Local MP calls for reversal of NHS privatisation
21 November 2014
With the local NHS under increasing threat, Michael has today backed Clive Efford's Bill to repeal the Tories’ new competition rules that drive NHS privatisation at the expense of patient care.
David Cameron's top down reorganisation, which diverted £18 million from frontline care in Barnsley and £3 billion nationwide, has left the NHS in chaos. In the last twelve months, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust only met its target to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours 25 per cent of the time. Experts are warning that hospitals are understaffed, and it is patients who are paying the price.
The Bill seeks to scrap David Cameron’s market framework for the NHS and make sure local NHS patients are always put first. It successfully passed the vote in the House and will now continue its passage through Parliament.
The Tory-led government has forced hospitals to open themselves up to a privatisation agenda which prioritises spending on competition lawyers and tendering exercises instead of on patient care.
Commenting, Michael said, “David Cameron is completely out of touch with what is happening on the NHS frontline in Barnsley. The Tories’ approach is to let private companies cherry-pick the most profitable NHS services, regardless of patient need, and spend more money on economic regulators and competition lawyers.
“I have no hesitation in backing this bill as it will make sure patients in Barnsley are put first once again. Labour will ensure that the NHS once again puts patients before profits. We will rescue the NHS with our £2.5 billion Time to Care package which will fund new staff including 20,000 more nurses – investment the Tories will not match.”
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School winners of this year's Christmas Card competition announced
21 November 2014
As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has announced the school winners of this year’s Christmas Card Competition. These school winners will now form a shortlist from which an overall winner will be selected. These school winners and runners up from each school will all receive a prize, as does the school for entering. The designer of the overall winning card will receive a special prize and so will their school. All these prizes are possible thanks to the generous support of the card’s sponsors.
The best design will be used as Michael’s official 2014 Christmas card, which will be sent to hundreds of local businesses, civic leaders, politicians and voluntary groups. It is the fifth year in succession that Michael has run the competition and it is hugely popular with both pupils and staff.
The schools winners are:
Millie Cawthorn, age 10, from Birdwell Primary School
Rhea Goose, age 11, from Birkwood Primary School
Ella Clayton, age 11, Churchfield Primary School
Madison Clare, age 7, Hoyland Common Primary School
Jake Fisher, age 8, from Hunningley Primary School
Alaska Pancott, age 8, from Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre
Lucas Wanless, age 7, from St Michael and All Angels Catholic Primary School
Jaylen Lang, age 10, West Meadows Primary School
Eve Hatfield, age 9, from Worsbrough Common Primary School
Over the next few weeks Michael will visit all the schools to present prizes and certificates to the shortlisted school winners and school runners-up.
The competition will be judged by Michael and the following supporters and sponsors:
Councillor Tim Shepherd, Mayor of Barnsley.
Louise McCabe, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and staff at ASOS.
Oliver Stephenson, Chairman, and staff at Carlton Brick.
Vin Roffe, at Forge Community Partnership.
Steve Lo, Managing Director, at Lo’s Pharmacy.
Guy Mason, Head of Corporate Affairs, at Wm Morrison PLC.
Staff at Safestyle Manufacturing & Logistics.
Martyn Davis, Group Managing Director at Symphony.
Adam Williams, Corporate Affairs Manager at TESCO.
Laraine Parkin and Betty Varley at West Bank House Community Association.
Commenting, Michael said:
“Yet again the competition shows what talented young people we have in Barnsley and everyone who took part from our local schools can feel really proud."
“I’d like to thank all of the children for their entries this year, they were all brilliant and having to choose just one winner from each school was really tough. I would also like to thank the sponsors for their support, without them it would not be possible to run this fantastic competition.”
Michael visits Shafton ALC school as part of Parliament Week
21 November 2014
The aim of Parliament Week, which takes place from 14-20 November, is to inspire, engage and connect people across the UK with parliamentary democracy.
During his visit, Michael had the opportunity to speak to students and meet the candidates running for the role of “Student Voice President”. Michael also served as the Returning Officer for the final vote and congratulated Lewis Wallis for winning the election for the position.
