You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families.
Parents finding out at 8pm on a Monday night that their children wouldn't be going to school the next day, after being reassured the opposite, indicates a wider problem; the Government’s incompetence is leaving families behind.
Seeing children out of school is disappointing, but is now necessary. Schools are open to vulnerable children and those with essential worker parents, but this limited safe capacity has quickly been filled leaving schools under serious pressure.
Meanwhile, parents who cannot work from home are being told to remain at work, creating a childcare issue and leaving parents with the difficult decision of working and keeping their job or looking after their family.
On Wednesday, after pressure from Labour, the Chancellor updated the guidance to make these parents aware that they would be eligible for furlough. But this is at the discretion of employers. It also means a 20% pay-cut.
That’s just not good enough. Once again, working parents are left to juggle childcare and work. It isn’t fair on parents, school staff or children.
As we face the deepest recession of any major economy, we must protect family incomes.
Labour is calling on the Government to create an immediate right for parents to request paid flexible furlough.
Child poverty levels were striking pre-pandemic, with 35% of children in the North East living in poverty. This has now worsened, regional inequality has intensified, and Councils have been starved of income.
Despite this, Boris and Rishi want to cut Universal Credit, which will mean millions of families lose £1,000 a year and another 200,000 children put into poverty. They also plan a raise in council tax, landing every family an extra £90 on their bill.
This harsh austerity won’t help our region build back its economy. It won’t help parents and children build back our communities. It certainly won’t level us up.
Not only are the Tories proving their incompetence, but they are proving that families are not their priority.
You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families. Parents finding...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec 2020-Jan 2021 number 135
Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec '20-Jan '21 number 135
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec 2020-Jan 2021 number 135 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec '20-Jan '21 number 135 Read more
New analysis by Labour reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hit every key worker earning over £18,000 in England with a real-terms pay cut next year.
This includes 52,267 key workers in the North East region – the teachers, police officers and Armed Forces personnel on the front line of the battle against Covid-19.
At the Spending Review on 25 November, the Chancellor announced a ‘pay freeze’ for all public sector workers earning above £24,000 in 2021-22.
NHS workers weren’t included, while those earning less than £24,000 were promised “a fixed increase of £250”.
Taking into account inflation over the next fiscal year, that means every non-NHS public sector worker earning over £18,000 will actually get a real-terms pay cut.
In the North East this includes:
• 5,691 police officers
• 23,471 teachers
• 22,035 civil servants, including tax inspectors, prison officers and probation officers
• 1,070 members of the Armed Forces
That’s a pay cut for every police officer in England, all 501,000 teachers in English state-funded schools and over 90% of the Armed Forces personnel based in England.
On top of the pay freeze, the Spending Review also contained a one-billion-pound council tax bombshell hidden in the small print and a cut to Universal Credit that will hit those who can least afford it.
Labour has condemned this triple hammer blow to people’s pockets as totally irresponsible when the economy is so fragile.
Making people worried about making ends meet will pull spending out of local high streets and small businesses, damaging consumer confidence at the very moment the Government should be building it up.
Sharon Hodgson MP said:
“The Chancellor was happy to clap for our key workers on his front step on Downing Street, but now that push has come to shove he has failed to show them the respect they deserve. Clapping doesn’t pay the bills.
“I believe those who serve our country deserve fair reward; by cutting their real-terms pay, the Government are punishing those who serve our country every day.
“The country needs a plan to recover jobs and rebuild businesses to fight the wave of unemployment. The Chancellor must think again.”
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said:
“Key workers kept our country going this year, but the Chancellor has rewarded over a million of them with a real-terms pay cut.
“It’s totally irresponsible to hit workers in their pockets when the economy is so weak, but the least the Chancellor can do is be upfront about it.
“Instead, he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the police officers, teachers and Armed Forces personnel who’ve kept the country going during this pandemic.
“They shouldn’t have to carry the can for this Government’s mistakes.”
