeves MP

Speaking after winning the vote, Sharon - who is pictured above with Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves MP, said: “I’ve had dozens of constituents come to my surgeries or write to me over the last couple of years with heart-breaking stories about how much hardship this terrible policy is causing them. And to make matters worse, it’s not even achieving the positive things the Government said it would, such as saving money or tackling overcrowding.

“The Bedroom Tax has been shown for what it always was – a vindictive attack on the poorest in our communities by Ministers who don’t have a clue what kind of impact losing £700 a year can have for some households.

“While this Bill doesn’t go far enough at the moment, now it’s passed this first hurdle I hope we can use it to right some of the wrongs done to my constituents, ahead of the Bedroom Tax being scrapped altogether by a future Labour Government.”

Sharon's full speech during the debate can be read here. You can join Labour's campaign to scrap the Bedroom Tax here.

#BedroomTax debate 05.09.14

Sharon branded the Government’s penalty for those deemed to have too many bedrooms as ‘vindictive and incompetent in equal measure’ as she joined other Labour MPs in voting for a...


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