Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.
Last weekend, news broke of the collapse of Carillion and throughout the week it has dominated the news as more and more of this sorry saga unravelled.
But what was deeply concerning was the Government’s failure to recognise the warning signs in front of them.
For the last six months, alarm bells have been ringing about Carillion, who over that short period issued three profit warnings.
Despite these warnings, the Government granted three separate contracts to Carillion, worth nearly £2billion of tax payers’ money, believing that it would make this growing situation go away.
But the Government’s gamble has not paid off, and now it is the nearly 20,000-strong Carillion workforce who will bear the brunt of this Government’s recklessness, with jobs, pensions and ongoing public sector projects that are now in jeopardy.
It is crucial that jobs and pensions are protected and that shareholders and creditors do not walk away with the rewards from profitable contracts whilst the taxpayer is left to foot the bill for loss-making parts of this business.
The Government’s failure to exercise due diligence on Carillion has put services paid for and relied upon by taxpayers such as schools, prisons and hospitals at serious risk.
It is important that the Government works to ensure that these services can continue to be provided at the high standard taxpayers rightly expect.
It is now time for the Government to accept some responsibility on this matter and recognise the need to bring public sector contracts back in-house to protect public services and serve the public rather than private profit.
The Carillion workforce deserve assurances on the status of their jobs, wages and pensions, and the UK electorate deserve a Labour administration that cares about them and not private profits.
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website. Last weekend, news broke of the collapse of Carillion and throughout the week it has...
** PLEASE NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR THIS APPLICATION HAS PASSED **
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal candidate to join her hard-working, fast-paced and committed team in Parliament to assist in her Parliamentary work.
This would be an ideal opportunity for a candidate with at least one year’s experience as a Parliamentary Assistant who is looking to work for a frontbench spokesperson who is an active Member of Parliament.
Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:
- 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;
- Drafting political responses to constituent correspondence and keeping records on the caseworker.mp software;
- Undertaking photocopying, scanning and formatting of documents;
- Assisting with the running of various All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs);
- 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 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;
- Performing other duties as and when required.
Knowledge of caseworker.mp software as well as Microsoft Office would be an advantage. Previous experience of working for a Labour politician in Westminster is highly desirable.
Initial contract will be for one calendar year, pending a successful probationary period of 6 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 Friday 26th January. Interviews will take place on Thursday 1st February. We may hold 2nd interviews on Friday 2nd February if needed. If you anticipate a problem with interview dates, please make this clear when you apply.
Candidates will be notified by email on the 29th January 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 [email address removed], putting PASH18 as the subject line.
** PLEASE NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR THIS APPLICATION HAS PASSED ** Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal...
On Thursday 11th January, Sharon joined the likes of Action Against Smoking and Health, Fresh NE and a host of NHS professionals to launch the NHS Smokefree Pledge.
NHS organisations who sign the Pledge are making a commitment to help smokers in their care to quit and create smokefree environments that support them to do so.
The commitment includes measures to:
- Treat tobacco dependency among patients and staff who smoke as set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England;
- Ensure that smokers within the NHS have access to the medication they need to quit in line with NICE guidelines on smoking in secondary care;
- Create environments that support quitting through implementing smokefree policies as recommended by NICE.
At the event, Sharon spoke alongside Bob Blackman MP (Chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health), Celia Ingham-Clark (Medical Director for Clinical Effectiveness and National Director for Reducing Premature Death at NHS England), Duncan Selbie (Chief Executive, Public Health England), Professor Sean Duffy (Clinical Director and Alliance Lead, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance), Dr Tony Branson (Co-Chair North East Smokefree NHS/Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce) and Steve Brine MP, Minister for Public Health and Primary Care.
In her speech at the launch event, Sharon said:
“Last year, it was welcome when the Minister finally published the delayed Tobacco Control Plan – after a little chivvying from myself at our first outing together at Health Questions. There is a lot in the Plan that we welcomed but recognised the need for the funding to be stumped up so that the vision set out in the Plan could be achieved.”
Sharon then went on to say:
“ … we have seen serious strides in the rates of smoking across the country there is still so much more we could be doing. This includes doing more work to make sure that smoking cessation becomes a central theme of healthcare staff’s engagement with patients and making every contact count to help people to quit smoking but also creating important smokefree environments where smokers can quit smoking and live healthier and happier lives.”
