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Have your say: More and better jobs

I want to hear your views on what you think needs to be done to help us create an economy that works for working people – not just a few at the top. 

To take Michael's summer survey, click the graphic below. 

Say you're with Labour

If you would like to get in touch about a campaign, please contact the constituency office on 01226 743 483 or e-mail Michael on Michael.dugher.mp@parlimanet.uk.   

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Michael warns millions could lose their vote

20 August 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, the Sheffield Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has warned that millions of people up and down the country are at risk of falling off the electoral register after recent changes to the registration process. Under the new rules, heads of each household are no longer entitled to register everyone at that address to vote. Instead, individuals will be automatically registered after cross references are made to government databases, but those whose information is not stored are at risk of falling off the register altogether.

Individuals should receive instructions from the local authority in the coming weeks telling residents whether they need to register or not. The process takes around 3 minutes to complete.

Michael is raising awareness in support of the #NoVoteNoVoice campaign, which aims to encourage more people, especially young people, to engage in politics. The campaign, which is being run by the Daily Mirror, Mass1, the Unite union, Bite the Ballot, and Hope not Hate aims to persuade an extra 1 million people to register to vote by next year’s General Election in May.

Commenting, Michael Dugher said:

"With dramatic decreases in the number of people voting, it is more important than ever that people make sure they are registered. In 2010, just 56 per cent of Barnsley’s population turned out to vote, compared with a national average of 65.1 per cent. What is even more alarming is that only 44 per cent of young people voted in 2010. This is a big worry for people up and down the country.

"Every vote is important and could mean the difference between a hung parliament and a majority. Registering to vote and making your voice heard at the ballot box, no matter what age or background you come from, is one of the beast ways to have your say.

"I would urge everyone across Barnsley to look out for their letter from BMBC over the coming weeks and make sure they’re registered to vote".

You can register to vote online by clicking here and following the steps online. If you would like any further information, details of how you can get in touch with your local Electoral Registration Office can be found here.

 

Thousands in Barnsley face a struggle to see GP

21 August 2014

As reported in Today's Barnsley Chronicle, We Are Barnsely and and the Barnsley News and Sport, shock new figures from an official NHS survey have revealed that more than 30,000 people in Barnsley have had to wait more than a week to see a GP in the past year.

Across the area covered by Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, around one in seven people said they were forced to wait at least seven days when they phoned for an appointment in the last year according to a NHS England CCG Report.

The annual NHS England survey, also revealed that local patients struggle to see the family doctor of their own choosing. Across the local region 41 per cent or 46,169 people - who have a preferred GP had to see another doctor when they last went to their surgery.

The statistics have been highlighted by Michael, who said:

“These figures are a real concern and further proof that Nick Clegg and David Cameron can’t be trusted be trusted with our NHS. Within days of the last election, they scrapped Labour's appointments guarantee and now thousands of people have been left waiting for over a week to be seen. Ministers need to take full responsibility and explain to the people of Barnsley why they have to wait longer to get an appointment with their Doctor.

“The choice will be clear at the next election between a Government that seems hell bent on privatising and destroying the NHS and the Labour Party that built the NHS and is fighting to protect it. That’s why I’m backing plans which would see patients guaranteed an appointment within 48 hours or an appointment on the same day for those who need it. This commitment would make a massive difference to the lives of people in Barnsley.”

"To tackle the problem, the Labour Party unveiled the ‘GP Guarantee’ to show how the next Labour Government plans to improve services for patients, ease the pressure on hospitals and restore the right values to the heart of the NHS."

 

Yorkshire Post: ‘Labour seeks help for key seats’

20 August 2014

As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Labour has launched its battle to win key General Election seats in the area through the recruitment of an army of new volunteers and members.

As is always the case, the Tories, backed by a few multi-millionaires, will have large funds readily available. Labour, however, will look to take the battle to the Tories on the ground by signing up new volunteers in local communities to take the fight to the Tories on the ground.

You can read about this further and see Michael’s comments by clicking here.

If you would like to sign-up as a supporter you can do so by clicking on the infographic below.

 

 

 

 

The Observer: Lynton Crosby hopes to avoid TV debates

17 August 2014

The Observer has this weekend reported that Tory strategist and big tobacco lobbyist Lynton Crosby, is hoping to keep David Cameron out of any TC debates in the lead up to the general election.

Reports suggest that Lynton Crosby hopes to complicate negotiations between parties and the broadcasters in an attempt to avoid the debates altogether.

Michael, who is leading pre-debate negotiations for the Labour Party, has made it clear that Labour are happy to sit down before party conferences to discuss a way forward.

You can read about this further by clicking here.

 

The Telegraph: ‘Conservative party members quit Cabinet ministers' seats in protest over Government policies’

17 August 2014

As reported by the Telegraph this weekend, many Conservative party members are quitting in Cabinet ministers’ own constituencies in protest against Government policies.

You can read about this further and Michael’s comments by clicking here.

 

Michael backs the Anthony Nolan Trust and calls on people to help save a life

15 August 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, the Sheffield Star and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has called upon 16-30 year olds in Barnsley to help save a life and join Anthony Nolan Trust's donor register. As a supporter of the Trust, Michael has also written to the Secretary of State for Health to raise their ‘Roadmap for Recovery’ campaign.

Anthony Nolan Trust’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ campaign aims to better support those who have had bone marrow transplants (BMT). According to a report by the Trust, access to post-treatment care for patients that have had bone marrow transplants is shockingly hard to receive.

The report also highlights the importance of public support and willingness to donate bone marrow. Healthy adults aged 16-30 are the ideal donors; however there is a shortage of registered donors within this age group, especially in Barnsley East. Without donors, patients will be unable to receive the life-saving treatment they need. 

Figures from the Anthony Nolan Trust show that there are currently 289 donors aged 16-30 registered in Barnsley East - meaning Barnsley East has the 18th fewest donors of all 650 constituencies.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The work the Anthony Nolan Trust carry out is vital in the fight against blood cancer and it is important that people support it. That is why I am calling on brave 16-30 year olds in Barnsley East to do something special and join the bone marrow transplant register and help us climb the donor leaderboard.

“The ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ campaign aims to help improve the quality of life of those who have had bone marrow transplants. I am happy to support the Anthony Nolan Trust and have taken this opportunity to raise their campaign with the Secretary of State.

Michael’s letter asks the Secretary of State:

“what plans, if any, the Government have in place in order to tackle these issues and if the Government is considering the recommendations made by the Anthony Nolan Trust.” Adding: “With so many suffering, it is crucial that we engage with these issues.”

You can read Michael's letter to the Secretary of State in full by clicking here.

 

Michael Supports leading cancer charity

15 August 2014

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has pledged his support to a campaign by the leading cancer charity MacMillan Cancer Support. The charity launched the ‘Lives Depend On It’ campaign to call on all political parties to prioritise cancer care and improve cancer outcomes.

According to the charity, around 6,500 people across Barnsley are receiving cancer support, but a recent study by the charity found that UK survival rates are amongst the worst in Europe.

Commenting, Michael Dugher MP said:

“Cancer is a terrible disease that continues to blight the lives of so many in Barnsley and across the UK. The fact that 6,500 people in Barnsley alone are receiving cancer care brings home just how many lives are affected by it each year”.

“All politicians, no matter what political party, should commit themselves fully to helping to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families by supporting the vital hard work of charities such as MacMillan. The levels of care in the UK currently lag behind the high standards set in Europe. With the help of charities like MacMillan we can aim to take the lead and set the standard. That is why I am backing this campaign.”

 

Dugher's column: 'Have your say - More and better jobs'

13 August 2014

Following the launch of Michael's 'More and better jobs' summer survey, he has written a column for the Barnsley Independent about the importance of providing more and better jobs, listening to what people have to say, as well as facing up to tough issues like immigration.

You can read Michael's column in full by clicking here.

 

 

Have your say: More and better jobs

12 August 2014

2As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael's has launched his online summer survey inviting constituents of Barnsley East to have their say on a number of serious issues facing the UK job market.

Growth is finally returning to our economy, but it is not feeding through to working people’s living standards. Wages after inflation are down over £1,600 a year since 2010 and some of the biggest concerns people have are about jobs, immigration, youth unemployment, job security and low pay. 80% of the jobs created since 2010 have been in London and we have seen record numbers of people working part-time because they can’t get the hours, the proliferation of exploitative zero-hours contracts and a minimum wage that has been run down. This is David Cameron’s race to the bottom.

Michael is particularly keen to hear people’s views regarding the local impact of immigration.  It is not prejudiced to worry about immigration and Michael understands the legitimate concerns people have. The last Labour Government made some mistakes on immigration.  Ed Miliband has changed Labour’s policy when it comes to immigration, but we have to keep on listening to concerns that people have.

As we enter the final summer before the General Election, Michael wants to hear your views on what you think needs to be done to help create an economy that works for working people – not just a few at the top.

You can find out if you live in Michael's constituency by clicking here and entering your postcode.

To take the survey please click the graphic below.

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Michael pays tribute to Rifleman Dale Harris

11 August 2014

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times, Michael has paid tribute to Barnsley Soldier, Rifleman Dale Harris, who sadly lost his life in a car crash at the weekend. Michael said:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of Rifleman Dale Harris from 2nd Battalion The Rifles. All of Barnsley is immensely proud of this brave young man who died whilst serving his country. We have lost one of our finest and he will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time".

 

 

Daily Mirror: Baroness Warsi - 'Posh Tories dismiss me as a brown working class northern woman'

11 August 2014

As reported by the Daily Mirror, following her resignation from the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi has launched a scathing attack on David Cameron and his government.

The former Senior Minister of State claims that Tories dismissed her as a “brown, working-class women from the North”.

You can read the full report of this and Michael’s comments in full here.

