Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News from Westminster

At Prime Minister’s Questions on 13th January 2016, Sharon pressed the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision by the Energy Secretary last year to scrap Renewables Obligation Certificates which will be detrimental to the planned investment of £3 million for the windfarm at the Nissan Factory at the Turbine Industrial Park in Sunderland.

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Image copyright Parliamentary Recording Unit 2016

This comes ahead of the House of Commons debating the 2nd Reading of the Government’s Energy Bill on Monday 18th January 2016, where the general principles of the Bill will be debated.

Sharon called on the Prime Minister to rectify the decision from last year and the negative effect this will have on pro-green businesses, like Nissan.

An amendment to introduce a ‘grace period’ for projects already in the pipeline was rejected when the Energy Bill was considered in the House of Lords, but there are now moves to see this amendment re-introduced during the Commons’ stages of the Bill. 

The full exchange between Sharon and the Prime Minister can be seen below, or read here in the Official Hansard.

In her question to the Prime Minister, Sharon asked:

Last year the Energy Secretary scrapped support under the Renewables Obligation for new onshore wind projects, which will impact the £3 million investment by Nissan at their windfarm in my constituency. Does the Prime Minister realise that his attacks on clean energy are detrimental to pro-green businesses, like Nissan, and will he look into this immediately and rectify it in the Energy Bill next week?

To which the Prime Minister responded:

We had extensive exchanges about this in the Liaison Committee yesterday, and I can tell the hon. Lady that we are going to see another 50% increase in onshore wind investment during this Parliament. Also, Britain has the biggest offshore wind market anywhere in the world. The Leader of the Opposition raised the question of solar. Britain has the fourth largest solar installation of any country anywhere in the world. Indeed, my new favourite statistic is that 98% of those solar panels have been installed since I was Prime Minister. This is all good news, and it means that we have a genuine claim to be leading a renewables revolution. However, every single subsidy that is given to these technologies is extra money that we put on to people’s bills, making their energy more expensive. So it is right that we seek a balance between decarbonising our economy and making sure we do it at a low cost to our consumers and the people who pay the bills. That is what our policy is all about.

Commenting after the Prime Minister’s response, Sharon said:

“The Prime Minister again has used his hot-air rhetoric to deflect from the arguments regarding the future of clean energy here in the UK and has ignored the wealth of support from pro-green businesses, such as Nissan here in Sunderland to invest in clean energy.

“With businesses, like Nissan, wanting to invest in the future of our energy infrastructure and security, it is concerning that the Prime Minister and his ministers have scrapped support that will be detrimental to this investment.

“That is why in the upcoming Energy Bill, I hope that Government ministers will seriously reconsider their short-sighted actions that will affect businesses, consumers and our environment alike.”

Sharon presses Prime Minister on the scrapping of new onshore windfarm projects 13.01.16

At Prime Minister’s Questions on 13th January 2016, Sharon pressed the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision by the Energy Secretary last year to scrap Renewables Obligation Certificates which will be...

Sharon Hodgson MPs report - News from Westminster - Dec 2015 to Jan 2016 - number 81

Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Dec 2015 to Jan 2016 - number 81.

Welcome to my online monthly report - News from Westminster - which details some of the highlights from Westminster and the constituency.

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Dec 2015 to Jan 2016 - number 81

Sharon Hodgson MP report - Dec 2015 to Jan 2016 - No 81

Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Dec 2015 to Jan 2016 - number 81. Welcome to my online monthly report - News from Westminster - which... Read more

Sharon Hodgson MP is looking to recruit a temporary, part-time Parliamentary Office Assistant to join her team in the Westminster Office. 

*PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED FOR THIS JOB ADVERT AND NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED NOW*

The successful candidate will join a hard-working team supporting the work of the Shadow Minister for Children and MP for Washington and Sunderland West.

The salary offered will be in line with the IPSA Pay Scale.

