Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News from Westminster

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

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Amidst the latest Brexit chaos were several resignations of senior cabinet ministers.

One particular resignation of interest was Esther McVey, who has overseen the botched roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) and has failed to acknowledge the criticisms and real-life experiences of families up and down the country who have struggled to make ends meet because of UC.

Following the conclusion of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights report in the UK, it was expected that McVey’s successor, Amber Rudd, would finally recognise the failures of UC and make urgent changes to the system.

Instead, she said that the report was “disappointing”, not because of the shocking evidence it unearthed of 21st century Britain, but because of “the extraordinary political nature of his language”.

The UN rapporteur, Philip Alston, said that “British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach.”

He called Universal Credit “Orwellian”, and was struck by the mobilisation of food banks saying that they “resembled the sort of activity you might expect for a natural disaster or health epidemic”.

The UK is not suffering from a natural disaster or a health epidemic.

It is suffering from a Conservative Government that is so wrapped up in its own internal battles and negotiating a bad Brexit deal, that it is forgetting the people at home.

Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population in the UK, now live in poverty.

The use of food banks increased by 13% when comparing figures from April to September 2017, to the same period this year.

In the 2017-18 financial year, more than 1.3 million three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust food banks.

That is almost a million more packages given compared to in 2012-13, when 346,992 three-day emergency food supplies were provided.

The number of people sleeping rough in England has risen each year since 2010, with 4,751 people sleeping rough in 2017, and just last week it was reported that there are now 320,000 homeless people in Britain.

Life expectancy for both men and women has stagnated for the first time in over a century, and in some areas has even begun to decrease.

All of this would not be out of place in a Charles Dickens novel, but unfortunately it is the reality of 21st century Britain.

The UN rapporteur’s report should have been a wake-up call for the Government, but instead they are plunging our communities into a living nightmare.

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: Conservative Government plunging our communities into a 'living nightmare'

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. Amidst the latest Brexit chaos were several resignations of senior cabinet ministers. One particular resignation of...

In a Westminster Hall Debate on Proposed new integrated risk management plan for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Sharon spoke about the funding challenges that the Service faces, and raised constituent concerns about this issue. 

You can read the debate here

You can watch the full debate here

You can read Sharon's speech below:

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

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hosie. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for North Tyneside (Mary Glindon) for securing this important debate and for her excellent speech outlining the issues.

Many people in the constituencies served by the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services, whom we all represent apart from the Minister and the shadow Minister, are following this debate closely. A significant number of constituents have written to me in recent weeks to raise their concerns about the proposed new integrated risk management plan for Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service, and the ongoing cuts to fire and rescue services more widely. People will be particularly concerned about this issue in the light of troubling events in recent weeks in which firefighters have been verbally and physically attacked—I will come back to that.

It has been noted in this debate that fire services across the country have felt the significant impact of funding cuts since 2010. As a result, almost 12,000 frontline firefighter jobs have been lost, including 285 in Tyne and Wear. Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service faces a number of unique funding challenges—we have heard about them in detail—and I want to bring some particular ones to the Minister’s attention. By 2019-20, the revenue support grant will reduce by £10.8 million, to £45.8 million. Based on all current information, the authority is on course to face a cumulative funding shortfall of £3.96 million by the end of 2021-22. Doing nothing is not an option. I am sure that colleagues will agree that is a huge shortfall, especially when pressure on all our public services is increasing.

The Minister may say that there are fire and rescue services across the country whose finances are growing—we heard that from my right hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr Campbell)—due to their ability to raise funds from business rates and the council tax precept. Unfortunately, that is another way in which Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service, along with other metropolitan services, experiences serious shortfalls in funding, and shows why a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Although we have the highest council-tax band-D precept of all metropolitan authorities, at £79.94, the vast majority of households are in bands A, B and C. As a result, the council tax income generated by the authority is the lowest of all metropolitan fire and rescue services. That is extremely concerning.

Our communities in the north-east have suffered hugely as a result of austerity and its associated problems. It should therefore not be the case that the very deprivation that this Government have caused has the knock-on effect of preventing some of our public services from having access to the funding that they need to keep us all safe. Even worse, in areas with high levels of deprivation there is a higher risk of fire and fire-related deaths. Will the Minister take a nuanced approached when developing a fair funding model for fire and rescue services, based on risks related to deprivation and local needs? It is absolutely clear that the Government should trust local services to outline their own specific needs. Those who work for and in communities on a daily basis are best placed to know where resources are best deployed and how much they cost. Budgets allocated on the basis of scarcity alone will not provide sufficient funding.

