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Michael has called for a moratorium on fracking in Barnsley. You can see his Yorkshire Post piece here and his letter to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change here.

Labour is calling on the Government to act urgently to save our steel industry, after Tata Steel announced that it would sell its UK plants. Labour has a four point plan to #SaveOurSteel, which you can see here.

Everyone should pay their fair share of tax, yet Google will pay just £130 million to cover a period of over a decade – despite making around £1bn in UK profits in 2014 alone. Labour is calling on the Government to come clean and publish its tax deal with Google. Sign the petition here.

Michael has called on the Government to stop planned cuts to community pharmacies which are vital for public health and save the NHS money. You can sign the petition here.

David Cameron is on a power grab, with new laws taking power from the people. Join Labour's campaign and sign your name against the Tory power grab here.

Say you're with Labour

If you would like to get in touch about a campaign, please e-mail michael.dugher.mp@parliament.uk

Tiny Hearts campaign: see Sir Michael Parkinson introduce the Tiny Hearts Campaign video below.

The Daily Politics

How I can help you

 If you live in the Barnsley East constituency - find out here - I can provide information, advice and support for constituents on a wide range of issues. The fastest way I can help you is for you to call my Barnsley office on 01226 743 483 or email me on michael.dugher.mp@parliament.uk.  

But if you need to see me to talk about your case, I am also very happy to meet with constituents and I hold weekly surgeries by appointment. Please call or email my office to discuss your issue and arrange an appointment.


Latest news:


Michael leads protest against community pharmacy cuts

26 October 2016

Michael has today led a protest of pharmacists, councillors and local residents against Government plans to cut the community pharmacy budget.

The protest took place outside Lo’s Pharmacy in Worsbrough, in Michael’s constituency.

Michael has been campaigning against the Government’s poorly thought out plan for pharmacy cutbacks, and will continue to oppose cuts every step of the way.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It was great to see so many residents, councillors and pharmacy staff in Worsbrough all joining forces to warn about the threat to community pharmacies in Barnsley. 

“If they close, people who depend on their local chemist, including the elderly, will have to make longer, more expensive journeys elsewhere. And it will add even more strain on our already overstretched GP surgeries and A&E units.

“Ministers should listen to the public and drop these damaging cuts before it is too late.”


Pharmacy cuts will only add to pressure on creaking NHS

26 October 2016

Michael has written for the Yorkshire Post about his campaign against the Government’s plan to cut the community pharmacy budget.

Under the Government’s new plan for cuts, £113 million will be cut this financial year and a further £95 million budget reduction will be made in 2017-18.

You can read the piece in full here.


Michael welcomes decision to build third runway at Heathrow

25 October 2016

As reported by the Yorkshire Post, Michael has welcomed the decision to expand aviation capacity by building a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Commenting on the news, Michael said:

“As Shadow Transport Secretary, I set out the four tests that airport expansion needs to meet in order to secure Labour’s support, including that the benefits of expansion are felt throughout the country, including here in the North.

“Expanding Heathrow meets those tests, delivering connectivity and jobs across the whole of the country.

“Crucially, Heathrow demonstrates that that we can provide a much needed boost between the economy whilst putting in place vital environmental safeguards. It’s time now to get on with it.”


Remembering the fallen

22 October 2016

As reported by Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has attended the launch of the Barnsley poppy appeal and visited Darfield library to mark the launch of a book commemorating some of the local men that were killed during the First World War 

Michael joined members of the Darfield History Society at the launch of ‘Darfield Remembers the First World War’, which has been put together as a result of the efforts of local historians, including Glenice Smith and Michael Smith and Kay Valentine. Michael also thanked the Darfield Ward Alliance and Councillor Dorothy Coates for their contribution in funding the book. 

He also joined the Mayor Councillor Linda Burgess, Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis and members of the Royal British Legion in Barnsley Town Centre to mark the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal. 

Commenting, Michael said:

"Barnsley has a long and proud history of supporting our people serving in our Armed Forces. As we continue to mark the centenary of the First World War, it was great to be invited to write the foreword and open the launch of the 'Darfield Remembers' book which commemorates the contribution made by the village during the War.

"My thanks go to the Darfield History Society at the Library and in particular locals Glenice and Michael Smith, and to Kay Valentine. Thanks also to local councillors and the Ward Alliance for their support. 

