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 website.

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Today marks International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the success of women around the world but also a day to reflect on how far we still have to go.

This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

It is no doubt that days like today still need to exist, even in 2018.

Despite making up 51% of the population, women are still outnumbered in almost all professions.

In the House of Commons, there are twice the number of men than women elected in Parliament, and at the current rate of progress it will take 50 years to achieve gender equality in Parliament. In a 100 years since some women got the right to vote, I am the only Sharon elected since 1918, compared to 403 men named John in the same period.

Similarly, a FTSE 100 CEO is more likely to be named David than be a woman, and will earn on average 77% more than their female counterparts.

If these high profile positions cannot practice and promote gender equality in the workplace, then it is difficult to expect others to follow.

That is why the Government must therefore take decisive action to ensure that companies deliver on gender equality in the workplace, and take steps to encourage gender equality in Parliament.

This is something Labour have been championing for many decades now, and I am proud to be one of the 119 female Labour Party MPs sitting in the House of Commons today, making up 45% of Labour MPs.

To #PressForProgress, I will be building on the past achievements of Labour women who have come before me and pushing for full equality and protection of women: financially, in the workplace, in families and homes and in public spaces.

ECHO COLUMN: International Women's Day is also a reminder of how far we still have to go

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website. Today marks International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the success of women around the...

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister, and Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley have joined forces this March to help Marie Curie provide care and support to more people living with a terminal illness.

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Sharon Hodgson MP and long-term Marie Curie supporter Fay were pictured together with Marie Curie Nurses, Victoria Shodeko and Victoria Oluwalogbon, at a parliamentary event held last week to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

Marie Curie’s daffodil pins are now available from volunteers and shops on high streets across the country. With demand for Marie Curie services growing, as more people die each year, the charity hopes that this March, more people than ever will give a donation and wear the iconic yellow flower.

The money raised will help the charity be there for more people living with any terminal illness, providing them and their loved ones with vital care and support at the most difficult time of their lives.

Sharon pledged her support to the appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin.

Sharon said:

‘‘It was a pleasure to join Fay Ripley, Victoria Shodeko and Victoria Oluwalogbon in Parliament to help launch Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal.

Unfortunately, it is extremely likely that we will all know someone who has been or will be affected by a terminal illness, so the support that Marie Curie provides is absolutely vital.

Making a donation, and wearing a daffodil pin are small individual ways in which we can make a larger collective difference to people’s lives. I look forward to seeing many of them when I am out and about, and supporting Marie Curie’s work in the future.’’

Fay Ripley, who is best known for her role in the ITV series Cold Feet and also as a recipe author, said during the event:

"I’m delighted to be here with Sharon to help launch Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal.

Chances are, we all know someone who’s been affected by a terminal illness, so it’s absolutely crucial that families have the care and support they need at such a difficult time.

I hope that as many people as possible wear a daffodil this March and understand that in doing so, they are making a huge difference for people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones.”

Sharon and Fay Ripley help launch Marie Curie's Great Daffodil Appeal

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister, and Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley have joined forces this March to help Marie Curie provide...

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, supports launch of new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer report which finds concerning geographical variation in NHS services.

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Sharon has called for an end to the stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, following the launch of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC) – and supported by leading charity Breast Cancer Now.

The landmark report – launched in Parliament on Tuesday 27th February – uncovers the true extent of the ‘postcode lottery’ in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, with women in worst-affected areas found to be more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75 than those elsewhere in the country.

Following a year-long inquiry (October 2016 - November 2017), which gathered evidence from NHS leaders, clinicians, patients and charities, the report found that while overall outcomes for breast cancer are improving, stark geographical inequalities exist across England in screening, early detection and access to treatment and services.

Sharon said:

“As the former chair of the APPG on Breast Cancer at the time this report was initiated, I was very pleased to attend the launch of their report into geographical inequalities in breast cancer. These widespread differences in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women with breast cancer, based on where they live, are shocking. It was incredibly moving to hear from speakers at the event just how difficult it can be for breast cancer patients to get the support they need.

“It’s so important to attend routine mammograms so that we can detect breast cancer as early as possible to give women the best chance of survival.