 

LIVE in Barnsley 2014: the documentary

11 August 2014

As reported by the Sheffield Star, following the massively successful Live in Barnsley 2014, local filmmaker, Giannis Kipreos of GKS Videography, has produced a fantastic documentary about this year’s festival.

The documentary features interviews with the organisers, music legend and Live in Barnsley Patron Feargal Sharkey, Michael and many more. It is a offers a fantastic behind-the-scenes at how the festival is organised and run.

You can watch it in full below.

 

The Mirror: ‘Government department tasked with ending Whitehall waste spends £54m on consultants and agency staff’

09 August 2014

As reported in The Mirror, Michael has uncovered that the government department charged with ending Whitehall waste has spent £54million on consultants and agency staff.

Official figures show that Cabinet Office spending on consultants increased by 363 per cent between 2013 and 2014 from £5million to nearly £24million.

And overall, the total spend on consultancy and agency staff at the Cabinet Office has increased from under £14 million in 2009/10 to over £54 million last year.

Click here to read the full story in The Mirror.

 

Michael backs South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue's sprinkler campaign

08 August 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has backed the South Yorkshire Fire Authority campaign to get businsesses to fit sprinklers. Following the fire at ASOS in June Michael met with South Yorkshire Fire Authority and the Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA), along with other Barnsley MPs, to discuss ways in which businesses can prevent fires and the damage they cause to their commercial activities.

It is thought that estimates that an average of 1,000 jobs are lost each year due to commercial fires, with a loss to businesses of £230 million, an estimated £190m losses on GDP and a £32m loss to the treasury in tax revenues. At ASOS, around 3,000 jobs could have been threatened had the sprinkler system not been in place. The effects of the fire at the ASOS factory in Michael's constituency in June were massively reduced as a direct result of the sprinkler system in place.

Commenting, Michael said:

"The recent fire at ASOS showed just how much damage can be caused to businesses by warehouse fires. Luckily, ASOS were well prepared with sprinkler systems installed, so the effects were mitigated.

"I am working closely with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to encourage our important local employers to invest more in fire prevention".

For more information, visit the BSA's website by clicking here.

 

Michael takes constituents’ complaints over Personal Independence Payment delays to the Secretary of State

07 August 2014

After receiving concerning complaints regarding delays to the processing of constituents’ Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims, Michael has written to the Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith to raise the issue with him directly. This has been reported by the Barnsley News and Sport.

One constituent, who contacted Michael’s office for assistance in May this year, had been waiting since July 2013 for their case to be decided. Another, who had already been waiting months was told that no timescale could be given for when they would receive a decision.

PIP was introduced by Iain Duncan Smith to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). However, new claims for PIP are reportedly taking upwards of six months, three times as long as it did through the old DLA process.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The delays being experienced by disabled people in Barnsley and across the country are causing great anxiety and stress. They cannot be allowed to continue and I have written to the Secretary of State to ask what action he is taking to resolve the situation.

“It is becoming clear that the Department of Work and Pensions is in a state of chaos. One constituent who contacted my office for help had been waiting almost a year without a decision. The Minster needs to get a grip.”

You can read Michael's letter to the Secretary of State in full by clicking here.

 

Dugher's column: 'We will remember them'

1 August 2014

As we mark the centenary of of the outbreak of the First World War, Michael talks about the importance of remembrance in his latest column for the Barnsley Independent. You can read the column in full by clicking here.

You can also read a piece Michael wrote for the Yorkshire Post back in 2011 about the Barnsley Pals and the First World War by clicking here.

 

Guardian: 'PM's tennis match with wife of former Putin minister will go ahead'

31 July 2014

As reported by the Guardian, Tory MP Chris Grayling has defended his partyauctioning off a tennis match with David Cameron and Boris Johnson to the wife of a former member of Vladimir Putin's government for £160,000.

You can read more about the story and Michael's response by clicking here.

 

Michael visits young citizens at Oakwell

30 July 2014

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and the Football League, Michael today visited teenagers, aged 16 and 17, to learn about projects they have been involved in as part of an initiative run by the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Teenagers from across the borough taking part in the programme have been on a week’s residential to Wales, where they took part in team-work and relationship building exercises, as well as working with groups of people outside their usual social circle.

They then visited Sheffield Hallam University for a week, living in halls of residence, learning how to cook and clean for themselves independently. This week, the final phase of the programme was held at Oakwell Stadium. This has seen participants identifying local social issues such as homelessness and the loneliness of the elderly and coming up with a social action plan to address these issues.

One group, under the tuition of the world-class Barnsley Youth Choir, will be singing in residential care homes across the Borough next week. They will also be chatting to elderly residents in an attempt to bridge the gap between the elderly and the young.

Commenting on the project, Michael, who was treated to a performance by the newly established choir, said:

“I think this is a great opportunity for young people across the Borough, from a broad spectrum of socialbackgrounds,to come together to tackle some of the key social challenges we face as a society. It also equips teenagers with new skills for work and life, whilst meeting new people and facing new challenges.

“The National Citizen Service does a fantastic job across the country. It is also great to see Barnsley Football Club and the Football League Trust supporting the work of the NCS and helping to deliver these worthwhile projects for young people”.

 

 

 

BBC Radio Sheffield: public question time

28 July 2014

1Michael was interviewed by BBC Radio Sheffield, Tees, Oxford, Coventry & Warwickshire, Berkshire and Leicester this morning regarding Ed Miliband's public question time idea & opening up politics to the public.

You can listen to Michael's interview in full by clicking here and scrolling to 2:30:10.

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New Statesman: ‘Labour will show that people really do have a choice in 2015’

27 July 2014

As we enter the last summer before the general election, Michael has written a blog for the New Statesman about how our country is at a crossroads and the importance of making sure people know the Choice they have to make in 2015.

You can read the article in full by clicking here.


Out and about in the constituency

27 July 2014

Michael has been out and about in the constituency this weekend. On Saturday he visited Tankersley Fire Station to see the brilliant work that South Yorkshire Fire and rescue do. Earlier he went along to the Darfield Community Gala and met a number of local organisations with Darfield councillor, Caroline Saunders. And on Friday, Michael did a 'walkabout' listening to residents on the Aldham House Estate, alongside local Stairfoot Councillor, Karen Dyson.

On Friday, Michael also had meetings with Berneslai Homes,Barnsley NHS Foundation Trust and attended the regular MPs meeting with the Leader and CEO of barnsley Council.

On Friday night Michael was pleased to support this year's Mayor's Charity Ball for Cllr Tim Shepherd in Doworth, raising money for the White Knights Emergency Service and Creative Recovery.

 

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Buzzfeed: 5 times David Cameron said a thing that wasn't true

26 July 2014

As the Tory lie machine gets ready to go into full throttle, Michael has written a post for Buzzfeed about 5 times David Cameron has said something that wasn't true.

You can read the post in full by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael visits Wombwell War Graves

25 July 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael visited Wombwell Cemetery on Friday to pay tribute to servicemen killed during the First World War as part of an initiative organised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

Wombwell Cemetery has one of the highest number of war graves across Barnsley with a total of 32 soldier’s, sailor’s and airmen’s graves from conflicts including the First and Second World Wars. Michael met Steven Stapleton, regional supervisor at the CWGC, for a tour of some of the graves and to pay tribute to some of the men who fell in conflicts from the last century in the service of the United Kingdom. Many of the men buried there were brought back to the UK after being injured and subsequently died as a result.

Commenting on the visit, Michael said:

"This year is not only important because it marks the centenary of the First World War, but it is also the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I would urge any resident to go visit their local cemetery to see the graves of servicemen and women killed in action – you don’t have to go to France to pay your respects when we have it right on our doorstep.

"It is vitally important that we remember the sacrifices made by men and women from our town, not only throughout the course of history, but today in places such as Afghanistan.

"I must also extend my congratulations to the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery, who do a brilliant job making this cemetery a wonderful place for people to come and pay their respects."

 

The Independent: 'Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron'

25 July 2014

Following comments from leading Tory moderniser, Lord Finkelstein, that make it clear that David Cameron’s Tory modernisation project is now lying flat on its back, Michael has written an op-ed for The Independent.

In a speech to the Bright Blue think tank Lord Finkelstein warned that continuing to chase UKIP could end the Tories hopes of winning future elections. He went on to say that the Tory’s problems are that they don’t have enough young people, ethnic minorities or people from prosperous rising cities.

As reported in The Independent, Michael said:

“Tory modernisation failed under David Cameron because he doesn’t believe in it. This lurch to the right is the culmination of Cameron’s long-term capitulation to that wing of his party.”

You can read Michael’s article in full by clicking here and further comments here.

 

Michael calls for new rights for victims of crime

25 July 2014

As reported by the Sheffield Star and the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has backed calls for a new law to improve our justice system so it works better for witnesses and victims of crime.

This new law would transform the way our criminal justice system treats victims and witnesses, guaranteeing victims of crime the ability to hold those responsible to account, and ensuring greater compassion and support in the system.

A Victims’ Taskforce has been established and will lead work to establish a Victims’ Law, and advise on further improvements in the way victims and witnesses are treated by the criminal justice system.

Commenting, Michael said:

“For too long victims of crime have lacked confidence in our criminal justice system. I think it is about time that this was addressed.

“Many feel that the criminal justice system simply doesn’t work for them. The creation of this taskforce and its work in establishing the country’s first ever Victims’ Law is crucial for helping restore the publics’ faith in the criminal justice system.”

 

Labour will boost the number of women and ethnic minority employees in the Senior Civil Service and will bring a new “culture of respect” to the relationship with the Civil Service

22 July 2014

In a speech to the National Trade Union Committee, Michael announced that Labour would set new targets for the percentage of women and black and minority ethnic (BME) employees in the Senior Civil Service.  You can read more about the announcement here and in reports from the Independent, the Daily Mail and LabourList.

Michael set out the approach that Labour would take to bring a “new culture of respect” between ministers and the permanent Civil Service.  You can read more about this in the Financial Times.