"This special book commemorates the sacrifice made by so many local people during the War and it will serve as a permanent reminder for generations to come. 

"As a member of my local Royal British Legion branch here in Barnsley, it was also great to join our Mayor and many veterans in launching this year's Poppy Appeal which is dedicated to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living.”

Copies are available for purchase here.


Michael visits Cooper Gallery exhibition

22 October 2016

This weekend, Michael paid a visit to the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley Town Centre to view an exhibition by local pop artist Terry Brookes.

On the visit, Michael was shown around the collection by Terry and was impressed by the original works on display.

The collection, which expresses music, fun and romance, will remain on display at the Cooper Gallery until Saturday 29th October. 

Commenting, Michael said:

“Terry Brookes is super-talented, one of the best artists in Britain and one of life’s nice people. To once again have his exhibition on our doorstep in Barnsley at the fantastic Cooper Gallery is just great. Go see it before it’s too late"

You can find out more about the exhibition here.


Michael welcomes ‘Nation’s Favourite Park’ award for Elsecar Park

21 October 2016

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has welcomed a top award for Elsecar Park in his constituency, after encouraging local residents to vote in support.

Elsecar Park has been awarded a ‘Nation’s Favourite Park’ award, which recognises its status as one of the top parks in the country.

Commenting, Michael said:

“It is great news that Elsecar Park has been awarded a Nation’s Favourite Park award. It is thoroughly well-deserved.

“Congratulations to Barnsley Council and to everyone who works so hard to maintain this beautiful park. 

“Elsecar Park is one of the jewels in Barnsley's crown and we can feel really proud of it. I love taking my own family there.”


Michael warns of renewed threat to local pharmacies

21 October 2016

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has warned of a renewed threat to local chemists as Ministers announced cutbacks to the community pharmacy budget.

The Government has announced a package of funding cuts to community pharmacies, but these are feared to be arbitrary savings that could force an unknown number of chemists to close.

The budget will be reduced by £113 million this financial year and by a further £95 million in 2017-18.

The Government estimated that its original package of cuts could force up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four across the country – to close, but Ministers are unable to say where cuts will fall or how many chemists will now be affected.

There are 1,266 community pharmacies across Yorkshire and the Humber that dispense an average of 9,483 prescription items to patients each month. The Government’s cut could force around 300 – one in every four in Yorkshire and the Humber - to close, according to their own estimates.

Michael also warned the Government that cutting local chemists would increase downstream costs in other parts of the NHS – especially in already overstretched GP surgeries and A&E units.

Research carried out by industry body Pharmacy Voice shows that one in four patients would make an appointment with their GP if their local chemist faced closure, which would add significant demand. In areas of higher deprivation, like Barnsley, this figure rises to four in five.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I know from talking to pharmacists and local residents in Barnsley who depend on our community pharmacies how vital they are to our villages and to the local NHS.

“The Government cannot not say how many local chemists will be forced to close or which pharmacies would be affected by its plan for savings, which is an insult to hardworking pharmacy staff across Barnsley who are now threatened by imminent cutbacks.

“This flawed plan to cut community pharmacies will just pile additional costs on GP surgeries and A&E departments that are already struggling to cope with demand.

“The Government should think again and stop this damaging plan for cuts by getting back round the negotiating table with the pharmacy sector and finding a fair funding settlement.”


Michael urges Barnsley teens to take vaccine against deadly Meningitis strain

21 October 2016

As reported by the South Yorkshire Times, Michael has backed calls by leading UK meningitis charity Meningitis Now, encouraging young people to protect themselves from a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis.

Following a large increase of 809 per cent in meningococcal (group W) meningitis cases in the past five years, a vaccination programme to protect young people is now on offer.

For people aged between 14 and 15, the Men ACWY vaccine is being provided by school vaccination drives, but those aged 17 and 18 can receive it from their GP through special catch up programmes.

Despite the introduction of this vaccine, uptake remains low in Barnsley and the surrounding region, with just 17 per cent – one in six – 17 and 18 year olds receiving the vaccine across the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw NHS area.

Young people are particularly at risk from the meningococcal bacteria which can cause meningitis and septicaemia, so Michael is urging 17 and 18 year olds across Barnsley to get the vaccine through their GP.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The rapid increase in the number of Meningitis W cases in recent years is very concerning – particularly for young people who are most vulnerable.