On Thursday 11th January, Sharon joined the likes of Action Against Smoking and Health, Fresh NE and a host of NHS professionals to launch the NHS Smokefree Pledge. Sharon with...
Sharon has pledged to tackle children going hungry during the school holidays.
Attending the launch of charity Feeding Britain’s new report, Ending Hunger in the Holidays, Sharon showed her support for the upcoming School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill, which has been put forward by Frank Field MP and has cross party support.
The Bill would give local authorities the legal duty to ensure that children can have free food and fun activities during the holidays to support their educational attainment and health. The Bill would also bring extra resources for holidays clubs funded by money recouped from the Sugary Drinks Levy.
“I have long campaigned on the issue of children’s health, well-being and education, and the importance of feeding children properly so they can achieve their full potential and believe we need to be doing more to address the issue of hunger in our society.
“For the 5th richest economy in the world, it is deeply saddening that our 21st century society harks back to one from a Dickensian-era, where children go hungry for extended periods of time without any support or action from authorities to protect children – as is their duty.
“That is why I am fully behind this Bill, as it will help take us one step closer to ending child hunger and I will make sure I am in Parliament to help see this legislation through to its next stages.”
Feeding Britain’s report reveals that in excess of 187,000 meals were provided to children in the summer and during October half term holidays this year, but stresses that this is only a drop in the ocean compared to the level of need.
The report concludes: “Holiday clubs provide an urgently needed safety net to protect children from hunger and social isolation, but an incomplete one, and one that is increasingly strained.”
The report highlights the importance of holidays clubs, which protect children and their families from hunger and social isolation in the holidays, boost children’s health and learning, and to help prevent children falling behind their more affluent peers during the holidays.
Recent research done by Northumbria University in the North East showed that children from poorer backgrounds see a stagnation or reduction in spelling skills over the summer holidays, and take several weeks to recover lost learning.
The Feeding Britain report Ending Hunger in the Holidays, can be downloaded from www.feeding-britain.org.
Sharon has pledged to tackle children going hungry during the school holidays. Attending the launch of charity Feeding Britain’s new report, Ending Hunger in the Holidays, Sharon showed her support...
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.
Supporting children in their formative years has always been a passion of mine and an area which I have helped push during my time as an MP.
Yet recent analysis by Labour has shown that under the Tories we have seen £500 million cut from the Early Intervention Grant since 2013, with a projected £183 million more to be cut by 2020.
This represents a total cut of 40 per cent between 2013 and 2020.
Early intervention saves society a lot more than intervening at a later stage when support can be less effective.
It can ensure that children’s lives are improved and they have the opportunity to achieve all that they can. This is not being seen under the Tories, despite their rhetoric of being champions of social mobility.
If they were serious about improving the lives of children, then they wouldn’t be cutting off the vital funding necessary to achieving it.
The Government has a track record of putting the opportunities of children at risk with no consideration for their futures.
Firstly, we have seen one in three Sure Start Centres close across the country.
Secondly, we have seen the Government determined to scrap Universal Infant Free School Meals on two occasions now (2015 and 2017), which thanks to campaigners and parents we have seen saved for now.
Or, thirdly, the current worries regarding the roll-out of Universal Credit and the impact this will have on free school meals, where under proposals on the future of free school meals currently under consultation, the Children’s Society have estimated that one million children living in poverty may miss out on this important intervention.
Labour have always championed improving services for children and families, and will continue to hold this Government to account on their actions as they cut these services to the bone and provide an alternative approach that allows all children, no matter their background or circumstances, to flourish.
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website. Supporting children in their formative years has always been a passion of mine and an...
Sharon has joined Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, in hitting out at the Government for attempting to mask the Government’s lack of a plan to invest in the North East’s transport infrastructure.
In a letter sent to all Members of Parliament on 12th December, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling suggested that the “Northern regions” of England would receive £1,039 per head in planned transport infrastructure spending to the year 2021, which is £13 more than London’s £1,026,
But, on closer inspection, it appears that the Transport Secretary deliberately grouped the North East together with the North West to make the Government’s transport spend look higher.