 

Michael visits Wombwell Cemetery

18 July 2014

Michael visited Wombwell Cemetery this morning as part of a tour by the War Graves Commission.

Wombwell Cemetery, which is looked after by an award winning team of volunteers, has the most war graves in Barnsley East, with 32 graves of fallen soldiers.

Commenting on the visit, Michael said:

“It is vitally important that we remember the sacrifices made by men and women from our town, not only throughout the course of history, but even today in places such as Afghanistan.

“I must also extend my congratulations to the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery, who do a brilliant job making this cemetery a wonderful place for people to come and pay their respects”.

 

Worrying jump in inflation as Barnsley opens two new food banks

18 July 2014

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and the Barnsley News and Sport, official figures have week revealed a sharp rise in inflation in June, with the largest increases coming in clothing, food and non-alcoholic drinks.

The Office for National Statistics announced on Tuesday that the Consumer Prices Index grew by 1.9 per cent in the year to June 2014, up from 1.5 per cent in May.

The worrying rise in inflation comes in the same week that two new foodbanks are set to open in Barnsley, which will aim to help the rising number of people in the town being pushed into food poverty by the cost-of-living crisis.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Whilst David Cameron continues to deny that there is a cost-of-living crisis, people across Barnsley are continue to struggle to make ends meet.

“More and more people are being pushed into food poverty and it is the voluntary sector that is being left to pick up the pieces. This week’s sharp rise in inflation shows that everyday essentials such as clothes, food and drink are becoming more and more expensive. With the average family £1,600 a year worse off, the figures speak for themselves.

“We need policies like the introduction of a new 10p tax rate and an energy bill price freeze to help those who continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis.”

 

Michael welcomes Stairfoot jobs boost

18 July 2014

Barnsley Council have approved plans to convert the Stairfoot B&Q into a Sainsbury’s, creating 400 jobs in the process.  As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle today and We Are Barnsley, Michael said:

“The 400 jobs this Sainsbury’s is set to create are much needed in the area and very welcome. This has been the slowest recovery for over 100 years and real wages are down by an average of £1,600 for working people.

“In the Yorkshire coalfield areas, like Barnsley, there are 12 per cent fewer jobs per 100 people than the average across the country. It is clear the government needs to wake up to the need for more jobs and opportunities across Barnsley and South Yorkshire.”

 

Cameron hit by a storm as he buys off sacked ministers with knighthoods

17 July 2014

As reported by the Daily Mail, David Cameron has been hit with a storm following reports that he has bought off two of his ousted ministers from this week's reshuffle with knighthoods.

It is reported that Alan Duncan, who left his post as international development minister, and Hugh Robertson, a Foreign Office minister and former Olympics minister, are in line for knighthoods.

Commenting, Michael said:

“If these reports are true, it would show David Cameron undermining not just the honours system but women who have served in his Government. Dishing out hush-hush honours and gongs as golden goodbyes, just to keep his sacked ministers happy, also shows how weak Cameron is.

“In yesterday's 'reshuffle for women' David Cameron missed his own target to make a third of his ministers female and promoted almost three times more men than women.

"Soon he will have sacked and knighted more men than he's appointed women to the Cabinet.

"Is it any wonder his Government's policies are letting women down? This patronage for the old boys' club shows just how out of touch Cameron has become.”

You can read about this story further by clicking here.

 

Tory MP Laura Sandys slams Cameron's so-called recovery and shows Tories are running scared of UKIP

17 July 2014

As reported by the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror, Laura Sandys has slammed David Cameron’s so called recovery and makes it clear the Tories are running scared of UKIP.

The Thanet South MP, who is standing down at the next election said that it is a ‘different world’ for those living outside of London and that the Tories are failing to address this.

Commenting, Michael said:

“David Cameron and his party are running scared of UKIP. This damaging parting shot shows that even Cameron's own MPs have lost confidence in his leadership.

"On the issues that matter to working people, the Tories have let the country down. They are haemorrhaging members and David Cameron is increasingly pandering to his right wing.

"Laura Sandys has laid bare what hardworking families know already: in the real world there is a cost-of-living crisis and the government is failing to improve living standards for all."

You can read about this story further by clicking here.

 

Local dementia charity travel to Westminster to collect award

16 July 2014

Staff and volunteers of the Barnsley Independent Alzheimer's and Dementia Support (BIADS), travelled to Parliament on Tuesday to be presented with their award as finalists of the Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing.

The charity, who were nominated for the prize by Michael, who is their Patron, were one of five finalists presented with an award and narrowly missed out as winners.

The Bevan Prize recognises and celebrates individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of health and wellbeing in the UK and embody the founding principles of the NHS.

Representatives of BIADS were also shown around the Palace of Westminster before attending the awards ceremony to receive their prize.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I want to congratulate all of the staff and volunteers who work so hard at BIADS for being named as finalists. Having seen first-hand the excellent work they do and the services they provide I know how crucial they are to people in our community. To say this recognition is deserved is an understatement.

Linda Pattison, Chief Officer of BIADS added:

“Of course we’re disappointed we didn’t win. But to be a finalist in a national award after being a charity for just four years proves that if you want to do something enough, you can.

 

Michael meets with Motor Neurone Disease campaigner

16 July 2014

Michael has met with Gordan Aikman, a sufferer Motor Neurone Disease who is courageously campaigning to raise awareness and help find a cure.

Motor Neurone Disease is a rare, progressive and debilitating disease that attacks the brain and spinal column for which there is currently no cure. Gordon

Aikman who was recently diagnosed with the disease at the young age of 29, has set out to raise awareness and help find a cure.

Commenting after they met, Michael said:

“It was great to meet Gordon Aikman in parliament, to hear about his brave fight against motor neurone disease and to listen to his determination to raise awareness and ultimately find a cure.”

You can read more about Gordon's campaign here - http://gordonsfightback.com

 

 

Michael responds to the Minister on industrial action

11 July 2014

As reported by the Guardian, Michael responded to an urgent question in the House of Commons on the issue of industrial action yesterday.

Michael made it clear that what is needed is a negotiated settlement. Instead we have had nothing but a Government that is sabre rattling, union bashing and playing politics.

You can watch the statement in full by clicking here. Or you can read by clicking here.

 

MP welcomes Inquiry into young women NEETs

11 July 2014

As reported in Today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has welcomed an Inquiry into stubbornly high numbers of young women not in employment, further education or training (NEET) in Barnsley.

The Inquiry, set-up by the Young Women’s Trust, follows figures released by the organisation that show nationally there are around 408,000 young women that are NEET.

Based on estimations from the Young Women’s Trust, in Barnsley East alone there are around 16 per cent of the population who are NEET, with 56 per cent of these being young women. The investigation will gather evidence over the next month or so and the final findings will be reported in early 2015, with interim findings published in September.

It also aims to examine ways in which responses to unacceptably high numbers of young women who are NEET.

Commenting on the investigation, Michael said, “I very much welcome the Inquiry recently launched by the Young Women’s Trust. What is worrying is the unacceptably high number of young people, especially women, who have very limited access to opportunities across Barnsley”.

He added, “The recent loss of jobs in Barnsley should serve as a reminder that opportunities are getting even more difficult to come by. I look forward to the findings of the report being published.”

 

Local MP urges schools to help pupils to ‘make their mark’

11 July 2014

As reported by the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael is urging secondary schools in the area to register their interest in a national ballot of pupils, Make your Mark.

The Make your Mark nationwide ballot runs from 12th August - 10th October 2014 and determines what issues are debated by the Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) in the House of Commons on the 14 November. From the issues debated, the MYPs then choose their national campaigns for the coming year.

Last year over 470,000 young people took part in the Make Your Mark national ballot and 8,399 young people in Barnsley Local Authority took part, the fifth highest turnout of all local authorities. This year, Michael Dugher is urging more schools to get involved.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I would urge secondary schools in our area to register their interest in this year’s ballot and help our pupils to make their mark.

“It is great to see that Barnsley had the fifth highest turnout in the ballot last year. This is a great way for young people to engage further with politics and it’d be fantastic to see even more young people turnout this year.”

Schools can register their interest in taking part in Make Your Mark here - http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/schools-pupils-make-mark/

 

Michael calls for greater access to funding for brass bands

As reported in the Sheffield Star, Michael, who is Patron of Worsbrough Brass, met with the CEO of Arts Council England (ACE), Alan Davey, and representatives of Brass Bands England today to call for greater access to funding for brass bands.

Access to funding is a key issue for brass bands in Barnsley and across the country. Today's meeting allowed Michael to push ACE to work closer with brass bands and help unlock funding.

The meeting also allowed Michael to raise concerns over the unfairness in arts funding where genres like opera and jazz receive funding that dwarfs that of brass bands. Greater support for schools brass was also raised.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Brass bands make a huge contribution to our communities. Today’s meeting with Arts Council England was extremely useful. It is encouraging they want to work with us to secure greater access to funding for brass bands. Also, there is a real determination to promote brass music for young people and schools.

“There is still unfairness in arts funding with opera in London getting millions, whilst many brass bands continue to struggle to get by. Addressing that should be an urgent priority. It is important that Brass Bands England and ACE work closely together to get greater access to funding for brass bands.”

To find out further information about Brass Bands England and what they do you click here.

 

Dugher's column: 'We need jobs that restore pride'

04 July 2014

Michael joined leaders from the National Union of Mineworkers on a march through Barnsley Town Centre to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike last week. Following this, he has written a column for the Barnsley Independent about the need to create jobs to be proud of.

You can read the column in full by clicking here.

 

Women in Barnsley miss out as shock new figures reveal how the gender pay gap has grown

04 July 2014

New analysis of ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures has revealed that women in Yorkshire still earn on average just 80 pence for every pound earned by men.

Since 2010 the pay gap has closed by just 0.1% and shockingly, last year, for the first time since 2008 the pay gap didn’t just stagnate, it rose.

