Post by: @JulieForBurnley
Yesterday I had the pleasure of closing the Shadow Health team’s Opposition Day debate on Government cuts to community pharmacy funding, which will see many pharmacies close. As many of you are aware, this is a subject that is very dear to my heart. I worked with my husband, who is a pharmacist in community pharmacy, for 24 years. I must make it clear that I no longer have any financial interest in community pharmacy and haven’t had since 2010 but I do have a clear understanding of the contribution that community pharmacies make to patients, communities and to the wider NHS.
Burnley just can’t seem to stop winning awards. Only two weeks ago we were formally recognised as the friendliest town in the country and then last week it was pleasing to hear that Burnley had won the Flag of Europe in recognition of the work done by Burnley’s Twining Association over many years. I was delighted to attend a special event at held at Burnley Central Library to see Baroness Massey present the Mayor of Burnley with the prestigious flag which has been awarded in recognition of very special relationship that Burnley has enjoyed with our twin town of Vitry-sur-Seine.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Megan Hughes and Chris Cooper two young people from Ambitious About Autism, they came to interview me on how we can improve teacher training and improve educational outcomes for young people with Special Education Needs.
I have long been a supporter of the great work Ambitious About Autism undertakes to ensure that young people with autism are able to progress through education and into employment and am happy to support their new campaign on Autism and Initial Teacher Training.
The Government plans to bring in a new Education Bill this autumn based on the discredited white paper: Education Excellence Everywhere.
Today I attended an event in Parliament sponsored by Breast Cancer Care and the APPG on Breast Cancer to mark Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
Secondary breast cancer is where breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body and is incurable. It is estimated that there are 36,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK and every year, approximately 11,600 people die from the disease.
At the event I have the pleasure of meeting with a number of women living with secondary breast cancer, who shared with me their stories surrounding the treatment and support they have received.
Last week I attended the Labour Party conference held in Liverpool. Of the many events I attended, one of the most engaging and fascinating was a roundtable event titled ‘No One Left Behind: Who’s Looking Out For Young People?’ held by the social justice charity Nacro. The panel discussion was chaired by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and featured important contributions from Wes Streeting MP (Treasury Select Committee), Councillor Richard Watts (Leader of Islington Council and Chair of the influential Local Government Association Children & Young People Board), Seyi Obakin (Chief executive of Centrepoint) and Sally Benton (Nacro).
On Monday I urged the new Secretary of State for Education to invest in technical schools and technical and vocational qualifications. I also asked her directly how the Government’s proposed plans to introduce grammar schools would improve the skills gap that currently exists in the UK. I said the following:
“I would like to congratulate the young people in my constituency who have been successful in their GCSE and A-level results this year. There is no shortage nationwide in access to excellent academic education. Our world-leading universities are welcoming more students from this country than ever before.
This week I am joining with Labour colleagues to stop the Government’s proposed solar tax hike which will undermine solar power and the clean energy industries of the future. Under proposed Government plans to update tax rates for business properties companies installing solar panels on their rooftops will end up with a tax bill that is six to eight times higher than they are currently paying.
It will mean in some cases that rooftop solar installations cost more to run than they generate. This tax hike will penalise thousands of businesses and schools who choose to use renewable energy and invested in good faith with the prior backing of consecutive Governments.
This week I was deeply disturbed to read the publication of East Lancashire Hospitals Travel Strategy Implementation Plan, which proposes to end free parking for disabled hospital users at Burnley General Hospital and Blackburn Royal. These plans are a kick in the teeth for the most vulnerable hospital users and will see blue badge holders forced to pay to park at hospitals in Burnley and Blackburn.
As you may know, I have long campaigned for carers to be able to park for free at hospitals and medical facilities.
Today I spoke in Prime Ministers Questions and asked the Prime Minister to listen to the excellent head teachers in primary schools in my constituency, who tell me that the recent unprecedented changes to primary education including the new SATS have led to negative impacts on the learning outcomes of children, I asked the Prime Minister to urge the new Secretary of State for Education to take these concerns forward and to listen and make some useful changes.
You can see my questions and the Prime Minister’s response on Parliament TV at (please copy and paste the link): http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/eab066a6-b66d-48a5-ab48-21aeeb7400db?in=12:23:10&out=12:24:12
Yesterday I spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate on 'Early Years Development and School Readiness.' In my speech I pointed out the need to make a clear distinction between early years education and childcare provision, I argued that the best way to ensure all our citizens fulfil their potential is through the provision of high quality early years education, I said the following:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak in this important debate.
In these times of national turmoil as the UK looks to redefine its status in the world and concerns about our economy loom large it has never been more important for us to fulfil the potential of all our citizens.