Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News Highlights

Sharon has again pledged to fight the Tory cuts to school budgets in the new Parliament, following analysis of the Tories’ manifesto plans for schools.

Analysis by the IFS shows that schools in Washington and Sunderland West face significant cuts over the next five years if the Tories go ahead with the implementation of their manifesto commitments on school funding.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) have used these figures to calculate that pupils in Washington and Sunderland West will on average have their funding cut by -£409 or by –9%, which equates to -£150,873 cut on average for each school in Washington and Sunderland West.

In reaction to this, the School Cuts campaign website has created a new petition to put pressure on the new Tory Government to rethink their approach to education. The petition can be found here: https://schoolcuts.nationbuilder.com/post_ge_petition

Before the 2017 General Election, Sharon secured a debate in Parliament on school cuts in the North East. Yet, the concerns from parents and teachers raised by MPs during the debate were ignored by the Minister who responded to the debate. 

Sharon also campaigned on the issue of school cuts during the General Election and visited many school gates where parents highlighted their concerns with the future of their children’s schools, and committed to take these concerns with her back to Parliament.

Following the General Election, and the analysis of IFS figures, Sharon has pledged to fight against these cuts in Parliament, and said:

“The education of our children and young people has always been an important issue which I have dedicated much of my time as a Member of Parliament doing, and now that I have been re-elected, I will continue doing so to ensure the next generation has better opportunities than the last.

“Sadly, we are not seeing this promise and instead find a complete mismanagement engulfing our education system under the Tories, ranging from a failure to address the real-term cuts to school budgets, the increasing class sizes, subjects being dropped from the school curriculum and a serious recruitment and retention crisis within the teaching profession.

“Instead of further heads-in-the-sand complacency from the Tories, we need action that does not damage the future prospects of children in our country, including here in Washington and Sunderland West. I hope as many of my constituents will join me in fighting these cuts and sign this petition: https://schoolcuts.nationbuilder.com/post_ge_petition

 

Sharon pledges to fight school cuts & supports new School Cuts petition

Sharon has again pledged to fight the Tory cuts to school budgets in the new Parliament, following analysis of the Tories’ manifesto plans for schools. Analysis by the IFS shows...

Ahead of Armed Forces Day on the 24th June, Sharon has called on the Government to give our Armed Forces a better deal.

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Labour believes there should be a better deal for hardworking men and women who serve in the Regulars and the Reserves, as well as service families and those in the wider Forces community, especially on better pay, better housing and better support for veterans.

Labour would address these three key issues by:

  • Scrapping the public sector pay cap and allow the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to make recommendations on pay rises without any restrictions;
  • Ensure access to high standard Service Family Accommodation at a reasonable cost, drive up standards and take action where private companies have failed to deliver;
  • Introduce measures to support veterans transitioning back into civilian life, by encouraging local businesses and community groups to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant, launch the Homes Fit for Heroes initiative which will offer free home insulation for disabled veterans, roll out the Veteran’s Interview Programme which helps to guarantee an interview for ex-service personnel
  • Introduce an Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill to outlaw discrimination against or abuse of members of the Armed Forces.

Sharon said:

“Armed Forces Day is an important day to support our Forces, from serving personnel to veterans and their families, and recognise the important contribution these men and women make to defend our country.

“It is wonderful that for over the last 10 years we have had a day dedicated to recognising the hard work and bravery of the forces community, along with other occasions such as Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, but this does not mean we cannot offer support the whole year round.

“That is why it is important to ensure our brave men and women get a good deal on pay, welfare, housing and services that recognises their sacrifices to defend our country. Nothing will be enough to thank them for everything they do, but we can ensure we do everything we can to repay them.”

Nia Griffith MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Defence said:

“Our servicemen and women stand up for us every day, it’s especially important that we stand up for them on Armed Forces Day.

“Satisfaction with Service life has dropped every year since 2009 and the number of personnel leaving the Forces is worryingly high. It’s time the Tories show our personnel they are valued and invest in them. The Government needs to get a grip of this problem and take action now.”

  • Armed Forces Day is held the last Saturday of June every year to celebrate the work of our Armed Forces and their families, more information here: https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/

Sharon calls on Government to support our Forces ahead of Armed Forces Day

Ahead of Armed Forces Day on the 24th June, Sharon has called on the Government to give our Armed Forces a better deal. Labour believes there should be a better...

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

PLEASE NOTE: This piece was also submitted before the tragic scenes seen at Grenfell Tower in West London.

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Firstly, it was an honour to be re-elected to continue as the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West last Thursday.

This General Election was one that nobody wanted - apart from Theresa May – or needed, yet I feel she may have wished she had said no for an eighth time when she came down from Snowdonia back in April.