A third of working women are now in low-wage jobs, and nationally a record six million women are working part-time where hourly pay is on average a third less than they could expect in a full-time job. Additionally some three-quarters of a million women are now on zero-hour contracts.

In Government Labour made steady progress to close the pay gap – reducing it by 7.7 per cent and closing it almost entirely for women in their twenties and thirties working full time. The Labour Party has pledged to make achieving equal pay a priority and has urged greater pay transparency so women can see if they are being paid less than their male colleagues.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It seems extraordinary in an age when girls are outperforming boys at school, going to university in greater numbers and running FTSE 100 companies that pay inequality still exists, but it does. What is really depressing is that things are going backwards on David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s watch. Women in Barnsley deserve much better than this.

“When it comes to supporting women to get ahead this Government has one massive blind spot. Hardly surprising some may say from a Cabinet with just three women out of twenty two full members.”

 

Brass band funding more than doubled

04 July 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has welcomed the news that funding for Brass Bands England has been increased by 126 per cent to £142,000.

Michael is currently Vice-Chair of the Brass Bands APPG and has been campaining for better funding for brass bands for some time. The group met with the Minister to discuss this issue last year and are set to meet with Alan Davey CEO of Arts Council England, next week to discuss further how best to maximise funding and support for brass bands.

Commenting, Michael said:

“This is a belated acknowledgment that brass bands in Barnsley and across the country have been struggling due to unfairness in arts funding, where opera in London is somehow seen as a superior or more worthy form of arts.

“I welcome this announcement. This is a result of years of campaigning by many Labour MPs in Parliament. We now need to make sure that access to this funding is fair in order to ensure support for brass bands, which are not just an important part of our heritage, but also make an enormous contribution to our community.”

 

Elsecar set for Lottery cash boost

July 4 2014

Elsecar has been hailed a “wonderful place” by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which recently announced a £500,000 investment to turn the village into a major tourist attraction. The plans include restoring the historic Newcomen Beam Engine, which is due to open to the public in October.

Additionally, money is being set aside for training and volunteering opportunities so local people can get involved in sharing the history of the village. It is estimated that the plans will bring an extra 14,350 visitors to the area, bringing an extra £309,099 to the local economy.

Commenting, Michael said:

"The Newcomen Beam Engine project will be an excellent opportunity to showcase our area’s proud past. But with the funding also being used to develop and update the visitor attraction, this is also about helping our local economy in the future, too.”

 

 

 

Michael visits Birdwell School as part of global education campaign

04 July 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael visited Birdwell Primary School last Friday as part of the Send my Friend to School campaign. The campaign is run by the Global Education Campaign and aims to raise awareness of the 57 million children worldwide who do not have access to a proper education. 

Year 5 children from the school shared some of the work with Michael before asking him questions about his role as an MP and his views on global education. 

They presented Michael with a paper chain of children, representing the solidarity of children across the world, and asked him to support their campaign in his parliamentary role. 

Commenting on the visit, Michael said:

There are 57 million children worldwide who do not have access to a proper education. It is great that children here in Barnsley care about this issue and have raised it with me.

The Send my Friend to School campaign does a fantastic job and I will do all I can to support this worthwhile campaign in my role as Member of Parliament”.

 

Michael joins in Armed Forces Day celebrations

29 June 2014

Michael joined Dan Jarvis MP at Barnsley Pals Centinary Square on Saturday in a service to celebrate the work and dedication of our servicemen and women. 

The service, which was led by the Mayor of Barnsley, Councillor Tim Shepherd, was attended by veterans and cadets from all services.

Michael then met with cadets and young leaders from across South Yorkshire at a display in Barnsley Town Centre. 

(The photo above shows Michael with Petty Officer Adam Vamplew).

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Michael has also written a blog about the importance of Armed Forces Day. You can read the full blog here.

 

Michael takes part in miners’ strike 30th anniversary rally

28 June 2014

Michael joined former miners and members of the National Union of Mineworkers on a march through Barnsley Town Centre to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike.

The procession then went to the miners’ hall at the NUM HQ, where speeches were heard from NUM president Nicky Wilson, as well as those who lived through the strike, including a representative from the Women Against Pit Closures campaign. 

 

Michael supports global education campaign

28 June 2014

Michael visited Birdwell Primary School on Friday as part of the “Send my Friend to School” campaign. Children at the school shared some of their work with Michael on the need for every child globally to have access to an education. 

They presented Michael with a paper chain of children to represent the solidarity of children all across the world and Michael pledged to support their campaign in Parliament. 

More information about the Send my Friend to School campaign can be found here.

 

Michael warns new taxi and minicab laws could put passengers in Barnsley at risk

27 June 2014

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Barnsley News and Sport and the South Yorkshire Times, Michael has voted against the Government’s proposed changes to taxi and private hire law, warning that they could put passengers in Barnsleyat risk.

The reforms were included in the Government’s Deregulation Bill, which was debated in Parliament this week. 

The Government’s proposed reforms will enable people without a minicab license to drive one when it is “off duty”, which could increase the number of unlicensed drivers pretending to be legitimate.  The changes will also end annual checks on drivers’ licences and allow minicab operators to subcontract bookings to firms in other areas.

There has been widespread criticism of the Government’s last minute decision to insert these reforms into the Deregulation Bill. Campaigners, industry bodies and unions have all warned that the changes could have severe safety implications.

Commenting, Michael said:

“At present, minicabs in Barnsley are driven by people who have undergone criminal, medical and background checks with the local council, but the Government’s reforms threaten to remove these safeguards and let anyone drive an off duty minicab.

“Many people in Barnsley rely on taxis and minicabs to get home safely and I’m worried that Ministers’ plans will increase the number of rogue drivers on Barnsley’s roads.

“I’m calling on the Government to abandon these proposals and put passenger safety first.”

 

New report on coalfield areas should act as a wake-up call for ministers

27 June 2014

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle today and the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has said that a new report by Sheffield Hallam University - ‘The State of the Coalfields’  - should be a wake-up call for Ministers. 

The report, which was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, was launched this week by Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research.  It provides in depth analysis of the concerning state of our coalfield communities.

The report highlights that despite progress under the previous government, key indicators in coalfield areas on health, deprivation, unemployment and job density continue to fall well behind other areas, particularly the South.

In coalfield areas in Yorkshire, like Barnsley, there are 12 per cent fewer jobs per 100 people than the average across the country.

Welcoming the report, Michael said:

“This report is a very important piece of work which shows the big challenges still facing coalfield communities.   It should act as a wake-up call for Minsters.  

“It is very concerning to see the coalfields in Yorkshire falling well behind the rest of the UK in a number of key areas, especially job density.  

“I’d like to thank the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Sheffield Hallam University for their hard work in putting the report together.”

 

Michael writes to the Home Secretary over chaos at Passport office

27 June 2014

As reported in the South Yorkshire Times, Michael has written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and has called on her to offer compensation to those who have had to pay more for their passport through no fault of their own.

After the delays and problems at the Passport Office over the last few weeks, Michael has called on Theresa May to refund people who applied in good time but were forced to pay extra to get their new passport in time for their holiday.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Over the last few weeks, more and more people in Barnsley have got in touch to tell me about the problem they’ve been facing trying to get their passports renewed. 

“It’s about time Ministers apologised for this mess and refund the upgrade fees anyone has had to pay just to get their passports on time.”

 

PoliticsHome blog: David Cameron was warned about Coulson but repeatedly chose to look the other way

25 June 2014

Michael has written a blog for PoliticsHome today about how David Cameron refused to act despite being warned about Andy Coulson time and time again.   

You can read the blog post here: “Unanswered questions on Coulson”

 

Cabinet Office Questions – 25 June 2014

25 June 2014

Michael asked a question from the dispatch box today during Cabinet Office Questions. Michael asked:

An excellent report published last week by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam university on the state of the coalfields confirmed that the most deprived areas of the country have the lowest concentration of voluntary sector organisations.

On top of that, we know that local authorities in those same areas are suffering disproportionate cuts—a double whammy for the poorest parts of the country.

Why are the Government not doing enough specifically to help the voluntary sector in the poorest parts of the country?

Click here to watch the exchange on BBC Parliament (scroll to 22:39).

 

BBC Radio Sheffield: ASOS fire

24 June 2014

Michael was on BBC Radio Sheffield with Howard Pressman yesterday, appealing for information to aid the police investigation into the suspected arson attack on the ASOS warehouse last Friday. He was also on Hallam FM, Radio Yorkshire and Dearne FM.

You can listen to his interview with the BBC by clicking here and scrolling to 48:56, you can listen to his Radio Yorkshire interview by clicking here.

 

ASOS arsonists must be caught and dealt with severely

23 June 2014

As reported by We Are Barnsley and the Barnsley News and Sport, commenting on the news of the fire at ASOS’ distribution warehouse in his constituency in Barnsley over the weekend, Michael said:

"The police are currently treating the fire at ASOS as arson. It is difficult to say too much whilst there is an ongoing police investigation, but if this is the case, those responsible must be dealt with severely. They must be caught and face the full consequences of their actions. I appeal to the public to help South Yorkshire Police catch the perpetrators.

"This was a dreadful incident. Those responsible endangered the lives hundreds of local ASOS workers, caused a loss of business and an estimated £22 million of damage to an important local business and major employer, and also saw South and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services have to commit major resources to tackling the blaze.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the brave firefighters at both South and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services. They did a fantastic job as always tackling the fire and ensuring that thankfully nobody was injured.

“ASOS is a great British brand known all over the world for the excellence of its products and service. It is also an important business for our local economy in Barnsley, employing over 3,000 people who will need to be able to get back to work as soon as it is safe to do so.

“If anybody has any information they should come forward and contact the police immediately on 101, quoting incident number 1210 of Friday June 20."

