• Government’s U-turn on ending free school meals

    I strongly welcome the Government’s U-turn on ending free school meals for 1.3 million vulnerable children this summer holiday, a move which would have affected nearly 5000 children here in St Helens borough.

    Manchester United player Marcus Rashford has done an inspirational job in showing leadership and generating support for the Covid Summer Food Fund, and it is only thanks to him, local & national campaigners and action in Parliament by Labour MPs that Ministers changed course.

    St Helens North has seen a 72% rise in unemployment since March, indicating the growing burdens Covid-19 has forced on households across our communities. For countless families feeling the squeeze, free school meals are a real lifeline – ensuring many of our children don’t go hungry.

    It’s only right this isn’t taken away from those who need it most.

  • Post Office Horizon scandal

    The revelations exposed by last week’s BBC Panorama programme, which uncovered the Post Office Horizon scandal, are deeply shocking, and now we must see swift answers provided for all those who were unjustly wronged.

    For years, sub-postmasters tragically had their lives ruined by being falsely accused, pursued and imprisoned due to a faulty IT system, all whilst Post Office bosses refused to accept computer glitches were causing problems, and spent tens of millions of pounds defending its position.

    This appalling scandal has had a profound impact on many Post Office workers, and sadly I know some in St Helens North were affected. Clearly, a thorough investigation and compensation are urgently needed to restore public confidence and ultimately deliver justice.

  • British Airways

    The shocking announcement that British Airways is to make up to 12,000 employees redundant – a quarter of its workforce – is devastating news for all those affected, and highlights the uncertainty facing airline staff across St Helens borough and the North West.

    With 1.6 million jobs dependent on the UK’s aviation industry, it’s clear from my discussions with Unite and local trade unionists that a robust sector-wide package is needed to mitigate the intense financial pressures caused by coronavirus, with taxpayer funding conditional on companies safeguarding jobs, staff salaries, workers’ rights and environmental protections.

    There’s little question that the sector, trade unions, and above all workers are crying out for leadership, urgency and clarity. So far, the Government has failed to provide either.

  • Volunteers’ Week

    This week marked a Volunteers’ Week like never before, when more than ever we should show our appreciation and thanks for the millions of people across the country who generously give their time to help others and keep our communities flourishing.

    As the local MP, I am fortunate enough to meet so many dedicated volunteers across St Helens North and see their fantastic work in action, whether it’s as individuals, clubs or organisations. They are the backbone of our communities and we are all very grateful for them and their work.

    During these difficult times, their contribution has shone brighter than ever, from collecting and distributing food to the vulnerable and those shielding, to befriending the elderly and working with local charities. Through St Helens Together, St Helens Council and St Helens VCA, hundreds of constituents have come forward to help out during this crisis; acting as street champions, dropping off medicines and much more.

    I know all local residents appreciate the valuable work they do, but this week has been an excellent opportunity to say another huge thank you to all our local volunteers for the time they give, and the real difference they make to so many.

  • the killing of George Floyd

    Following the killing of George Floyd and the disturbing scenes from the USA, the Steve Prescott Bridge was lit in purple to show solidarity from St Helens in support of justice and equality, and opposition to racism, in the US, UK & everywhere else.
    At a time like this when there is such a burning sense of injustice there is a need for far sighted, healing and unifying leadership.
    I joined the Labour Party and became politically active to fight all forms discrimination and injustice: social, economic and racial. I’m proud of our record but I know that we all still need to do more to recognise the racism that black people and BAME communities experience.
    We shall overcome, some day.