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...

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).

 

WASPI_Sept_2016_2.jpg

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,...

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.