“That’s why it is so important that 17 and 18 year olds in Barnsley receive the Men ACWY vaccine through their GP catch up programme if they haven’t had it already at school.

“It’s also really important to know the signs of Meningitis – which can range from headaches, muscle pain or fever – and charities like Meningitis Now do essential work raising awareness of this.”

Liz Brown, Chief Executive of Meningitis Now, added:

“We welcome Michael’s support in calling on young people in Barnsley to get the Men ACWY vaccine.

“Young people, especially those attending university for the first time should, if they haven’t done so already, take immediate action to protect themselves from this dangerous meningitis bug.

“The vaccination is free and available through GP practices for 17-18 year olds.”


Michael congratulates successful Proud of Barnsley nominees and shortlisted constituents

19 October 2016

Three of Michael’s nominees for the annual Proud of Barnsley awards have been included on this year’s shortlist.

Tala Lee-Turton from Wombwell has been shortlisted under the Exceptional Achievement category, she is only the third British woman to graduate from the elite Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia in its 243-year history. Major John Lomas, the officer commanding Birdwell’s Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force detachment, who helps children and young people in the community learn unique values and skills, has reached the shortlist in the Children’s Champion category. Also making the shortlist is the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery who Michael nominated in the Community Group category for the outstanding work they have undertaken over the last 14 years to improve Wombwell’s cemetery.

Not only have three of Michael’s nominations reached the shortlist, but a huge number of people from across Barnsley East have been recognised for the wonderful work they do in the community and their personal successes. These are:

Young Superstar - Harley and Grace Martin from Shafton, two children who donated their old toys and books to less fortunate children to open on Christmas morning. And Charley Dyson from Wombwell, who is the world’s youngest paid professional scooter rider.

Exceptional Achievement - Ben Dalton from Hoyland Common whose quick-thinking actions saved the life a man who collapsed on the street after suffering a massive heart attack.

Volunteer - Terry Haynes from Brierley joined St John Ambulance in 1963 and is a founder member of the Grimethorpe section.

Children’s Champion - Jonathan Bean, a teacher at Churchfields Primary School in Cudworth, has been shortlisted for the increase he’s achieved in the levels of participation in sports and exercise at the school.

Sporting Achievement - Ian Sagar from Hoyland Common was the top-scorer for Great Britain’s bronze medal winning wheelchair basketball team at the Rio Paralympics.

Carer - Rachel Dickinson-Sargieson from Kendray has been shortlisted for the dedication she shows to caring for her five children, all of whom have medical problems, ranging from epilepsy to lung disease. And 85-years-old Sybil Davey from Hoyland has been shortlisted in recognition of the care she provides at home for her daughter Lorraine, who is 52 and has Down’s Syndrome and dementia.  

Start-up - Kelly-Marie Loades is the owner of Darfield based Something Sweet which hires out traditional vintage sweet carts, a popcorn machine and milkshake bar to wedding receptions.

Charity fundraising team - Joe Pugh from Ardsley has been nominated with his partner, Leah Washington in recognition of the amazing £30,000 they have raised for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, University Hospitals of North Midlands (Stoke hospital) and Midlands Air Ambulance following the horrific crash they were involved in on the Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers which cost Leah her leg and shattered Joe’s knees.

As a proud patron, Michael is delighted to see the Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support (BIADS) Friday Fundraising Team shortlisted in this category. The team has raised thousands of pounds for BIADS through posing for a WI-style calendar, themed events, raffles, a race day, and a Last Night at the Proms event. They are currently selling Christmas cards designed by their grandchildren and hope to raise £5,000.

School - Two schools, Hoyland Common Primary and Darfield Upperwood Academy, have been shortlisted for their Ofsted reports and commitment to their pupils.  

Community Hero - Gaynor Cross set up Jenga Training C.I.C in Grimethorpe which supports young mothers and young people that are long-term unemployed and Dennis King from Elsecar has been a volunteer ambulance driver for ten years, giving lifts to hospital to people who are unable to get there on their own.

Charity Fundraiser - Danny Beever from Hoyland has worked to send ill children and their families on holiday through the foundation which was set up following the death of his granddaughter Lily aged three. And Rebecca Barton from Cudworth along with her partner, Matt, have dedicated themselves to fundraising for Meningitis Now following the tragic death of their 18 month old daughter Mia from the disease.

