11th May 2018, My Week in Parliament

Part Two of Labour Steel Tour

Two weeks ago I began a tour visiting steelworks across the UK as the Shadow Minister for Steel. I visited steelworks in Port Talbot and Shotton in Wales, where I met with steel workers, union representatives and Tata Steel. It was a fantastic visit, and it was wonderful to see the company and the unions working together to shape the future of steel.

This week I went to Scunthorpe steelworks with MP for Scunthorpe Nic Dakin, MP for Neath Christina Rees and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey. We visited and learned about the excellent hard work being undertaken by steelworkers at British Steel.

Now more than ever we must stand up for our steel industry. The Tories have displayed stunning incompetence and disregard for the sector. A Labour government will always back our steel sector.  #SaveourSteel

More details about the trip can be found here: https://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/news/scunthorpe-news/labour-frontbench-members-meet-british-1554570?utm_source=google_news&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=google_news&utm_content=sitemap

If you didn’t get a chance to read it, click to read my piece that I wrote two weeks ago on the continued failure of the Government to act with regards to steel tariffs. Whilst the tariff exemption has now been extended to June 1st, we are in much the same position: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/time-running-out-donald-trumps-12439818#ICID=sharebar_twitter

Protecting Our Consumers

After years of reviews and consultations, in January the Government finally established the Office for Product Safety and Standards. It claims it will ‘enhance protections for consumers’. However so far very little has been done.

The product safety regime has been out of date and not fit for purpose for some time. Companies such as Whirlpool have been found to not only sell unsafe products, they have failed to give full and appropriate safety advice when contacted about the fire risk from their tumble dryer models. This is a clear breach of their legal obligations.

That investigation is part of a two-year Which? campaign calling for a full recall of those unsafe products. But the fact that the matter has not yet been properly resolved represents an abdication of the manufacturers’ and the Government’s duties to consumers.

The OPSS is a step in the right direction but it does not go far enough in addressing product safety.The Government must take firmer action if it is to protect consumers.

1 million Whirlpool tumble dryers are still thought to be in consumers’ homes. If you think you are the owner of a Whirlpool tumble dryer, please go to the Which? website (link below) and follow their advice immediately: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/whirlpool-tumble-dryer-safety-alert

Nurses and Nurse Bursaries

On Tuesday I asked the Minister for Health about the fall in applications for nursing degrees, following the Government’s reckless decision to replace nurse bursaries with loans.

He seemed either not to know or not to want to admit that there has in fact been a 33% drop in applications for nursing degrees since the bursary withdrawal, at a time when the NHS is already stretched to breaking point. Meanwhile, the Government’s Brexit shambles has led to a drastic decline in EU nursing applications.

Unbelievably, on Wednesday night the Tories voted for further cuts to bursaries for student nurses. This will make nursing shortages even worse and discourage applications further.

How many years is it going to take before the Government intervenes and stops their ruthless punishment of the health sector? The strain put on our health service is unsustainable, and I fear that more people will soon stop being able to get the care they need.

On a more positive note, Nurses’ day is coming up on May 12th. To celebrate, the Royal College of Nursing are encouraging nurses everywhere to celebrate their dedication and the amazing work they do. If you are a nurse, have a look at the website for ideas on how to celebrate. #ThisNurse https://www.rcn.org.uk/nurses-day

Fundraising Football in Hillsborough

On Sunday a football match was held at Hillsborough Arena raising money for Prostate Cancer awareness and the Steve Harrison Academy. It was a great atmosphere, and I was delighted to awarded the trophy to the winning team Steel City Rangers.

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