 

Michael votes to introduce tougher sentences for knife crime offences

20 June 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle and the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has voted today for the introduction of tough new sentences for knife crime offences. The proposed changes, introduced by the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, will impose a mandatory minimum custodial sentence on those convicted of a second knife possession offence. For those aged 18 and over, the sentence will be 6 months, for those aged 16-18 it is a 4 month detention training order. However, the new laws will allow for judicial discretion.

The tough new sentences were opposed by the Liberal Democrats and David Cameron and Conservative Ministers also refused to support it. The vote was only passed because of the support of Labour MPs.

The vote follows shortly after a recent knife attack in Worsbrough, Barnsley, where a 27-year-old man was taken to hospital to be treated for serious stab wounds.

Commenting, Michael Dugher said:

“There is no doubt that more needs to be done to stop the devastation caused by knife crime. The recent knife attack in Worsbrough is a sad reminder of that.

“We need to make it very clear that carrying a knife is totally unacceptable, even more so for those who repeatedly commit knife crime. Tough sentencing sends out a strong signal and that's why I supported these changes to the law.

“However, sentencing alone won’t solve the problem and much more needs to be done to make people aware of the consequences of carrying a knife. The evidence shows that those who carry a knife are also far more likely to be a victim of knife crime themselves. Our focus has to be on preventing people carrying knives in the first place and on tackling gang culture.”

 

BIADS shortlisted for national award

20 June 2014
20 June 2014

1As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle by We Are Barnsley and the South Yorkshire Times local dementia charity, BIADS, has been shortlisted for the 2014 Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing after being nominated by Michael, who is Patron of the charity.

The Bevan Prize recognises and celebrates individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution 2to the advancement of health and wellbeing in the UK and embody the founding principles of the NHS. BIADS charity is one of four organisations to be shortlisted out of over 40 nominations from across the country.

 

Representatives of BIADS will travel to London on Tuesday 15 July to attend the awards ceremony where the winner will be announced. They will be accompanied by Michael, who will also be taking the group for a tour of the House of Commons.

Commenting, Michael said:

“One of the proudest moments during my time as a Member of Parliament was when I became Patron of BIADS, so it was a pleasure to nominate them for the 2014 Bevan Prize. Their commitment to their members is second to none, it is fantastic news that they have been shortlisted.

“With an ageing population, dementia is now one of the greatest challenges facing our health and social care systems. With approximately 3,000 dementia sufferers in Barnsley, the work BIADS do is vital for so many. This recognition is thoroughly deserved and they would be worthy winners.”

 
Commenting on their nomination, Linda Pattison, Chief Officer of BIADS, said:

“Everyone connected with BIADS was extremely proud when we were nominated, now we have been shortlisted we’re over the moon.

“A great deal of hard work has been done by a lot of people to enable BIADS to offer so much support to people in Barnsley affected by dementia and this nomination is a fantastic way of recognising and celebrating their contributions.”

 

Dugher's column: 'Put town on music map'

19 June

With Live in Barnsley set to take the town by storm this Saturday, Micahel has written a column for the Barnsley Independent about the success of the festival.

You can read the piece in full by clicking here.

 

Michael welcomes new report from Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional economic and Social Research

19 June 2014

Today saw the launch of ‘The State of the Coalfields’, a new report from Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. You can read a copy of the report in full by clicking here.

The report was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and provides an in depth analysis of the current concerning state of Great Britain’s coalfield communities.

With progress having been made under the previous Labour Government, key indicators on health, deprivation, unemployment and job density, show that the majority of the coalfields continue to fall well behind other areas, especially the South.

Welcoming the report, Michael said:

“This report is a very important piece of work, it should act as a wake-up call for minsters as to the big challenges facing the coalfields.

“I’d like to thank the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Sheffield Hallam University for their hard work in putting the report together.

 

BBC Sheffield: Justice for the Coalfields

18 June 2014

Michael was on BBC Sheffield Drivetime on Monday and the Breakfast show today, discussing the Justice for the Coalfields campaign and the need for an investigation into what really happened at the Battle of Orgreave.

You can listen to the Drivetime interview by clicking here and scrolling to 1:41:40 and the Breakfast show by clicking here and scrolling to 1:20:55.

 

Latest unemployment figures show 'no room for complacency'

13 June 2014

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has said there is ‘no room for complacency' as figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that long-term youth unemployment in Barnsley Local Authority and long-term unemployment in Barnsley East remain higher than they were at the election in 2010.

Long-term youth unemployment in Barnsley Local Authority remains 19 per cent higher than at the 2010 election and long-term unemployment in Barnsley East is 34 per cent higher in the same time period.

Commenting, Michael said:

“While the fall in overall unemployment is welcome, long-term youth unemployment in Barnsley and long-term unemployment remain higher than they were at the election. There can be no room for complacency from Ministers.

“Hardworking people are over £1,600 a year worse off than when David Cameron came to office and pay has fallen behind inflation. The government has failed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and make work pay. This has led to a staggering 42 per cent increase in working people claiming housing benefit in Barnsley, compared with 2010.

“It is clear that people in Barnsley are still not feeling the recovery. The government should restore the value of the national minimum wage, get more employers to pay a living wage, extend free childcare provision, freeze gas and electricity bills and get the next generation into work with apprenticeships and a compulsory jobs guarantee.”

 

BBC Radio Sheffield and Dearne FM: Passport delays

11 June 2014

Michael was on BBC Radio Sheffield and Dearne FM yesterday discussing the concerning increase in the number of people experiencing passport delays. More and more people are contacting Michael's office by the day and these delays are causing people great distress, many of whom are very concerned that they could miss their family holiday.

You can listen to Michael on BBC Radio Sheffield by clicking here and scrolling to 1:24:15

 

Michael calls on Jeremy Heywood to publish review of May and Gove row

10 June 2014

Following the Home Secretary's inadequate and evasive performance in the House of Commons yesterday, Michael has called for the publication of Sir Jeremy Heywood's review into the row between the Education Secretary and Home Secretary.

You can read about this further by clicking here.

 

We need to act now to tackle child poverty

09 June 2014

Michael has written a blog about how we need to act to tackle child poverty, following the release of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission's report that said the absolute child poverty goal was “simply unattainable”. And Save the Children's report, , ‘A Fair Start for Every Child’, which worryingly concluded that by 2020 there could be as many as five million children living in poverty in the UK.

You can read the blog in full by clicking here.

 

Michael meets with pupils of Ladywood Primary in Parliament

09 June 2014

Michael met with children from Ladywood Primary School in Parliament today. The children visited the Palace of Westminster as part of a school trip to learn more about the work of Parliament and MPs.

After a tour, the children met with Michael and were able to ask him questions about what it's like being an MP and working in Parliament.

 

Michael supports carers in Barnsley during Carers Week

09 June 2014

Michael has pledged his support to carers across Barnsley as part of the national awareness campaign Carers Week, which begins today.

One in eight adults are carers, but the very nature of caring - of being there for a loved one facing ill health or disability - means too often people don’t identify themselves as carers and, therefore, miss out on support.

Without the right help and support, caring can have a serious impact on their physical and emotional health, work and finances.

Carers Week Quest 2014 is calling on individuals and organisations across the UK - including community groups, GPs, health and social care professionals, employers - to connect with families in their local communities who are providing care.

To show his support for local carers, Michael met with the Carers Week supporter charities in Parliament – including Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Carers make a hugely valuable contribution to society and they need support to carry on the work they do - without carers the UK would face a £119 billion care bill.

“Making sure carers get the support they need can mean the difference between coping and crisis. That is why I am supporting this campaign to reach out to carers across Barnsley and help ensure they don’t miss out on support.”

 

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trustmust take all action necessary’

06 June 2014

As reported by We Are Barnsley and the Barnsley News and Sport, following the news that Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been told to take urgent action and seek external help to recover its finances and keep them stable, Michael has issued the following statement:

"Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust must take all action necessary to rectify the position they are in. The Trust’s commitment to a two-year Turnaround Plan, their willingness to work closely with Monitor and to act upon their advice is welcome.  The welfare of patients is paramount. It is also of the utmost importance that the Trust and its leaders learn the tough lessons needed so something like this is never allowed to happen again". 

 

Michael calls for investigation into possible abuse of government communications

06 June 2014

As reported by the New Statesman, BBC and the Telegraph, Michael has written to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, demanding an investigation in to whether government communications are inappropriately using Conservative Party messages.

The Labour Party has compiled evidence of how 'long-term plan' and 'long-term economic plan' have become interchangeable as official government and Conservative Party messages.

The Government's communications plan for 2014-15 announced that the Government's budget for external communications activities has increased to just under £290 million.

It is essential to ensure that public funds are not being spent on party political campaigns a year out from an election when the Government is increasing spending on communications.

Commenting, Michael Dugher said:

"The Conservative Party's key campaign slogan was line one of the Queen's Speech.

"The year before the election the Government are increasing spending on communications and seem to be using the levers of power to push Conservative Party propaganda.

"I have called for an investigation in to the party political use of government communications to ensure we uphold the integrity and impartiality of the civil service and prevent public funds from being misused.

"With families feeling the squeeze in their living standards the public must have confidence that the machinery of government is not being manipulated for partisan gain."

----

You can read Michael’s letter to Jeremy Heywood below or by clicking here.

Letter from Michael Dugher to Jeremy Heywood:

I am writing to express concerns that taxpayers' money is being routinely used to promote the Conservative Party’s messages.

The Civil Service have made promotion of the Government’s “long term economic plan” a priority, devoting taxpayers’ money and considerable civil service resource to the cause. This is confirmed by the recently published (13 May 2014) ‘Government Communications Plan 2014/15’.

The ‘Government Communications Plan 2014/15’ states that, The cross-government economy campaign will focus on the government’s long-term economic plan”. The Government Communication Service describes the Communications Plan as “a cross-government view of our priorities.”[ii] Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communication, confirmed that civil servants will be using this report to shape their priorities in the year to come.