Chancellor hits every key worker earning over £18,000 with a pay cut – including more than 52,000 across the North East
New analysis by Labour reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hit every key worker earning over £18,000 in England with a real-terms pay cut next year. This includes 52,267 key...
Sharon Hodgson MP reveals 2020 Christmas Card
Scroll down to see images by year >
Every year school children in my constituency take part in my Christmas card competition. It is one of my favourite events of the year but unfortunately, it wasn’t able to take place this year. Instead, I’m pleased to be celebrating previous winners from the last twelve years in one e-card.
I hope that the variety and talent from previous years brings you some joy, after what has been a difficult year for us all.
I would usually invite school children in my constituency to take part in my Christmas card competition. But unfortunately due to Coronavirus, the event was cancelled this year.
Instead, my 2020 Christmas card combines the previous winners from the last twelve years. The Christmas card collage shows several festive images including snowmen, reindeer, mistletoe, robins and of course, Santa.
On revealing the card, Sharon said:
“I was so disappointed to cancel this year’s Christmas card competition, as it is one of my favourite events of the year, but I’m so pleased that I’m able to once again showcase the talent of previous winners to politicians and friends up and down the country.
“It is always really difficult to pick a winner, and seeing the winning entries from the last twelve years shows just why that is. The imagination and creativity of children in Washington and Sunderland West is in abundance.
“I hope that this card will bring joy to a lot of people after a difficult year. I wish everyone in Sunderland a very happy Christmas.”
Sharon Hodgson MP reveals 2020 Christmas CardScroll down to see images by year >Every year school children in my constituency take part in my Christmas card competition. It is one... Read more
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
When Penshaw monument comes into view on the A1 or A19, you know you’re almost home.
The announcement of a coronavirus vaccine feels like that too.
There is now a route out of this pandemic and its hold on our daily lives; soon we may once again be able to hug our nearest and dearest.
A light has shone at the end of the tunnel, there is an end in sight.
We are almost home.
This of course could never have happened if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of scientists here in the UK. My congratulations and thanks go out to all who have helped us get this far.
But we cannot forget that by leaving us in heightened restrictions since September 18th and failing to support local businesses, the Government has disadvantaged the North East throughout this pandemic.
It is fantastic that Newcastle’s Royal Infirmary will be one of the first hospitals in the country used as a vaccine hub, with the North East yet again leading the way.
However, every part of our region must have the resources and plans in place to deliver the vaccination programme as promised.
The vaccine rollout will not happen overnight, but the Conservatives must not leave the North East at the back of the queue once again.
On Boxing Day 2018, Sunderland fans set the record for attendance of a League One football match, with over 46,000 fans in attendance. Two years on, even if under tier 2 restrictions, only 2,000 fans would be able to go and watch the Black Cats.
Our region’s economy needs fans back in stadiums, hospitality open and local businesses thriving once more.
I know that these measures have taken their toll on us all but with a review of restrictions on the way, we cannot undermine the progress we have made.
I therefore urge everyone to enjoy their festive celebrations in line with the national and regional guidance.
As ever, if you have any concerns, please email email@example.com and I will do my best to help. I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas.
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website When Penshaw monument comes into view on the A1 or A19, you know you’re almost...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134 Read more
Sharon challenges Government to include conditions on securing UK jobs as part of financial support for Aerospace Industry
Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, and Shadow Minister for Veterans, has challenged the Government to include conditions on securing UK jobs as part of any financial support for Aerospace Industry.
During Transport Questions on Thursday 3rd December 2020, Sharon urged the Government to ensure that financial support for aerospace businesses includes conditions to retain high-skilled jobs in the UK.
This comes as Rolls-Royce were accused by Unite the Union of 'choking' the company’s future and 'selling family silver’ in a sell-off and plant rundown announcement.
‘’Today’s announcement from Rolls-Royce will add further worry to hundreds of workers ahead of what is already going to be a difficult Winter.
‘’It highlights the need for further Government support for the aerospace sector, and that such support should be conditional on retaining and increasing highly-skilled jobs here in the UK.