“While such variation across the region exists, we’re falling short of the Government’s ambition of world-class outcomes for all cancer patients, and we call on NHS England and Public Health England to do all that it can in working with the Northern Cancer Alliance to ensure they receive the support they need to meet this challenge.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, which supported the inquiry, said:

“These are really concerning findings. While overall, more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, this crucial report uncovers variation in breast cancer services on a major scale.

“With patients and healthcare professionals alike already feeling the impact of the workforce shortages across the country, this alarming report must now act as a wake-up call. All women with breast cancer deserve the best possible chance of surviving and living well, no matter where they live, their age or the colour of their skin.

“This report shows too many women miss out on the best breast cancer care this country has to offer. We urge NHS England and Public Health England to take immediate action to ensure all women in the North East and across the country receive fair access to the care, treatment and support they need.”

Sharon calls for an end to stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, supports launch of new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer report which finds concerning geographical...

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, attended a drop in event at the House of Commons this week to pledge her support to help ban the use and sale of electronic shock collars.

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On Tuesday 20th February, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity launched its #ShockinglyLegal campaign to help urge the Government to ban the sale of electronic shock collars.

A recent poll revealed around a third (31%) of the public wrongly believe shock collars are already illegal, yet despite public opinion, buying and using one of these painful devices to correct a dog’s behaviour, is shockingly still lawful in England.

84% of people know that shock collars cause a dog pain, but the sad reality is that they are still readily available to buy at the click of a button. These torturous devices can send between 100 to 6000 Volts2 to a dog’s neck, and have the capacity to continuously shock a dog for up to 11 terrifying seconds at a time. Research shows that physical effects can include yelping, squealing, crouching, and physiological signs of distress in direct response to an electric shock3,4. It’s not just shock collars – spray and sonic collars are also widely for sale.

Whilst the use of electronic shock collars is banned in Wales, and Scotland has also made moves towards prohibiting the use of these cruel devices, England is dragging its heels. Only Westminster has the power to ban the sale of electronic shock collars so Dogs Trust is urging members of the public to tweet their MP using the hashtag #ShockinglyLegal to help bring this important issue to light.

Sharon said,

“I’m delighted to pledge my support to Dogs Trust in calling for a ban on the use and sale of electronic shock collars. These aversive training methods are outdated and cruel, and there is no need for them to be used when there are so many positive training methods available. This is a hugely important issue for dog welfare and I hope my support will help make a difference.”

Rachel Casey Director of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust explains

“We are appalled that it is still legal to buy and use electronic shock collars in England - 83% of dog owners polled said they wouldn’t use them so why on earth are they legal? It is both unnecessary and cruel to resort to the use of these collars on dogs. This type of device is not only painful for a dog, it can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing. A dog can’t understand when or why it’s being shocked and this can cause it immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behaviour as a result.”

“Positive based methods, such as using rewards like food, are the most effective and kindest way to train your dog, so there is absolutely no need for owners to even consider the use of these devices. We urge everyone who loves dogs to consider the impact that using these kinds of devices can have on our four-legged friends, and join with us in asking your MP for an immediate ban on their sale and their use.”

Sharon supports calls to ban electronic shock collars

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, attended a drop in event at the House of Commons this week to pledge her support to help ban the use and...

A number of constituents have been in touch with me recently to express concern around financial fraud.

This is an issue that has also been in the news as an increasing number of older people are targeted, often for their pension savings. The Times reported last week that nearly £200 million has been stolen by investment fraudsters over the past year. Despite this being an eye-watering figure it may also be somewhat of an under-estimation, as people are sadly often too ashamed to come forward with complaints. I wanted to share this information, and some of the ways in which you can take action to try and protect against fraud.

There appears to have been a significant rise in the targeting of pensioners by fraudsters ever since pension changes came in to effect in 2015 that allowed people to access their savings from any time after becoming 55. Currently, one of the more prevalent methods of fraud is the creation of fake ‘clone’ companies that resemble well known or trusted brands. These clone companies then approach people in retirement and offer them an attractive investment proposition. Many people have been tricked into investing in companies or funds that effectively do not exist.