The Government's Communications Plan for 2014-15 also announces that the Government's budget for external communications activities has increased by 22% to just under £290 million.

The scope of Government communications using the term “long term economic plan” is now extensive. For example:

  • This week's Queen's Speech set out the Government's legislative programme for the year ahead.  The term 'long-term economic plan' is used three times in accompanying official briefing papers and Her Majesty's address even used the term "long-term plan".
  • In April this year, the Prime Minister wrote to small businesses informing them of the impact of changes to National Insurance at a cost of £430,000 in public funds.  This official Government letter used the phrase, "We came in to Government with a long term economic plan".
  • On 7 January this year, the Government produced an official policy paper policy setting out “the government’s long term economic plan”. Details of this are promoted prominently on government websit.

These are only three examples. Similar wording is habitually used in official communications, with the Civil Service, Ministers and No10 regularly using this language in publicly-funded outlets. I would be happy to provide further examples.

It is, of course, the role of the Civil Service to communicate official government information to the public. However, it is vital that this work is clearly confined to non-party political activity. It would be completely inappropriate for the work of the Civil Service to be manipulated to support party political messaging.  The Civil Service Code itself states that civil servants must not "use official resources for party political purposes". I believe there are serious questions to be asked as to whether the Code is currently being upheld.

The phrase “long term economic plan” is now being mirrored exactly, and regularly, by the Conservative Party. They are using this phrase in a clearly partly political manner in speeches, press releases, in ‘social media’, on campaign literature and in Conservative Party Political Broadcasts.

One example of how the Conservative Party is campaigning using “long-term economic plan”, can be found on their website, here: http://www.conservatives.com/Plan.aspx. You will note that this is repeated directly as government policy on the Gov.uk site: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-governments-long-term-economic-plan/the-governments-long-term-economic-plan

Again, I would be happy to provide further examples.

I believe the Conservative Party’s actions may be in direct contravention of rules surrounding the need for distinction between government and party political messaging. I therefore ask that you investigate urgently whether official government resources are being used to promote Conservative Party communications.

In particular, I hope you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Do you consider the slogan 'long-term economic plan' or 'long-term plan' to be government brands?  If so, do you think it is appropriate for it to be used in the Conservative Party's political and campaign communications materials?
  • What measures have been taken to ensure that none of the £290 million earmarked for external communications this year will be used to promote a political party's message? 
  • What processes have you put in place to ensure that public resources are used only for impartial and official government business?
  • What processes have you put in place to ensure the Conservative Party will not seek to use official government messaging for party political ends? What communication has been had with the Conservative Party to ensure that this is the case?

In considering these questions, I would draw your attention to the fact that in 2009 the then Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary seeking assurances that the work of civil servants was not being used inappropriately.  He argued that "addressing this issue is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the work of the civil service".  This statement is as true now as it was then.

It is essential that the public has clarity and confidence over the proper use of public funds and impartiality of the civil service and as such I look forward to your response.

In light of the obvious public interest in this matter I am releasing a copy of this letter to the media.


Yours sincerely,

Michael Dugher MP
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office

 

Michael backs Barnsley Council's call for votes at 16

06 June 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, the Barnsley News and Sport and the Sheffield Star, Michael has given his full support to Barnsley Council after they voted in favour of young people aged 16 and 17 being entitled to vote.

Barnsley Council granted chair of Barnsley Youth Council, Thomas Yems, permission to address the meeting as councillors supported the motion:

‘This Council believes that: 16 and 17 year olds are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen; Lowering the voting age to 16, combined with strong citizenship education, would empower young people to better engage in society and influence decisions that will define their future.’

Commenting, Michael Dugher said:

“It’s great to see Barnsley Council supporting votes at 16. Lowering the voting age is a bold and radical proposal that has the potential to energise and engage a whole new generation.

“This is an important way to ensure our youngsters have a better sense of their civic duties, but also to ensure politicians in Westminster listen to young people and their concerns.

“Votes at 16 would undoubtedly and importantly strengthen our parliamentary democracy.”

 

Michael supports Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return 2 programme on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings

06 June 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings the Big Lottery Fund has set up the Heroes Return 2 programme to help people mark this historic occasion.

Michael has given the programme his full support and has urged Barnsley's war veterans and their widows, who wish to commemorate this anniversary, to apply for a grant.

The programme offers World War II veterans from the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland grants from between £165 to £8,140 towards travel and accommodation expenses to enable them their spouse and carers to make trips back to places across the world where they served, or make a commemorative visit in the UK.

Commenting, Michael said:

"The Heroes Return 2 programme is a great way to help our war veterans commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

"I recently joined a delegation alongside Dan Jarvis MP and leading Labour councillors to remember the sacrifice of the Barnsley Pals and to commemorate the First World War. This truly moving experience brought home the importance of remembering our fallen heroes.

"Veterans and their widows who hope to revisit the places where they served and remember the sacrifice of their fallen friends and family for this historic anniversary should apply for a funding grant."

 

 

Delegation pay their respects to the Barnsley Pals

06 June 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael joined a delegation alongside Dan Jarvis MP and a number of Barnsley Council's leaders.

During the visit the delegation delegation were able to apy their respects to the Barnsley Pals and laid a wreath at the official memorial to the Barnsley Pals at Serre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dugher's column: Welfare tough talk - 'mind the gap'

05 June 2014

With less than half the number of new homes we need being built and a staggering 42 per cent increase in the number of working people claiming of housing benefit in Barnsley, Michael has written a column for the Barnsley Independent about the need to mind the gap when it comes to what David Cameron says is happening and the reality.

You can read the column in full by clicking here.

 

Today’s Queen’s Speech was the last act of a zombie government

04 June 2014

As reported by the Barnsley News and Sport, the Queen’s Speech was the last chance for David Cameron and Nick Clegg to provide the answers to the problems of hardworking people across the country.  But they have failed yet again.

We needed a change of direction for Britain with a legislative programme equal to the scale of the challenge our country faces.  But instead, the Government just offered more of the same.  Many of the measures had already been announced or were simply watered down versions of things Labour has already called for.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The local and European elections showed the depths of discontent with the direction of our country, which people increasingly feel does not work for them.  

“The test for this Queen’s speech was whether it offered a new direction for Britain to make this country work for all and not just a few at the top.  It clearly failed this test.  On zero-hour contracts, the Government has refused to ensure that those working regular hours month after month get a regular contract.  On housing, the Government has set out plans for just a one off new town with 15,000 homes when we need at least 200,000 homes built every year.   And on immigration, the Government has not set out any proposals to tackle the undercutting of wages.   

“Labour would have a Queen’s Speech that would help secure a strong and balanced recovery that is built to last.  We would have Bills to make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills, build more homes, stop workers being undercut through enforcement of the minimum wage and ban recruitment agencies that only use overseas labour.

“Today’s Queen’s Speech did not rise to the scale of discontent or set Britain in a new direction.  Today’s Queen’s Speech was the last act of a zombie government with no real agenda.” 

 

PoliticsHome blog: David Cameron has failed to deliver on previous promises

03 June 2014

In advance of the Queen's speech, Michael has written a blog for PoliticsHome about how there is a huge gap between what the Government promises and what it accomplishes.

You can read the piece in full by clicking here.

 

Michael criticises HM Passport Office after delays cause constituents distress

03 June 2014

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times, Sheffield Star and the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has condemned HM Passport Office following a number of cases in which constituents’ passport applications have failed to be processed within the three weeks it should take.

Michael has been contacted eight times in the past three weeks by constituents who have yet to receive their new passports within three weeks, the length of time that HM Passport Office’s own website states it should take to process a passport application once received.

In order to uncover the true extent of the problems at HM Passport Office, he has submitted an FOI request to find out how many passport applications have failed to be processed within three weeks in the last three months; and how many passport applications they are currently processing that were received over three weeks ago.

Commenting, Michael said:

“This is simply not good enough. People in Barnsley should be able to rely on HM Passport Office to process their applications in the time frame they set out on their website.

“These delays have caused people great distress, many of whom have been very concerned that they could miss their family holiday.

“Hopefully my FOI request will uncover the true extent of the problems at HM Passport Office. In the meantime, I would advise anyone who needs to renew their passport to do so well in advance of any holidays.

“If any other constituents are experiencing problems with HM Passport Office please do get in touch with my office.”

 

South Yorkshire Times: 'We need urgent action to save the NHS before it’s too late'

03 June 2014

David Cameron said he could be trusted with the NHS but all we got was broken promises. Following the announcement that Labour will make sure people can get an appointment with their doctor within 48 hours, Michael has written a column for the South Yorkshire Times.

You can read Michael's column in full by clicking here.

 

Figures show a worrying increase in working people claiming housing benefit

30 May 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, We Are Barnsley and the Barnsley News and Sport, new research from the House of Commons Library has revealed the impact of the cost-of-living crisis with figures showing a staggering 42 per cent increase in working people claiming of housing benefit in Barnsley, compared with 2010.

In England a shocking 400,000 (60 per cent) more working people are claiming housing benefit costing the taxpayer an estimated extra £4.8bn over the course of this Parliament.

Michael has put the huge increase in people who are in work who need to claim housing benefit down to a failure to make work pay, tackle the cost-of-living crisis and build the new homes we need.

Commenting, Michael said:

“These shocking figures show that this government have failed to get control of the welfare bill and shows the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on people in Barnsley.

“This government has presided over the lowest level of house building in peacetime since the 1920s. Labour is committed to getting at least 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, to make sure the new homes we need are built.

“We need policies that will help make work pay and tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Policies like, restoring the value of the national minimum wage and freezing gas and electricity bills.

 

Michael backs plans to guarantee patients a GP appointment within 48 hours

30 May 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, We Are Barnsley and the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has backed a new guarantee for patients to get an appointment with a GP within 48 hours or on the same day if they need to be seen quickly, as part of plans to improve services for patients and ease pressure on local hospitals.

