Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News Highlights

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on School Food, presented CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award.

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The Award was presented to CATERed at the Educatering Excellence Awards at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

This was the first time the APPG on School Food has presented an award, and it is hoped that next year more schools, caterers, charities and individuals will apply.

The application process, which was facilitated by APSE, required applicants to provide an executive summary of their project, background, and what has been achieved over the last 12 months. Applicants were then asked to have their application supported by a Member of Parliament, through a letter of support.

17 applications were received, all supported by MPs across the political spectrum, and a shortlist of 3 was established by the judges: Sharon Hodgson MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP and Gillian Keegan MP.

The finalists were: Peel Brow School, School Food Matters and CATERed.


After presenting the award Sharon said:

“Everyone who applied for this award is doing amazing work for school food, and I cannot thank all of them enough for all that they do each and every day to ensure that our children have access to a healthy meal.


“I am so pleased that my parliamentary colleagues were also able to get involved in the awards by offering a supportive letter to applicants, I am sure that they will have also learned a lot from doing so and I have encouraged them to go and visit the school or charity they have supported so that they can experience the fantastic work they do for themselves.


“It was a genuine pleasure to present CATERed with the first APPG Excellence in School Food Award, they were very deserving winners and I hope that they continue to keep up the good work in Plymouth, and also set an example for other cities around the UK.”

 

Brad Pearce of CATERed said:

“Thank you to Sharon and the judges for the recognition.


“It was an honour to win the inaugural APPG Excellence in School Food Award.


“At CATERed we work collaboratively to improve the overall school dining experience for all. Delivering improved service quality, reduced costs, increased efficiencies and economies of scale giving a stronger financial base.


“The Big supporting The Small is our guiding principle to ensure that children and young people across the City can access great tasting, locally sourced, seasonal and freshly prepared hot school food. With our schools as shareholders CATERed believe in Feeding Ambitions, making a Difference and supporting Every Child, Every Time.”

Sharon presents CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on School Food, presented CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award. The...

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Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Sep-Oct 2018 number 108

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Sep-Oct 2018 number 108

Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Sep-Oct 2018 number 108 Read more

On invitation by Sharon Hodgson MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, attended a rally on 1st October 2018, in opposition to plans for a waste incinerator to be built in Washington.

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The rally was attended by local residents and campaigners who oppose the incinerator being built at the site at Hillthorn Farm.

During the rally, Andrew said:

“I think the close proximity of residential properties is really quite shocking and I hadn’t appreciated until we came to the site.

“I feel very strongly that the environmental considerations should be uppermost in decision makers minds.”

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Sharon, who has been opposing the plans, said:

“It was great to have Andrew visit the site today and speak to local residents who will be affected if these plans go ahead.

“I share my constituents’ concerns that the technology of the incinerator plant is not tried and tested, and that the proximity to local residents could pose a threat to their health and safety.”

Sharon has recently ‘called-in’ the planning application to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, meaning that if the Council approve the planning application it must be reviewed by the Secretary of State.

The planning application is yet to be submitted to Sunderland Council.

You can read Sharon’s letters regarding the incinerator here.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, joins Sharon and local residents in opposing incinerator plans in Washington

On invitation by Sharon Hodgson MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, attended a rally on 1st October 2018, in opposition to plans...

At Labour Party Conference, Sharon spoke at a fringe event hosted by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and the Social Market Foundation (SMF) titled "How can we reduce regional health inequalities to create a healthier and wealthier Britain?"

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Sharon is pictured here left to right with Dr Luke Mumford, Research Fellow, University of Manchester; Nigel Keohane, Research Director SMF and Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, CEO, Northern Health Science Alliance

 

You can read Sharon's speech below. Please check against delivery.

 

Sharon Hodgson MP:

Good afternoon.

I hope that you have all been making the most of conference and have enjoyed your time here in Liverpool.

I’m Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West; I am also the Shadow Minister for Public Health.

I’ve been in this role for two years now, and health inequalities – amongst other issues, of course – have taken up a lot of my focus.

It is therefore a pleasure to be here this afternoon to speak about regional health inequalities, something I am sure we are all passionate about tackling.
I should start by saying that although we are talking about health inequalities between the North and South today, I know that health inequalities do exist within regions and boroughs; especially in London.

For example, Kensington and Chelsea, which is the richest borough in the country, boasts the longest life expectancy in the country.

But the most disadvantaged people in Kensington and Chelsea can expect to live 14 years less than their more advantaged counterparts.

Even so a general pattern still emerges however between the North and the South overall and that is what I am talking about specifically today.