Triumph over Adversity - Wayne Marshall from Wombwell organised a music festival and raised more than £3,000 to pay back those who helped him deal with the amputation of a leg and a battle with lung cancer.

The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony in November.


Michael and Jon Ashworth write to David Mowat after Urgent Question in the Commons

18 October 2016

As reported by Labour List, Michael has written a joint letter with Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth to David Mowat, the Minister with responsibility for community pharmacies, following Michael’s Urgent Question in the Commons on Monday.

The Minister made several apparently contradictory remarks and appeared to commit to funding for a minor ailments scheme that was later denied by a Department of Health spokesperson.

Michael and Jon’s letter can be seen in full here.


Michael asks Urgent Question in the House of Commons on Community Pharmacy

17 October 2016

Michael has today asked an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, asking the Government to set out the budget for community pharmacy and answer a number of questions about their plan to push through cuts to local chemists.

Michael’s Urgent Question follows days of uncertainty for community pharmacies, in which the Government has refused to rule out massive arbitrary cuts to the sector and a leaked document showed that “only a handful” of community pharmacies would be supported by a relief scheme based on the local needs of patients.

You can see Michael’s Urgent Question below by scrolling to 16.12.19:


Michael reacts to leaked Government document showing “only a handful” of community pharmacies to be supported based on patient need

17 October 2016

As reported by the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror, Chemist + Druggist and Pharmacy Business, Michael has reacted to a leaked extract from the Government’s planned Pharmacy Access Scheme, which reveals the Government plans to provide its promised relief package to just 1,380 community pharmacies of the 11,674 across England – just one in ten (11.8 per cent) of the total.

The leaked document reveals that “only a handful” of chemists will be supported based on the “size and needs of each population”, with most receiving support based on arbitrary distances to other chemists.

Michael also warned that pharmacies eligible for relief would still be forced to make "efficiency savings" of 3 per cent, according to the leaked information, to access the funds.

These damaging moves come despite the Government promising to “ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive”, in its 2015 letter to the sector outlining planned cuts.

Commenting on the leaked information, Michael said:

“Ministers promised they would listen and consult widely on their planned cost-cutting, but the Government is set to force through a brutal package of cuts that could leave many frail and vulnerable patients forced to walk a mile or more to get medicines they need.

“And we now find they are planning to arbitrarily impose a relief scheme that could still see the closure of many local pharmacies.

“These ill-judged cuts are bad for our communities and bad for our NHS because community pharmacies help to save money by providing free advice and dispensing medicine before patients head to their GP or A&E.

“Ministers must think again and recognise the vital role that community pharmacies play in frontline healthcare before they sound the death knell of thousands of local chemists.”


Prescription for disaster: Chemists forced to cut hours threatening thousands of sites

16 October 2016

As reported by the Sunday Express, Michael has commented on reports that the Government is set to press ahead with a massive arbitrary cut for community pharmacies.

In recent days, Government negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee broke down and Ministers now reportedly plan to push through the cuts.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Government talks about the important role of community pharmacies, but Ministers look set to impose a brutal and arbitrary cut on our local chemists which could force thousands to close.

“This is a false economy because community pharmacies save the NHS money by offering free advice and dispensing medicine. If local community pharmacies are forced to close, then patients, many of them elderly or infirm, will feel the need to see their GP or visit A&E – services that are already overstretched.

“Cuts to community pharmacies are bad for our local communities and bad for our NHS. Ministers must listen to the millions of people who have made their opposition known and put a stop to this ill-judged cut.”


Michael responds to reports the Government plans to push through cuts to community pharmacy

15 October

As reported by the Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, Politics Home and Chemist + Druggist, Michael has responded to reports that the Government is set to impose a package of cuts to community pharmacies.

Last month, the Government reopened negotiations with the sector after campaigning by Michael and others forced a delay to the Government’s initial package of £170 million cuts, which could have forced up to 3,000 community pharmacies – one in four – to close.

However, these talks have now broken down and the Government plans to push through a new package of cuts.

Commenting, Michael said:

“For all their warm words on community pharmacies, including welcome moves to integrate community pharmacy into urgent care, Ministers seem committed to push through a massive package of arbitrary cuts to chemists that could force thousands to close.