‘’Manufacturing will be key to our recovery from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government and businesses should be investing in our future, rather than letting more jobs fall by the wayside.’’
- Sharon’s question can be viewed in full here: https://twitter.com/SharonHodgsonMP/status/1334475347082010626?s=20
- The announcement from Rolls-Royce can be found here: https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2020/03-12-2020-rr-to-create-global-aerospace-leader-as-part-of-review-of-civil-aerospace-footprint.aspx
- Reaction to that announcement from Unite the Union can be found here: https://unitetheunion.org/news-events/news/2020/december/rolls-royce-accused-of-choking-company-s-future-and-selling-family-silver-in-sell-off-and-plant-rundown-announcement/
Sharon challenges Government to include conditions on securing UK jobs as part of financial support for Aerospace Industry Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, and...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2020 number 133
Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2020 number 133
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Sharon pictured with local Poppy Appeal organiser and volunteer, Malcolm Pickering
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Veterans today (26th October 2020) supported the Washington Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) on their Poppy Appeal stall in ASDA at the Galleries in Washington.
Sharon, who is also Honorary President of the Washington Branch of the RBL, supports the local Poppy Appeal each year however due to Coronavirus restrictions the Appeal is very different this year with some people unable to volunteer or fundraise as they usually would.
“I’m proud to support this year’s Poppy Appeal at the Galleries in Washington.
“Whilst the Appeal is slightly different this year, I’m encouraged to see the way local volunteers and the RBL have adapted to the challenges Coronavirus have posed us all.
“Constituents can still support the Poppy Appeal by donating a poppy through the post to neighbours, displaying a poppy in your window, donating online or undertaking a virtual Poppy run.
“I hope that my constituents will continue to show their support for the Royal British Legion and our service personnel, past and present.”
Malcolm Pickering, Local Poppy Appeal organiser and volunteer, said:
“I am delighted that Sharon was able to join and support us at this year’s local Poppy Appeal stall.
“Like most things this year, the Appeal and Remembrance Day events are very different to how we would normally commemorate those who have served, but it is no less important, so I urge everyone to commemorate in a way that is safe for everyone.”
Sharon pictured with local Poppy Appeal organiser and volunteer, Malcolm Pickering Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Veterans today (26th October 2020)...
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website.
As the Government places Northern regions under experimental lockdown measures, without the financial backing to help them through, the North-South divide has never been so apparent.
But as people in our region know all too well, Tory neglect of the North predates Covid-19.
Local Authority budgets in our region have been savaged since 2010, exacerbating long-term regional inequalities between the North and South.
Shocking statistics from the End Child Poverty Coalition show that some of the largest increases in child poverty have come from Northern towns and cities, with the North East seeing the largest jump of any region in England.
In my constituency, 35% of children are growing up in poverty, an almost 9% increase since 2014/15.
This is before we even take into consideration the consequences of Covid-19, which has left the North East facing economic turmoil not seen since the days of Thatcher.
Families face significant economic uncertainty, and need reassurance that support will be there to help them care for their children and stop them from slipping into poverty.
However, the Government is threatening to slash the safety net even further, by scrapping the £20 uplift to Universal Credit in April, which will only make it harder to make ends meet and plunge our children into further hardship.
Tackling poverty and addressing its root causes needs to be at the heart of any Covid recovery plan, to ensure this pandemic does not commit a future generation to a life of deprivation.
The Government must urgently reform the social security net, and retain the £20 uplift in Universal Credit (UC) and apply this to other legacy benefits.
In the face of already unacceptable levels of child poverty, our country’s children are now at severe risk of being swept even deeper into deprivation. Reforming UC and maintaining the £20 uplift would put much-needed cash into the pockets of Britain’s poorest families, helping them through this crisis, and would put us back on path to a fairer, more just society in the aftermath of this pandemic.
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website. As the Government places Northern regions under experimental lockdown measures, without the financial backing to...