We all know that regional health inequalities exist, but when I met with Dr Hakim Yadi earlier this year and he showed me the health atlas I was taken aback by how stark the north / south divide was in terms of key life limiting conditions and diseases.

I don’t want to pre-empt anything that he may say when he speaks, but it really did bring into sharp focus, the realisation that people in the North are more likely to be unhealthy, and therefore die earlier, than people in the South.

Now, life expectancy in the UK has always gradually increased.

But for the first time in well over a century, the improvement in life expectancy began to stall in 2010, when a certain Mr Cameron walked into 10 Downing Street with a certain Mr Clegg!
Whilst Britain is being left behind and fast becoming “the sick man of Europe”, the Government will have cut public health funding by £200 million since 2015, and sitting back as if the issue will heal by itself.

Of course, it won’t.

In fact, the problem gets worse and worse the further North you go.

Research published in the British Medical Journal shows a 20% higher premature death rate for those living in the North across all age groups.

That is 1,173,360 Northerners dying earlier than if they had experienced the same life chances as those in the South over the last 50 years.

That is absolutely outrageous, and as Professor Iain Buchan (Buck-han) said:

“Five decades of death records tell a tale of two Englands, North and South, divided by resources and life expectancy.”

According to Buchan, there is currently a gap of two years between northern and southern life expectancy.

But when we look at the gap between specific regions, the story is much worse.

In the South East, the healthy life expectancy for men is 65.9 years and 66.6 years for women .

But up in the North East, where I represent, people can expect a much shorter healthy life expectancy.

Men in the North East have a healthy life expectancy of 59.7 years and women have a healthy life expectancy of 59.8 years – significantly lower than the England average .

That means that the inequality gap in healthy life expectancy at birth for the South East and North East is 6.2 years for men and 6.8 years for women.

If people in the North are more likely to be unhealthy and unwell before they even reach retirement age, then our productivity is significantly reduced through higher levels of absenteeism and unemployment.

The cycle of poor health and low productivity is therefore never ending, because high levels of absenteeism and unemployment means reduced earnings which can lead to poor health outcomes.

I know that the NHSA are undertaking research into this and will be launching its findings later this year. I will be really interested to look into those more closely as part of my work on this.

But the analysis so far shows that in order to improve productivity, we need to improve health; and we can’t improve health without investment.

Recent research has shown that there is a positive link between the level of investment in health research and the health outcomes of that area.

But as we know, there is very little investment in the North.
The North has seen significant underinvestment from the public sector in clinical and healthcare research compared to other regions.

In the recent funding allocation from the National Institute of Healthcare Research Biomedical Research Centres, only 6.7% of the £816 million total funding went to the North, whereas 83% was secured by the Golden Triangle.

The phrase, follow the money has therefore never been more apt, as this shows the total imbalance, not just for funding but for health and outcomes.

Those in the South are more likely to be healthy and ‘easier’ patients because of all this research and funding.

That has to change.

If we invest in the North, we invest in our people, we invest in our health and we invest in our workforce.

A healthier workforce in the North will contribute to closing the productivity gap of 4% that exists between the North and South, and growing the region’s GDP rate to the UK average, could unlock 850,000 jobs by 2050.

Improved prosperity in the North will therefore drive further improvements in the region’s population and health.

And with improved health follows more investment.

The Government talk a lot about the Northern Powerhouse, but in reality, the North continues to be ignored.

If we are to tackle regional health inequalities, then what we need is investment in the North and our public health services need to be properly financed so that people can live healthier lives.

As the Shadow Minister for Public Health, I am committed to ensuring our health and care system is properly funded so that all children are given the best possible start in life, and older people are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, no matter where they live.

This today forms part of the discussion in how we go about doing just that, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and ideas on this.

Thank you.

 

You can visit the NHSA website here.

You can visit the SMF website here.

Sharon speaks at NHSA fringe event at Labour Party Conference 25.09.18

At Labour Party Conference, Sharon spoke at a fringe event hosted by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and the Social Market Foundation (SMF) titled "How can we reduce regional...

At Labour Party Conference, Sharon spoke at a fringe event hosted by Wave Trust, titled "Radical, cutting-edge solutions to violence, mental ill-health, disease, poverty and inequality". 

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Sharon pictured here left to right with Paul Williams MP and George Hosking of Wave Trust

 

You can read Sharon's speech below. Please check against delivery.

 

Sharon Hodgson MP:

Good morning.

I hope that everyone is enjoying conference so far.

I’m Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West; I am also the Shadow Minister for Public Health.

It’s an honour to follow Paul who is making such an impact in Parliament, and I commend him for his work and leadership on the ACE’s campaign in Parliament and wider society. It is vital work as he so eloquently explained.

