Home

Latest Stories

Last week I attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK in Westminster to find out how we can keep cancer at the top of the new Parliament’s agenda.

Over the course of this Parliament, two million people will be diagnosed with cancer across the UK, so Cancer Research UK needs political support in order to continue to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

At the event, I met some of Cancer Research UK’s dedicated volunteer Campaign Ambassadors, and found out more about cancer survival rates in Durham, and received a report about treatment and survival rates in the constituency. I was pleased to note that urgent GP referral rates are higher for Durham than the national average, and that the percentage of patients receiving radiotherapy with 31 days of first treatment is also higher than the average in England.

However, there was some more concerning news regarding early diagnosis of cancers at stage 1 and stage 2, as rates in Durham are lower than the national average, and I will be raising this issue with the relevant organisations during my work in the constituency.

I have previously supported Cancer Research UK’s campaign to restrict junk food advertising on television, and in my role as the MP for City of Durham, I will continue to press the government to fund cancer treatments and to invest in new research so that survival rates improve, as cancer survival in the UK is still lagging behind other countries and too many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

Roberta Blackman-Woods pledges to help beat cancer sooner

Last week I attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK in Westminster to find out how we can keep cancer at the top of the new Parliament’s agenda....

I am very pleased to announce that I have accepted a role as Shadow Minister for International Development. I will be working with Kate Osamor to lead on Labour’s strategy on international development, and to hold the Department for International Development (DFID) to account in terms of how Britain’s foreign aid budget is being spent.

 

Labour is committed to the principle of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on special development assistance, and of ensuring that foreign aid is spent effectively and accountably on programmes which assist towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although the Tories have also committed to this, there are signs that many of their MPs and Ministers do not fully support the 0.7 per cent target, and Labour will be fighting against any threats to maintaining this level of spending.

 

We believe in developing a targeted development agenda based on the principles of redistribution, social justice, women’s rights and poverty reduction. During the last Parliament, we led on scrutinising the work of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), the private equity company owned by DFID, which is now a major vehicle for the delivery of Britain’s foreign aid targets. Whilst Labour is supportive of some aspects of the work done by the CDC, we have been concerned by reports from campaigning organisations such as Oxfam and Global Justice Now, which highlight examples of the CDC being used to channel funding towards businesses in middle-income countries, rather than focusing explicitly on poverty reduction.

 

In this Parliament, I look forward to working closely with the rest of the Shadow Front Bench, the international development select committee, as well as charities and NGOs, to develop Labour’s international development strategy and to hold the government to account on their actions. I will bring to the role my long experience of working alongside Parliamentarians from across the world within the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and my work with the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In addition, I have a long history of campaigning for women’s rights both at home and internationally, and this will be another priority for me in the new role.

Roberta appointed as Shadow Minister for International Development

I am very pleased to announce that I have accepted a role as Shadow Minister for International Development. I will be working with Kate Osamor to lead on Labour’s strategy...

On Thursday night, I wholeheartedly voted for the amendment submitted by the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn which opposed the Queen’s Speech put forward by Theresa May and her Conservative government, as it did not include any measures to:

  • End austerity and the cuts to public services
  • Reverse falling living standards and inequalities in our society
  • Implement an energy price cap
  • Commit to a proper infrastructure investment strategy for the whole country
  • Recognise that “no deal” is the very worst outcome for the UK in Brexit negotiations
  • Ensure that the outcome of any deal to leave the EU prioritises jobs and the economy and delivers the exact same benefits that the UK has now as a member of the Single Market and Customs Union
  • Maintain the existing rights of EU nationals living in the UK, and UK nationals living in Europe
  • Ensuring that the richest individuals and biggest corporations pay their fair share in tax
  • Scrap tuition fees at universities, restore the Education Maintenance Allowance and nurses’ bursaries
  • Increase the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020
  • End the public sector pay cap

The Tories’ Queen’s Speech is a threadbare document that contains nothing to help the people of Durham or the country. Theresa May has dropped nearly all the commitments she made in her election manifesto, and continues to show what a weak position she is in, and how little confidence her Government has in itself.

Labour would instead bring forward a Queen’s Speech that would actually address the big issues facing the country rather than shying away from taking any decisions. I want to invest in the public services that everyone in Durham uses, rather than cutting them to breaking point, ensure we pay our doctors, nurses, firefighters and policemen the wages they deserve, and build homes that people can afford to live in.

That is why I voted for the Labour amendment and against the Queen’s Speech, and I will continue to stand up for the City of Durham against the Conservative Government’s unjust cuts and continued austerity.