Whilst Labour lost the election nationally, it can be said that Labour presented a manifesto of hope and opportunity, which was well received by the general public, compared to the dire manifesto by Theresa May – which one Tory MP described as poisonous - and was clearly rejected by the public.

We cannot be complacent following this election result, and it is important that we recognise we have a long way yet to go before we can form a Labour Government again.

What was clear is that the Prime Minister’s empty slogans failed to engage with the general public who rejected the Tories on polling day thus scuppering May’s plans to have a thumping majority to do whatever she liked.

Election night was one of shocks. From Labour holding its traditional heartlands, to snatching a seat from the former Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, and even taking seats such as Kensington and Chelsea and Canterbury; seats we have never held before.

Yet, the main thing that has come out of this election is the omnishambles of Theresa May.

At the time of writing this column, the Prime Minister is failing to negotiate a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party – a hard-right political party in Northern Ireland – and has delayed the Queen’s Speech as she cannot form a majority to pass it. And this is the woman who asked the public to trust her with the Brexit negotiations.

It’s the typical troupe after a General Election to say we are in interesting times, but right now it couldn’t be more true. Whatever the case or outcomes of the next few weeks, I will be working hard every day to represent the people of Washington and Sunderland West to my fullest.

ECHO COLUMN: Dire Tory manifesto was rejected by the public

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo's website.  PLEASE NOTE: This piece was also submitted before the tragic scenes seen at Grenfell Tower in West...

Sharon has again backed the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign in a bid to prevent summer tragedies.

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Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children in the UK, with the latest stats showing that in the last five years, 48 children aged nine and under had drowned, with 147 young people aged 10 – 19 having lost their life due to drowning.

Annually, around 400 people accidentally drown and summer months pose a particularly high-risk as people escape the warmer weather to cool off. Last year, 85 people drowned in July and August alone.

Drowning Prevention Week, run by the Royal Life Saving Society, aims to ensure everyone knows how to have fun and stay safe near water. This year’s campaign runs from 16 – 26 June and will see leisure centres, schools, businesses and youth groups utilising RLSS’s UK’s water safety resources in their communities.

To find out how to stay safe around water this summer, contact your local leisure centre to see if they are running an event, or visit the RLSS UK’s website www.rlss.org.uk to access their water safety advice.

Sharon said:

“Here in our local area, we have all too often heard about young people drowning, especially during the summer months. That’s why it is important to back national campaigns like the RLSS UK’s Drowning Prevention Week and encourage activity in our local area.

“Raising awareness of the dangers of drowning is crucial to reducing the numbers of deaths we see every year, but also it is just as important to be pushing for an improvement in life-saving skills for everyone, especially children and young people during their school years.

“I hope as many people as possible will get involved in RLSS UK’s campaign this year and get involved locally at events across our area, and remember to stay safe as the weather heats up.”

Drowning Prevention Week also aims to raise money for the RLSS UK’s wider drowning prevention work, which includes providing support for families affected by drowning or near drowning. Donate now by texting DPRW17 and an amount to 70070.

Sharon supports RLSS UK's Drowning Prevention Week campaign

Sharon has again backed the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign in a bid to prevent summer tragedies. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children...

Read Sharon's latest column for the Sunderland Echo - published on the Echo's website before Parliament was dissolved.

This will be my last Echo column before the General Election campaign begins.

Since the last General Election, my columns have ranged from issues that have concerned my constituents when they have contacted me, including animal welfare and the future of our schools, to the more obscure like recycling unwanted electronics and electrical goods.

It has been wonderful to engage with you through my columns, and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. 

One issue that often comes up often in my columns is Brexit – especially now that the Prime Minister has made Brexit the issue of this General Election.

Here in Sunderland we voted to leave, and that must be respected. I have done that by voting to trigger Article 50 in Parliament, but also engaging with my constituents through my public consultation meetings and questionnaires from earlier this year.

Brexit is one of the biggest economic, diplomatic and political issues facing our country. That is why it has been important to listen to you and ensure I can push for the best Brexit deal possible for our area. This has included working to ensure that our economy is as robust as possible as we leave the EU.

We can’t predict what will happen when we leave the EU – it is too unpredictable – but I have worked hard in Parliament to guarantee that our economic potential here in the North East, especially here in Sunderland, is unlocked, and we see much-needed economic growth in our region; something we have been long awaiting.

During the debates on the last Budget, I pushed the Government to direct innovation funding to the North East through a materials funding pot, which would boost production of steel, plastics, ceramics and other materials used in manufacturing in our region. This would have a direct benefit for our automotive sector.

This investment would have the potential to boost jobs and growth in our region by supporting Nissan’s supply chain with a much-needed investment injection.

This funding would not only allow the creation of new engineering and manufacturing jobs here in the North East, but also space to develop new products, the capacity to build products here in our country currently built in other countries and most importantly drive economic growth as we leave the EU.

