Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West


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Sharon Hodgson, Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse welcomes recommendation for an investigation by Police and National Trading Standards into compliance of the law by the secondary ticketing market.


Following the publication of the independent review into the secondary ticketing market, the APPG on Ticket Abuse welcomes the recommendation of an investigation by Police and National Trading Standards into the failures to abide by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 by the secondary ticketing market.
The review by Professor Michael Waterson of Warwick University was commissioned by the Government following the passing of the Consumer Rights Act, where Section 94 of the Act called for a review to be undertaken. The review’s report was published today.
The review clearly highlights the dysfunctionality and lack of consumer protection by the secondary ticketing platforms, along with the primary markets, and the need for action to be taken by both platforms and the Government to ensure what the APPG has been calling for: that fans are put first.
This also comes after over 40,000 fans have signed a Parliamentary Petition calling for enforcement of the transparency measures in the Consumer Rights Act and for the identity of sellers to be known when buying tickets.
The call for an investigation by the Police and National Trading Standards is an action that the APPG on Ticket Abuse has called for previously and the APPG welcomes the recommendation from Professor Waterson calling for this to happen, and that the resources for this are found by Government.
Other recommendations in the review include:
- enforcement action to be taken regarding breaches of the transparency measures in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, including an onus on secondary platforms to ensure these measures are being met by sellers;

- that identification of “traders”, or more commonly-known as “power-sellers”, by secondary ticketing markets to be actioned and if action is not taken that the Government should consider a licensing system, and;

- action to be taken by both primary markets to address the issue of ‘bots’.
The review also found that genuine fans are not the main source of business to the resale platforms, which has been the main argument of the four main secondary resale websites.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said:
“It is welcome that we have seen some solid recommendations come out of the Waterson review today, which clearly is calling for fans to be put first within the market, and not be an afterthought. This is a step in the right direction in our cross-party campaign."
“For too long, fans have lacked consumer protections which would reduce the underhand actions of profiteering and fraudulence in the secondary market which sees fans ripped off, that is why it is welcome that Professor Waterson has called for the enforcement of the Consumer Rights Act – which we know has been continuously flouted since it was enacted last year – and for the onus to be on the secondary sites to ensure sellers comply with the transparency measures, instead of washing their hands of this responsibility."
“Now that Professor Waterson has presented his findings to the Government and Parliament, it is time for the Business Secretary and Culture Secretary to ensure these actions are taken forward, and our group of cross-party Parliamentarians will be pushing the Government to make good on these recommendations in the coming months and years.”

To read Professor Waterson’s Review’s report, you can find it at this link:
The APPG on Ticket Abuse is Co-chaired by Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, and Lord Moynihan, Conservative Member of the House of Lords.  The other officers of the APPG include: Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour), Stephen McPartland MP (Conservative), Nick Smith MP (Labour).  For further information about the APPG, please visit its website here:
The Parliament Petition can be found here:

Sharon Hodgson MP reacts to the Waterson review into secondary ticketing - 26.05.2016

Sharon Hodgson, Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse welcomes recommendation for an investigation by Police and National Trading Standards into compliance of the law by the secondary ticketing market....


Sharon speaking in the 3rd Day of Queen's Speech Debates on Defending Public Services

Image copyright Parliamentary Recording unit 2016

During the third allotted day for MPs to debate the legislative programme set out in the Queen's Speech, Sharon spoke about defending two of our country's most important public services: the NHS and the BBC. 

You can read Sharon's speech in Hansard here: Sharon Hodgson MP Third Day of Queen's Speech Debates on Defending Public Services 23.05.16

Text of speech pasted below:

 6.42 pm

Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab)

I was hoping for a lot more from this Queen’s Speech. I hoped that there would be something to address the ever-growing housing crisis in this country. I also hoped that there would be something on the environment or on the long-awaited and much-promised Bill on wild animals in circuses. But mainly, I hoped that there would be some hope for my region and my constituency. Yet again, however, we heard only scant warm words with the brief mention of the northern powerhouse—the Chancellor’s pet project—which does not even seem to reach the north-east.

I do not think the Chancellor heeded my words on the lack of measures for the north-east in his ultra-shambolic Budget back in April, when I warned him that, despite his ambition to be king of the north, he needed to recognise that there was a lot more of the north beyond Manchester before he got to the wall. Mercifully, his time as Chancellor is almost up. Who knows where ​he will be when winter comes, post-referendum: in No. 10 or in the wilderness on the Back Benches? His legacy for the north-east is, sadly, only more pain and hurt.

Today’s debate is all about our public services, and I want to highlight the damage that is being inflicted on them by this Conservative Government, who are continuing to starve them of proper investment while forcing through damaging and unnecessary legislation. The Tories are now trying to dismantle and ruin two of our country’s greatest and most precious institutions: the NHS and the BBC. These are two public services that we probably all use almost every day and both are central to our national way of life. This Government are hellbent on completely changing the culture and ethos of the two institutions. They have already started the process, but we must not let them complete it.