The plans hope to ease the pressure across the NHS by reducing the number of patients going to A&E departments and could save millions of pounds.

GP surgeries across the country will be given an extra £100 million a year to achieve this massive improvement in standards - enough to pay for an additional three million GP appointments every year.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Patients in Barnsley are fed up of waiting for days before being seen by a local GP.

“Currently a quarter of people cannot get an appointment with a GP in the same week, adding to the pressure on the NHS. This can’t continue.

“That’s why I’m backing plans to raise standards, put patients first and guarantee them an appointment with a local GP within 48 hours or on the same day if they need to be seen quickly.

“People in Barnsley are fed up of David Cameron’s broken promises to protect the NHS. It just goes to show that the Tories can’t be trusted with our National Health Service.”

 

Michael raises concerns over number of people who struggle to make it to payday

30 May 2014

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times, Michael has raised concerns over the number of people struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. Recent research has shown that almost half (46 per cent) of those in the Yorkshire and Humberside region ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ struggle to make it to payday.

The research was carried out by R3, the association of business recovery professionals, and found that the most commonly cited cause of struggles to payday are the rising cost of food, the rising cost of household energy bills, the rising cost of transport, making credit card payments and rent payments.

Commenting, Michael said:

“After three years of a flatlining and falling living standards it is welcome that growth has returned to the economy, but it is clear that people in Barnsley and Yorkshire aren’t feeling it.

“Under this government, wages after inflation are down by over £1,600 a year. On top of this, tax and benefit changes will leave families almost £1,000 a year worse off by the time of the next election. It’s no wonder people are struggling.

“We need policies like an energy price freeze that will boost living standards for all, not just a few at the top, and secure a strong and balanced recovery that is built to last.”

 

Barnsley leaders pay respects to Barnsley Pals on World War One centenary

26 May 2014

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, South Yorkshire Times and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael and Dan Jarvis MP are part of delegation that has travelled to France to pay their respects to the Barnsley Pals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Barnsley delegation, who have paidfor the visit at their own expense with no cost to tax taxpayers, has set out on a two day tour of the former battlefields sites on the Western Front. They visited Serre, the village where the Barnsley Pals fought on 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, tragically suffering 545 casualties.

The delegation laid a wreath at the official memorial to the Barnsley Pals at Serre.

Other members of the delegation include: Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Barnsley Council Leader; Cllr Jim Andrews, BMBC Deputy Leader; Cllr Joe Haywood, BMBC’s Armed Forces Champion; Cllr David Leech; Cllr Robin Franklin, BMBC Cabinet support member; Cllr Sharon Howard, BMBC Cabinet Spokesperson without Portfolio; and Cllr Tim Shepherd, Mayor Elect of Barnsley.

You can read more about the Barnsley Pals in an article Michael has previuously written for the Yorkshire Post by clicking here.

 

Commenting, Michael said:

"I'm looking forward to paying my respects to the Barnsley Pals.

“People in Barnsley are rightly immensely proud of our Armed Forces. It is a huge privilege to have the opportunity to commemorate the bravery, service and sacrifice of so many men from Barnsley."

 

Dan Jarvis, who is also leading on the First World War commemorations for the Labour Party, said:
 
"The First World War changed Britain forever and I know there's huge interest across Barnsley in the impact the conflict had on our town.

"In this important year of remembrance, it will be a special experience to walk the battlefields where so many soldiers from Barnsley fought and died 100 years ago.

"It's right that we pay tribute to those soldiers who didn't return home, and I'm working to ensure we see fitting commemorations taking place across the country later this year."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today Programme and BBC 5 Live

24 May 2014

Following the local elections on Thursday, Michael appeared on BBC Vote 2014, the Today Programme and BBC 5 Live Drive and Breakfast to discuss the results and how Labour has made progress in key seats across the country on Saturday.

You can watch Michael on BBC Vote 2014 by clicking here and scrolling to 15:50, listen to BBC 5 Live Breakfast by clicking here and scrolling to 1:41:40 and on BBC 5 Live Drive here at 16:30. You can listen to Michael on the Today Programme by clicking here and scrolling to 1:10:00.

 

Michael supports a stronger minimum wage

21 May 2014

As reported by the Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has called for plans to strengthen the national minimum wage to make sure that people in Barnsley who do a hard day’s work are rewarded for doing so.

This follows recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that show wages in Barnsley East have fallen since 2010. The value of the national minimum wage has also declined by 5% over the same period.‎

In September last year Alan Buckle, former‎ Deputy Chairman at KPMG, was asked to investigate how to strengthen the minimum wage.

The report, published on 19 May, argues for a new framework to ensure that the minimum wage rises faster over the next five years than it has in the recent past, as part of a national mission to tackle low pay and build a new economy with more high skill, high paid jobs.

The report recommends that the next Labour Government should set the Low Pay Commission a five-year target to increase the minimum wage to a more stretching proportion of median earnings.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I’m proud that the last Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage.  This boosted pay for millions at the bottom without leading to a loss of jobs and now I can’t imagine a Britain without it.

“But wages in Barnsley East have fallen since 2010. That’s why we need to strengthen the National Minimum Wage so that people on low pay in Barnsley are properly rewarded for the work they do.

“Bringing the increase in the minimum wage closer to median earnings over a five-year period will help us build an economy that works for everyone and not just a few at the top.”

 

Concerns that young people and the long-term unemployed are being left behind

20 May 2014

As reported by the Barnsley News and Sport, figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that there are nearly twice as many people in Barnsley East who have been unemployed for twelve months or more than in 2010. In Barnsley Local Authority the number of young people who have been out of work for the same time period has increased by a quarter.

Michael welcomed the fall in overall unemployment but raised serious concerns that long-term unemployment and long-term youth unemployment remains a problem. And that too many jobs are low paid, part-time and zero hours.

Commenting, Michael said:

“While the fall in overall unemployment is welcome, today's figures show that young people and the long-term unemployed are being left behind.

“Many people in work are struggling to make ends meet because of the government's failure to make work pay and tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

“The government should introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to get the long-term unemployed and young people off benefits and into work.”

 

Feargal Sharkey and Michael Dugher attend the Live in Barnsley media launch

19 May 2014

Michael and Feargal Sharkey attended the Live in Barnsley media launch on Friday 16 May at the Digital Media Centre. The festival will be held on Saturday 21 June across a dozen venues in town.

Live in Barnsley announced the line-up for this year's festival which can be seen in fulle here. And details of this year's official festival t-shirt, click here for further information.

The event offered bands playing at the festival the unique opportunity to gain question Feargal Sharkey and gain invaluable advice. The local media were then able to interview Feargal and ask him about his role as patron with the festival. You can watch a short interview with Feargal below.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael, Dan and Feargal Sharkey shown around Barnsley College

16 May 2014

Michael and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis were joined by Feargal Sharkey today on a tour of Barnsley College.

They were met by Dianne Murray, the Assistant Principle of the College who showed them around their excellent music department and studio.

Whilst there they met with a group of students who took this fantastic opportunity to ask questions and learn from a highly successful artist who is able to offer invaluable advice.

 

 

 

 

Michael backs childcare guarantee

16 May 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, South Yorkshire Times and the Barnsley News and Sport, children and families in Barnsley could benefit from new measures Michael has called for to help ease the cost of living crisis.

Childcare is one of the most expensive costs for working parents in Barnsley, with families in Yorkshire paying up to 13 per cent more for childcare since 2010.

For some families paying for childcare can be as much as having a second mortgage and childcare costs can be a major barrier to getting into work and making ends meet.  At the same time, childcare places have fallen by 5,619 across the Yorkshire and Humberside and ministers have cut support to help make childcare affordable through tax credits for 6,700 families in the region.

The plans that local MP Michael Dugher has called for would introduce a guaranteed wrap around childcare place before and after school for primary school children benefitting 1,800 kids and their families in Barnsley and up to 43,400 in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Additionally, ten extra hours free childcare provision for working parents of three and four year olds will also be introduced, paid for by an increase in the Bank levy.

Commenting, Michael said:

“People in Barnsley are facing a cost of living crisis. This primary childcare guarantee will make arranging quality before and after school care easier, and extending the free childcare offer from 15 to 25 hours will be worth over £1500 for parents of three and four year olds to help them pay their childcare bills.

“For many parents in Barnsley, arranging good quality, available childcare can be a nightmare. The primary school childcare guarantee would put parents minds at rest, help them manage before and after school care to fit into the working day and give their children extra opportunities.”

 

Daily Express: 'Nigel Farage is a phoney bull**** artist'

16 May 2014

In the run up to the local and European elections next week, Michael has met with the Daily Express to discuss how Ed Miliband has changed Labour on immigration, UKIP and how Nigel Farage is a phoney.

You can read the interview in full here. It was also reported by the Independent here.

 

Guardian: 'Labour alleges 'cash-for-access'

16 May 2014

As reported by the Guardian, the Tories received £3 million over in donations over the three months from city financers who have bought private dinners with David Cameron.

Commenting on the news, Michael said the conservatives were:

"increasingly bankrolled by a small number of millionaire bankers and dinner donors … half of the many millions rolling in to Tory coffers during the last quarter came from a wealthy elite who have exclusive access to the top table. These are the same millionaires who have been given a tax cut by the same Tory government which is failing to address the cost-of-living crisis facing families."

You can read the article in full by clicking here.

 

Michael calls for a fairer deal for renters

14 May 2014

As reported in the South Yorkshire Times, Sheffield Star and Barnsley News and Sport, one of the biggest causes of the cost of living crisis in our country is the price of renting or buying a home. That’s why Michael has backed plans for a better deal for those renting their homes privately and to build 200,000 more homes a year by the end of the next Parliament so that more families can fulfil their dream of home ownership.

