Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News from Westminster

On the 18th October, Sharon joined with emergency workers - from the police, the fire service, ambulance and medical professions – to support the calls for those who protect us to be protected.

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According to data from the Home Office, there were 23,000 assaults on police officers in 2016 alone – roughly 450 a week or an officer being assaulted every 22 minutes. A Police Federation welfare survey published earlier this year estimated there were nearly 6,000 assaults every day – an assault every 13 seconds, with the average police officer being assaulted 19 times a year.

NHS figures show 70,000 recorded assaults on NHS staff in England in 2016 – an increase from nearly 68,000 in 2015 and 60,000 in 2004. Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request found that fire crews across the UK faced assaults more than ten times every week on average.  

Sharon's support for our emergency workers comes ahead of Chris Bryant MP’s Private Members Bill (to be debated in Parliament on the 20th October) to create a new aggravated offence of assaulting an emergency worker. This builds on Labour’s manifesto promise in 2017 to “make it an aggravated criminal offence to attack NHS staff.”

The Bill would make offences, such as malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault aggravated when perpetrated against a constable, firefighter, paramedic, nurse or people assisting these professions in the execution of their duties. The Bill would also require assailants who have spat at emergency workers to undergo blood/saliva tests.

Ahead of the debate, Sharon said:

“Our emergency workers do an amazing job to protect us by running towards danger and doing all that they can to keep us safe. It is only right that we protect those who are protecting us every day and night.

“It is shocking that men and women doing their jobs and ultimately keeping us safe are facing assault whilst on the job, with growing reports of assault and attacks in recent years. It is time that we did more to protect the protectors and I am proud to support Chris Bryant MP’s Private Members Bill on this issue.”

SHARON SUPPORTS PROTECT THE PROTECTORS CAMPAIGN

On the 18th October, Sharon joined with emergency workers - from the police, the fire service, ambulance and medical professions – to support the calls for those who protect us...

Sharon has dressed in pink to lend her support to Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, which will see thousands of people across the UK adding a splash of pink to their outfits on Friday 20th October and raise vital funds for breast cancer research.

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Sharon is encouraging her constituents to join her, and sign up to take part in the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser. The event, which takes place during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is in its 16th year and has raised over £30 million to date for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research.

Sharon was joined by fellow parliamentarians in Westminster earlier this month and showed her support for the thousands of women and men affected by breast cancer each year, encouraging people across the UK to take part on wear it pink day.

Sharon said:

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. One in eight women will face it in their life time, and every year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease.

“Breast cancer affects so many people in Washington and Sunderland West, and I know from my own experience how heart breaking that can be.

“That is why, as the Co-Chair of the APPG on Breast Cancer and as a local MP, I support Breast Cancer Now’s Wear it Pink day and all the important work Breast Cancer Now does throughout the year to help stop breast cancer taking the lives of those we love.

“Wear it Pink day is a fun and easy way to raise awareness and money for vital breast cancer research.”

To find out more about Wear It Pink, you can go to Breast Cancer Now's website here.

Sharon wears it pink for breast cancer fundraiser

Sharon has dressed in pink to lend her support to Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, which will see thousands of people across the UK adding a splash...

On the 17th October, the Boundary Commission published their revised proposals for the boundary changes and have announced that they will be proposing that the constituency of Washington and Sunderland West remains intact, with the addition of the Sandhill ward.

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Since the initial proposals, Sharon has campaigned for the five wards in Washington to remain within one constituency and for the town to have recognition in the name of a Parliamentary constituency.

This included presenting to the Boundary Commission in Newcastle on the 14th November 2016, where Sharon was the only MP from Tyne and Wear making a representation and the only elected official calling for the town to be kept within one constituency. She called on the Commission to rethink their proposal, citing emails from constituents who felt passionately about maintaining the Parliamentary representation they have had since 2010 when the town was united into one constituency.

Reacting to the Commission’s revised proposals, Sharon Hodgson MP, said:

“The new boundary proposals set out in the Boundary Commission’s revised proposals are fantastic and I am delighted that the campaigning by myself and many Washington residents has proven worthwhile and seen the town’s importance recognised by the Boundary Review, after their shocking decision to split the town across three constituencies.

“At the time, it was deeply disappointing to see this important town’s Parliamentary representation watered down, including no name recognition in any of the three proposed constituencies. The people of Washington are very proud of their area and it is important that their concerns were raised; that is why I went to the Commission’s public meeting last November and called for the town to remain united within one constituency.

“The new changes now keep the Washington and Sunderland West constituency completely intact, with the inclusion of the Sandhill area of Sunderland, and maintains the long and proud heritage of the two areas. These are still only proposals, that is why it is important that residents of Washington and Sunderland West make their support for this plan known to the Commission so that they do not change their minds during the final stages of the review.”