“Cuts to community pharmacies are bad for our local communities, especially for people living in more isolated villages and rural communities. But they are also bad for the NHS, which is already in crisis, and are a complete false economy as they will pile even more pressure on already overstretched GP surgeries and hospital A&Es.

“It’s not too late for Ministers to get back around the negotiating table with the industry and put a stop to these damaging cuts before it’s too late.”


‘The golden age that never was…’

14 October 2016

In his regular column for the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has written about his opposition to the Government’s plan to introduce new grammar schools.

The Government plans are a backwards step for education, and Michael writes that the Government should instead focus on world class education, taught in well-led state-of-the-art facilities, available to all children, not just a privileged few.

You can read Michael’s column in full here.


8 Barnsley East schools sign up for Michael’s Christmas card competition

14 October 2016

As reported by the Sheffield Star, and by the South Yorkshire Times, Michael’s annual Christmas card competition is progressing well, with 8 primary schools across Barnsley East having signed up to take part so far.

Birkwood Primary, Hoyland Common Primary, Hoyland Springwood Primary, St Michael and All Angels Primary, West Meadows Primary, Forest Academy, Darfield Primary Academy and Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre have all signed up to submit designs to the competition.

As in previous years, the best design will be chosen by a panel including Michael, the Mayor of Barnsley and local business leaders for use as Michael’s official 2016 Christmas card, which will be sent to hundreds of politicians, local businesses, civic leaders and voluntary groups.

The best judged card from each school will win a prize and be named ‘school winner’. These school winners will then form a shortlist from which an overall winner will be selected and the designer of the overall winning card will receive a special prize. All schools that enter will also receive a prize. All prizes are funded from sponsorship kindly provided by local businesses. 

Now into its seventh year, the competition is set to prove popular yet again, with the standard of pupils’ designs and drawings always proving to be incredibly high.


Michael’s comments on ASOS

14 October 2016

As reported by today’s Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has made comments on recent stories in the media regarding ASOS.

Commenting, Michael said:

“I’ve been in regular contact with the GMB Union about allegations at ASOS’s warehouse and have raised these issues with the company on behalf of workers and will continue to do so in future.

“I welcome ASOS’s reassurance that they do not use zero hours contracts and their commitment to move their staff on to the living wage, along with the company’s continued investment in Barnsley and the fact that ASOS pays its taxes in the UK.

“ASOS has made an £81 million investment in its Barnsley site and employs 4,000 people from across the borough, including many people from my constituency.

“I'm glad that ASOS are addressing workers' concerns and I hope these issues can all be resolved.”







Michael joins community action group to prevent elderly falls

7 October 2016

Michael has joined with members of a local community partnership to help prevent elderly residents across Barnsley from slips and falls in their homes over the winter months.

He visited with the Forge Community Partnership and Hoyland Action Group at Hoyland Market on Friday 7 October, where residents aged 65 and over took part in a ‘Slipper Exchange’, swapping a pair of their old slippers for a pair of new anti-trip slippers.

On the visit, Michael met with local residents, councillors and representatives from the Forge Community Partnership, the community podiatrist, Be Well Barnsley, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Tesco, Care Navigation and the Alzheimer's Society.

Funding from Barnsley Council was secured by the Hoyland Milton and Rockingham ward alliance for 400 pairs of slippers to try and reduce the risks of pensioners falling in their homes.


Michael urges people to back local festival for top award

7 October 2016

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael is calling on music lovers to back LIVE in Barnsley for a top industry award.

The popular festival has been nominated in three categories for the 2016 UK Festival Award after attracting thousands of music fans to an array of events in June.

LIVE in Barnsley will be battling it out for the top spot in the Best Metropolitan Festival category, the Best Small Festival and the Grassroots Festival Award. 

It is the fourth year running that LIVE in Barnsley has been up for an honour.  The aim of the festival is to showcase musical talent from the town and surrounding area.

It was the brainchild of Dave Pearsall and Steve Clifford in December 2012 and takes place every June, drawing thousands of local music fans and visitors to venues across Barnsley and the surrounding area.

Michael, who is a patron of the festival and has played several times at the event, congratulated the organisers and urged people to vote for LIVE in Barnsley in the awards.

