Question in the House about HRI

Today in the House of Commons in a question about NHS staffing levels I asked the Minister of State for Health about the proposed loss of 500 hard-working professionals from HRI and the impact that will have on patient safety.

I also challenged him to explain why the Secretary of State was unable to visit our community before making his decision on the downgrading of our hospital.

His reply did not address any of my points, and merely stated that the decision had been referred to Jeremy Hunt. I will continue the fight!

Golcar library garden opening

Delighted to visit Golcar library at the weekend and officially open their new garden.

The Library has been a great community hub at Town End for many decades. It’s lovely to see it not only survive the cuts to library services in recent years, but continue to grow and provide new services – in no small part due to the amazing volunteers who give their time over to retain this important part of Golcar’s village centre.

As you’ll know if you’ve been to a library in recent years: they provide a lot more than just books for lending. Offering computer access and guidance, help to start a business, ancestry sessions, coffee mornings and Lego club – our local libraries have something for everyone.

Golcar library also helps to alleviate social isolation among older members of our community, and of course provides wonderful opportunities for children to expand their horizons and learn to love reading.

Their Facebook page is here, give it a like and make sure to pop into the library  the next time you pass. Continued community support is invaluable.…/

HRI Campaign Snubbed by Health Secretary

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP “unable at present” to visit HRI and refuses to meet campaigners in Westminster.

The Health Secretary has responded to a letter, sent by Colne Valley’s MP Thelma Walker inviting him to visit the HRI to meet staff and campaigners prior to making a decision about the potential downgrading of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Thelma Walker invited Mr Hunt to visit the HRI after the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee of Kirklees and Calderdale Councils voted to refer the decision about the downgrading to the Health Secretary. You can read that letter in full here – Letter – Jeremy Hunt invitation to visit HRI.

Thelma has now received a response from the Department of Health. This email said that Mr Hunt was currently touring hospitals across the country but could not guarantee when or indeed if, he would visit. The letter went on to say that “due to his already hectic diary commitments” he would not be able to meet with constituents in Westminster.

Speaking after receiving the emailed letter, Thelma Walker said “I am disappointed that the Health Secretary does not appear to care about the people of the Colne and Holme Valleys or Huddersfield.

The plans were referred to him, because the JHSC decided it was an inappropriate decision made by the Trust and CCG’s to downgrade our hospital. Mr Hunt will be unable to make a full and proper assessment of why Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is a vital lifeline for our communities. Nor will he be able to understand the unique geography of the area.”

Thelma added, “This is a blatant disregard for local communities needs and wishes. It shows he is not concerned about the safety of our families, and once again we see a Minister in this Government who refuses to leave their desk in Westminster to actually engage with local people.

This isn’t the last Mr Hunt will hear from me or my constituents, and I will do everything in my power to try and secure a meeting with Mr Hunt and local people.”

Honley CE School opening

Honley CE (VC) Junior, Infant & Nursery School invited me to attend their official opening this week, following the recent amalgamation. A new beginning for the school, I wish them every success as they continue.

I was really impressed with the school: the warm welcoming feel, together with a focus on music and creative arts are just what we want for our children and community.

Special thanks to Jonah who was a great ambassador and was proud to show off his school.

Affordable housing

In Theresa May’s keynote speech to Tory conference yesterday, she said that not enough attention has been paid to affordable housing. She’s correct, and I raised this issue in the House last month.

However the Prime Minister’s proposal to build a miniscule 5,000 affordable houses per year is not the answer. Councils will still be unable to borrow money to build houses, and the 1.2 million households on waiting lists will still be in unsuitable homes.

Since 2010 homelessness has risen by over 50%, housebuilding is at it’s lowest since the 1920s, and rents are rising faster than incomes.

The Tories must act to solve this problem, and not just rely on platitudes to avoid real action.

WASPI Petition

As you know, the WASPI campaign is something I support; I was only made aware that my pension age had changed when I read it in a newspaper!

The campaign supports equalisation of the pension age, but not the way these changes were introduced. Many retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.

Several constituents have asked me to publicise this petition, which aims to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950’s women, and I am more than happy to do so.

Please will you sign the petition, and share this post so that more people are aware of the situation. The Government must act to make this right.

SB Homes

This weekend I visited the SBHomes development in Slaithwaite to see the new homes that Steve, his daughters, and the rest of the team are creating.

Slaithwaite has a special place in my heart so I was pleased to be shown their vision of developing within the Colne Valley in an environmentally friendly manner, which is in keeping with cultural heritage and feel of our area.

Supporting local family-run businesses like SBHomes who employ local trades, retains money within our local economy and increases housing provision in a sustainable way. The houses are quite beautiful, and have turned a disused brownfield site into a place for families to live.


Royal British Legion Manifesto 2017

Several people have recently contacted me regarding pledges that The Royal British Legion have asked the Government to make as part of their manifesto.

As your MP I have written to the Defence Secretary to make clear that our service personnel should be supported fully, and that implementation of such basic things as appropriate healthcare for veterans, housing support, and ensuring proper communication, should be taken seriously.

The Armed Forces community have my full support, and I fully agree with The Royal British Legion and the constituents who have contacted me on this matter.

As ever, I will share the Government’s response with you.