Since the Conservatives came into office in 2010, the NHS has faced crisis after crisis, all of which could have been avoided if it had been given proper investment and support. Instead, we saw an unnecessary top-down reorganisation of the NHS that disjointed funding streams and placed unnecessary burdens on services through cuts that have been detrimental to our constituents’ experiences of using the NHS. This abysmal mismanagement of the NHS by the Health Secretary and his equally appalling predecessor is compounded by the fact that 3.7 million people are currently on waiting lists, by the understaffing of our hospitals and by patients’ struggles to see their GP. The mismanagement has been acutely felt in the north-east, with the prime example being the underperformance of the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust. That was the subject of a Westminster Hall debate about two weeks ago in which I and a dozen other north-east colleagues raised our numerous concerns. I hope that the Government have listened to those concerns and will act as soon as possible.

Instead of addressing the issues that the NHS is facing on a day-to-day basis, the Health Secretary took it upon himself to enter into a protracted fight with our junior doctors. They do an amazing job of treating patients in difficult circumstances, yet he has battled with them remorselessly over their pay and conditions. It is welcome that a deal has now been struck between the Department of Health and the junior doctors after everyone was at last brought back around the negotiating table. However, this all could have been avoided, including the recent strike action, if only the Health Secretary had meaningfully listened to the junior doctors’ concerns about the impact the proposed changes to their contracts would have on the NHS.

The Health Secretary must rethink his entire strategy for the national health service and ensure that it does what it was created to do. I want to quote from the leaflet that every home received when the NHS was launched in 1948:

“It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone—rich or poor, man, woman or child—can use it or any part of it.”

It was Nye Bevan who said:

“Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community”.​

We should have seen something like that in this Queen’s Speech. But wait—no, that only happens in a Labour Queen’s Speech. That is how we got our NHS in the first place.

The BBC is another of our treasured public services that the Government are trying to undermine. The Culture Secretary is using tactics that can only be described as bullying and intimidation to make the BBC accept a new charter—which is in no one’s interests other than those of commercial media moguls—and he has shown his true colours by going on record as saying that the disappearance of the BBC is a “tempting prospect”. Those are the words of the man who is supposed to be in charge of nurturing and championing British culture and talent.

The Government’s proposals aim to hobble the BBC, and they will put its position as an independent public broadcaster in jeopardy by introducing Government appointees to oversee the organisation. That is a clear attack on the BBC’s independence and its ability to hold the Government to account. Putting Government-approved people on the board would threaten the very existence of the BBC as we know it. Peter Kosminsky, the director of “Wolf Hall” and winner of the BAFTA Best Drama award, has said that

“the BBC’s main job is to speak truth to power—to report to the British public without fear or favour, no matter how unpalatable that might be to those in government.”

Those words remind us exactly why the Government must maintain the integrity that the BBC has come to be respected for, not just in the UK but right across the world.

The BBC is not only one of our main sources of news and information; it also acts as a beacon for British culture and talent and is a true cornerstone of UK plc. From giving that much-needed break to up-and-coming artists on BBC radio stations to the many TV programmes that showcase the greatest aspects of British life—commercially successful shows such as “Strictly Come Dancing” and “The Great British Bake-Off”, informative and incredible documentaries such as “South Pacific”, “Frozen Planet” and the many other David Attenborough documentaries that have taken us into some of the most remote and exotic places in the world—the BBC is the very best of British in everything it does, and we get to enjoy all that for the remarkably good-value price of just 40p a day while sitting in the comfort of our own home. However, the Culture Secretary has persistently put the future of commercial BBC programming in jeopardy by saying that the BBC should focus on broadcasting for the public good. He clearly forgets that all shows broadcast by the BBC, whether commercial or informative, are for the public good. The two cannot be separated because commercially successful programmes help to fund world-class documentaries that are viewed across the globe. My Opposition colleagues and I will do everything in our power to ensure that one of our most treasured institutions is protected, continues to drive creativity in the 21st century, and is accessible to all.

Going back to Peter Kosminsky, he also said in his acceptance speech at the BAFTAs:

“It’s not their BBC, it’s your BBC.”

Never have truer words been said about our BBC. We need to defend it at all costs from the damage that this Government wish to inflict upon it. Our NHS and BBC ​make us proud to be British. When it comes to damaging those two precious public services, the Government will not get an easy ride either from Opposition Members or from the wider public watching today.

Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwin) (Con)

Does the hon. Lady agree that the BBC is uniquely able to tackle difficult issues such as controlling abuse? She may have been following the recent story in “The Archers” relating to Helen Titchener, which showcases the BBC at its best. If the hon. Lady goes on to the “Free Helen Titchener” JustGiving page, she will see that the BBC has been involved in helping to raise £130,000 to support women’s refuges across the country.

