Today is International Women’s Day, this day recognises and celebrates the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. But this year it also aims to highlight the slowdown in closing the gender gap and achieving parity between men and women, IWD says this has slumped back, meaning the gender gap will not close til 2133 if nothing more is done. There will be a debate taking place in Parliament and this year they are asking for #PledgesforParity to try speed this up, so I am pledging to help girls and women in Sheffield achieve their ambitions.
Yesterday I raised in Education Questions once again the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools. I asked the Minister to look into the growing number of teaching assistants that are being used to teach pupils with special educational needs and low-attaining pupils. I received a particularly vitriolic response so will continue to pursue!
The Enterprise Bill will be coming back through the House of Commons, where we will debate the amendments the House of Lords have added to the Bill. Controversial caps on redundancy are contained in this Bill which I have previously spoken out against as these will impact relatively low-paid workers such as midwives and library assistants who have served the public for their entire careers.
We’ll also be voting on Sunday trading hours - an issue for workers up and down the country. Shop workers and unions have raised many concerns about the proposed changes to current opt-out for Sunday working and the affect these changes will have on time for family life. I have been contacted by a number of very concerned people on this issue and I will be voting against the relaxation of Sunday trading hours.
I will be attending a round table event with the Institute of Customer Services about Big Data, this is incredibly topical and I look forward to discussing how industry can creatively use Big Data whilst protecting consumer trust in how data is handled securely and fairly.
I will also be meeting with Tech UK, attending an event with Sheffield United Community Foundation and dropping in to the SET for Britain event to see some of Sheffield engineers and scientific research from the University of Sheffield.