Finally I have been able to meet with Minister Paul Maynard to discuss HS2(2b) and raise my constituents concerns about the impact the M18 Eastern will have to our area. Yesterday afternoon I together with Toby White, as a representative from a local business, and members of the Crofton Against HS2 Group, finally had an opportunity to raise some of the major concerns around the HS2 route and its impact on our area. The Minster changed our appointment at the last minute and we all thought the meeting wouldn’t take place, but I am pleased to say that it did and we all got to have our say, there are clearly lots more to discuss, but we didn’t leave without feeling that we had impressed upon the minister that there was a lot more to be done.
Ultimately, we demanded of the Minister that the best thing to happen is to change the route. Hundreds more people in our area will suffer from the current planned route. That is my number one priority when speaking with Maynard.
I make no bones about my belief the chosen route is unfair, the consultation that the Department of Transport consulted on the route that did not include the 2014/2015 realignment! So when we all responded to the consultation November 2016 to March 2017, little did we know that people weren’t given the right information to respond to! The entire consultation now looks like a sham. We have been promised an answer on this quickly. I will update everyone as soon as possible when we are given this.
We asked the Minister about the potential parkway and I was flabbergasted that the Minister could not provide any certainty to if the parkway station will be in our area or not. A Parkway station will add even more misery to our area should they decide to build one in the constituency. The roads are too rural and narrow a fact HS2 seem to constantly ignore. The Parkway will be like a massive car park for thousands of cars, specifically designed for commuter’s to access the rail links to Sheffield or Leeds. There will be no benefit what so evert to our area.
We raised concerns about stopping the horrible levels of noise pollution that would come from such a monstrous line. HS2’s tender documents imply there isn’t anything to be done about bringing down the levels of noise people in our area will be subjected to.
There have been lots of inconsistencies around HS2’s assessment to how many demolitions there will need to be and how many households will be affected. There seems to just as much misinformation on this issue along the whole HS2 route not just our area.
All of this makes me lose confidence in HS2 Ltd. They’re a terribly-run body, who seem to spend money like water while helping nobody at all. The Higgins Report – another thing we discussed in the meeting – was an example of this. It was rushed, harmful and misleading. As I said before, the route consulted on was not the one published, and HS2 appear to be constantly going back to routes already ruled out by Higgins in the past what a shambles. They’ve avoided releasing information about known mining areas when asked – even when we’ve submitted FOI requests. The M18 eastern route does not avoid known mining areas as they claim, our area is peppered with former mining sites something HS2 ltd seem to ignore. There were also lots of concerns about the surveying being done by MP’s in the Manchester area. Many of you will have heard the concerns raised in the House of Commons last week when HS2 came up in the debate last week!
On all of the above points, we have been promised answers by the Minister as soon as possible. We need him to take responsibility for these issues and give us resolutions to these problems. Paul Maynard seemed to share a sense of frustration too and he has been very vocal about this, if the tabloids and social media are to believed. He has said that he would try to improve communication with the HS2 ltd. We’ve heard that before though, so it will be refreshing to see if anything actually happens especially as HS2 Ltd engagement officers cancelled an important meeting with the Action Group the day they were due to meet!
He has also said he will get advice on the possibility of tunnelling. We reiterated the point that the North is being treated worse than the South on this issue. 24% of HS1 is tunnel, 29% on HS2 phase 1, 21% Phase 2 Western Leg but only 2% on the Eastern Leg of Phase 2. Others get it and we don’t, even though our area is just as (if not more) beautiful!
For local businesses too, the outcome of the consultation on the site of the depot must be released quickly. There are lots of businesses we would lose if HS2 came right through our patch. This is just one where we’d lose the positive impact of it. We need good jobs round here that pay well. HS2 is threatening that for us. While the July announcement looks like the depot is likely to move to Leeds, we need that certainty. This has been going on for far too long now, and I will make sure there are no delays after that consultation has closed.
Finally I have been able to meet with Minister Paul Maynard to discuss HS2(2b) and raise my constituents concerns about the impact the M18 Eastern will have to our area. Yesterday...
As everyone knows, I’ve been against the HS2 route through our area from day one.
HS2 Ltd has made a lot of mistakes, and people across the country who are affected need answers quickly.
