Last Friday I spoke at Action Mesothelioma day in Sheffield. This day seeks to raise awareness about what still needs to be done to overcome asbestos related diseases, in particular the aggressive form of asbestos-caused cancer, mesothelioma. I recognise that past governments have not done enough to act on this issue. As a trade unionist, I know the issue is still very prevalent and I will continue to support this campaign. I will call for better treatment and care for mesothelioma patients, for prevention of exposure to asbestos, to ban the export of asbestos to developing countries and improve access to justice and compensation for the victims, something which has been seriously undermined by this Government.
Last week I also held a meeting with teachers from across the constituency. Unsurprisingly, teaching professionals expressed their concerns about a range of issues around education - from academisation, recruitment and retention to valuing teaching assistants and how schools can work together locally. This was a really valuable event for me, it’s really important we listen to teachers and teaching staff about education policies and their first-hand experiences. I will be taking the issues raised forward in my work in Parliament.
This week I will be spending lots of time in the Education and Adoption Bill committee. I will be tabling amendments and pushing for the Secretary of State to take into consideration the impact on teachers and teaching staff when forcing academisation and for more involvement of parents and staff in decisions around academisation. I will continue to press the Minister on the Bill, which will clearly have huge impacts on the way that schools are assessed and pushed towards academisation.
I received news this week that, following the call from myself and 60 other Labour MPs - the Home Secretary has now agreed to agree to meet with us about Orgreave and the IPCC’s decision.
This week I will also be meeting with our Police and Crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings to discuss the situation around the investigation into Orgreave and for an update on his work on child sexual exploitation.
This Wednesday we will discover where the £12 Billion worth of cuts to welfare will come in the “Emergency Budget”. I am extremely concerned about the pressures this will place on low income families. How much will be taken out of the pockets of these families and how will this impact on the living wage rate? The government is set on changing the definition of child poverty so when policies like cutting tax credits push thousands of children into poverty it will be masked. It is outrageous and completely ideological to attack tax credits whilst doing little to improve wages. I have been inundated with emails and contact from constituents who are incredibly worried about the changes to Tax Credits.
Also this week I will be visiting two care homes in the constituency, I will be meeting with Crisis, the homelessness charity and I will be meeting with Places for People, the organisation that manages much of the social housing in Sheffield Heeley.