Mrs Hodgson

I am so pleased that I allowed that intervention, because it was excellent. I thank the hon. Gentleman for that, and I do agree with him.

The NHS and the BBC are cherished institutions, providing an essential public good. They are the very best of British. The proposals are a damning indictment of this Government’s attitude towards our country and those two great institutions, of which I believe the whole country is immensely proud. That is why we cannot allow them to be dismantled or diminished in stature or performance. On the day that the NHS was founded, Nye Bevan said:

“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.”

His words apply equally to the BBC in this context, as much as he intended them for the NHS. We need to have faith now, and we need to fight for both of them before it is too late. Otherwise, the NHS and the BBC, which our grandparents’ generation so proudly created, will no longer be there for our grandchildren, who will never forgive us.


Third Day of Queen's Speech Debates: Defending Public Services 23.05.16

  Sharon speaking in the 3rd Day of Queen's Speech Debates on Defending Public Services Image copyright Parliamentary Recording unit 2016 During the third allotted day for MPs to debate...

Sharon visits Carr Hill Primary in Gateshead to see the Action for Children's Roots of Empathy "tiny teachers" programme.


Image copyright - Action for Children, 2016.

Caption: Catherine Joyce, Action for Children, Katie Cohen – Roots of Empathy, Baby Penelope and mum Lucy Hailes, Joanne Drummond – Carr Hill Primary, 2 Year 4  Roots of Empathy pupils and Sharon Hodgson MP.

25 primary pupils at Carr Hill Primary in Gateshead welcomed Sharon Hodgson MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Children into their classroom to find out about their ‘tiny teachers’ programme which has helped the school children to learn about their emotions and the feelings of others.

The programme, Roots of Empathy, encourages children to interact in a nurturing manner by local mams bringing a baby and parent into the classroom. The initiative was introduced to the North East in 2011 by leading UK charity, Action for Children and currently runs in over 20 schools across the North East.

As part of the Roots of Empathy curriculum, a baby and parent visit the class nine times throughout the school year.  A trained instructor guides pupils in labelling the baby's emotions, raising levels of empathy amongst classmates and resulting in a dramatic reduction in levels of aggression among school children.

Following the visit, Sharon said:

“I was delighted to be invited along to see first-hand the excellent work done through the Roots of Empathy programme which helps young children develop the soft skills of empathy, nurturing and understanding by engaging with babies and learning firsthand how to read signs of what the baby feels and wants."

“It is important that all children and young people get the opportunity to develop the skills required to live a full and rewarding adult life, and starting from such a young age to develop these skills will only put them in a great position for adulthood and eventual parenthood.”

John Egan, Action for Children’s director of children’s services across the North of England, said:

“We were incredibly pleased to welcome the Shadow Minister for Children to the school today to see our Roots of Empathy programme in action.  It’s a big milestone in the month when baby Penelope comes into the classroom as the children are eager to learn and see how she has developed since their last visit."

“Roots of Empathy aims to close the attainment gap for pupils, particularly those in deprived communities.  Action for Children commissioned a study last year which revealed that the programme significantly reduces childhood aggression and bullying 76 per cent, with serious results amongst pupils who display higher levels of aggressive behaviour”.

“Programmes like this are vital to ensure we level the playing field for all children however, there is concern that unprecedented cuts to early help will leave things worse for those who need support most.  We call on Sharon and other politicians to influence Government to break this cycle.”

Roots of Empathy is an internationally recognised educational programme developed by award winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert, Mary Gordon, in 1996.  Over 800,000 children have taken part in the programme worldwide.  Action for Children’s delivery across the North East is supported by the Big Lottery Fund.
About Action for Children

• Action for Children works directly with more than 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year.  With 650 services throughout the UK we are in communities where you live and work.  We help transform the lives of thousands of children and young people each year and we’ve been doing so for 145 years. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @actnforchildren
• Roots of Empathy is an award-winning charitable organisation that offers empathy-based programming for children. Their vision is to change the world - child by child.
Roots of Empathy is considered a model of social innovation and has two programs: a flagship program of the same name for children in primary school (Roots of Empathy) and Seeds of Empathy, its "younger sibling" - a program for children ages three-to-five in early childhood settings. Both programs have shown dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among children while raising their social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. For more information go to:

Action for Children

Roots of Empathy Twitter


Sharon sees Action for Children's "tiny teachers" programme in action - roots of empathy

Sharon visits Carr Hill Primary in Gateshead to see the Action for Children's Roots of Empathy "tiny teachers" programme.   Image copyright - Action for Children, 2016. Caption: Catherine Joyce,...

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