• Government’s slow responce to Covid-19

    As Keir Starmer said at Prime Minister’s Questions today, there is growing concern about the Government’s slow progress on Covid-19 testing and PPE, the lack of a coherent strategy for the next phase of the fight against coronavirus and coming out of lockdown, and the real disparities we’re now seeing between Ministers’ words and actions.
    Throughout this emergency, Labour as a constructive Opposition has rightly recognised the responsibilities we have to work collaboratively with the Government; backing it where it is right, in order to save both lives and livelihoods, but also holding it accountable and scrutinising its decisions.
    As our brave NHS staff, key workers and the wider public continue to make such huge sacrifices to ensure our communities remain safe, Ministers must now do their jobs and provide the clarity, leadership and action needed for us to move forward in this unprecedented national emergency.

  • help needed for rugby league

    Last week, me and Marie Rimmer MP wrote a joint letter to Rishi Sunak MP, the Chancellor, calling for swift and decisive action to help Rugby League clubs financially weather the coronavirus crisis.
    Rugby League clubs are the beating heart of communities in the North of England, including here in St Helens borough, and they all play a vital part in each of them beyond match-day. With fixtures firmly on hold and revenues dwindling, we’re deeply concerned that the game stands at risk.
    The need for urgent support is both real and overdue, and as St Helens MPs we’ll pull out all the stops to ensure the game of Rugby League can come out of this testing moment as strong as ever.

  • Sport England’s new Community Emergency Fund

    Last week, I wrote a letter of support and thanks to many of the incredible sports and physical activity groups in St Helens North, many of whom are urgently seeking security, funding and clarity, in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on their existing revenue streams.
    I wanted to draw their attention to Sport England’s new Community Emergency Fund, a £20 million initiative which can provide awards of between £300 to £10,000 and over, specifically helping struggling grassroots groups to meet their fixed cost obligations. It’s a real lifeline in these most perilous of times.
    I would encourage all our fantastic sports and physical activity groups facing hardship to find out more and apply for funds if they meet the criteria, which can be done by visiting their website

    https://www.sportengland.org/…/our…/community-emergency-fund

    As the local MP, I will keep doing whatever it takes over the coming weeks and months to support grassroots sport; ensuring that it can thrive once again in the future.

  • appointed shadow security minister

    It is an honour to have been appointed by Keir Starmer as Labour’s Shadow Security Minister.
    I am really looking forward to joining our Home Office team under the new Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, and working with a great team of colleagues.
    The safety and security of the country and our citizens will always come first, and the incredible people working 24/7 to protect us will always have my and Labour’s support.

  • the need for government to use BSL

    After being contacted by the Deafness Resource Centre in St Helens, I’ve asked the Prime Minister to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters – as well as more precise, timely subtitles – for all the Government’s televised coronavirus updates, to ensure the UK’s 87,000 Deaf BSL users get proper information during the current crisis.
    From my ongoing work with the Deafness Resource Centre, based on Dentons Green Lane in Windle, I know decisive action on this issue is long overdue, and making such a simple adjustment to include BSL interpreters would significantly improve knowledge and understanding for so many Deaf people, while also promoting an important sense of inclusivity and self-worth.
    Clear, accurate and up to date information should and must be available to every person throughout our communities, none more so than at this unprecedented and precarious time.

  • getting our residents home

    I have written to the Foreign and Defence Secretaries today to ask that they do whatever is required – including chartering flights or using the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s logistics capability – to ensure British citizens who are stranded abroad can urgently get home.

    There are over twenty people from St Helens North in this situation in countries like Australia, Nepal and Mexico; my office will continue to press the Government to ensure their safe return.

  • Government needs to help the self employed

    I’ve been contacted by many of the thousands of self-employed workers in St Helens North who urgently need Government help.
    A large section of the country’s 4.9m self-employed workers have seen work or contracts completely collapse.
    Our local tradesmen, construction workers, taxi drivers, hairdressers, cleaners, beauticians, musicians, freelancers, childminders and many others are facing serious, sudden financial hardship.
    I’ve made direct representations to Treasury and Business Ministers to ask them to provide substantial emergency support to the self-employed, as they have already done for employed workers. People who have worked hard all their lives are facing a complete financial nightmare because of the coronavirus crisis and they need support.
    I hope the Government will act now; they need to move fast as many people can’t wait.

  • the National Lottery’s Community Fund

    I met with the National Lottery’s Community Fund, which has provided over £2.4 million worth of grants to local projects here in St Helens North alone. These include Park Farm ACYP in Moss Bank, Invest for the Future at the Deafness Resource Centre, as well as the FIT scheme at St Aidan’s in Billinge.

    Thousands of projects benefit from the Community Fund every year. To find out more, click the following link: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding

  • the budget

    In reaction to yesterday’s budget, I called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to go beyond mere rhetoric and make good on the Government’s promise of more funding, investment and job opportunities for highly ambitious communities like ours in St Helens and the North West.

    Rightly, this budget’s short-term strategic priority focused much on containing and defeating the threat posed by the coronavirus (Covid-19), and going forward it’s vital that MPs work in tandem with our community leaders, NHS officials and public health experts to provide an effective and measured response, as guided by the latest scientific evidence.

    But whilst extra funding to tackle Covid-19 is necessary and welcome, this budget falls far short of what’s in fact needed, and I’m concerned about its lack of measures to increase statutory sick pay for local people, or to extend it for those in low-pay work, part-time work, or indeed for those on zero-hours contracts. This Government can and must do better.

    The Chancellor talks often of “levelling up” our country, yet it is this Government’s inadequate investment in the North West’s public services, core infrastructure and skills that has stunted growth in St Helens, while seeing North / South regional inequalities cement and widen.

    Over the last decade, unreliable yet expensive transport, overstretched public services and poor connectivity have all but too often been a reality for local people. Instead of much-needed funding, the Government have slashed the grant to St Helens Council by 71% since 2010 – leaving £507 less per person to spend on essential services.

    If we’re truly to unlock our region’s great potential, places like St Helens borough need more than warm words or empty gestures, but concrete action to re-balance our economy, properly fund our public services, and promote growth right across the North West. In Parliament and in our communities, I’ll continue fighting day-in, day-out to ensure these can be finally delivered.

  • Heathrow third runway

    The Government promised that the expansion of Heathrow airport would increase connectivity to airports at Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester, and bring associated opportunities for jobs, investment and business in places like St Helens.
    The uncertainty around the third runway is a cause of concern for political and business leaders in our region. I called on Transport Ministers to provide clarity over Heathrow’s future, and commit to delivering on the promise of growth for communities across the North West.

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