The debate in parliament about the HS2 route, which I attended yesterday, showed that the concerns we have here in our area are also shared by MPs from lots of different areas and parties.
In the debate the Government was criticised for the amount of money spent on the project so far, the terrible engagement and consultation with people affected by the route, concerns about the engineering of the project, and dismay about why some areas have been offered tunnelling but others not.
Others raised big concerns about the environmental impact of this huge trainline. Round here, historic woodlands like Howell Woods and the heritage of the Iron Age camp near South Kirkby will be destroyed. I was shocked to hear just how many others have similar problems.
It is always moving to hear about the disruption of people's lives. During the debate we heard about how HS2 Ltd spent years being vague about their plans for the route, which has meant people weren’t able to plan for their futures. People have been unable to sell houses, have not been guaranteed compensation to move somewhere maintaining their quality of life, and have been ignored by HS2 Ltd when trying to get answers.
This struck a chord with me – HS2 Ltd have always been slow at getting back to us. They’ve not responded properly to Freedom of Information Requests from the Crofton Against HS2 campaign group or from residents either. And it has taken me months to get a meeting in the Minister’s diary to raise these concerns.
The compensation plans are just as bad. Kevin Barron, who is the MP for Rother Valley, spoke about how thousands of houses on a housing estate will be affected, but HS2 Ltd won’t acknowledge this, and won’t compensate them appropriately.
The debate also rose concerns about the gross underestimate of how many other people along the Rother Valley area that will have a train line right outside their windows.
Those living along the Meadowhall route have been prevented from selling their houses and many will not be able to access compensation at all for the disruption this has caused them over the past several years, even though HS2 isn’t proceeding with that route.
Paul Maynard MP, the Minister overseeing the HS2 project, said at the end of the debate that he will take the time to consider all of these concerns. I’m glad they’ve had a chance to be raised, and will demand answers when I have a meeting with him next week. I will provide another update after the meeting, and let you know how the Minister addresses all of these points for people from our patch.
As everyone knows, I’ve been against the HS2 route through our area from day one. HS2 Ltd has made a lot of mistakes, and people across the country who are...
I represent twenty-three towns and villages in my constituency. These communities, mostly rural, have different identities and traditions but many have been left behind when it comes to the local services we all rely on.
You might have had your local bank closed in the past few years – whether that be Yorkshire Bank in Featherstone, HSBC in Hemsworth, Barclays in South Elmsall, or another.
What’s more, the remaining branches have reduced opening hours. Many local people are rightly worried about the loss of their local bank services, which is why I met with a number of the banks to voice their concerns and demand assurances that our rural communities would not be left behind.
We were told that most banking transactions can now be carried out at local post offices, so there would be no real loss to our communities. It’s now clear, however, that more and more of our post offices face closure in the coming years. I have been contacted by Postmasters in my constituency who have explained their branches could close due to the ongoing changes within the Post Office Company. Falling business and the Post Office Company’s push to increase profitability mean that Postmasters are being put under increased pressure.
This could lead to our rural communities being left without any permanent banking or post office services. The nearest service would then involve travelling to either Wakefield, Pontefract or Barnsley. To add insult to injury, due to the cuts to bus subsidies from Central Government, we have suffered from a marked reduction in bus services. This is making it more difficult for local people to travel to neighbouring towns and villages. One woman I met told me that because of a lack of bus services she has to walk over a mile on country roads in the dark to get to work on a morning.
With the loss of our banks, potential closure of post offices and reduction of buses, people from round here are being left without access to basic local services. Private companies are putting profit before people and letting our communities down.
I stood on a manifesto where we pledged to change the law so that banks can’t close a branch where there is a clear local need. They must put communities first. That manifesto included ending the closure of Crown Post Office branches too.
I represent twenty-three towns and villages in my constituency. These communities, mostly rural, have different identities and traditions but many have been left behind when it comes to the local...
Happy Yorkshire Day everyone!
I wouldn’t want to have been born anywhere in the world but Yorkshire. We have great people and communities, great businesses, fabulous universities, creative artists, world-leading scientists, wonderful theatres and galleries.