They will be responsible for assisting with the successful running of a busy Parliamentary office, together with two full-time members of staff. Duties will include: 

  • Dealing with and monitoring incoming telephone and visitor enquiries, responding to e-mails and letters, efficient data and file management;
  • Opening and dispatching mail;
  • Drafting political responses to constituent letters, and keeping records on the CFL Caseworker database;
  • Undertaking photocopying, scanning and formatting of documents;
  • Assisting with the running of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG);
  • 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 Member with relevant groups/personnel at Westminster and within the Constituency, including liaison with outside organisations and the general public;
  • Performing other duties as and when required.

Knowledge of Computer for Labour programmes as well as Microsoft Office would be an advantage, but training can be provided. Previous experience of working for a Labour politician would also be beneficial, but is not essential.

This post is temporary, part-time (20 hours from Mon - Thurs) for six months.

Upon appointment you will be required to comply with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard, undertaken by the Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO). See www.w4mp.org/html/msvo/main.asp for further info.

The deadline for application is the 28th January 2016. Interviews will take place on Thursday 4th February, with an anticipated start date for the successful candidate during March, to be confirmed with the successful candidate. If you anticipate a problem with either the interview or start dates, please make this clear when you apply. 

To apply, please send a short covering letter (maximum 1 side of A4) and CV (maximum of 2 sides of A4) to [xxxxx] with the subject line: POA Vacancy 2016.

 

Sharon recruiting for a part-time Parliamentary Office Assistant

Sharon Hodgson MP is looking to recruit a temporary, part-time Parliamentary Office Assistant to join her team in the Westminster Office.  *PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED FOR THIS...

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

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With Christmas around the corner, we are all getting into the full swing of the festivities this holiday season has to offer by visiting extended family we don’t get to see during the rest of the year, celebrating the end of the year with neighbours and work colleagues or just simply cosying up with a classic festive movie with our nearest and dearest on a cold winter’s night.

In the battle of the Christmas adverts, John Lewis, this year in partnership with Age UK, may not have been the tear-jerker of previous years but it did pack a punch in highlighting an issue that many of us forget when surrounded by our loved ones during the festive season: loneliness. 

Loneliness can affect us all. This is more pertinent as we get older, with over one million older people saying they go without speaking to a friend, family member or neighbour for a month.

During the Christmas holidays, loneliness can be even harder to bear for older people who may have no loved ones around them with little, or no, festive celebrations to enjoy.

That is why it was so heart-warming to see one of the most high-profile and highly-anticipated adverts of the season highlight this important issue.

There is something we can all do this Christmas to support ending loneliness and end the perception that it is a normal part of ageing.

This includes putting pressure on the Government to consider loneliness as a public health problem that can be prevented and tackled.

If you support this, then you can sign Age UK’s petition on their website www.ageuk.org.uk/no-one

Tackling loneliness shouldn’t be just down to Government alone.

As individuals, we can do our own little bit to tackle loneliness, from a simple smile and a season’s greeting to an elderly neighbour you see walking down the street, to getting in touch with older relatives through a phone-call or a visit, or supporting our local Age UK here in Sunderland that works to help older people to enjoy the festive period.

That’s why when tucking into our dinner on Christmas Day or opening the next bottle of wine at the Christmas party, we must never forget those who will go lonely this Christmas and should pledge to do whatever we can, big or small, to make loneliness a thing of the past in 2016.

ECHO COLUMN: Making loneliness a thing of the past

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo's website. With Christmas around the corner, we are all getting into the full swing... Read more

Sharon has given her support to the relaunch of a cross-party manifesto that highlights the importance of acting early to enhance the outcomes for children.

Sharon has joined a wide-group of Members of Parliament from eight different parties who have thrown their support behind the relaunch of a key policy commitment to achieving better perinatal mental health and stronger attachment between babies, and their parents, right from the start.

The ‘1001 Critical Days Manifesto’ was launched in the last Parliament, when Sharon also supported the manifesto, and called for all political parties to incorporate their recommendations in their manifestos.

The 1001 Critical Days Manifesto takes its title from the period from conception to age 2 when a baby’s brain is developing fastest, and he or she is most susceptible to forming strong bonds of attachment with a primary carer, which will have lasting impact and certainly set a child up for the best start in life, in school and into adulthood.

