Question in the house on Tax avoidance

The information released in the ‘Paradise Papers’ this week have shown yet again that the very rich in our country are avoiding tax left right and centre. It makes a mockery of our aspirations for a fair and equal society.

I asked the Minister in the House of Commons why the rich do not pay their fair share when the people of the Colne and Holme Valleys do.

Sadly he seemed happier to defend the current, clearly very broken situation, than to address the point I was making. A Labour government will crack down once and for all on the tax avoidance of the ultra-rich.

Early Day Motion on community defibrillators

You may have noticed yellow boxes appearing around our area which contain defibrillators: life-saving devices for people suffering a cardiac arrest. These are funded by community organisations.

Speaking to Bill, a local volunteer, and realising that communities are having to pay VAT on the defibrillators it was clear that something should be done.

I have tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons which seeks to support all communities to have a public defibrillator and to drop the VAT on these devices. As Bill said to me, without the VAT: for every five purchased, the sixth would be free!

Please encourage your friends and family who live outside Colne Valley constituency to urge their MP to support my EDM and share this post with them…/mp-thelma-walker-launches-campa…

Education Select Committee – Importance of speaking to young people

In last week’s Education Select Committee the Chair and Chief Inspector of Ofsted gave evidence. Amanda Spielman who became Chief Inspector earlier this year shared what she had done in her first few months, but alarmingly to me did not mention children or young people once!

I challenged her over this, and although she said she had spoken to young people during this time, there was no mention of how that influences her work.

I think it’s very important for all parts of our education system to be centred on the children it is there to support, and I will continue to bring my perspective as a teacher to bear in these sessions.

Speaking to people in Outlane

I was in Outlane this weekend talking to local people about their concerns and hearing their desires for our area. I said I’d be a local constituency MP first and foremost and I will always stick to that pledge. I am here for you, as your representative.

If there’s anything you ever need my help with, please drop me a message via

Please share this post if you have friends and family who may wish to ‘Like’ my page to follow the work I am doing for Colne Valley constituency. Many thanks.

Frustration after Tories fillibuster

A frustrating and shameful display by the Tories today to block the debate on Votes at 16. Time-wasting or filibustering is anti-democratic and makes me so angry!

16 year olds can get married, join the army, live alone, work full-time, and pay tax. It’s ridiculous that they cannot yet vote.

The fight isn’t over, but seeing the enthusiasm from the many young people both outside and inside the House today, it feels like Parliament has let them down.

Speech on child refugees

Britain has a proud history of protecting vulnerable child refugees dating back to the Kindertransport of World War II, where children fleeing persecution from the Nazis were given support and love here in the UK.

My speech in the House today highlighted the work that organisations in our area such as DASH and Sanctuary Kirklees do to provide support to children and families fleeing war and persecution.

As the UK turns away from the EU, we need to make sure that we do not turn our backs on these vulnerable children. Sadly the Tories have removed Legal Aid from these very refugees but I will keep pushing for change.

Education Select Committee – Teaching to the test

Teaching to the test in Key Stage 2, is something a great number of teachers have expressed to me has a negative impact on their ability to teach our children holistically and create well-rounded individuals who are ready to enter high school.

Creative curriculum is being squeezed out of our schools and the SATS test rather than being a waistcoat is a straightjacket.

I put these concerns to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening during the Education Select Committee.

Thelma Walker lobbies Chancellor for more cash in the budget

An MP joined a trade union protest in a bid to stop funding cuts at every school in her constituency.

The Examiner revealed earlier this year that a government shake-up of school funding is set to see all but three of Kirklees’ 171 schools lose out.

Colne Valley MP Thelma Walker , a former headteacher, has now joined forces with ex-colleagues to campaign for a re-think.

In the Colne Valley more than £3.3m will be lost from school budgets by 2019/20. This could lead to a reduction of 75 teachers across the constituency.

Mrs Walker, a member of the Education Select Committee, joined a day of action organised by the National Education Union (NEA), formerly the National Union of Teachers.

(Click the image above to read the full article.)

Education Select Committee – Recruitment & retention of teachers

Recruitment and retention of teachers is a growing problem in our education system, and it’s something I have spoken about before. I took the opportunity to ask Justine Greening to provide exact figures and also to show any difference between affluent and deprived areas.

It’s awful to hear stories of newly trained, and experienced teachers quitting the profession. It’s a waste of great talent and unfortunately it illustrates the problems within the teaching profession.

The Secretary of State did not have the figures to hand but did later say she would look into sharing the data with the committee. I will follow this up and let you know the outcome.