I would like to start by thanking George from Wave Trust for asking me to speak here today.

I’ve worked with George for many years now, from when I was the Shadow Minister for Children and Families and on various campaigns such as the 1001 critical days manifesto and the 70/30 campaign, and I’m pleased to continue my support for George, and champion the importance of prevention, the early years and infant mental health in my role as Shadow Minister for Public Health.

The importance of the early years of a child’s life really cannot be overstated.

What happens, especially during those 1001 critical days, really can affect every aspect of a child’s life as they grow into adulthood, and have serious implications for them in the future.

It is therefore surprising, and incredibly frustrating, that Governments around the world, including our own, don’t put more emphasis on the importance of this very earliest part of a child’s life, extending also into the early years and beyond.

On this Government’s watch, we have 14 million people, including 4.5 million children, living below the poverty line .

Almost 4 million children in the UK are living in households that struggle to afford to buy enough fruit, vegetables, fish and other healthy foods to meet the official nutrition guidelines .

As the cost of living continues to increase under this Government, not only for food but housing and child care, it is getting harder and harder for parents to make ends meet.
My aim as the Shadow Minister for Public Health – and when we have a Labour Government, as the Minister for Public Health (if I’m asked) – is to ensure our children are some of the healthiest in the world, and to tackle the glaring inequalities we still see throughout our society.

But when some of our children aren’t even receiving the most basic needs from an early age, this is really going to be an uphill struggle, because inequalities are evident before children even start school and then persist throughout adolescence and adulthood.

But as pointed out by Professor James Heckman, who says:

“An economically advantaged child exposed to low-quality parenting is more disadvantaged than an economically disadvantaged child exposed to high-quality parenting.”

It’s not all about financial poverty – which I know many of us are rightly quick to point the finger at.

It’s also about the soft skills deficit.

Character traits such as conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, motivation, attention, self-regulation, self-esteem, ability to defer gratification are all important for success; but of course, these all come from being nurtured.

To quote Heckman again:

“The family plants and nourishes the seed that grows into the successful student and adult.”

But if the family don’t take the time to nurture and teach, then that child, regardless of materialist belongings or finance, will be at a social disadvantage in comparison to his or her peers.

As living costs rise and demands increase, parents do need support.

That is why Sure Start Children’s Centres were so important to not only parents and families, but to a child’s development, as it put children on a level footing before they started school.

We should all be screaming from the roof tops that since 2010, over 1,200 Sure Start Centres have closed.

Especially when Cameron so publicly promised they would be safe in his hands numerous times in the televised debates and on the eve of poll – saying Gordon Brown was scaremongering! Remember that?

We can’t help our genes, but what we can do is ensure that parents and families are equipped with the skills and access to services to ensure that they can support their child’s development and nurture them beyond whatever hand nature dealt them.

We must accept that we can’t change everything, but if we can change the outcome of someone’s life by early preventative intervention, then surely, we must do so.

I remember very fondly Tesssa Jowell, who set up Sure Start in 1998, telling me when I became Shadow Children’s Minister in 2010, how she had told her officials that she wanted to walk into a Sure Start centre and be able to smell the babies, so she would know the centres were being used and that lives were being changed.

I believe that we owe it to Tessa and her legacy to ensure that the remaining Sure Start centres are defended and used to capacity as intended, not stand as empty shells.

I am a firm believer in the quote that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why I am such an avid campaigner for early intervention and indeed prevention.

Children with a high ACEs score are more likely to smoke, drink heavily, have depression and a high number of sexual partners.
All of these have effects on one’s health and wellbeing in the long run, and are also contributing to the strain on our NHS, which is why it is important to prevent ACEs in the first place.

The Government has consistently cut public health spending with cuts to public health budgets alone of over £200 billion since 2015 , but has failed to fill in the gap with any initiative that encourages people to live healthier lives.

As I said at the beginning, my aim is to ensure that our children grow up to be some of the healthiest in the world, and I know that I will be including this as part of the discussion when considering how Labour will reach that goal.

Thank you.

 

You can visit Wave Trust's website here.

Sharon speaks at Wave Trust fringe event at Labour Party Conference 24.09.18

At Labour Party Conference, Sharon spoke at a fringe event hosted by Wave Trust, titled "Radical, cutting-edge solutions to violence, mental ill-health, disease, poverty and inequality".  Sharon pictured here left...

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson met with representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society and a young deaf campaigner today (24 September) to talk about the future of deaf children’s education in the region.

Ella, 14, met Ms Hodgson at the Labour Party Annual Conference in Liverpool and the pair discussed key issues affecting deaf children, including vital education funding and the gap in attainment between deaf children and their hearing peers throughout the North East. The meeting comes as deaf children’s services across the country face cuts of £4 million this year.