As part of the relaunch, Sharon and other Members of Parliament are pressing Government ministers to adopt the manifesto’s pledges as policy across a number of Whitehall departments steered by the Department for Health.

Other parliamentarians supporting the manifesto, include: Tim Loughton MP, Norman Lamb MP, and Caroline Lucas MP.

Many of the social problems seen in society today are results of poor parenting skills often as a result of a parent having had a bad experience as a baby and creating a generational downward spiral.

The goal of the manifesto is for every baby to receive sensitive, appropriate and responsive care from their main caregivers in the first years of life with more proactive help from public bodies, like the NHS and children’s centres, in a joined-up preventative strategy that supports the greatest change and outcomes in a child’s life.

The new manifesto draws attention to statistics that show around 26% of babies (198,000) in the UK are estimated to be living within complex family situation, of heightened risk where there are problems with substance misuse, mental health or domestic violence, whilst 36% of serious case reviews involve a baby under the age of one.

Following the relaunch of the manifesto, Sharon said:

“It is fantastic to see the 1001 Critical Days manifesto relaunched in this Parliament with more Members of Parliament than ever before offering their support to raise awareness of the need to help parents in the first 1001 days of their baby’s life.

“The lack of early intervention policy by the Government to support parents and their babies in complex situations can lead to issues further down to the line, including around a child’s health, education, brain development and behaviour, and especially into adulthood and the costs incurred on the taxpayer when these issues could have been addressed at an early stage.

“That is why it is important that families are offered and provided with the necessary help at the earliest opportunity to end the generational cycle of disadvantage and I hope the Government will seriously listen to these concerns.”

Sharon supports relaunch of 1001 Critical Days Manifesto

Sharon has given her support to the relaunch of a cross-party manifesto that highlights the importance of acting early to enhance the outcomes for children. Sharon has joined a wide-group...

This week in Parliament, Sharon helped announce the winners of the Kelloggs' Breakfast Club Awards 2015, which she also helped judge.

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Sharon, pictured here with Liz McInnes MP, Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton and Shadow Communities and Local Government Minister.

There have been countless stories of children fainting during mid-morning lessons because of a lack of healthy food, or any food at all, on a morning or even the night before and are running on empty when they arrive at school to learn.

The Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Awards celebrates the best breakfast clubs from across the UK who help to address the issue of children going hungry before school and when the awards were announced in September over 500 schools entered.

Sharon took part as one of the expert judges of the awards, along with: Peter Watson, Primary Times Editor; Sally Whittle, writer of ‘Mummy Blogger’; Lindsay Graham, School Food Advisor; Professor Greta Defeyter, Director of Health Living at Northumbria University, and; Simon Langley, Headteacher of Broadstone Hall Primary School in Stockport, which was a previous winner of the Kelloggs’ Breakfast Club Awards.

On the day, Sharon presented the awards with Jonathan Myers, Kellogg’s Regional Vice-President for the UK and Ireland, and Mr Burton of Educating Yorkshire fame.

Each winner was awarded a prize of £1,500 for their breakfast club. The overall winner was given £2,000. A runner up from each category received £500.

Speaking after the event, Sharon (pictured above with Liz McInnes MP, Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton and Shadow Communities and Local Government Minister) said:

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and sadly in today’s society we see children fainting mid-morning because they haven’t received the food that morning to keep them going at school, or even the night before.

“That’s why it was wonderful to recognise all the hard work and dedication from the entries to the Kelloggs Breakfast Club Awards who provided a healthy breakfast to those children who need it, along with an enriching and educational environment to start their school day.

“Thanks must also go to Kelloggs for once again recognising the work that goes into providing breakfast clubs to children and young people, and I hope that after this year’s award there can be a real move forward in providing for those children and young people who go hungry at the beginning of the school day.”