Like many of my colleagues here today, I recently met the chief fire officer of Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service, Chris Lowther, to discuss proposals for the new integrated risk management plan, and wider concerns about the funding available to him. He is doing everything within his power to manage the resources currently available, in a way that guarantees the safety of my constituents, and everyone across Tyne and Wear. In response to the consultation that the service is currently running, there has been some pushback from members of the public, who are understandably concerned.

Let me make it clear that I hold this Government solely responsible for their failure to provide sufficient and sustainable funding for our fire and rescue service, and I do not blame Chris Lowther, or the Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service, for trying to make the best of a very bad deal. It is particularly frustrating that services such as ours are being put in such a terrible position. They are doing everything they can to deliver their services while coming under ever increasing financial pressure, and as we know, these are not the first round of such cuts in Tyne and Wear.

I also discussed with the chief fire officer the spate of recent attacks on firefighters, which I mentioned earlier. Last year, there were 148 attacks on firefighters in the north-east, and only a few weeks ago in Southwick in Sunderland Central—the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland Central (Julie Elliott)—an incident took place that has been described as the worst attack of its kind in a decade. Firefighters were called to an incident in which a car was driven on to a bonfire, and they were pelted with bricks, bottles, and fireworks. The firefighters were ambushed and cordoned in by criminal “pool” cars. It is difficult to comprehend the mindset of someone who actively sets out physically to harm those on whom we rely to keep us safe, and I was pleased to see Sunderland Council back a motion just last week to call for a zero tolerance approach to attacks on emergency service workers.

The recent Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 will hopefully begin to have an impact, as the maximum sentence for such attacks has now been increased from six to 12 months. However, we must acknowledge that such things do not just happen or appear out of nowhere, and those attacks are a symptom of the underlying damage to the fabric of a community that has suffered almost 10 years of punishing austerity that has imposed cuts on all our public services. We know that when services engage with communities through education and outreach programmes, the long-term relationships that are forged can prevent such incidents from happening in future.

The successful preventive work undertaken by Tyne and Wear fire and rescue Service’s and its fast response times have, over the past nine years, reduced the number of injuries from accidental dwelling fires, and in two of the past six years it has been the only metropolitan authority to report zero accidental fire deaths. Its preventive work includes work in our communities on home safety, education and youth inclusion, and collaborative partnerships with other public services such as Sunderland clinical commissioning group and the Northumbria police and crime commissioner. I urge the Minister to ensure that all fire and rescue services are given the funding necessary not only to fulfil their statutory duties, but to continue engaging meaningfully with the communities they serve.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate how important it is that the Minister listens to the concerns raised today by Tyne and Wear MPs, and to express my deep gratitude to Chris Lowther and the firefighters—some of whom are in the Gallery today—and everyone in Tyne and Wear fire service who works tirelessly day in, day out, serving our community and keeping us safe.

Westminster Hall Debate - Proposed new integrated risk management plan for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

In a Westminster Hall Debate on Proposed new integrated risk management plan for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Sharon spoke about the funding challenges that the Service faces,...

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

Sharon_Echo_col_header_FIN.jpg

During her Party Conference speech earlier this month, Theresa May declared austerity over and promised better days ahead.

Despite this rhetoric, the reality remains that there will be millions of households up and down the country who will feel the pinch for a long time to come.

Amongst the chaos of Brexit negotiations, it would be easy for the Prime Minister to forget families living in poverty.

But colleagues and I are keen to ensure that the Government doesn’t forget those in need.

Under this Government’s watch, Trussell Trust foodbanks have increased from 60 to 2,009 in just eight years.

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP may think that the rise in foodbanks shows what a “good, compassionate country we are”, but in reality, the rise is attributed to years of austerity, with families around the country struggling to make ends meet.

Parents are skipping meals so that they can provide for their children, and in one particularly worrying case I have heard recently, they giving their children sugar and water to keep them hydrated and their stamina up.

You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that stories such as these should have been banished to a Dickensian era.

It should shame this Conservative Government that this is a reality of 21st century Britain.

According to the Food Foundation, almost four million children in the UK are estimated to live in households that would struggle to afford to buy enough fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods to meet official nutritional guidelines.

That means that the poorest 20% of households would need to spend 42% of their disposable income to afford the Government’s diet guidelines.

Children and families shouldn’t be priced out of having a healthy diet and lifestyle.

