Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2021 no 136 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Jan-Feb 2021 no 136 Read more
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
This year, local elections will take place in a context we’ve never known before.
Last year’s Council elections were delayed by national Government, because of Covid-19, but are due to take place this May.
While many of us will have had our vaccine by then, with Sunderland and the North East making incredible progress vaccinating our communities, there is an important step that we all could take to ensure that we can all vote safely in the local elections – sign up for postal voting.
You can vote early with a postal vote, by sending this off ahead of polling day. Around 40% of the population of Sunderland are already registered for a postal vote.
It’s important you have your say in local democracy, and you can do this easily from your own home. The elections in the USA in November were a fantastic success for early postal voting, with over 100 million voters across the country choosing to vote safely and securely from home.
That’s not to say that voting in person at your nearest polling station won’t be safe. Our excellent council workers will be ensuring that polling stations are kept Covid-secure, and social distancing will be strictly maintained.
But I’m sure most people have been in that position where they’ve forgotten it is election day until the last minute, or are too busy to find time to vote on the day. That doesn’t need to be a concern with a postal vote.
Across the next few months, Sunderland Council Electoral Services will be writing to everyone who is not yet registered for a postal vote, to let you know how you can sign up for one.
You can get ahead of the curve, and sign up to vote by post by checking out this interactive website: https://postalvote.labour.org.uk/
Your local Labour candidates have been working hard throughout the pandemic to support communities across Sunderland. You can find out more about the candidates for Washington and Sunderland West on this link: https://www.waswlabour.org/local-election-candidates-2021/
Get your postal vote, and make sure your vote is counted safely and securely in May and in future elections.
You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website This year, local elections will take place in a context we’ve never known before. Last year’s...
Sharon Hodgson MP has written to Home Secretary seeking urgent clarification on the impact on Washington and Sunderland West following news that 400,000 police records were deleted.
Click the above image to read Sharon's letter in full
The letter sets out a number of key questions for the Conservative Home Secretary, including, how many people have been affected in Washington and Sunderland West, what work is being done with police to identify gaps in the system and what the impact will be on vital safeguarding issues, such as domestic abuse and stalking.
Commenting Sharon Hodgson MP, said:
“This fiasco is incredibly serious and the Conservative Government’s incompetence is putting the safety of people at risk in Washington & Sunderland West.
“Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that as a result of this mess criminals will escape punishment, victims will miss out on justice and our community will be less safe.
“As such, I was very disappointed that the Home Secretary failed to appear in the House of Commons to answer Labour’s questions on Monday
“I’ve raised this as an urgent matter with the Home Secretary demanding information of the full impact on our area and, vitally, how we can fix this serious problem.”
The Conservatives have established a pattern of incompetent failures. On Free School Meals, on exams, on the delay to introducing a lockdown and now on our very safety, the Government have dropped the ball.
Sharon Hodgson MP has written to Home Secretary seeking urgent clarification on the impact on Washington and Sunderland West following news that 400,000 police records were deleted. Click the above...
You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families.
Parents finding out at 8pm on a Monday night that their children wouldn't be going to school the next day, after being reassured the opposite, indicates a wider problem; the Government’s incompetence is leaving families behind.
Seeing children out of school is disappointing, but is now necessary. Schools are open to vulnerable children and those with essential worker parents, but this limited safe capacity has quickly been filled leaving schools under serious pressure.
Meanwhile, parents who cannot work from home are being told to remain at work, creating a childcare issue and leaving parents with the difficult decision of working and keeping their job or looking after their family.
On Wednesday, after pressure from Labour, the Chancellor updated the guidance to make these parents aware that they would be eligible for furlough. But this is at the discretion of employers. It also means a 20% pay-cut.
That’s just not good enough. Once again, working parents are left to juggle childcare and work. It isn’t fair on parents, school staff or children.
As we face the deepest recession of any major economy, we must protect family incomes.
Labour is calling on the Government to create an immediate right for parents to request paid flexible furlough.
Child poverty levels were striking pre-pandemic, with 35% of children in the North East living in poverty. This has now worsened, regional inequality has intensified, and Councils have been starved of income.
Despite this, Boris and Rishi want to cut Universal Credit, which will mean millions of families lose £1,000 a year and another 200,000 children put into poverty. They also plan a raise in council tax, landing every family an extra £90 on their bill.
This harsh austerity won’t help our region build back its economy. It won’t help parents and children build back our communities. It certainly won’t level us up.
Not only are the Tories proving their incompetence, but they are proving that families are not their priority.
You can read Sharon's Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website Last week’s schools chaos shows that the Government’s priorities do not lie with families. Parents...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Dec 2020-Jan 2021 number 135 Read more
Sharon has today (30th December 2020) raised in Parliament the importance of Nissan to the North East and called on the Government to help build and support a local supply chain, so that tariff-free trade can continue in the coming years.
During her speech, Sharon said:
“Nissan in my constituency is the largest Nissan Plant in Europe, proving the North East’s worth to the world's automotive industry and it must continue to be so in the post-Brexit world.”
Sharon also called on the Government to invest in a local battery supply chain, so that the UK automotive industry can meet the Rules of Origin criteria set by the deal, by 2024, so that tariff-free trade can continue.
