Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West

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Sharon Hodgson has written to the new Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, calling on him to support the recent decision by the North East Combined Authority (NECA) to support extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro into areas of the region currently not served by the Metro, such as Washington.

The decision by the NECA has been welcomed by Sharon as part of her campaign to see the Tyne and Wear Metro extended into Washington – the fourth largest town in England not served by a rail station.

As part of her campaign, Sharon has repeatedly called on the previous Coalition Government and the current Conservative Government to support vital transport infrastructure in the region, seen through submitting three petitions in the last Parliament and one during this Parliament last July on behalf of residents and in her speech in the Budget debates earlier this year where she called on the former Chancellor, George Osborne, to seriously invest in North East transport infrastructure as part of his Northern Powerhouse project.

In Sharon’s letter to the Transport Secretary she raised the long-standing history of rail in the region, and specifically within the constituency of Washington and Sunderland West with the Bowes Railway Museum, which is based on part of one of the first railway routes in the country which was built by George Stephenson and the need to support the decisions made by local decision makers to invest in local transport infrastructure, whereby extending the Metro would allow the much-needed economic growth in the North East to be realised and better transport access to Tyne and Wear’s two city hubs, Sunderland and Newcastle.

Following her letter to the Transport Secretary, Sharon said:

“It was very welcome when last week news broke that the North East Combined Authority was considering Metro extension plans, including into Washington, and that this has now been fully backed at a full meeting of the Combined Authority this week.

“My constituents have made their voice clear that they want to see the Metro extended into Washington and time and time again, I have raised this on their behalf with the previous Coalition Government and the current Tory Government as something vital to the Government’s Northern Powerhouse project.

“Now is an important time for the Government to act and support the business case set out by the NECA which will be put forward to the Transport Secretary in the coming months and I hope he will deliver for the region. As always, I will be continuing to push on this important matter for my constituents at every available opportunity in Parliament.”

You can read Sharon's letter to the Transport Secretary here

Sharon raised extension of the Metro into Washington during her contribution to the Budget debates. You can read her speech here.

If you support the extension of the Metro into Washington, you can sign Sharon's petition here.

Sharon calls on Transport Secretary to support North East Combined Authority’s decision to extend the Tyne & Wear Metro into Washington

Sharon Hodgson has written to the new Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, calling on him to support the recent decision by the North East Combined Authority (NECA) to support extension...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website.

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In my last column for the Sunderland Echo, I wrote about the need for us to get the best deal possible out of the EU exit negotiations and the importance of local elected representatives listening and learning from the referendum vote to ensure the voices of the people of Sunderland are heard loud and clear in the coming months and years ahead.

Now that we have a new Cabinet in place, which is led by our second female Prime Minister, Theresa May, it is now time for politicians to hold her and her government to account on the upcoming negotiations. This is especially true of the three key Cabinet positions of Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Secretary of State for International Trade; which are all occupied by key Brexiteers.

That is why last week I welcomed the launch of a public consultation by the North East’s two Labour MEPs, Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brennan, who are planning to engage with business leaders, universities, civil society, trade unions and community groups and most importantly, ordinary people, to understand what they want to come out of the EU exit negotiations.

This consultation will be important to allow the voices of people here in Sunderland, and across the North-East, to be heard by those in Whitehall and Brussels, especially when it is unclear exactly what will come of these negotiations.

This is even more concerning when only hours after the result was announced for us to leave the EU, that those leading Leave campaigners reneged on some of their key campaign promises, such as the additional funding to the NHS, and since then have sadly been unable to outline what a post-Brexit Britain would look like, on policy such as worker’s rights and if we will remain in the single market or not.

It is clear that we face uncertain times and protracted negotiations; however, it is important that we all come together and make sure that our City’s voice is heard and the fragile economic prosperity we have seen is not weakened further by this Tory Government failing to recognise the support the people of our City need to thrive.

I hope as many Wearsiders as possible will get involved in Jude’s and Paul’s consultation, and will visit the Plan for The North East website here: http://www.northeastlabour.eu/plan and take part in the consultation’s survey so we can try and ensure that this government can get the best outcome for the people of Sunderland and deliver on what the Leave campaign promised for Brexit.

ECHO COLUMN: City’s voice must be heard in Brexit talks

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website. In my last column for the Sunderland Echo, I wrote about the need...

As Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children's Centres, or more commonly known as Sure Start Centres, Sharon has supported a report written by the APPG which sets out a vision for the future of these centres.

The report, Family Hubs: The Future of Children's Centres, argues that Children’s Centres have had a crucial role to play in providing support to young children and their parents, intervening early to address problems that prevent children reaching their potential, and tackling poverty and disadvantage.

It sets out a series of recommendations for how Children’s Centres would be even better placed to improve life chances if they operated as Family Hubs – reaching more families and offering support across a broader range of issues - especially with the publication of the expected Government Life Chances strategy in the coming months.

Having heard evidence from a range of Children’s Centres, local authorities and charities over the last 12 months, the report, Family Hubs: The Future of Children’s Centres recommends:

  1. Augmenting Children’s Centres into Family Hubs as part of the Government’s Life Chances agenda. This would mean renaming and rebranding them as Family Hubs, broadening the range of services available to make them universally recognised one-stop-shops for sourcing support for families – at all stages and ages – in their local communities, linked with national online support.
  2.  Placing Family Hubs at the heart of local Health and Wellbeing strategies, requiring strong leadership at local and national government levels
  3.  An emphasis on mental health support, including looking at how support available from other partners such as schools can be integrated into Family Hubs support
  4. Delivering employment support, particularly for the long term jobless. This will involve strengthening links between Family Hubs, local employers and Jobcentre Plus
  5. Relationship support should be delivered in Family Hubs, or signposted from them, to include statutory, voluntary and self-help provision, and be extended beyond parenting support to include couples counselling; pre-marriage courses; post separation support and help with parenting teenagers.

Following the publication of the report, Sharon said:

“For over the last 15 years, Children’s Centres have been a vital means of support to families who need support in the early stages of family life. These centres have done so much good in that time and it is sad to see so many closing down across the country. Now more than ever, it is important that those families who are struggling do not miss out on the much needed support offered by these centres and that is why we must protect and build on those achievements.

“By expanding the support on offer and opening the doors to more families, Children’s Centres can be a central hub in our communities for all families to use and do what they do best which is identifying problems and intervening early to ensure those problems do not escalate further and irreversibly damage children’s futures.”

You can read the full report here

Sharon supports APPG Children Centre report into Family Hubs

As Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children's Centres, or more commonly known as Sure Start Centres, Sharon has supported a report written by the APPG which sets out...


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