The categories and winners of each are as below:

Long Life and Sustainability: Johnson Fold Primary School, Bolton

Extra Learning: South View Junior School, Basingstoke

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle: The Rowans, Kent

Community Involvement: Severn View Food Project

Breakfast Club Hero: Helen Walker, Greenland Community Primary School, Co. Durham

Best Breakfast Club (Wales): Oakfield Primary School, Cardiff

Best Breakfast Club (Scotland): St Winnings Primary School, Kilwinning

Best Breakfast Club (Northern Ireland): Lisnagelvin Primary School, Londonderry

Best Breakfast Club (England): Penine Way Primary School, Carlisle

Overall Winner: Beechlawn School, County Down, Northern Ireland

 

To find out more about the Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Awards please follow the link, including a video from Mr Burton on the ‘Winners and Runners Up 2015’ webpage: http://www.kelloggs.co.uk/en_GB/kelloggs-breakfast-club-awards.html 

 

Sharon announces winners of Kelloggs' Breakfast Club Awards 08.12.15

This week in Parliament, Sharon helped announce the winners of the Kelloggs' Breakfast Club Awards 2015, which she also helped judge. Sharon, pictured here with Liz McInnes MP, Member of...

Read Sharon's statement on Syria Air Strikes after a Parliamentary vote on 2nd December 2015.

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On Wednesday 2nd December, Parliament spent a considerable amount of time debating the Government’s motion to extend military intervention against the so-called Islamic State/Daesh (IS/Daesh) in Iraq into Syria as a way of degrading this death cult’s regional and global threat.

Over the past week, I have received hundreds of messages from constituents, through social media, email and phoning my office, asking for me to vote against the Government’s proposed air strikes on IS/Daesh.

No one, who has watched the scenes coming out of Iraq and Syria on our TV screens, can fail to be shocked and appalled by the actions of IS/Daesh towards ethnic and religious minorities in the lands that they have brutally overtaken, the women and LGBT people they have persecuted, crucified and beheaded or the Muslims they have silenced, tortured and executed just because they have been brave enough to stand up against IS’s hate-fuelled interpretation of Islam.

The decision to extend military action into Syria has been a hard decision, where both sides of the argument must be weighed carefully. All military action must be contemplated with the full facts, serious discussions and with decisions never to be taken lightly.

That is why I decided to vote against the Government’s motion to bomb IS/Daesh in Syria, as I felt the facts put before us by the Prime Minister were not convincing enough to enter into what is a very complicated situation in Syria.

By the time of the vote, concerns had still not been answered in regards to:

  • the lack of an intervention with the full backing of, and led by, the United Nations which would bring together all the world’s powers, including regional powers in the Middle-East, to work towards ending the scourge of IS/Daesh;
  • no clear or coherent strategy when it came to post-conflict reconstruction that would allow the millions of Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland in recent years to safely return and rebuild their lives under a free and democratic government, and;
  • a lack of a comprehensive strategy that doesn’t focus primarily on bombing but also includes economic sanctions against IS/Daesh and those who collude with them.

It is clear that we should, and must, work towards ending the violence in Syria and the threat that IS/Daesh is to the region and the wider world; however, the military plan put before Parliament by the Prime Minister did not go far enough in addressing the many concerns Members of Parliament and the wider public had before decision could be taken on air strikes in Syria.

Though the Prime Minister has now received the Parliamentary approval to enter into the war in Syria, this does not mean that he can ignore the concerns that people have put forward in the lead up to the vote.

At each stage of military intervention, the Prime Minister must make sure that he considers the concerns of the public as a whole and makes sure that past military mistakes in the region do not go ignored and exacerbate any further the on-going problems we are currently seeing in this turbulent region.  

Sharon's statement on Syria Air Strikes vote 02.12.15

Read Sharon's statement on Syria Air Strikes after a Parliamentary vote on 2nd December 2015. On Wednesday 2nd December, Parliament spent a considerable amount of time debating the Government’s motion...

Sharon backs the launch of Labour’s campaign to remain in the European Union, "Labour In For Britain".

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The Labour In For Britain Campaign was launched by the chair of the campaign, Alan Johnson MP, on Tuesday 1st December in the Midlands and is backed by 213 Labour MPs, including Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and the entire Shadow Cabinet.