That is why I campaign for Universal Free School Meals, so that children can receive a hot and healthy meal during the school day, and also support initiatives to ensure that children are fed and kept active during the school holidays.

I am also chairing an inquiry into children’s food security, because time and time again I hear from children who don’t have access to anything to eat when they’re at home, and I fundamentally believe that the Government must take action to right this wrong.

Whilst the Government’s attention is drawn to in-fighting over Brexit, they become further and further removed from the daily reality of the millions of households up and down the country who are still waiting for those better days ahead.

Sunderland Echo Website

ECHO COLUMN: Families are being priced out of having a healthy diet

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. During her Party Conference speech earlier this month, Theresa May declared austerity over and promised better...

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...

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, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal candidate(s) to join her hard-working, fast-paced and committed team in Parliament to assist in her Parliamentary work.

This opening is either one part-time (25 hours per week) OR a job share for two part-time candidates (15 hours per week). Applicants should make it clear which option they would prefer in their covering letter. Hours subject to agreement, however it would be preferable if a candidate could work Wednesdays.

This would be an ideal opportunity for a student, or someone looking for part-time work, who is interested in politics and looking to work for a frontbench spokesperson who is an active Member of Parliament.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
• Drafting political responses to constituent correspondence and keeping records on the caseworker.mp software;
• Regularly updating social media pages;
• Editing draft press releases from outside organisations;
• Dealing with and monitoring incoming telephone and visitor enquiries, responding to emails and letters, efficient data and file management;
• Opening and dispatching mail where necessary;
• Undertaking photocopying, scanning and formatting of documents;
• Ensuring office records are kept and an efficient filing system is in place and up to date;
• Adhering to the Data Protection Act principles and GDPR, and respecting the confidentiality of data at all times;
• Liaising on behalf of Sharon with relevant groups/personnel within Westminster and within the Constituency, including liaison with outside organisations and the general public;
• Assisting other members of staff where necessary;
• Performing other duties as and when required.

Experience of social media communications and campaigns would be an advantage. Full training will be given on the caseworker.mp software and work in a Westminster office.

Initial contract will be for 10 months, pending a successful probationary period of 4 months and further review towards the end of the contract.

Upon appointment you will be required to comply with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard, undertaken by the Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO).

The deadline for applications is 6pm on Thursday 30th August. Interviews will take place on Thursday 6th September. We may hold second interviews on Tuesday 11th September. If you anticipate a problem with interview dates, please make this clear when you apply.

Candidates will be notified by email on Monday 3rd September if they have been offered an interview with further instructions.

Please send a short covering letter (maximum 1 side of A4) detailing why you are interested in the job and your CV (maximum 2 sides of A4) to Jessica.faulkner@parliament.uk putting SHPT18 as the subject line.

Sharon recruiting for a Part-time Junior Parliamentary Assistant

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal candidate(s) to join her hard-working, fast-paced and committed team...

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

Sharon_Echo_col_header_FIN.jpg

Last week the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday. Our NHS remains one of Britain’s greatest institutions, and it is a Labour Government that proudly introduced it in 1948.

The NHS was founded on three core principles: that it meet the needs of everyone; that it be free at the point of delivery; and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

As a local Labour MP, and Shadow Minister for Public Health, I am committed to defending these founding principles, so that our NHS is available for many, many more decades to come.

Sadly, the future of our NHS is under threat by this Tory Government.

Not only have they starved it of the funding it so desperately needs, but they have also failed to commit sufficient funding to public health and social care.

This comes at a time when demand on NHS services is growing.

A&Es are over-stretched and overcrowded; increasing numbers of people are waiting too long for operations; and key performance targets are being missed month after month.

This demand is coupled with a NHS workforce crisis. We should all show our appreciation for the thousands of people who work tirelessly to provide people with health care every single day.

Whether that’s the nurses and doctors in A&E, the porters and cleaners who keep our hospitals clean, or the cancer surgeons who perform ground-breaking operations, I know that we have all had reason to be thankful in one way or another.

But the truth is that the workforce is in crisis. Across the NHS there are more than 100,000 staff vacancies, including 40,000 nurses and 11,000 doctors.

Eight years of austerity have left their mark on the ability of the NHS to carry out its intended aims.

As of May this year, around 4.2 million people were waiting for non-urgent hospital treatment in England, and over the winter the rate of people being seen in A&E within four hours fell below 80% in some months. The target (set at 95%) has not been met since July 2015, a shocking indictment of this Government’s record.

We must not underestimate the extent of the long-lasting damage that the intentional under-funding of the NHS has already had.