Sharon said: 

"It was great to meet Ella and the National Deaf Children's Society team, to speak about the challenges deaf children face every day in classrooms up and down the country.

"It is shocking that there are so many deaf children in England in mainstream education who do not get the specialist support that they require.

"I wish Ella all the best in her education and campaigning to ensure that deaf children receive the support they need."

Jessica Reeves, Campaigns Manager at National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“It’s great to see MPs like Sharon Hodgson coming to meet young deaf people to hear about the daily challenges they have to face.

“Deafness is not a learning disability and when deaf children get the support they need at school, there are no limits to what they can achieve. However, deaf children in the North East are currently falling a grade behind their hearing classmates at GCSE.

“Meetings like this are an excellent way for deaf children like Ella to talk to MPs about the barriers they face in their education and how we can all work together to overcome them.”

 

Sharon Hodgson MP discusses issues affecting deaf children in the North East with deaf young campaigner

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson met with representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society and a young deaf campaigner today (24 September) to talk about the future of...

Celebrating the 955 potential lifesavers in Washington & Sunderland West this Blood Cancer Awareness Month

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Sharon Hodgson MP attended a reception in Westminster, to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in Washington & Sunderland West on the Anthony Nolan register.

This achievement was celebrated by Anthony Nolan on Wednesday 12 September, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on the vital work being done at a local level to ensure every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.

In Washington & Sunderland West, 955 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 34% of these donors are male, and the average age is 38.

In total, more than 700,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.

Now, Sharon is encouraging more people from Washington & Sunderland West, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 16% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Sharon said: “I am very proud that Washington & Sunderland West has 955 people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

“I strongly hope that more people from our community will be inspired to sign up and show that together, we can provide a cure for blood cancer.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Since 1974 thousands of caring, selfless people have joined the Anthony Nolan register and thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. It’s wonderful to have the support of Washington & Sunderland West in achieving our goal of saving and improving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.”

For more information about the Community vs Blood Cancer campaign visit www.anthonynolan.org/communities

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Sharon Hodgson MP Celebrates Community's Efforts to Cure Blood Cancer

Celebrating the 955 potential lifesavers in Washington & Sunderland West this Blood Cancer Awareness Month To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Sharon Hodgson MP attended a reception in...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo.

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At time of going to print, there are just 197 days until the United Kingdom (UK) leaves the European Union (EU).

Considering that there are still many important and outstanding issues to address as part of the negotiations, you would expect the Government to be diligently focusing on getting the best Brexit deal possible.

Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.

Parliament returned from its summer recess last week, and since then the headlines have been dominated by sordid details of Boris Johnson’s private life, and talk of his impending leadership bid.

This country deserves better than to be led into one of the most historic periods of our history by a Government that spends more time talking to itself than it does with our negotiating partners in the EU.

According to the former Brexit Minister Steve Baker, MP, there are now a significant number of Conservative MPs who are actively working to try and derail the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan and have signalled that they won’t vote for it in the House of Commons.

I know that people did not vote to leave the EU only for that decision to be manipulated into an internal battle within the Conservative Party.

Taking this into account, I believe we should be prepared for the very real possibility that the Prime Minister may fail to deliver the Brexit deal that our country needs.

Our withdrawal from the EU is one of the most complex issues our country has faced in generations, and I know that there are strong views on how best to approach it.

That’s why I want to hear from constituents about what they think should happen in this eventuality and other potential scenarios, and more generally their thoughts on how Brexit has played out thus far.

More than 500 people have already taken part in the survey that I launched last month, and I want as many of my constituents to do so as possible. It will be running throughout the rest of the month and into October and can be completed in either of the below ways:

Please note that this survey is intended for residents of my constituency only – you can find out if that applies to you by inputting your post code into this website: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: A real possibility PM may fail to deliver Brexit deal country needs

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. At time of going to print, there are just 197 days until the United Kingdom (UK)...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jul-Aug-Sep 2018 number 107

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Click on image above to download report.

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jul-Aug-Sep 2018 number 107

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jul-Aug-Sep 2018 number 107 Click on image above to download report. Read more

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Click the above image to download the letter

Sharon has received a response to her 31st July letter from David Gallagher, Chief Officer of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.

This letter was received after Sharon had sent a further letter to the CCG formally registering her opposition to the CCG's proposals.

 

Sharon receives response from Sunderland CCG following July 31st letter

Click the above image to download the letter Sharon has received a response to her 31st July letter from David Gallagher, Chief Officer of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group. This... Read more

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