For the 12,856 people are living in privately rented homes in Barnsley rents are now on average £384 more each year than in 2010. With tenants facing rip-off fees from lettings agents and insecure tenancies, Michael has called for big changes in the system to make it fairer for renters.

Michael has called for a ban on rip-off letting agents’ fees for tenants, saving renters on average £350 in costs, and for the introduction of legislation to make three year tenancies the standard in the British private rented sector to give people who rent the certainty they need.

Commenting, Michael said:

“There are many people in Barnsley worried about the prospect that their rent could jump up by a big amount from one year to the next. Since 2010, rents in Yorkshire and Humberside are now on average £384 more per year.

“I want to see families given the security of a longer tenancy and predictable rents to stop excessive rises so that they can manage tight family finances and plan ahead.

“Estate agents charge people who rent an average of £350 in fees. That’s a lot of money for a lot of people and that’s why I want to see legislation introduced to ban these rip-off charges by letting agents.”

 

New Statesman: 'The lessons for Labour from America'

13 May 2014

Following Michael’s recent visit to America, he has written a blog for the New Statesman about the lessons Labour can learn from the US on campaign communications.

You can read the blog in full here.

 

Michael vows to hold the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg to account

10 May 2014

Michael and Labour are holding a day of action today to highlight the Liberal Democrats’ record of broken promises. The day of action will hold Nick Clegg to account for propping up the Tory-led government.

Labour has also launched a Party Election Broadcast, the ‘Un-credible Shrinking Man’, exposing Nick Clegg’s claims to have stood up to David Cameron in government and highlighting his capitulation on key promises made in the Lib Dem 2010 manifesto. You can watch it in full below.

Michael has also written a blog for PoliticsHome about the LibDems, you can read it in full here.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Former Lib Dem voters feel let down by Nick Clegg’s record. The Lib Dems’ record in Government has made one thing clear, Cameron and Clegg are ‘two peas in a pod’. Scratch the surface and Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have a record of broken promises and propping up the Tory-led Government.

“The Lib Dems’ promised to scrap tuition fees and then trebled them; they promised not to increase VAT but then voted through a VAT rise on hardworking families; they promised a fair tax system with the wealthiest paying more but have cut taxes for millionaires, paid for by millions of hardworking families.

“People across Britain are all being let down by Clegg selling out to Cameron.”

 

PoliticsHome: 'Nick Clegg campaigned as an insurgent but has governed as an accomplice'

09 May 2014

Following the launch of the Liberal Democrats' local and European election campaign, Michael has written a blog for PoliticsHome about how Nick Clegg should be held to account for his broken promises over the past four years.

You can read the blog in full by clicking here.

 

Michael unveils memorial to miners and servicemen

9 May 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael unveiled a memorial plaque and clock at Houghton Main club house last Sunday.

The plaque and clock are dedicated to the memory of the men of Houghton Main Colliery who worked during 1914 – 1918 and those served with the 13th/14th Battalions’ of York & Lancaster Regiment - "The Barnsley Pals".

"The memorial to those miners who served in the Barnsley Pals and elsewhere in the forces during the First World War was especially poignant and moving."

 

Michael opens 'Colossal' cake sale in aid of Help for Hero's

9 May 2014

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael opened the “colossal” cake sale at Worsbrough Mill on Saturday 3 May in aid of the forces charity “Help for Hero’s”.


The event, organised by the Friends of Worsbrough Mill included a performance by Worsbrough Brass Band, of which Michael is also patron.


Commenting Michael said “The Friends of Worsbrough Mill do a fantastic job by giving up their free time to ensure that Worsbrough Mill remains a great place to visit for all of us in Barnsley”.

 

 

Michael backs plan to tackle childcare cost-of-living crisis for working families

09 May 2014

 
Michael has called for the introduction of a primary childcare guarantee to help tackle Cameron’s Childcare Crisis.

Childcare is one of the most expensive costs for working parents, with families in Yorkshire paying up to 13 per cent more for childcare since 2010. For some families paying for childcare can be as much as having a second mortgage and childcare costs can be a major barrier to getting into work and making ends meet.  

Michael has called for the introduction of a guaranteed wrap around childcare place before and after school for primary school children, benefitting up to 43,400 three and four year olds and their families in Yorkshire. Additionally, ten extra hours free childcare provision for working parents of three and four year old will also be introduced, paid for by an increase in the Bank levy.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Childcare is a key cause of the cost of living crisis for working parents. The primary childcare guarantee will make arranging quality before and after school care easier, and extending the free childcare offer from 15 to 25 hours will be worth over £1500 for parents of three and four year olds to help them
pay their childcare bills.”

“Extending free nursery hours for three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours for working families means that parents can work part time for the first time without having to worry about the cost of childcare.

“For many parents in Barnsley, arranging good quality, available childcare can be a nightmare. The primary school childcare guarantee would put parents minds at rest, help them manage before and after school care to fit into the working day and give their children extra opportunities.”

 

Dugher's column: 'Working conditions that are a throwback to Victorian times'

09 May 2014

Following the release of a survey that has shown zero hour contracts are much more widespread than first though, Michael has written a column for the Barnsley Independent.

You can read the column in full by clicking here.

 

Memorial plaque at Houghton Main unveiled by Michael

04 May 2014

2As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle and Sheffield Star, Michael has unveiled the memorial plaque and clock at Houghton Main club house.

The plaque and clock 1are dedicated to the memory of the men of Houghton Main Colliery who worked during 1914 – 1918 and those served with the 13th/14th Battalions’ of York & Lancaster Regiment - "The Barnsley Pals".

Michael met the family of George Goddard at the celebration. George was a brave Houghton miner and Barnsley Pal who survived World War One. He is one of the courageous people that this plaque and clock commemorate.

Councillors Dorothy 3Higginbottom, Caroline Saunders and Brian Key also attended the celebration and the Dearne Big band performed.

Michael also received a certificate of commendation from the Houghton Main Miners' Welfare for his "support, commitment and enthusiasm towards local sport organisations and partnerships".

Commenting, Michael said:

"This was a fantastic celebration of over 300 years of the pit that became known as Houghton Main. We also paused to remember those who were injured or killed working in the pits, as well as paying tribute to those who went on strike 30 years ago to defend their industry and way of life.

"The memorial to those miners who served in the Barnsley Pals and elsewhere in the forces during the First World War was especially poignant and moving.

"I'd like to thank the Committee Members of Houghton Main Miners Welfare, the Darfield Ward Alliance, local councillors, Barnsley Museum Service, the Mines Rescue Service, the NUM, Acorn Brewery, ASOS and everyone in the community for supporting the celebration and remembrance.

"A big thanks also to Kevin Osborne who worked so hard to make the celebration such a brilliant success".

 

Cake sale declared open

03 May 2014

As reported in this week’s Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has opened the Friends of Worsbrough Mill colossal cake sale today.

As has been the case in previous years, the cake sale is held to help raise funds for Help 4 Heroes. Last year the event raised £430 for the charity, it is hoped that this can surpassed today.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Friends of Worsbrough Mill do such a fantastic job, giving up their free time to ensure that Worsbrough Mill remains a great place to visit for all of us in Barnsley.

“This cake sale was a great event and raised money for another worthy charity, Help for Heroes. The charity work tirelessly to help with the rehabilitation of our injured service men and women and their families.

“Special thanks go to all of the volunteers who have helped out at this event. Especially Ros Goulding, Katie Lakin and Trevor Pyne, who have worked hard to make this event a great success.”

 

Labour List: 'David Cameron lives in fear of UKIP and in denial of the cost of living'

02 May 2014

Following the launch of the Tories' election campaign today, Michael has written a blog about how the Conservatives’ economic victory lap only goes to show just how out of touch they are with hard-working people’s lives.

You can read the blog in full by clicking here.

 

South Yorkshire Times column - 'Dearne deserves real say come devolution'

02 May 2014

Following Michael's speech to the IPPR, in which he announced Labour's policy to introduce regional ministers, Michael has written a column for the South Yorkshire Times.

You can read the column in full by clicking here.

 

Michael nominates local dementia charity for national award

02 May 2014

As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has nominated the Barnsley based dementia charity BIADS, for whom he is Patron, for the 2014 Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing.

The Bevan Prize recognises and celebrates individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of health and wellbeing in the UK and which embody the founding principles of the NHS.

In his nomination Michael writes:

“There are approximately 3,000 dementia sufferers in Barnsley and dementia doesn’t just impact on the individual with the condition but affects everyone around them. BIADS recognises this and their range of services reflects their aim to address all aspects of this dreadful disease.

“When BIADS started in June 2010, they supported only 20 families. Now they support about 170 families and the only thing stopping them supporting more is their ability to fund more support workers. Initially they only had 2 part time staff and 3 admin volunteers. Now they have 9 staff and over 100 volunteers.

“Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, yet we spend much less on dementia than on these other conditions. Charities like BIADS complement and enhance what the NHS alone cannot achieve and provides a simply incredible service to the people of Barnsley. I believe that their hard work and dedication deserves recognition and they would be worthy winners of the Bevan Prize.”

 

Michael and Labour Shadow Education Minister visit Hoyland Common Primary School

01 May 2014

Michael and Labour’s Shadow Education Minister, Kevin Brennan MP, visited Hoyland Common Primary School today. They were shown around the school by Tom Banham, the headmaster.

The school has a brilliant record and was deemed ‘excellent’ by Ofsted in their most recent inspection. It has also recently been granted ‘teaching status’. This status is awarded to outstanding schools who then work with others to provide high-quality training and development to new and experienced school staff.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It was fantastic to be able to bring Kevin to visit Hoyland Common Primary. The work that Tom and his staff are doing there is fantastic.

“The teachers are encouraged to be creative and innovative in the way that they teach the curriculum, this really helps them meet the needs of their pupils and promotes a commitment to learning.”

 

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