Sharon receives a response from Jo Johnson MP, the Minister of State at the department for Transport about the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Click on the image above to read the letter.
Sharon has today (20th December) geared up her long-standing campaign to bring the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington with a letter to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, following the publication of the Department for Transport’s: Connecting people: a strategic vision for rail.
In her letter, Sharon raises the need for much needed economic growth in the North East and how this can be untapped with improved transport infrastructure investment and highlights how the extension of the Metro network into Washington is a perfect example of unlocking economic growth.
Further in the letter, Sharon outlines how statements made in the Connecting people document help make the case that she has been making for many years now, including the improved connectivity that extending the Metro, and therefore the Leamside Line, but also the jobs it can bring to not only the major cities but also Washington itself.
Following sending the letter, Sharon said:
“Banging the drum in Parliament for this campaign is something I have been honoured to do, and will keep on doing, as it would help unlock the much needed economic growth our region so desperately needs.
“The vision set out by the Government does leave me with trepidation following their shoddy track record on transport infrastructure; yet, this is a perfect opportunity to make the case to ministers to fund this long-standing campaign.
“For too long, the people of Washington have waited for improvements to their transport connectivity by extending the Metro to Washington and it is high time ministers acted to give the people of our town the transport network they desire and deserve.”
You can read Sharon's letter to the Transport Secretary by following this link HERE.
Sharon Hodgson speaking in the second day of the Budget Debates - 21st February 2016
Image copyright Parliamentary Recording Unit 2016
Following the Chancellor's Budget on 16th March 2016, Sharon spoke in the second day of the Budget debates and raised concerns about the complete and forced academisation of schools in England and the impact this could have on children with special educational needs and disabilities, along with the failure of the Chancellor to significantly recognise the North East in his Budget which was driven by his desire to push further on his pet project, the Northern Powerhouse.
Read Sharon's speech in Hansard here: Sharon Hodgson MP in the Budget Debate 2016
Test pasted here:
Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab): In the time allotted, I cannot cover all the items that make up this ultra-shambles of a Budget, but I will set out a few.
The Government believe that the complete academisation of our schools by 2020 will help to address the widening gap in educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged in our schools. Yet there are many concerns about what that will mean in reality, especially for children with special educational needs and disability.
Since the publication of the Department for Education White Paper, many parents and organisations have contacted me regarding their concerns about what the proposals will mean for children with autism, dyslexia or other special educational needs or disabilities. Evidence has shown that academies have higher rates of exclusion of children with SEND, who are then pushed into local authority maintained schools. Once all schools are academies, who will take the excluded children with SEND? Those children are as worthy as any others of receiving a high-quality education, and I hope the Government will ensure that we continue to have an inclusive education system and that children with SEND are not sidelined or excluded in the fully academised school system they are creating.
Other announcements by the Chancellor failed to recognise the need for further investment in the north-east. That was seen clearly when he announced £80 million for Crossrail 2 in London and the next phase of high-speed rail—High Speed 3—which will go only as far as Leeds. Some of us live more than 100 miles further north, in the north-east, and I wait with bated breath for the day when HS4 or HS5—or will it be HS 67?—reaches us in the north-east.
The Chancellor obviously sees himself as the King in the North, with his northern powerhouse project, but he needs to realise that there is a lot more of the north before he gets to the wall—that is Hadrian’s wall, not the one in “Game of Thrones”. If he truly wants to be the King in the North, and we all know he has—or should I now say had?—ambitions for higher office, he needs to realise that there is a large section of the north between Yorkshire and Scotland called the north-east and to ensure that investment is directed to our region too.
However, there is still something the Chancellor can do now—invest in the future of the Tyne and Wear Metro. The rolling stock has not been updated in its 36-year history. However, for an estimated £400 million, a much-needed completely new fleet could be built, which would future-proof the network into the 21st century, with options for dual voltage giving it the ability to procure vehicles suitable to support future route extensions, such as the expansion into Washington via the Leamside line, which I have campaigned for more than 10 years. That would help not only to drive economic growth, with improved connectivity to other parts of the region, but provide the vital jobs we need through the building of the new fleet.