After the debate, Sharon said:
“Sunderland voted to leave and I know that my constituents will be pleased that a Deal has been achieved and successfully voted on in the Commons.
“The Deal is by no means a perfect one, but it can be built upon in the future.
“My priority now is championing the North East and ensuring that our area benefits from investment by battery manufacturers in the coming years so that the UK automotive industry can continue to thrive, without trade tariffs or barriers.”
Sharon voted in favour of the trade deal with the EU, saying it was “in the national interest to do so”.
The deal passed in the House of Commons by 521 to 73.
You can watch Sharon’s speech on Facebook here >
Sharon has today (30th December 2020) raised in Parliament the importance of Nissan to the North East and called on the Government to help build and support a local supply...
During Prime Minister's Questions, Sharon today called on Boris Johnson to urge Centrica British Gas to halt their fire and re-hire plans for skilled workers and return to the negotiation table with workers and their Union, the GMB. Sharon also called on the Government to introduce legislation to outlaw fire and re-hire once and for all.
You can watch Sharon's Question and the Prime Minister's response on the below links:
You can also visit the GMB Union website here >
During Prime Minister's Questions, Sharon today called on Boris Johnson to urge Centrica British Gas to halt their fire and re-hire plans for skilled workers and return to the negotiation...
New analysis by Labour reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hit every key worker earning over £18,000 in England with a real-terms pay cut next year.
This includes 52,267 key workers in the North East region – the teachers, police officers and Armed Forces personnel on the front line of the battle against Covid-19.
At the Spending Review on 25 November, the Chancellor announced a ‘pay freeze’ for all public sector workers earning above £24,000 in 2021-22.
NHS workers weren’t included, while those earning less than £24,000 were promised “a fixed increase of £250”.
Taking into account inflation over the next fiscal year, that means every non-NHS public sector worker earning over £18,000 will actually get a real-terms pay cut.
In the North East this includes:
• 5,691 police officers
• 23,471 teachers
• 22,035 civil servants, including tax inspectors, prison officers and probation officers
• 1,070 members of the Armed Forces
That’s a pay cut for every police officer in England, all 501,000 teachers in English state-funded schools and over 90% of the Armed Forces personnel based in England.
On top of the pay freeze, the Spending Review also contained a one-billion-pound council tax bombshell hidden in the small print and a cut to Universal Credit that will hit those who can least afford it.
Labour has condemned this triple hammer blow to people’s pockets as totally irresponsible when the economy is so fragile.
Making people worried about making ends meet will pull spending out of local high streets and small businesses, damaging consumer confidence at the very moment the Government should be building it up.
Sharon Hodgson MP said:
“The Chancellor was happy to clap for our key workers on his front step on Downing Street, but now that push has come to shove he has failed to show them the respect they deserve. Clapping doesn’t pay the bills.
“I believe those who serve our country deserve fair reward; by cutting their real-terms pay, the Government are punishing those who serve our country every day.
“The country needs a plan to recover jobs and rebuild businesses to fight the wave of unemployment. The Chancellor must think again.”
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said:
“Key workers kept our country going this year, but the Chancellor has rewarded over a million of them with a real-terms pay cut.
“It’s totally irresponsible to hit workers in their pockets when the economy is so weak, but the least the Chancellor can do is be upfront about it.
“Instead, he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the police officers, teachers and Armed Forces personnel who’ve kept the country going during this pandemic.
“They shouldn’t have to carry the can for this Government’s mistakes.”
Chancellor hits every key worker earning over £18,000 with a pay cut – including more than 52,000 across the North East
New analysis by Labour reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hit every key worker earning over £18,000 in England with a real-terms pay cut next year. This includes 52,267 key...
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
When Penshaw monument comes into view on the A1 or A19, you know you’re almost home.
The announcement of a coronavirus vaccine feels like that too.
There is now a route out of this pandemic and its hold on our daily lives; soon we may once again be able to hug our nearest and dearest.
A light has shone at the end of the tunnel, there is an end in sight.
We are almost home.
This of course could never have happened if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of scientists here in the UK. My congratulations and thanks go out to all who have helped us get this far.
But we cannot forget that by leaving us in heightened restrictions since September 18th and failing to support local businesses, the Government has disadvantaged the North East throughout this pandemic.
It is fantastic that Newcastle’s Royal Infirmary will be one of the first hospitals in the country used as a vaccine hub, with the North East yet again leading the way.
However, every part of our region must have the resources and plans in place to deliver the vaccination programme as promised.
The vaccine rollout will not happen overnight, but the Conservatives must not leave the North East at the back of the queue once again.
On Boxing Day 2018, Sunderland fans set the record for attendance of a League One football match, with over 46,000 fans in attendance. Two years on, even if under tier 2 restrictions, only 2,000 fans would be able to go and watch the Black Cats.
Our region’s economy needs fans back in stadiums, hospitality open and local businesses thriving once more.
I know that these measures have taken their toll on us all but with a review of restrictions on the way, we cannot undermine the progress we have made.
I therefore urge everyone to enjoy their festive celebrations in line with the national and regional guidance.
As ever, if you have any concerns, please email [email protected] and I will do my best to help. I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas.
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website When Penshaw monument comes into view on the A1 or A19, you know you’re almost...
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134 Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Nov-Dec 2020 number 134 Read more