Commenting, Michael said: “Parliament Week is designed to inform, inspire and connect young people with parliamentary democracy and today’s event demonstrates that young people have an appetite to engage in the political process. There are so many issues that affect the young – education, employment, public transport, recreation and housing – that’s why Ed Miliband is right to commit Labour to reducing the voting age to 16.”
Michael quizzed by Worsbrough junior reporters
21 November 2014
As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle Michael visited the After School Club at Worsbrough Library on Friday 14 November, where local children have been working on a 6 week course to design their own local newspaper in partnership with First News, the national newspaper for children. Organsied by Library and Information Officer Kate Harper, they invited several local personalities, including Michael, to be interviewed about their work. Michael was joined by Councillor John Clarke, Barnsley Chronicle photographer Wes Hobson and Manchester United’s sports scientist David Kelly.
Michael was quizzed by the children on a variety of topics and the questions ranged from ‘Why did you want to be an MP?’ to ‘What’s your favourite football team?’ and ‘What’s your favourite food?’.
Commenting Michael said: “It was a pleasure to visit Worsbrough Library today and help the group with their project. I was impressed by quality of the children's work and I’m sure some will have a career in journalism in the future.”
Michael and Emma Reynolds MP visit Athersley Business Centre for official opening of the Athersley Community Refurbishment Scheme
21 November 2014
As reported in today's Barnsley Chronicle Michael visited the Athersley Business Centre on Friday 14 November with Emma Reynolds MP, the Shadow Housing Minister, Melvyn Lunn, the Chair of the Board at Berneslai Homes, and Helen Jagger, the Chief Executive of Berneslai Homes, to officially open the Athersley Community Refurbishment Scheme. The scheme, run in partnership with Berneslai Homes, Barnsley Community Build and Barnsley College employs ten young apprentices in construction at any one time, with an average of 40 being employed each year.
At the opening, Michael and Emma Reynolds had the opportunity to meet some of the trainees and learn more about how the scheme works.
Commenting, Michael said, “This is an excellent example of how organisations can work in partnership to create real benefits for the whole community”
Barnsley Independent: Economic 'recovery' seems to be benefitting a privileged few
19 November 2014
Michael has written a column for the Barnsley Independent where he comments on John Redwoods outrageous statement that 'jealous Northerners' should go and find work in London - the 'mighty capital' - to boost thier incomes.
You can read the full article here.
Michael urges people in Barnsley to look out for each other
19 November 2014
As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is supporting national Road Safety Week, 17-23 November, by calling on the Government and people in Barnsley to ‘look out for each other.’
After years of consistent progress in reducing deaths and serious injuries, sharp increases in the past two quarters in 2014 have alarmed road safety experts and campaigners. Government figures released in October showed that deaths and serious injuries on the roads rose by 4% in the first quarter of the year, compared to 2013. Cyclist casualties rose by 18% in comparison with last spring.
Road Safety Week, coordinated by the road safety charity Brake, is the UK’s leading event to promote safer road use. This year Road Safety Week focuses calls on all road users to “look out for each other” to help stop the five deaths that still happen every day on UK roads - and particularly to protect people cycling and walking. It will be supported by a week of increased police enforcement coordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Michael is calling on the Government to end complacency on road safety and restore targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
Commenting, Michael said, “This Road Safety Week I am calling on people in Barnsley to look out for each other. Whether you be a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist, we all need to respect each other on the roads.
“Worrying increases in deaths and serious injuries on our roads this year show why we cannot take safety for granted. Five people are still killed on Britain’s roads every day and each one is a tragedy. Unfortunately, since 2010 Ministers have pushed ahead with higher HGV speed limits on shaky evidence, completely failed to meet the Department for Transport’s deadline for improving young driver safety, and axed 10,000 front line police posts who are vital for enforcement.
“This Road Safety Week it is time the Government ended their complacency on road safety and reversed their out of touch decision to axe targets to cut the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”