Brexit has given us the capacity to look at things differently, especially our economy, and it is important we do this to ensure that we get a good deal for our area. We must ensure Brexit works for us all.

ECHO COLUMN: We need to get best Brexit deal possible for the North East

Read Sharon's latest column for the Sunderland Echo - published on the Echo's website before Parliament was dissolved. This will be my last Echo column before the General Election campaign...

Now that Theresa May has called a snap General Election and Parliament has approved its dissolution, there will now be an election on 8th June, therefore it is important to register to vote.

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It only takes a few minutes to register to vote, and all you need is the details of where you are currently living and your National Insurance Number to complete the application form.

To register to vote, you can follow this link here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The deadline for registering to vote is 22nd May – so don’t miss out on the chance to have your voice heard about how the country will be governed for the next five years!

If you won’t be around on Election Day to go to the polling station, you can register for a postal ballot, by checking the box marked: “Yes, send me a postal ballot application” during the application process. A form will be sent out to you, via post or email, and you must return it by the 23rd May. 

Sharon Hodgson, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Washington and Sunderland West, said:

“Theresa May has called a snap General Election, and this has the potential to catch many people out from denying them the chance to have their voices heard, because they are not registered to vote or will be away on Election Day so can’t make it along to the polling station. 

“That is why it is important to register to vote as soon as possible, so that your voice can be heard and you can contribute to shaping how the country is governed for the next five years.

“It is a quick and easy process which can be done in a matter of minutes, so I hope as many people in Washington and Sunderland West will register to vote as soon as they can so that they don’t miss out on what will be a crucial General Election for them and their families.”

SHARON HODGSON REMINDS PEOPLE TO REGISTER TO VOTE

Now that Theresa May has called a snap General Election and Parliament has approved its dissolution, there will now be an election on 8th June, therefore it is important to register to vote....

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Dear voters of Washington and Sunderland West,

During my 12 years as a Member of Parliament, I have stood up for local people in our area by holding firstly the last Labour Government and more recently the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition and the current Tory Government to account, as both a backbencher and a Shadow Minister.  I travel down to Westminster every week to do this and to push for changes that will benefit our community and the North East as a whole.

I hope to continue doing so and hope that I can count on your support in my re-election to continue to represent Washington and Sunderland West in Parliament.

Theresa May has laid down the gauntlet and has made this General Election about Brexit and about weakening scrutiny of her and her Party in Parliament, by wrongly claiming other political parties are trying to block Brexit from happening, when in actual fact, what we are doing is simply our democratic duty in holding this Government to account.  This is a completely false accusation, as three-quarters of MPs and two-thirds of the House of Lords voted in favour of triggering Article 50 back in March and respected the will of the people.

This is all about her wanting a bigger majority to push through her right-wing ideological agenda of austerity for the UK.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has a plan when it comes to Brexit and we will be making our case clear in the coming weeks about what our future relationship with the European Union will look like, but this General Election must also be about not letting the Tories go unchallenged on other important issues.

Our alternative case set out by Jeremy over the last few days and weeks shows a clear difference in our vision for Britain.  We don’t have to endure continued Tory rule, which has seen a combination of failed economic growth for regions such as our own and deep and damaging cuts to our welfare state and public services, such as schools, our NHS and local government.

Labour have always been about standing up for working people, and Labour will use this General Election to prove this to be true and ensure we see a Labour Government elected on 8th June, that will put the people of Washington and Sunderland West first.

I hope I can count on your vote on the 8th June.

Yours faithfully,

Sharon Hodgson

Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Washington and Sunderland West

Show your support for Sharon by:

  1. Pledging to vote for Sharon here.
  2. Endorsing Sharon here.
  3. Signing up to volunteer on Sharon's campaign here.

SHARON'S ELECTION ADDRESS TO WASHINGTON AND SUNDERLAND WEST VOTERS

Dear voters of Washington and Sunderland West, During my 12 years as a Member of Parliament, I have stood up for local people in our area by holding firstly the...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2017 number 94

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Click on picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Mar-Apr 2017 number 94

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Mar Apr 2017 number 94

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Mar-Apr 2017 number 94   Click on picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Mar-Apr 2017 number 94 Read more

On Friday 7th April, Labour women MPs wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian Society commemorating the 101 Labour women elected to Parliament in Labour’s 1997 election landslide – which happened 20 years ago this year.

The pamphlet was borne out of the idea of commemorating the 1997 Labour landslide election, and looking at an array of policy issues that Labour women worked on, at the time, and since, that helped transform the country for the better.

As part of this pamphlet, Sharon Hodgson MP co-wrote a chapter with Caroline Flint MP on childcare and early years education: which has always been an area of interest for Sharon as a Member of Parliament.