When you think about Yorkshire, it’s hard not to think about David Hockney or Henry Moore or the Bronte sisters or the Brownlee brothers or Nicola Adams or Jessica Ennis-Hill or even the Arctic Monkeys.
But it is not right that our region has been left behind by a tiny elite group whose wealth and power is centred in London and the South East. We need fundamental change in how our politics works to stop Yorkshire from being continually held back. I have come to the conclusion that the only answer to this chronic regional inequality is devolution.
Yorkshire is God’s own county. I hope we can speak with a loud, clear voice so that we are given the opportunity to thrive.
Happy Yorkshire Day everyone! I wouldn’t want to have been born anywhere in the world but Yorkshire. We have great people and communities, great businesses, fabulous universities, creative artists, world-leading...
The Government has appointed a new Minister for the HS2 project, Paul Maynard. He has taken over from Andrew Jones, who was previously in the role.
I have asked for a meeting with him as soon as possible. He must be informed just how much the HS2 route will damage our area, and do all I can to get him to change the route.
I will keep you advised of any progress. I am absolutely clear that everything must be done to change the proposed route, and will be making it my mission to do so over the coming months.
The Government has appointed a new Minister for the HS2 project, Paul Maynard. He has taken over from Andrew Jones, who was previously in the role. I have asked for... Read more
Everyone I talk to thinks that the Conservative Government works for the wealthiest people in our country and not for everyone else.
New evidence has emerged which demonstrates the truth of this viewpoint.
This is because the new figures have been published as to who pays for the Conservative Party.
It’s astonishing that over half of the donations from people since the beginning of the election campaign have come from the tiny elite group identified by the Sunday Times as the 1000 richest people in Britain.
Since the election was called a few weeks ago, a handful of these mega-millionaires have donated more than £1,300,000 to the Conservative Party. Clearly they believe that the Tories exist to help people like them, so are using their wealth to help the Tories in return.
And the truth is that it exactly this group of people which this Government has looked after the best.
While the rest of us have been suffering from austerity, the Rich List been getting even richer. In 2005, before the financial crisis began to bite, their combined wealth stood at about £250billion. Now, they have more than doubled their wealth to £658bn.
These are the people benefiting from a Tory Government. No surprise then that they are trying to use their money to get themselves another one.
The truth is that the wealthy and the Conservatives ’sup from the same pot’ as we say here in Yorkshire.
One way this happens is in the so-called ‘Conservative Leaders’ Dinners’
The wealthy and the leaders of the Conservative party wine and dine together. They come together with their shared interests.
Big donations from the already wealthy appear to be accompanied by Government action. Their latest manifesto shows exactly this. They have made huge promises to Big Oil - giving it more space than any other industry. But what they don’t want you to know if that they’ve taken almost £400,000 in donations from oil magnates - and half of these have come to their cosy dinners.
We are in a position to change this. While ‘few’ can secure promises from Theresa May’s Conservatives, they can’t buy the vote of the ‘many’. Britain is at a crossroads. We can either go on in the same old way. Or we can transform the way our country operates by choosing a Labour Government.
Everyone I talk to thinks that the Conservative Government works for the wealthiest people in our country and not for everyone else. New evidence has emerged which demonstrates the truth...
The Tories want the next four weeks to be a coronation, not an election. No debates. No discussion of the big issues. Make it all about Theresa May and and don’t mention the Conservative Party.
But the British people know that Theresa’s Tories are still the nasty party.
The Party of ruthless cuts to the National Health Service, and of longer waiting lists. The Party of food banks. The Party of insecure and unstable jobs. The Party of falling incomes. The Party of homelessness, and the party of soaring class sizes in schools.
Of course the Conservatives remain a very nice Party for the rich and big business. The people who are their priority in a Tory Brexit.
And let me share a secret with you, one the Conservatives seem to want to keep quiet.
Theresa May is the leader of this nasty party – her words, not mine.
She may talk of bringing the country together. But everything her government does is pushing people apart.
A year ago she promised action on grotesque boardroom pay. Nothing has happened- pressure from fat cats has seen to that.
A year ago she pledged a new deal at work, including worker representation on company boards. Nothing happened – her backbenchers nipped that in the bud.