An analysis of the Government’s transport spending plans, which informed the letter, reveals that planned transport spending in the North East is currently only £822, compared to £1,353 for the North West. Instead of providing a real figure for each of the north’s separated regions, Mr Grayling’s letter simply provided an average, giving the impression that transport funding is equally spread throughout England. The planned spend per head in Yorkshire and Humber currently sits at £726.
Commenting on the Transport Secretary’s letter, Sharon said:
“It is shocking that the Transport Secretary has fudged his figures to put a positive spin on the transport infrastructure spend for the North East. Clearly, he believed he could pull the wool over the eyes of the regions MPs and the people of the North East; however, he has failed in doing so.
“The North East deserves the right levels of transport funding to unlock much-needed economic growth and ensure that there is a level playing field when it comes to how infrastructure spending is allocated across the country, and not have a Government who mask the damning reality of their failed approach to regional growth.”
Commenting on the Transport Secretary’s letter, Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, said:
“This kind of creative accounting on the part of the Transport Secretary serves only to draw attention to the Government’s lack of planned transport spending in the North East.
“In reality, it’s clear the Government is failing to provide adequate funding for transport infrastructure in our region whilst at the same time pumping billions into London and projects like HS2.”
You can read the letter to MPs from Chris Grayling here: Letter to MPs from Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling
Planned Central Government transport capital spending per head across regions
Claimed spending by Chris Grayling by ‘regions’
Northern Regions (North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humber) £1,039 per head
Middle regions (East of England, East Midlands and West Midlands) £1,076 per head
Southern regions (London, South East and South West) £1,029 per head
Investment per person (£, 2016/17 prices)
East Midlands £946
East of England £994
North East £822
North West £1,353
South East £1,139
South West £851
West Midlands £1,269
Yorkshire and the Humber £726
Sharon has joined Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, in hitting out at the Government for attempting to mask the Government’s lack of a plan to invest in the North...
Sharon responds to constituents asking her to sign Early Day Motion 581 calling for a moratorium on waste incinerators.
Sharon responds to constituents asking her to sign Early Day Motion 581 calling for a moratorium on waste incinerators. Read more
Read my latest Sunderland Echo column here or read it on the Echo's website.
The past couple of weeks have seen the Tories embattled as they lurch from one crisis to another.
What this has done is distract from the job of government and this week’s Budget was sadly more of the same.
Under the last seven years of Tory rule, we have seen austerity weaken our country’s future potential, and this week’s Budget confirmed what we expected to be the case: productivity, business investment and growth forecasts revised down for the next five years.
Whilst there were welcome announcements in the Budget, including the Government footing the bill to refurbish the Tyne & Wear Metro rolling stock after concerted campaigning by local MPs and Nexus, this does not mean we should celebrate this Budget; far from it.
The wider economic forecasts show an impact on jobs and people’s incomes, yet the Tories are failing to come forward with radical proposals to address these growing issues.
Instead they are providing more of the same with the odd token policy thrown in to gloss over their failures.
More must be done than what is happening at the moment.
Instead of focusing on clinging to power, the Tories must make sure that they deliver for as many people as possible in our country.
Labour has a clear plan which includes real investment in skills and jobs and a large-scale housebuilding programme, plans to help people’s incomes by providing a real living wage and capping energy prices, and ensuring the super-rich don’t get away with more tax breaks and tackle tax avoidance.
People wanted change when they voted in the snap General Election in the summer. Yet, at the first chance this Government had to offer just that, they let down so many people by sticking with the status quo and overseeing a fragile economy that is failing to put the many first.
Read my latest Sunderland Echo column here or read it on the Echo's website. The past couple of weeks have seen the Tories embattled as they lurch from one crisis...
Sharon has backed calls from leading charity Diabetes UK for sustained funding to continue improving treatments and care for people with diabetes.
The charity carried out a consultation with 9,000 people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from across the UK, who shared their experiences of living with diabetes today, and what their hopes and fears were for the future.
Participants identified a number of ways that would make living with diabetes more manageable, including making support for emotional and psychological health more widely available, and better access to healthcare professionals, new technologies and treatments. Respondents also said that they wanted to see better education and information about managing diabetes, and greater support and understanding for people with diabetes at work and at school.