Towards the end of last year, the Payments Systems Regulator (PRS) published an interim report on progress made in relation to their response to a super-complaint by Which? Magazine. This complaint raised concerns over how little protection there is for people who are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster. One of the suggestions that this report included, was that of a potential reimbursement scheme. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently monitoring responses to this interim report and I will ensure to keep an eye on the final outcome, and see what further steps could be taken to help people who have fallen victim to these crimes.

When it comes to precautionary steps, the FCA has a comprehensive guide on how to avoid investment scams here. Advice includes; rejecting unexpected offers, checking whether a firm is FCA authorised, and checking a firm is not a ‘clone firm’. If you have any doubt as to whether the firm you are talking to is genuine, you should check the FCA’s online register.  It is important to only access the FCA’s register via its own website, as links included in an email to you may lead you to a fake site. I personally think that the old adage "if it’s too good to be true." is truer now more than ever.  It is always better to be overly cautious, rather than risk getting caught out.

If you have been a victim of a crime such as this, and you live in the constituency of Washington and Sunderland West, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Staying Safe Online

A number of constituents have been in touch with me recently to express concern around financial fraud.This is an issue that has also been in the news as an increasing...

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West is calling for nominees to enter into a special awards programme being organised to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.

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Caption: Sharon pictured here with Ethel Armstrong, MBE

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, sponsored by IBM, launched in Parliament last week (Feb 7th).  It is part of a range of activities being organised by NHS England and NHS Improvement, working with a wide range of partners, to celebrate the achievements of the NHS and those who work for and with it.

MPs in England are searching for outstanding nominees who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to how the health and care system provides care for patients. There are ten categories, including a Lifetime Achievement award to honour those who have devoted their lives or careers to making the NHS better, both for patients and those who work within it.

Sharon said:

“July 2018 marks the 70th birthday of our NHS, and it is only right that we take this opportunity to celebrate not only one of the nation’s most loved institutions, but also to celebrate and thank the extraordinary people who work within it to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.

“I am therefore calling on my constituents to share examples of the excellent care and practice they have received or witnessed, that they think deserves national recognition.”

The launch of the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards was attended by Ethel Armstrong MBE, who was working as a nurse cadet on the 5th of July 1948 – the day the NHS came into being. She worked for more than four decades at various hospitals around the country, mainly in radiography and nursing, and since then for two charities that support current and retired NHS staff.

Ethel said: “The NHS has changed a great deal since Nye Bevan launched in back in 1948, but one thing has stayed the same: the dedication, skill and compassion of those who work in it and support it in other ways. The 70th anniversary is an important opportunity to honour those people, past and present, so I welcome Sharon’s support for these awards.”

Sharon is calling for potential nominations in the following categories:

- The Excellence in Cancer Care Award: an individual or team which is going above and beyond to improve outcomes and experience for patients living with and beyond cancer.

- The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award: an individual or team which has developed new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in the community.

- The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: an individual or team which has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations.

- The Excellence in Primary Care Award: a primary care practitioner or team which is working with patients to help them stay healthy in their own homes.

- The Person-Centred Care Champion Award: an individual or team which has gone furthest towards bringing together services to ensure patients with long-term and multiple conditions get the right care in the right place for them.

- The Future NHS Award: an individual or team that has successfully trialled and embedded innovative change(s) to empower and improve care for patients.

- The Healthier Communities Award: an individual or team which has brought different groups together to improve public health in their areas.

- The Care and Compassion Award: any nurse, midwife or care staff member of any discipline and in any setting who has used their skills to ensure that patients experience care and compassion .

- The Patient and Public Involvement Award: to celebrate volunteers who help shape and deliver better services in their area.

- The Lifetime Achievement Award: for an individual who has worked within a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a lasting legacy.

MPs have until March 23rd to submit their nominations. MPs will choose one nomination per category; these will then be judged by senior local and regional NHS experts to find a regional champion in each category, to be announced on May 21st.

These regional champions will then be judged by a high-level panel, with the winners announced at a special awards ceremony in Parliament on July 4th – the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.

Further information on the Parliamentary Awards, including how to nominate and the criteria for each category, is available at www.nhs70awards.co.uk.