And of course she promised that there would be no early election. Her own ambition has added that to the list of broken pledges.
And the Tories try to tell us she is decisive.
The truth is that this Lady is for turning – as long as it is in favour of the vested interests the Tories hold dear.
Politics is crying out for honest and decent leadership, for the many and not the few.
We will never get that from the Nasty Party.
The Tories want the next four weeks to be a coronation, not an election. No debates. No discussion of the big issues. Make it all about Theresa May and and don’t...
Under the Tories, the richest people are pay a smaller and smaller proportion in tax. Yet the squeeze on middle and low earners has got larger and larger. Labour will protect 95 per cent of people - and let me tell you why:
Labour is the party of and for working people. Whether you’re a nurse, a teacher, working in an office or warehouse, or if you’re retired, Labour will stick up for you.
I met a working mum from Upton last week who struggles to pay all the bills. She works hard and cares for her family. Although her job is tough and involves long hours her wage isn't really enough to pay all the bills.
We think that people who work should receive a fair day’s pay. That is why we will bring in a rule that no one should be paid less than £10/hour - and we will protect people's pensions because if someone has worked hard all their life they deserve a decent pension.
One of the costs which people have to contend with is tax. And everyone should pay their fair share so that we can run schools for her children and hospitals for when they get sick.
But the Conservatives have cut the amount of tax which the richest are paying. I believe that everyone Should pay their fair share.
So over the weekend Labour made a promise. We announced that low and middle earners will pay no extra tax on their income. That means working mums like the lady who came to my office can be sure that no more will be taken from what they are earning now.
We leave open the possibility of more tax on the incomes very high earners – those earning over £80,000 - in order to protect people the others.
This comes with a promise that no one will see their National Insurance Contributions rise or a hike in VAT. When the cost of living is a struggle for so many working families around the country, Labour will make sure people aren’t also hit with the Government also taking more from their wallets.
The Tories will not make this guarantee. It’s part of the myth that the Tories will lower your tax. This isn’t the case, they don’t lower taxes for people like us - they just lower tax for their rich friends.
They’re using these tax breaks to give welfare to the rich, rather than supporting the poor or investing in our economy. Since the last election, the Tories have introduced a £1bn giveaway in inheritance tax to millionaires, gifted the rich a corporation tax cut of over a billion pounds and cuts capital gains tax – which gave the equivalent of £3,000 each to the top 0.3% of the population.
To pay for this, they’ve cut jobs from our public services. They’ve cut the amount of money low earners and single parents get from Universal Credit. They tried to take £4billion away from the disabled. This is a huge injustice.
Instead, Labour will protect 95 per cent of earners. We are on the side of the majority of people who work hard to care for their families. Labour will make the richest pay their fair share and we will protect the many - not the few.
Under the Tories, the richest people are pay a smaller and smaller proportion in tax. Yet the squeeze on middle and low earners has got larger and larger. Labour will...
Recently, lots of people in affected areas have got in touch because HS2 Ltd were demanding access to their properties to do “surveying works” ahead of the construction.
This was a shocking development for many of us. Our homes and our communities will be damaged by the HS2 route, but no one expected their properties to be invaded this soon.
The way HS2 Ltd are operating is as if they want to keep secret for as long as possible all of their plans. I do not know what they have to hide but it is totally unacceptable to behave in this way.
It is my intention to operate in totally the opposite way because I believe people are entitled to know all of the information which I receive.
It is for this reason that I wrote to the Conservative minister and I am publishing his full reply which in total is 20 pages long so that everybody can read what he is saying.
We have said, over and over again, that local people have felt excluded and left out by the poor communication from HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd were out and about, accessing people’s land, before they spoke to you, the campaign groups or me.
If you’re affected by HS2 Ltd trying to get into your property, please do get in contact with my office if you want any guidance or advice.
As I have said many times and repeat now, the whole process is a fiasco and I will not vote for the damage to so many communities and well as the damage to our environment which will result if these proposals go ahead.
Recently, lots of people in affected areas have got in touch because HS2 Ltd were demanding access to their properties to do “surveying works” ahead of the construction. This...
Quite a few of our road surfaces are in a poor state. As a regular cyclist in the area, I am especially aware of this and spend half the cycling...