Labour shares the aims and principles of the cross-party campaign, Britain Stronger in Europe, however Labour will be running its own distinct campaign that stresses Labour’s case for Britain’s continued EU membership.

Britain is a proud trading country with almost half of our exports going to EU countries, worth £227 billion last year to the UK’s economy. UK jobs and businesses, large and small, depend on trade with Europe.

The North-East is the only net exporter in the UK to the European Union with many businesses, including Nissan in Sunderland, relying upon the close trade links with the European Union.

The UK also receives on average £26.5 billion of investment every year from other EU countries and future EU trade could create 790,000 more jobs by 2030 by opening up new markets in Europe, for British businesses, like digital services, energy and tourism.

Labour is campaigning to stay in Europe on the basis that continued membership is good for British jobs and good for men and women working in those industries.

It was Labour who made sure that Britain’s EU membership gave British worker’s rights to minimum paid leave, rights for agency workers, paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, and protection for the workforce when companies change ownership.

Following the launch of the Labour In For Britain campaign, Sharon said:

“In the weeks and months ahead, it is important that the case for our continued membership of the European Union and the benefits this brings to working families here in Sunderland and the North-East is made.

“The North-East and the wider country’s economic future depends on trading with other EU countries as a key trading partner and receiving investment from businesses who want to work within the European Union, such as Nissan.

“That is why I am proud to support Labour’s In For Britain campaign to make the case for the UK’s future as part of the European Union.”

You can watch Labour's In For Britain campaign video below or find out more on the website here.

 

Sharon backs Labour's In For Britain campaign

Sharon backs the launch of Labour’s campaign to remain in the European Union, "Labour In For Britain". The Labour In For Britain Campaign was launched by the chair of the...

Sharon Hodgson has joined Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle MP in celebrating the contribution of small business as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday (SBS) on December 5th.

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In the lead up to and on the day, shoppers are being encouraged to ‘shop small’ and celebrate the contribution of entrepreneurs and small firms this coming weekend.

Small Business Saturday was launched in 2013 after then Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna MP, saw the benefits of celebrating small businesses as was seen in the USA.

The day has become a celebration of local small businesses that crosses party-political lines and brings together shoppers, businesses and politicians to celebrate the contributions of small businesses to the UK’s economy.

Small Business Saturday has brought a boost to local high streets across the country and in 2014, 16.5 million people visited local independent stores – 2.7 million more than on SBS in 2013.

Sharon  is backing local businesses to take advantage of the campaign on a key shopping day in the year in the run-up to Christmas and encouraging local people to shop locally in small firms as part of SBS. The day aims to give a long-term boost to trade and give a lift to our high streets.

In the lead up to the event, Sharon said:

“Small businesses here in Washington and Sunderland West are vital to our local economy. From the store owners at the Market Village in The Galleries to the many local independent shops on our high streets, they all provide the vibrancy and choice that local people want when going shopping, especially in the lead up to the holiday season.

“That is why I am backing Small Business Saturday and encouraging local people to shop locally and help raise awareness of the important value our small local businesses play and help to boost trade in our area.”

Angela Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:

“Small Business Saturday is growing bigger and better every year, it’s such an important day because it puts small businesses in the spotlight and encourages people to shop locally not only on one of the busiest shopping days of the year but also to encourage a long-term commitment. It provides a great opportunity to thank those who run Britain’s small firms.

“Labour wants to do more to help our risk takers and wealth creators, by helping businesses with the challenges they face on issues like access to finances and late payments. We’ll work in partnership with businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to create a stronger economy.”

For more on Small Business Saturday see https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/

 

Sharon Hodgson backs Small Business Saturday 05.12.15

Sharon Hodgson has joined Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle MP in celebrating the contribution of small business as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday (SBS) on December 5th. In...

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Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Nov - Dec 2015 - number 80.

Welcome to my online monthly report - News from Westminster - which details some of the highlights from Westminster and the constituency.

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Nov-Dec 2015 - number 80

Sharon Hodgson MP report - Nov-Dec 2015 - no 80

Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Nov - Dec 2015 - number 80. Welcome to my online monthly report - News from Westminster - which details... Read more

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