During her time as a Member of Parliament, Sharon has taken a great interest in childcare and early years issues and the need to ensure this area of policy was greatly improved to support families and address child poverty in the UK, which follows on from the work started by the Labour Government elected in 1997. This includes Sharon’s work as Shadow Minister for Children and Families in the last Parliament where she helped develop Labour’s offer to the country on 25 hours of free childcare, her involvement as an officer of the Children’s Centres APPG and as a Patron of Labour Friends of Sure Start.

In the chapter, Sharon and Caroline Flint MP write about the work of the 1997 Labour Government to radically transform early years and childcare provision in the UK after years of neglect by the previous Tory Governments under Thatcher and Major, how improved childcare is important for equality and the what the challenges are for the future when it comes to childcare provision and what we can learn from the last Labour Government’s approach to this policy issue.

Sharon Hodgson MP, said:

“It was an honour to be asked to contribute to this pamphlet on what is an important policy issue for me as a Member of Parliament, which I know is something that affects many of my constituent’s lives.

“It is not a lost on many that at the last General Election, childcare was a crucial election issue for the main political parties, and this can easily be put down to Labour’s concerted and successful plans to modernise children and family policy over the last 20 years; from the introduction of universal early years education entitlement, the introduction and roll-out of Sure Start Children’s Centres and the expansion of childcare places.

“Labour’s many achievements in Government, especially on childcare and early years cannot be forgotten or left to fail with the Tories holding the levers of power, that is why this pamphlet is an important contribution to the necessary debates on where Labour goes with our offer to ensure no child is denied the best start in life to help develop our offer to families ahead of the next General Election.”

You can read 'This Woman Can' be following this link here

Sharon writes for Fabian Society on childcare

On Friday 7th April, Labour women MPs wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian Society commemorating the 101 Labour women elected to Parliament in Labour’s 1997 election landslide – which happened...

In her capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, Sharon has welcomed Labour's announcement on free school meals for all primary school children, and said:

“Lunchtime can often be an overlooked part of the school day; which can continue to ignore the growing problem in society where more and more children are going to school hungry and are unprepared to learn because they do not have the nutrients in them to fuel their bodies and minds.

“Many of those children must wait until lunchtime to get their free school meal, whilst some will not at all and will instead pay for their meals or opt for packed lunches which have been proven to lack any nutritional value to support a child’s learning. This policy allows for all children to reap the educational, behavioural and health benefits which come from having a hot and healthy school meal.

“Universalism is a proud tradition of the Labour Party and it is welcome that school food provision will now be a part of that important approach, continuing the important work the last Labour Government did when we introduced the universal free school meal pilots in Durham and Newham and had a fully-costed plan to roll this out to other areas post-2010, which was sadly scrapped by the incoming Tory-led Coalition Government.

“This policy will not only allow those children who are already on free school meals to see the stigma associated with these meals eradicated, but also the two thirds of children living in poverty who are actually in working households, known as the working poor, who will benefit from free school meals when they couldn’t before because they were just above the thresholds, and all other children who will benefit from access to a healthy meal that will aid their learning and help complement the whole school approach to food that has been pushed for since the publication of the School Food Plan.

“This policy announcement provides us with the space to continue our concerted campaigning for other improvements including access to breakfast clubs which have been shown to be the most beneficial intervention to support a child’s education, child holiday hunger which was first identified 111 years ago and unmet can reverse the many positive interventions seen throughout the school year, and wider household food insecurity which is a growing issue in society. This policy announcement is to be strongly welcomed.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Sharon has been the Chair of the School Food APPG for 7 years, and has campaigned on universal free school meals for over 10 years.

This has included being an integral part in pushing for the universal free school meal pilots in Durham and Newham in 2009, playing a key role in influencing the School Food Plan which recommended universal free school meals when the funding could be found in 2013, and then in 2015, to save Universal Infant Free School Meals when they were under-threat by the then Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan MP, in the lead-up to the 2015 Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review, when Sharon got the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to commit at the Despatch Box to protect this policy for the duration of the Parliament.

You can read more about Sharon’s campaigning journey and some of the work she has been doing on this issue, by reading these two speeches from 2010 and 2015:

http://www.sharonhodgson.org/laca_london_and_se_regional_conference_speech_151021

http://www.sharonhodgson.org/_westminster_hall_debate_on_free_school_meals_30_06_10

Recent research by St Mary's University showed that using free school meals as a poverty indicator may not be the most accurate measure of children in poverty, as two-thirds of children living in poverty come from families with at least one parent working; therefore they are not eligible for free school meals however, this policy would be most helpful to the children of the working poor in particular as it would allow those children who do not meet the current eligibility to take advantage of free school meals. Further info available here.

Sharon welcomes Labour's policy announcement of Free School Meals for All Primary School Children

In her capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, Sharon has welcomed Labour's announcement on free school meals for all primary school children, and said: “Lunchtime...

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