This week in Parliament, Ian has been representing Wansbeck in Westminster, championing constituents inside and outside of the debate chamber. Events in Westminster have been in the headlines, and Ian and the Labour Party have been standing up for ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
Last week, I voted with the Labour party on all measures, including a measure for fair transitional arrangements for women affected by the lack of notice in the rising state pension age, brought to public attention by the WASPI campaign. The campaign has been supported and championed nationwide by many Labour MP’s and the core issues of discrimination and injustice facing these ladies has become more apparent as the campaign has grown in size. I have been proud to offer my support not only to local constituents who have been affected by the changes, but to all women across the country and their families who have been hit the hardest.
I also voted on the Digital Economy Bill, which The Labour Party did not believe extended far enough in making changes that have been driven by the digital economy. Amongst various other concerns, I felt the Bill did nothing to address control over the data of individuals which is quickly becoming a growing problem for many people. Instead it gives The Government additional abilities to share data without proper safeguards.
To my disappointment both of these motions were defeated.
PMQs, focused largely on the many issues surrounding health and social care after Labour’s recent ‘Care for the NHS’ campaign. As usual, it was an interesting and lively debate and I was proud to be standing with my Labour colleagues against the Tories’ attacks on our health and social care sectors. Jeremy Corbyn spoke of the need for increased investment in the health service. Our concern as a party is that the NHS faces a cash crisis that the government fails to appreciate or address. The news that the government is giving away a £650m tax cut to corporations without investing a penny in the NHS will be met with dismay among the four million people on waiting lists across the country, many of them here in Wansbeck.
Friday brought a visit to Ashington Sorting Office to wish the Royal Mail workers well, as at this busy time of year, many of these services and the people working hard in them are pushed to the limit. Postal workers work exceptionally hard all year round to provide us with a crucial public service and I wanted to offer my support and my thanks to all those people working hard across the region. As a trade unionist I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with the CWU, fighting for rights and work and fair pay and conditions.
In addition to my visit to the Sorting Office, I also enjoyed a trip out to Bedlington Station Primary School, where I met with School Councillors and pupils from years 5 & 6 to discuss the importance of hard-work and the aspects of life as an MP. I was also interested to hear how the students had enjoyed their visit to parliament, where I had met with them back in October.
Last month, The NUT released research showing the potential catastrophic damage to education in our community caused by budget cuts to school funding. In Wansbeck specifically, The NCEA Academy will face a cut of almost 1million pounds, this is equivalent to a loss of £458 per pupil and the removal of 25 teaching posts. Imagine the devastation the loss of this crucial funding could have on a community like ours. Especially devastating could be the loss of 25 experienced teaching posts, imagine the negative affect on a child’s education with such a high turnover of staff. The previously mentioned Bedlington Station Primary School will lose £65,072 which equates to £351 per pupil, and Cambois Primary School stands to lose almost £1,000 per pupil. Further information can be found at http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/
This week I will be launching a petition to demonstrate the outrage our community will feel at the systematic defunding of education in our area.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