In the news this week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), an organisation which represents small and medium sized businesses, has claimed that the UK’s broadband is simply not good enough. They point out that whilst residential broadband is improving, access for businesses is seriously lagging behind.
The report found that 94% of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection to be critical to the success of their business.
The FSB have recognised what I have been saying for a long time; inadequate broadband is a major problem and is holding businesses back. Especially In Yorkshire.
I have been contacted by local businesses in Kettlethorpe and Featherstone regarding the inadequacy of broadband available to them, in this day and age we should not see businesses having to take on less work, or work from home due to slow internet speeds.
While we have been told that Superfast West Yorkshire is due to be implemented in the area in autumn, frankly, it is taking far too long and work is being lost.
Digital exclusion is a real problem in our area, not only does it hold businesses back, it curbs investment and employment opportunities.
Featherstone, along with other parts of my constituency, suffer from higher than average unemployment rates, especially among young people. I was instrumental in getting funds to establish the Green Lane Industrial park and it is wrong that now business have committed to the area they are being held back by an inadequate broadband speed.
I am therefore currently in the process of questioning the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about when Superfast West Yorkshire will be when implemented and over what they are doing to support small businesses who report losses due to inadequate speeds.
In the news this week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), an organisation which represents small and medium sized businesses, has claimed that the UK’s broadband is simply not good...
David Cameron said that the cabinet reshuffle was designed to “reflect modern Britain”.
So, we now know what the Prime Minister thinks modern Britain looks like.
He says it looks like him; and his Cabinet.
Still white and male at the top. At least ten multi-millionaires. Nineteen from Oxbridge. Over half independently educated. Largely former consultants, accountants, lawyers and assorted bankers.
25 of them represent constituencies south of Yorkshire.
Clearly, Cameron hasn’t got a clue about modern Britain.
If Cameron thinks that his Cabinet is Britain, he is profoundly mistaken. They are only a narrow slice of the country.
That matters because his actions, his policies and his budgets are all wholly skewed towards people like them. The overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens fall outside of the categories of people who he has selected to govern the country.
Let’s face it, we live in a country which has rarely been as divided as it is now. A small elite run things, usually in its own interests, rather than the interests of the vast majority.
They make the rules which everyone, but themselves, follow.
The test which politicians must therefore pass is whether we will confront these divisions or reinforce them?
Labour is working on a programme of radical policies to confront these divisions. Cameron and the Coalition have spent four years making things worse.
They put up tuition fees for students, they gave tax breaks to millionaires but they failed to act on the race to the bottom on wages at work, and they did little to offer more security to the millions who fear the uncertainty which faces too many in our country.
The fortunes of the richest thousand people increased in the last year alone by a total of £69bn.
The five richest families have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 12m people.
Meanwhile the number of people who rely on food banks has doubled.
And for those in the middle of the income band, the value of their incomes has diminished every year since the Coalition was elected. On average, people have lost £1600 spending power for every year in which the government has been in power.
Today new official figures emerged which revealed that the squeeze on incomes has now become fiercer than ever.
The poor have been hit hard but so too has Britain’s middle class.
And apart from those families at the top, there has never been greater anxiety about what future our young people face. The hardest hit, say the Institute of Fiscal Studies, are people in their 20’s who have experienced pay cuts and high rates of unemployment.
Among the 22 to 30 year old group, incomes have fallen by 13 per cent and there is real worry about what kind of jobs will be available to young people in the low wage, low skill, insecure economy which Osborne is building.
Cameron had the chance with the reshuffle to signal that he intends to make a fresh start in tackling a divided and uneasy country.
But he fluffed it. And we know why.
Aneurin Bevan once said that the Tories hold the view that the state is an apparatus for the protection of the swag of the richest. Little has changed in the years since he made this comment.
The country didn’t need a reshuffle.
We need a new government.
And so it falls to Labour to break open the closed elite which runs our country and to form a government which will govern in the interest of the millions and not just the millionaires.
David Cameron said that the cabinet reshuffle was designed to “reflect modern Britain”. So, we now know what the Prime Minister thinks modern Britain looks like. He says it looks...
After a long battle, residents of Ryhill will once more have access to many of the vital services the post office can provide; a new outreach post office is to open today for three days per week and is based at St Paul’s Methodist Church, Chapel Street.
The closure of Ryhill Post Office created problems for local residents who were left unable to access money and services. Many people who had difficulty travelling further afield to a post office or cash point were isolated by the closure.