Commenting, Michael said:

“LIVE in Barnsley is a tremendous event which gets better and better every year.

“It’s a huge achievement by the organisers Steve Clifford and Dave Pearsall and a testament to the hard work of the all the volunteers, artists and venues involved that the festival has again been nominated for the industry’s top awards.

“I’ve enjoyed playing at the festival and I know many music lovers now look forward to these concerts every summer.

 “I would urge everyone in Barnsley to support our local festival and vote for LIVE in Barnsley in these awards.”

Voting is now open and the awards ceremony will take place in November. You can vote for LIVE in Barnsley here.


Michael urges Barnsley residents to have their say on NHS changes

7 October 2016

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and by Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has urged people across Barnsley to submit their views to two consultations on important changes to key services at Barnsley Hospital, launched today (Monday 3 October).

Under new plans, Barnsley Hospital will no longer provide hyper acute care for people who have had a stroke – though the Hospital has provided categorical assurance to Michael that other stroke care services will continue after he raised the issue with the Hospital’s Chief Executive, Diane Wake.

Michael sought assurances that wider stroke services at Barnsley Hospital would not be affected and that quality of care for Barnsley patients would not be reduced because of travel time to other hospitals.

The proposals will mean stroke patients from Barnsley will be transferred to either Doncaster Royal Infirmary, The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield or Chesterfield Royal Hospital - up to 33 miles from Barnsley Hospital.

Acute care services, which take place 72 hours after someone has suffered a stroke, will be retained at Barnsley Hospital.

Other proposals will see changes to children’s surgery and anaesthesia services at Barnsley Hospital, with a number of operations including ear, nose and throat procedures or appendicitis surgery, being provided outside Barnsley.

For these changes, a number of options are being considered which would see changes in children’s surgery and anaesthesia services across South and Mid Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire.

The consultations are open until 20 January 2017 and NHS commissioners working across South and Mid Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire are expected to make decisions about future services in February 2017, after patient and public feedback is considered.

Michael is urging local residents to have their say on the proposals by taking part in the consultations.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Local surgery and treatment services provided by our excellent NHS staff are set to change under these new proposals.

“It is really important for people across Barnsley to have their say on these changes, which will affect the future of stroke care, children’s surgery and anaesthesia in Barnsley and across the region.

“After writing to Diane Wake, Chief Executive of Barnsley Hospital, I have been assured that non hyper acute stroke care will continue in Barnsley, but it is vital that any decisions are taken with patient and public feedback in mind.

“Making a submission to the consultation is easy and can be done online at www.smybndccgs.nhs.uk or by calling 0114 305 4487 to request a form.”

You can see Michael’s exchange of letters with Diane Wake, Chief Executive of Barnsley Hospital, here.


Michael invites local schools to visit the WW1 battlefields with free educational programme

7 October 2016

-As reported by the South Yorkshire Times, the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has written to local secondary schools in his constituency to invite them to participate in a free educational programme that will allow a teacher and two students to visit the Western Front.

The ‘First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours’ programme, which is offered by the UCL institute of Education and funded by the Government, will allow students from local schools to get a unique insight into the first World War through a four-day tour. Each tour is guided by a serving soldier in the British Army.

-As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS), which gives MPs a chance to gain experience with the Armed Forces, Michael believes it is vital that young people learn about Britain’s military history.

Michael recently visited Serre in France on the centenary of the Somme to commemorate the Barnsley Pals. The Barnsley Pals, a group consisting entirely of volunteers from Barnsley, lost 297 of its men while fighting in Serre during the first day of the Battle of the Somme alone.

On his trip to Serre, Michael was struck by the personal experiences and the tragic losses suffered by many in Barnsley during the First World War.

This educational programme will allow pupils from Barnsley to get a real sense of what happened on the battlefields during the War. The programme includes teaching materials that will encourage other students to interact with the visit, and to learn from their classmates’ experiences in Ypres and the Somme.

Over 1,300 schools nationally have participated in this programme so far.

Commenting, Michael said:

-“Together with my own children, I once again recently visited Serre in France myself to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. While in France I was struck by the personal stories and experiences behind the horrible statistics of the First World War.

"I believe physically going to the site of these battles will enable students to gain a unique perspective on the First World War and it’s potentially an incredibly important opportunity to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of so many local people. I would encourage all local schools in my constituency to register for this opportunity.”