 

Sharon welcomes revised Parliamentary Boundary Changes for Washington and Sunderland West

On the 17th October, the Boundary Commission published their revised proposals for the boundary changes and have announced that they will be proposing that the constituency of Washington and Sunderland...

This week saw the commemoration of Baby Loss Awareness Week (9th October – 15th October) with many events in Parliament.

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As part of the week, Sharon attended the Baby Loss APPG reception where MPs heard many accounts from families affected by baby loss, including Emma who gave a heartfelt account of losing her baby, Oscar, which nobody will forget. This was as well as attending the General Debate on Baby Loss and the remembrance service in the Chapel of St Mary of Undercroft.

Many families will be affected by the loss of a baby and it is important that bereavement support is on offer to families to cope with such a loss at whatever stage it occurs from very early pregnancy through perinatal to neonatal and beyond; this was the theme of this year’s awareness week.

The week provides people with the chance to raise awareness of issues around pregnancy and baby loss in the UK and is a collaboration between more than 40 charities.

Following the week’s events, Sharon said:

“As someone who has experienced the loss of a baby, this is an issue very close to my heart and it is important for MPs to work together to raise awareness of such issues, especially ones which can prove difficult to talk about to show that people are not alone in coping with the sad loss of a baby.  I was proud to once again show my support and I thank everyone who made it such a special and memorable week.”

To find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week, you can visit the Baby Loss Awareness Week website here: https://babyloss-awareness.org/

There will also be a global wave of light at 7pm on the 15th October (which coincides with International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day), where people will share a photo of a lit candle on social media and take a moment to remember. You can read more about this by following this link: https://babyloss-awareness.org/get-involved/#wave-light 

SHARON SUPPORTS BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK

This week saw the commemoration of Baby Loss Awareness Week (9th October – 15th October) with many events in Parliament. As part of the week, Sharon attended the Baby Loss...

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Sharon signed up to support the UK’s drowning prevention charity in its work to reduce drowning and provide water safety education and lifesaving awards across the UK and Ireland.

Representatives from The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) made the trip to Parliament ahead of its annual national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign which, this year, runs from December 4 to the 10.

Sharon Hodgson MP was invited to find out more about the charity and its work, and learnt shocking statistics about alcohol and drug related drownings.

An average of 73 people a year, the equivalent of one in every five, who lose their lives to drowning have alcohol or drugs in their system. Those most at risk include 17 to 29-year-olds, 45- 49-year-olds and 60 to 64-year-olds, particularly males.

In Tyne and Wear, there have been 30 accidental drownings between 2012 and 2016, 10 of which involved alcohol.

Sharon said:

“Too often in our local area we hear of the lives lost because of accidental drowning. That is why water safety is such an important issue to me and why I want to raise awareness of campaigns like the RLLS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign.

“Raising awareness of the risks of drowning is crucial in reducing the number of people who lose their lives in the water every year, especially following drinking. That is why I am pleased to sign the pledge to support the RLSS UK in their aim to reduce the rate of drowning in the UK and will continue to raise awareness of the risks of drowning in our local area.”

The RLSS UK works tirelessly to promote drowning prevention messages and deliver water safety education nationally, as well as offering a range of awards and programmes that teach lifesaving skills to all ages.

 

Sharon backs RLSS's Don't Drink and Drown Campaign

Sharon signed up to support the UK’s drowning prevention charity in its work to reduce drowning and provide water safety education and lifesaving awards across the UK and Ireland. Representatives...

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

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As Parliament returns from summer recess, Brexit has dominated not only the headlines but the Parliamentary agenda too as we began the passage of the Great Repeal Bill (now known as the EU Withdrawal Bill).

This Bill has received a lot of interest, especially from those concerned that it was to block Brexit.

The simple answer is no, it was not.

We are leaving the EU come March 2019, as was decided during the referendum and endorsed by the Parliamentary vote in March to trigger Article 50 – which I voted for.

However, the Bill put before Parliament was a power grab by Tory ministers to cut Parliament out of the process and give ministers unfettered power to change laws as we convert EU legislation into British law without any scrutiny by Parliament, laws such as workers’ rights to animal welfare and environmental protections.

Since the General Election in June, the Tories have been acting as if they won a huge majority.

That is far from the reality of it with Theresa May relying on the help of the DUP to stay in Number 10.

Parliament is the centre of our democracy and should not be side-lined.

I take my role in Parliament very seriously, including when it comes to Brexit and ensuring the best deal possible for our area.

To remove all accountability and scrutiny of the Government by Parliament is something that I could not support.