Also, having signed Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech which highlighted the inequality of access to healthcare services for women in Northern Ireland, I am delighted that the Government has been forced to change its stance today. Previously, women from Northern Ireland – where it is still illegal for women to have an abortion – travelling to Great Britain for an abortion were charged £900. Justine Greening, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has said that the Government will now fund this instead.

Voting against the Queen's Speech

On Thursday night, I wholeheartedly voted for the amendment submitted by the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn which opposed the Queen’s Speech put forward by Theresa May and...


View More

Press Releases

A report recently released by the Care Quality Commission shows that across the UK, one in three nursing homes are failing, and one in four care homes breached basic safety requirements, with vulnerable people increasingly having to fend for themselves. 

Since 2010, the Government has reduced local authority care budgets by £4.6 billion, with Durham County Council seeing a 42% reducing in its funding alone. This will leave a funding gap in social care of £2.1 billion by 2020. 

I have campaigned on the need for proper funding for social care in Durham for many years, and will be holding a roundtable discussion in November with a number of different stakeholders, including Durham County Council and the County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust. This meeting will focus on the challenges the NHS and local authority are facing in providing care in the future, and how to ensure that people are receiving the care they need. I have also raised a number of issues directly with the Care Quality Commission, including the low standard of care that is currently deemed acceptable. 

 

Social Care in Durham and across the whole country is in crisis, and it is decisions made by the Government that have brought us to this point. 

Since 2010, not only have local authorities’ care budgets been cut by an incredible £4.6 billion, but 400,000 fewer people are now receiving publicly funded social care. In Durham, despite the hard work of the council, the 42% reduction the Social Care budget vulnerable people in our communities are not getting the care and support they need.

 Furthermore, as I have already raised the fact that the baseline standards of care are too low with the Care Quality Commission, it is very concerning to see so many care and nursing homes failing.

 

I will continue to work with care providers and the local authority to help support their efforts in providing much needed care, and will press the Government on the urgent need for proper funding for social care in Durham.

Roberta highlights Social Care Crisis

A report recently released by the Care Quality Commission shows that across the UK, one in three nursing homes are failing, and one in four care homes breached basic safety...

 

 

Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, has today raised her concerns that many children across Durham will go hungry over the summer holidays as family budgets are stretched alongside children not having access to the meals that are provided for them at school. 

Over 71,500 children in the North East will not receive the free school meal they are eligible for during term time. Of these, 13,656 of these children live in County Durham, so the issue of holiday hunger affects a large number of children in the area. 

Roberta has campaigned on the issue of holiday hunger for many years, and has talked with a number of councils across the region to find out how they work to combat this issue, such as funding events for children that include a meal as well as fun activities, and to share best practice throughout the North East. 

As wages continue to fall in real terms due to rising inflation, and families are finding it harder to get by, Roberta will continue to press this issue with the Government, Durham County Council and local schools. 

Roberta said: 

"I think it is totally unacceptable that so many children are at risk of going hungry over the summer holidays in our communities, and I have campaigned on this serious issue for many years now. 

Child poverty is at a seven year high, and wages are falling, meaning that families are worse off. Every child deserves to be well fed every day, and I will be pressing the local authorities and the Government to ensure a fully funded scheme in put in place in the future to ensure that no child goes hungry over the summer holidays.”

 

Roberta attending a holiday hunger event organised by Gateshead Council

Roberta attending a holiday hunger event organised by Gateshead Council

Roberta highlights issue of holiday hunger in Durham

    Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, has today raised her concerns that many children across Durham will go hungry over the summer holidays as family budgets...

EDM_Graphic_Fair_Schools_funding.jpg

Roberta, together with a number of her regional colleagues, has called on the Government to give the region the funds it needs to meet increasing education costs.

The MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM), tabled by Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, which calls on the Government to take action on the estimated £119m real terms cuts that North East schools face by 2020. This funding gap is due variety of factors including changes in the new funding formula, cuts outlined by in the 2015 budget and the effect of inflation on school costs.

An independent report by the National Audit Office found schools across England need to make total savings of £3bn by 2020 to cope with increasing costs. The National Union of Teachers estimate the savings needed in the North East is equivalent to losing 3,203 teachers.

It is not just Labour Members of Parliament worried about this situation, a survey found that 72% of head teachers think their budgets will be unsustainable by 2019.

Roberta met with head teachers from across her constituency about this matter and she will continue to speak out against the unfairness of the regional disparity when it comes to education funding.

North East MPs speak out against unfair school funding

Roberta, together with a number of her regional colleagues, has called on the Government to give the region the funds it needs to meet increasing education costs. The MPs have signed an Early...


View More

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.