You can find out more about the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours programme here.


Michael backs Labour national campaign day against Tory grammar school plans

1 October 2016

Michael has supported a national Labour campaign day against the Government’s plans to introduce new grammar schools.

The plans risk advances in the comprehensive education system, and the Labour campaign aims to protect the right of every child to have access to excellence, with equal opportunities for all.

Labour has launched a petition against the plans, which you can sign here.


‘Boundary changes are a dog’s breakfast’

30 September 2016

In his latest column for the Barnsley Chronicle, Michael has written about the Boundary Commission’s proposals to alter parliamentary constituencies. You can read Michael’s article in full here.




Michael performs at the Cavern Club in Liverpool during Labour Conference

30 September 2016

During the Labour Conference this week, Michael performed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. His performance was reported in the Daily Mirror and on the BBC. Michael also performed live on BBC Daily Politics, which you can see here.


Michael slams Government Solar Tax hike putting thousands of jobs at risk in Yorkshire and Humber

30 September 2016

Michael has criticised a Government plan to increase tax on businesses and organisations installing their own solar panels to generate clean renewable energy, which risks up to 2,900 jobs across Yorkshire and Humber.

The Valuation Office Agency’s review of business rates means that some 23,000 solar installations across the UK will see tax rates increase from £8 per kilowatt to between £43 to £61 from April 2017 – a tax bill that is six times higher. The increases will mean a business with a 100 kilowatt solar installation that now pays around £350 a year in business rates would have to pay up to £2,600. This could mean that some rooftop solar installations could cost more to run than they generate, completely undermining the fledgling clean renewable energy sector.

In February this year, Michael asked a Parliamentary Question which showed there were 2,900 people employed in the solar sector and the supply chain in Yorkshire and Humber in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. Michael is calling on the Government to drop the damaging solar tax hike before these jobs are put at risk.

Commenting, Michael said:

“The Tories once promised to lead the ‘greenest government ever’, but with this plan to increase taxes on clean, renewable energy, Ministers are completely undermining the green energy sector. “This poorly thought out tax hike for solar installations will make many projects simply unviable, putting thousands of jobs in the sector across Yorkshire and Humber at risk. “There is still time for the plan to be dropped before it takes effect in April 2017. The Government should rethink these damaging proposals before it is too late.”


Michael responds to Government decision to reopen community pharmacy funding negotiations

23 September 2016

-As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and the Yorkshire Post, Michael has welcomed the latest Government climbdown on cuts to community pharmacies, after Ministers announced that negotiations over funding will be reopened.

Ministers and officials at the Department of Health will not meet to discuss a new funding settlement.

Commenting, Michael said:

-“It is welcome news that Ministers are now finally dumping their package of £170 million of cuts to community pharmacies.

“All of us who have campaigned hard have repeatedly warned that these cuts are bad news for our local communities and would make even worse the Government’s GP access crisis and the hospital waiting times crisis happening in our NHS.

“This is a chance for the Government to once and for all put a stop to all the cuts to community pharmacies that will end up costing the NHS more.”


Michael supports blood cancer charity as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month

23 September 2016

As reported by the Barnsley Chronicle and by Barnsley News and Sport, Michael has backed blood cancer charity Bloodwise during Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2016, which raises awareness of the UK’s third biggest cancer killer during the month of September.

14,000 people lose their lives to blood cancer and related disorders every year in the UK. That’s 38 people every day.

There are 230,000 people living with blood cancer across the country and 38,000 people are diagnosed each year – one diagnosis every 14 minutes.

Bloodwise is using Blood Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness of its vital research into finding a cure for blood cancer. The organisation has invested over £500 million in world class research since 1960, and their current funding programme covers over 1,000 researchers and clinicians.

Michael recently attended a Bloodwise event in Westminster, as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Michael’s nephew sadly passed away from Leukaemia in 2011.

Commenting, Michael said:

“Organisations like Bloodwise play a vital role in the fight to beat blood cancer, and it’s really important to raise awareness of this work during Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

“Blood cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK and the fifth most common cancer, and it’s crucial that we keep up important medical research to help those who are diagnosed and their families.

“You can find out more about the great work Bloodwise and other blood cancer charities by visiting www.bloodwise.org.uk.”


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