Press Releases

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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...

Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Shadow Minster for Local Government and Housing, has welcomed the news that the Government have decided to scrap the “Pay to Stay” measures in the Housing and Planning Act.

Roberta said: “Pay to Stay was one of the most pernicious parts of the Housing and Planning Act. It was nothing more than a tax on tenants and a tax on aspiration and so I am extremely pleased to see that the Government has finally listened to reason and decided not to implement it

During the passage of the Act, I met with a group of tenants from Hackney who were very concerned about the impact of the measures and that stress and worry is something that council tenants from across the entire country have been subjected to for months.

I hope this is the first of many elements of the Housing and Planning Act that the Government come to realise will not help alleviate the housing crisis and I look forward to more statements winding back similar such measures in the future”.

Roberta welcomes the scrapping of Pay to Stay

Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Shadow Minster for Local Government and Housing, has welcomed the news that the Government have decided to scrap the “Pay to Stay” measures in the Housing...

Cathy_Come_Home_5.JPGTo mark the 50th anniversary of the film “Cathy Come Home”, Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government and Housing took part in an event to discuss the film’s impact with director Ken Loach and key stakeholders in the homelessness sector.

Of the event Roberta said:

“It was fantastic to be able to discuss Ken Loach’s seminal film on homelessness with the director himself, and to hear how much it influenced so many people who work with homeless people today.

The parallels between the film and the situation today were not lost on anybody and it shows how despite several pieces of legislation being passed regarding homelessness, more needs to be done to get to grips with the issue.

We need to be building more public sector housing so that families are not trapped on waiting lists or stuck in temporary accommodation for months on end. There needs to be more good quality, genuinely affordable housing available of all types and enabling local authorities to build is the best way to deliver that”.  

Roberta celebrates 50th anniversary of "Cathy Come Home"

To mark the 50th anniversary of the film “Cathy Come Home”, Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government and Housing took part in an event to discuss the...

Roberta today has written Secretary of State for Justice to ask for information about prison staffing levels in the three prisons in her City of Durham constituency following a statement made today in the House of Commons Chamber.  

Roberta raises concerns about prison staffing numbers

Roberta today has written Secretary of State for Justice to ask for information about prison staffing levels in the three prisons in her City of Durham constituency following a statement... Read more

Roberta has today heard from Durham County Council that DASH have withdrawn their application for conversion of the Last Orders pub in Gilesgate to offices and flats for young people.

Application for development of Last Orders pub in Gilesgate withdrawn

Roberta has today heard from Durham County Council that DASH have withdrawn their application for conversion of the Last Orders pub in Gilesgate to offices and flats for young people.... Read more

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP today paid tribute to the large number of WASPI campaigners who attended the Town Hall today to form a Durham branch of national WASPI campaign (Women Against State Pension Inequality).

 

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Roberta said,

“WASPI is a great campaign that seeks to fight the injustice done to women born in the 1950s (on or after 6 April 1951) regarding the changes to their state pension age.

“The 1995 Conservative Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s SPA (State Pension Age) to 65, the same as men’s.  I know that WASPI agrees with equalisation but I am pleased it does not agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented – with little/no personal notice of the implications of the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts, with faster action than promised (2011 Pension Act), and no time to make alternative plans.  I know that many constituents’ Retirement plans have been shattered as a consequence of this.

 

“Roberta said, it’s important that as many people as possible back the aim of the campaign which is - to achieve fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950’s (born on or after 6 April 1951). 

The MP continued,

“I am delighted that a branch of WASPI is to be set up in Durham and I look forward to working with them to develop a plan of action over the coming months.  I am very grateful to Mary, Maria and Sylvia for agreeing to coordinate the group.  In the meantime, I shall be writing to the Secretary of State of DWP, The Rt Hon Damien Green MP to ask that the Government put better transitional arrangements in place for this group of women.”

ENDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roberta backs WASPI women in Durham

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP today paid tribute to the large number of WASPI campaigners who attended the Town Hall today to form a Durham branch of national WASPI campaign (Women Against...