NHS staff and patients deserve so much more from a Government that puts the health and wellbeing of everyone first.

It is no longer good enough for the Government to provide piecemeal increases, whilst people wait for the care they need.

A Labour Government founded the NHS 70 years ago, and it will only be a Labour Government that will continue to fight for it and give our NHS the funding it rightly deserves.

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: our NHS needs the funding it deserves

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. Last week the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday. Our NHS remains one of Britain’s greatest institutions,...

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

Sharon_Echo_col_header_FIN.jpg

This week (June 15 to 25, 2018) marks Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Drowning Prevention Week.

In partnership with the RNLI and Swim England, RLSS UK aim to reduce the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents that occur in the UK every year, by showing people how to be safe and have fun near water.

Sadly, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children in the UK, and over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year – equivalent to one person drowning every 20 hours.

As summer quickly approaches, it is important that children and adults are taught about the dangers of the water, especially open water, and cold water shock.

Whilst jumping in the river on a hot summer’s day might seem an attractive way to cool off, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

As the vice-chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Water Safety and Drowning Prevention and as a local MP, I have heard many stories of lives being tragically lost in the water; including Chloe Fowler, 14, and Tonibeth Purvis, 15, in July 2013 and Ross Irwin, a 22-year-old, who sadly drowned in the River Wear at Fatfield two days before Christmas in 2016.

A water safety throwline board was unveiled last month, close to the spot where Ross drowned at Fatfield Riverside.

It was unveiled by his father, David Irwin, of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council and RLSS.

This was the first throwline board unveiled in the North East, and I hope there will be many more boards alongside our open waterways in Washington and Sunderland and across the region very soon.

I will continue my work with the APPG on Water Safety and Drowning to urge the Government to increase water safety education in schools, and encourage them to install initiatives such as throwline boards, so that we can soon see the number of people, especially young people, drowning in the UK decline.


ECHO COLUMN: water safety campaign to discuss drowning deaths

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo.  This week (June 15 to 25, 2018) marks Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Drowning... Read more

This Clean Air Day, Sharon Hodgson MP is encouraging her constituents to help improve air quality for all by ditching their cars and getting active.

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Constituents in Washington and Sunderland West are encouraged to cycle or walk when they can. This will limit their pollution contribution but also protect their heart health, as air pollution levels can be significantly higher inside a car.

As well as encouraging individual action, Sharon Hodgson MP is also calling for national action to make the UK’s air safe to breathe, especially for her constituents with heart and circulatory conditions whose health is at increased risk from air pollution.

Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England, with the majority of air-pollution related deaths worldwide (58%) caused by heart disease or stroke. The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) research has shed light on how health-harmful pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) - small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves- can cause damage to people’s cardiovascular health and increase the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and stroke.

Sharon Hodgson MP attended a photo-call organised by the BHF in Parliament ahead of Clean Air Day to express her support for action that will ensure that the health of people living in Washington and Sunderland West isn’t at risk from the air they breathe.

The BHF is urging government to make this happen by adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines into UK law.

The charity believes it is vital that the UK’s air quality legislation has the protection of health at its core. This will ensure that efforts to reduce air pollution achieve meaningful outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups whose lives are impacted by outdoor air pollution.

The EU air quality limits that the UK currently follows are equal to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended upper limits for nitrogen dioxide but are less stringent than the WHO’s guidelines for health-harmful pollutants.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said:

“It’s important that we have better air quality so my constituents living with a heart and circulatory condition don’t need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. Research has shown that even the smallest reduction can make a big difference in preventing new cases of coronary heart disease.

“I’m supporting the call for all effective action to be taken to clean up our air.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“It’s great to have the support of Sharon Hodgson MP with encouraging action to promote and protect the nation’s heart health from the effects of air pollution.

“We know that to have good heart and circulatory health, people need to be active. But BHF-funded research suggests that poor air quality can cancel out the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in vulnerable people. Further BHF-funded research has also shown that particulate matter increases the risk of potentially fatal complications for people with a heart or circulatory condition.

“To reduce this risk, we urgently need WHO limits for PM to be adopted into new air quality legislation as soon as possible.”

You can learn more about the BHF’s research and work on air pollution by visiting https://www.bhf.org.uk/airpollutionpolicy

Sharon urges constituents and government to do more on Clean Air Day for heart health

This Clean Air Day, Sharon Hodgson MP is encouraging her constituents to help improve air quality for all by ditching their cars and getting active. Constituents in Washington and Sunderland...

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