Information on the other ways in which the NHS’s 70th birthday is being marked is available at https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs70/

Sharon seeks local 'health and care heroes' for awards marking 70 years of the NHS

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West is calling for nominees to enter into a special awards programme being organised to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS. Caption:... Read more

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

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Last week, I delivered the most difficult speech I have ever given in the House of Commons during my 13 years as a Member of Parliament.

I spoke about my own experiences after the birth of my daughter, Lucy, who sadly arrived into the world stillborn.

Since my speech, I have received messages of love and kindness from all over the country and my story has even reached the Netherlands and Italy.

I have also received messages from other families who, like me, have experienced the heartbreak of losing a baby and were distressed to find that they were unable to register their birth and death because they were born before the 24-week gestation threshold.

To the law, these babies did not officially exist.

But to the families who have felt the excitement of expecting a baby, have felt the baby moving and have given birth, their baby did exist.

That is why something has to change, so that no stillborn baby before 24 weeks is ever made to not officially exist.

This is something Tim Loughton MP’s Private Members Bill on Civil Partnerships (Etc.) Bill hopes to achieve, and something I have campaigned for with my cross-party colleagues on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Baby Loss.

Losing a baby is not party political, and together members of the APPG have raised many issues in Parliament since our late night meeting back in 2015, about baby loss and is an exemplar of cross-party working at its best.

With the help of charities, such as the Lullaby Trust and SANDS, families who have lost a baby are now able to have the care and support I, and many others, never had.

Thanks to developments in healthcare, babies born too soon and before 24 weeks now survive in much greater numbers than ever before.

But babies stillborn before 24 weeks deserve recognition of their existence in the law.

20 years on, Lucy’s legacy lives on through my work as an MP. I hope that my speech persuades the Government to make this important change so that families who have experienced this tragedy know that, within the law, their baby officially did exist.

 

ECHO COLUMN: Twenty years on, Lucy's legacy lives on through my work as an MP

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.  Last week, I delivered the most difficult speech I have ever given in the House...

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, joins celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver in the calls for a pooled marketing fund to advertise vegetables.

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#VegPower is asking for Government, growers and retailers to contribute to a pooled marketing fund to relaunch the image of vegetables and to support a healthier food environment.

Figures show that 95% of teenagers and 80% of adults don’t eat enough vegetables and that consumption is in decline.

Most vegetables are currently unbranded and don’t have big marketing budgets, but vegetable advertising would increase consumption and a healthier lifestyle.

Sharon said:

 “We know that advertising for junk food drives up demand and consumption, so I am pleased that #VegPower is now looking to do the same for vegetables not only to encourage healthy eating and to drive up demand, but also to support our farmers.

“We are constantly bombarded with junk food advertising so I fully support this campaign which will positively promote vegetables.

“Eating a balanced diet, which includes vegetables, is key to a fit and healthy lifestyle, so it is important that healthy eating is encouraged across all ages.”

 

Sharon supports calls for vegetable advertising fund

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, joins celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver in the calls for a pooled...

Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister celebrates the centenary of women’s suffrage, calling for the struggles of the past to be celebrated whilst the issues of the present must not to be forgotten.

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Being the only Sharon ever elected and the 289th of the 489 women elected to the House, Sharon urges women to use their vote and become more involved in politics as when women are united they can achieve anything.

Sharon Hodgson MP said:

“Today I am celebrating the landmark centenary year of some women being given the right to vote. 

I am proud to celebrate the tremendous courage of those brave women who fought so hard for women’s right to vote and the legacy they have left behind.

As we celebrate these women, we should also look forward to the possibilities for the next 100 years and make 2018 a year of great achievement for women and girls everywhere.

Our challenge now must be to build on past achievements and push for full equality and protection for women: financially, in the workplace, in families and homes and in public spaces.”

Sharon Hodgson MP Celebrates 100 years of women's suffrage

Sharon Hodgson, the Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister celebrates the centenary of women’s suffrage, calling for the struggles of the past to...

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

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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. 

ECHO COLUMN: Carillion workforce deserves assurance on status of their jobs

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...

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