The opening hours are: Mondays 9am to 1pm and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9.30am to 12.30pm.
After a long battle, residents of Ryhill will once more have access to many of the vital services the post office can provide; a new outreach post office is to...
Showperson site application in Fitzwilliam
I am calling on the council to undertake a full environmental impact assessment before planning consent is given to an application in Fitzwilliam.
The application, which is for a permanent Showpersons’ site, puts forward an argument to allow residential caravans, storage and maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
I oppose the site application, I have spoken to my constituents who will be affected and have received nothing but genuine concern for the local area, services and the environment.
Whilst I am sure my constituents recognise that Showperson’s need a place to live, I believe that planning permission on the site will have a detrimental effect on the area.
Firstly, I object to the application as it is for land on the green belt. Green spaces in my area remain few and far between - it will affect the quality of life of many of my constituents.
Not only would the environment suffer, roads and highways would be pushed to the limit.
As local people will already know - the road is narrow, it will not be suitable for large, heavy vehicles exiting or entering any entrance on Newstead Lane. This would be particularly dangerous for children in the area who play in the locality.
There is already a 159-house development going ahead in the area and the additional pressure put on the roads by a potential Showpersons’ site could lead to chaos.
I know a number of my constituents are concerned about the development, the clear strength of local feeling and opposition to this application leads me to the conclusion that this is the wrong location for development. I must object to the planning application and have informed the council of my view.
Showperson site application in FitzwilliamI am calling on the council to undertake a full environmental impact assessment before planning consent is given to an application in Fitzwilliam. The application, which is...
People in my area know that there have been a series of problems with our local NHS services, therefore I would like to highlight an event the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be hosting for local people to express their views.
There will be a listening event held by the CQC on Monday 14th July where the public can ask questions and get information about local NHS services. The CQC will be carrying out inspections on the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust as well as the GPs in the Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, and wish to hear about experiences regarding the care and service that they provide.
For those who wish to attend, the event will be held at 6:30pm on Monday 14th July, at the York House Hotel, 10 Drury Lane, Wakefield, Yorkshire, WF1 2TE.
All the information about the event, as well as information on how to share your views with the CQC can be found here: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/north-west-ambulance-service-greater-preston-gps-and-lancashire-teaching-hospital-nhs
I do not necessarily endorse anything the CQC say in this meeting, but I think it is important that local people have their voices heard on local services. If you have a specific issue with our local healthcare services, do get in touch with my office; we will be happy to help.
People in my area know that there have been a series of problems with our local NHS services, therefore I would like to highlight an event the Care Quality Commission...
Some readers will clearly remember June 1984 and the violent scenes portrayed on our television screens of what became known as the “Battle of Orgreave”. Subsequent reports and the release of Government papers 30 years on have shown the extent to which the State were waging war on the miners, who were in a bitter dispute with the NCB to save their industry and community. The BBC images of Orgreave shown that evening in our homes was a complete distortion of what really happened on that hot and sunny day in South Yorkshire. What the BBC failed to do was transmit the correct sequence of events showing miners being attacked, in a style tantamount to military tactics, by the Police. Many miners, including a number in our area, were injured that day, violently assaulted and then arrested for rioting!
What followed was the collapse of the attempted prosecution of 95 miners on riot charges, following allegedly fabricated accounts and statements given by the police officers who were there that day. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign has done much to highlight what happened that day and bring to the fore the campaign for recognition that miners were wrongly served that day by a Police force we would expect to act with integrity and fairness at all time.
Recently, in a BBC report, a former police officer who served with the Hertfordshire force, admitted that he was told what to put in his statement after he arrested a miner during the Orgreave confrontation. "I've never before or since, while I've been a police officer, been involved where effectively chunks of a statement were dictated. They weren't my words," he said.
No one has ever been held accountable for this chaos which left some miners permanently injured by the brutality of the assaults upon them. Truth and justice must prevail.
Labour MPs in Parliament are urging ministers to release all information about Government-police communications at this time with a proper investigation.
Over a year ago, following a documentary about Orgreave, South Yorkshire Police referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). 18 months later the IPCC still haven’t made a decision whether to investigate or not. I am now calling for the IPCC to get on with an investigation. If the IPCC won’t or can’t investigate, Labour MPs will call on the government to set up an independent investigation.
We are all the more aware now that we do not have a system for promptly and properly investigating police conduct. We need reform. The IPCC’s failure to deal with the referral over Orgreave shows why it needs to be replaced. That is why Labour would replace the IPCC with a tougher new Police Standards Authority, which would be able to launch its own investigations without the need for referrals from police forces.