Roberta Blackman-Woods today visited the University Hospital of North Durham for the launch of a new awareness programme about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). 

Roberta backs campaign to raise awareness of drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Roberta Blackman-Woods today visited the University Hospital of North Durham for the launch of a new awareness programme about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  Read more

Yesterday, Roberta raised the future of BHS in the Prince Bishop’s Centre and its staff with Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise.  

Across the country, the collapse of BHS will lead to the loss of 11,000 jobs; it will have an enormous impact on the workforce and for their families and Roberta wanted to ensure that the staff at BHS in Durham can be confident that they will be taken care of and that their pensions will be safe.

In the Chamber, Roberta said:

BHS was an anchor store in the Prince Bishops shopping centre in my constituency, and the staff who work there are really concerned about their future and that of their pensions.

There are wider issues, too, about the impact of closure on our high street. Can the Minister tell us what she is going to do to address my constituents’ concerns and to call to account previous owners and current owners and directors for any part they have played in the downfall of BHS?

Moving forward, Roberta will be liaising with stakeholders to see how she can best support staff through this transition along with meeting with colleagues in Parliament to make sure that any further discussions that need to be had about the role played by the former or present administration get under way quickly.

If you are one of Roberta's constituents and are a member of staff of BHS or affected by this situation, please do get in touch by email, letter or phone if you require any help or advice.  

Roberta question BIS Minister on BHS staff's future

Yesterday, Roberta raised the future of BHS in the Prince Bishop’s Centre and its staff with Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise.   Across the country,...

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Roberta Blackman- Woods MP for the City of Durham was delighted to help out at a stall in Durham Market Place on Saturday aimed at getting young people to register to vote in the EU referendum.

The stall was organised by a number of young people in the area who belong to or support the Stronger In campaign. Roberta was joined at the stall by Baroness Maeve Sherlock who also lives in Durham. The deadline for registering to vote is 7th June. People can register on the government website www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

 

Roberta said:

'I was absolutely delighted to join Baroness Maeve Sherlock and lots of young people, from the Stronger In campaign at their stall in the market place on Saturday.  I was so pleased to be part of a campaign encouraging young people in particular to register to vote. What happens in the referendum on 23 June will very much affect the future for young people in this country and is very important therefore that they have a huge say in what happens.

I hope that young people, register to vote and then use that vote for remain . The economy of the whole country benefits from our membership of the EU and this is especially the case for the North East. Many business leaders in the North East have made it clear that they invest here because we are the gateway to Europe and we must not put that advantage in jeopardy and we are a net beneficiary of European structural and development funds.

But it is worth remembering that the benefits of membership of the EU go beyond the economy to consumer rights, workers rights, protecting animal welfare and helping us address climate change an issue that many young people care deeply about.

I can only thank the young people of the Stronger In campaign for an excellent stall and join them in urging young people to register to vote before the deadline.'

 

With thanks to Finlay Yusef- Cook for the photographs

 

Make sure your voice is heard! Roberta urges young people to register to vote

  Roberta Blackman- Woods MP for the City of Durham was delighted to help out at a stall in Durham Market Place on Saturday aimed at getting young people to...

At Prime Ministers Questions today Roberta asked the Prime Minister why his government had introduced a raft of cuts which would disproportionately affect mothers.

In light of Mother’s Day on Sunday, and International Women’s Day yesterday, Roberta asked the Prime Minister why he was targeting this group of society – mothers – to the tune of a cut of £13 billion.

The research into the gendered nature of Conservative cuts was commissioned by the Labour Party, and the figures, produced by the House of Commons library found that cuts to the four-year freeze on child benefit and in work benefit payments, reductions in housing benefit and other policies outweighed increases to the personal income tax allowance and extra money for childcare that are available for women leaving them worse off as a result of government policies.

 

Roberta puts pressure on the PM over cuts which target mothers

At Prime Ministers Questions today Roberta asked the Prime Minister why his government had introduced a raft of cuts which would disproportionately affect mothers. In light of Mother’s Day on... Read more

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