This is why I could not vote for the Bill in its current form this week and will work with colleagues across the House to improve the Bill as it continues its passage through Parliament.

As I have said before: Brexit is one of the biggest political, economic and diplomatic issues this country will face – this has not changed.

It is crucial that Parliament is consulted by the Government, instead of railroaded as ministers grab powers to rewrite legislation without scrutiny.

No Government, especially a minority government, should hold such powers.

It is important that our democracy is not watered down and just as I consulted with constituents and promised to continue listening to their views during this process, so should the Government with Parliament.

Parliament is elected by the people to hold the Government to account and pass and amend legislation.

This Bill, in its current form, is an affront to democracy.

ECHO COLUMN: I'm behind Brexit - but the Repeal Bill is an affront to our democracy

Read Sharon's latest Echo column below or find it on the Sunderland Echo website.  As Parliament returns from summer recess, Brexit has dominated not only the headlines but the Parliamentary...

Over the 2017 summer holidays, Northumbria University conducted a mapping exercise into holiday hunger provision across the United Kingdom.

Their findings found:

  • A rise in the number of organisations delivering holiday hunger clubs since 2015 with a sharp rise in the establishment of new holiday clubs in 2017.
  • The regions of the UK with the greatest number of responses to the survey are the North East of England, London and Scotland.
  • Over two thirds of organisations surveyed do not charge for their holiday club provision.
  • The majority of organisations provide food and a range of activities for children.
  • Voluntary or community based groups and church or faith groups together make up over half of all holiday club providers.
  • The majority of organisations rely on both paid and volunteer staff and partner with other organisations or agencies to deliver this provision.
  • Holiday clubs are available to children of all ages but organisations predominately focus their provision on primary school aged children (5 – 11 year olds).

Over the past five years, Sharon Hodgson MP, has campaigned on the issue of child hunger issues, including holiday hunger, including the commissioning of the first mapping exercise in the summer of 2016 as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food.

In response to the latest information released on the holiday hunger situation in the UK, Sharon, said: 

It is deeply concerning to see that holiday hunger provision this summer has increased so drastically compared to last summer, especially with some of the greatest number of responses to Northumbria University’s survey coming from the North East.

“The staff and volunteers who help provide this vital support to families over the summer holidays should be thanked profusely for doing such an amazing job, but it is high time that the Government seriously addressed this issue once and for all.

“The Government must acknowledge this is becoming an ever-more serious issue in our country and come up with policy to tackle this issue. By continuing to put their heads in the sand, they are letting down generations of children who deserve the best start in life, no matter what their background or circumstances. The time to act is now.”

You can see the full report from Northumbria University here: http://www.frankfield.co.uk/upload/docs/Holiday%20Club%20Survey%202017.pdf

Sharon reacts to Northumbria University's Preliminary Findings of Holiday Hunger Survey 2017

Over the 2017 summer holidays, Northumbria University conducted a mapping exercise into holiday hunger provision across the United Kingdom. Their findings found: A rise in the number of organisations delivering...

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

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Last week, Parliament continued to debate the Queen’s Speech and the thin legislative programme announced by the Government. It had been my intention to speak in the debates, but after hours of waiting, I was unfortunately not called.

What follows is a brief version of what I was going to say if given the chance.

The Queen’s Speech ignored what the people had voted for at the General Election, which was: for an end to austerity and a change to the status quo with better investment in their communities and the public services they rely upon. This was not forthcoming.

That is why it was slap in the face when Theresa May gave Northern Ireland an additional £1 billion in funding just to save her own political skin. It is estimated that the money offered to the DUP in just two years is more than the North East was offered over 30 years as part of our then devolution deal.

That’s why in my speech, I was hoping to make some points about what the Government could do to invest in the North East, especially here in Sunderland.

First off, and one that I think is incredibly important, is the Tyne and Wear Metro.

This has been a long-standing campaign of mine, and something I know constituents care passionately about, and £1 billion would have been more than enough to not only refurbish the current line but extend it too, including finally to Washington, with money left over for my second idea which is a materials catapult.

I have talked about this in my columns before and raised during the Budget debates earlier this year. I made the point then, and make the point now, that investing in this catapult would not only invest in Nissan’s supply chain but would help to create the 21st century economy we need, based on high-skilled jobs for local people.

Investment should not be done to cling on to power, but must be done where it is most needed and if Northern Ireland is to get more investment, then the North East should surely be next in line. As ever, I will push the Government to do just that and not fail our region as it has done for the last seven years.

ECHO COLUMN: Government must be pressed to invest in the North East

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo's website. Last week, Parliament continued to debate the Queen’s Speech and the thin legislative programme announced by the...

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...

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