Some readers will clearly remember June 1984 and the violent scenes portrayed on our television screens of what became known as the “Battle of Orgreave”. Subsequent reports and the release...
Please note that my constituency office is moving to Moorthorpe railway station on July the 1st 2014
My current office on Highfield Road in Hemsworth is no longer suitable to meet the needs of an increasing number of constituents who come to see me seeking help.
The new office is more accessible by car and by public transport for the majority of constituents and will be open to the public Monday to Friday, 9.30 am until 4 pm.
We will be based at: Ground Floor, Moorthorpe Railway Station, Barnsley Road, South Kirkby, WF9 3AT, the new telephone number will be 01977 655695.
Please note that my constituency office is moving to Moorthorpe railway station on July the 1st 2014 My current office on Highfield Road in Hemsworth is no longer suitable to meet the needs...
Half a million people in the UK are anxiously waiting for their passports, not knowing whether they will be able to go on their holidays this summer.
A massive number of people, despite having sent their applications in good time for processing, are facing having their holidays ruined due to the current back log.
Many people save for months to pay for a holiday, if they are lucky enough to be able to do so, but there are now reports that an extra fee to ‘fast track passports’ is being imposed on holidaymakers.
My constituents have been deeply affected by the outrageous backlog in the Passport Office. Each and every person who has contacted me is reporting a three month wait or longer. It is turning into a passport lottery where people don’t know whether or not their passports will arrive on time.
The Government are denying the serious backlog, with Home Secretary Teresa May claiming that the Passport Office is meeting its target. However it has been said that job cuts and office closures have left the Passport Office unable to handle the level of demand.
Like many other Labour MP’s up and down the country, I have been left to pick up the pieces of the Governments failings within the Passport Office. Luckily, nobody in my constituency has missed out on their holiday - yet.
If the Passport office is meeting its target, like Teresa May says, then how is there a 3 month wait for my constituents to renew their passports?
This out of touch Government obviously doesn’t know what it is like to save for months on end to take your family away, only to be told your summer could be ruined.
To me, it would be an absolute tragedy if just one of my constituents missed their holiday as their passport was not returned on time. That is why I will continue to press the Government on the Passport Office’s current failings.
Half a million people in the UK are anxiously waiting for their passports, not knowing whether they will be able to go on their holidays this summer.A massive number of...
Since the Tory-led Coalition came to power in 2010 our NHS has not been safe in the government’s hands.
I know from talking to my constituents that it is not uncommon to wait over seven days to get an appointment with a GP, I also frequently hear concerns surrounding under staffed hospitals and huge waiting lists for hospital appointments.
Hospitals in my area are really struggling, they are understaffed and overworked. This is unsurprising seeing as Yorkshire has lost 1,110 nurses since 2010.
Under the Tories many people, especially the elderly, are ending up at our already swamped A&E departments, waiting for hours on end for issues better dealt with by a GP or better still, within their own homes. It is atrocious and cannot go on.
We heard that last week Ed Miliband spent two nights in an NHS hospital. He sat on the wards, spoke to staff and patients and observed how day to day hospital life is run.
That is because Labour wants to understand the problems facing the NHS from the inside, directly from the staff themselves.
Something needs to be done to save our NHS.
A labour government would guarantee an appointment with your GP within 48 hours, or, if you need to be seen urgently, the maximum waiting time would be 24 hours, not 7 days like it is under the Tories.
It is not just GPs, hospitals and A&E departments that are suffering, the services which provide so much care to us and our families are suffering too. Take carers for instance, many of whom are not even paid the minimum wage and are expected to spend only 15 minutes with each person.
This Tory ‘clock watch care’ is appalling; it leaves barely enough time for a carer to get in the house, take off their coat and put the kettle on before they have to leave. It is not the type of care we want for our loved ones.
Therefore, on top of the GP promise Labour has also announced a care charter. This care charter would put an end to 15 minute visits, it would also introduce a Licence to Practice to keep an eye on care managers and introduce proper training for new care staff. Labour would also scrap exploitative zero hours contracts and make sure carers are paid at least the minimum wage.
The NHS is one of Labour's greatest achievements; it should be based around care and quality, not competition and privatisation. Labour will put real care back at the heart of our NHS.
Since the Tory-led Coalition came to power in 2010 our NHS has not been safe in the government’s hands. I know from talking to my constituents that it is not...