Gill Furniss MP Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Welcome to my monthly update for August. Parliament is currently in recess, so I am enjoying being able to meet people and organisations in my constituency.
Yorkshire Day Reception
Earlier this month, I attended the Yorkshire Day reception in Parliament, celebrating our great region and the fantastic businesses that make and sell fantastic Yorkshire produce and services. Yorkshire has a proud identity that is famous around the world.
Protect Student Choice
I also attended a session with the protect student choice campaign, which stands against the proposed cuts to BTEC qualifications. Scrapping these qualifications would disproportionately impact children from lower-income households. I have been proud to support this campaign from the start and remain committed to putting pressure on the Government to retain these qualifications.
It was good to meet with Cycling UK who spoke to me about the importance of cycling and cycling infrastructure across the UK and how developing active-travel schemes will help us move to net-zero. It was a very insightful meeting in developing our approach to cycling and active travel. We also shared our concerns about the poor state of roads across the country.
Stop Tory Bus Cuts
As a result of bus subsidies being removed from October, South Yorkshire faces losing a third of its bus services across the region. Sheffield is the fifth largest city in the UK and we are facing the prospect of only having three bus services after 10 pm. There is no way to hide from the devastating impact these cuts will have on already isolated communities. The Government must act. That is why I am backing the Stop Tory Bus Cuts campaign. I’m encouraging people to sign the petition, calling for urgent action from the Government to protect our bus services and keep communities connected. To sign visit StopToryBusCuts.com
I have been committed to highlighting the need to bring the levelling-up agenda to our constituency. This month I wrote to Greg Clark, the new Levelling Up Secretary to raise my concerns about funding allocations made to South Yorkshire under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Currently, we are set to receive less than a fifth of what we were due to receive in European Structural funds under the new UK version. The area has been starved of funding for twelve years now, we cannot continue underinvesting in our region. In Brightside and Hillsborough, 45% of children live in poverty and the claimant count for 18-24-year-olds is 130% higher than the national average. The government must deliver well-paid and high-skilled jobs locally to deliver on the levelling up and reverse these trends in our area.
We’ve also seen concerning news that Peel Group are consulting on the future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, stating the likelihood is that they will close the airport. Regional airports are an important part of the local economy and connect us to international partners. I have joined MPs from across the region to meet with Peel Group and Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire. The Government must step in and work with local partners to secure the future of the airport and the jobs for people that work there.
I was very pleased to meet with Ursula from Adira, a fantastic charity that supports black people with mental health issues. Ursula, the charity director, showed me around ‘The Black Hair Care Project’ that supports black women to access hair and beauty treatments.
Adira is working on a great project to open a one-stop shop for mental health and community services targeted at people from the black community. Adira has gathered great support for this and I’m very happy to give it my full support. This would be a fantastic resource for our city.