People said they hoped in the future to see more research into a cure, better treatments for all types of diabetes, and to see more done to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
These findings informed Diabetes UK’s new Future of Diabetes report, which was launched at a reception at Parliament on World Diabetes Day (14th November).
In response, Diabetes UK is urging the Government to radically improve health outcomes for people with diabetes, by committing to sustaining transformation funding at current levels of £44 million until at least 2021. The charity is also calling on the Government to challenge the food and drink industry to make their products healthier, build on the work outlined by the Childhood Obesity Plan, and commit to specific measures on front-of-pack food labelling, and tackling junk food marketing to children.
“For someone living with diabetes, the condition affects all aspects of their lives: at home with family, mealtimes, work, exercise and socialising. It can make it hard to live with spontaneity and hope. Lack of understanding about diabetes in the health service, in the workplace, at school and in society generally can lead to people feeling isolated, misunderstood and stigmatised.
“We must listen to what people with diabetes are telling us. Their needs and experiences must be central to the care and support they receive. And by working together we can tackle the issues that matter.
“I will do all I can to ensure all my constituents are supported with their diabetes and that those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes know what they can do to reduce this risk.”
Diabetes affects more than 4.5 million people in the UK and the number of people living with diabetes is rising fast. Every day, around 700 people are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s one person every two minutes.
Diabetes UK is inviting everyone to join in creating a better future for people with diabetes by campaigning for change, raising awareness and bringing people together. To find out more and for a copy of the Future of Diabetes report go to www.diabetes.org.uk/future-diabetes
Sharon has backed calls from leading charity Diabetes UK for sustained funding to continue improving treatments and care for people with diabetes. The charity carried out a consultation with 9,000...
In her capacity as Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon has written a letter to Boots' Managing Director, Elizabeth Fagan, signed by over 130 Labour MPs highlighting their dismay that Boots have not fulfilled their promise to provide cheaper and more affordable emergency contraception to women.
Sharon alongside other Labour MPs pressed Boots for action on affordable contraception and have expressed their disappointment at the pharmacy’s failure to deliver on their pledge to women and their reproductive rights.
In response to lobbying from MPs, healthcare charities, and members of the public, Boots said in July that they were looking to source less expensive emergency contraception medicines for their customers.
In August, the company stated they had started to offer a £15.99 product in 38 stores and would be “able to offer this across all stores in October 2017.”
However, Boots have now confirmed that they are only providing the cheaper version in an additional 31 stores, bringing the total to just 69 of their nearly 2,500 shops. A number of the stores Boots have listed as selling the £15.99 product do not appear to have this in stock. In the letter, MPs state they are “dismayed” by Boots’ failure to “live up to their clear commitment to women.”
Boots have cited “supply chain delays” as the reason for their inability to roll out a more affordable product. Yet MPs have stated that it is “difficult to understand” how Boots – “our leading high street pharmacy, who states they have a commitment to women’s health and wellbeing” – have been unable to do so when the vast majority of their high street competitors have been offering less expensive options for a number of months.
In their letter to Managing Director Elizabeth Fagan, MPs say they are “deeply concerned that Boots are unable or unwilling to deliver” on their pledge, and call on the pharmacy chain to consider reducing the price of their own-brand emergency contraception, currently priced at around £26, if they are indeed experiencing difficulties sourcing another version.
The letter also highlights that pharmacy access to EC is of an even greater importance in December and January, as GP and family planning clinic closures mean that many women struggle to access contraceptive services and their usual family planning method over the festive period. Boots have made no commitment on a timescale for the much-delayed full roll out of the more affordable emergency contraception.
“It is dismaying that Boots have not fulfilled their promise from earlier this year to provide cheaper, more affordable emergency contraception to women by October.
“Whilst Boots say they have started the process of rolling out this product in the stores, the progress they have made so far can only be described as a drop in the ocean with a long way to go before it is accessible in each of their 2,500 stores across the country.
“As we enter the festive period – where women struggle to access contraceptive services and their usual family planning methods – it is crucial that Boots get their act together and roll out this cheaper emergency contraception as promised earlier in the year.”
You can read the letter here.
In her capacity as Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon has written a letter to Boots' Managing Director, Elizabeth Fagan, signed by over 130 Labour MPs highlighting their dismay that...