Paul Blomfield MP

A strong voice for Sheffield Central

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I’ll be voting tonight to back Labour’s call to pause and fix Universal Credit. Where it’s been rolled-out payment delays have driven people into debt. 

Universal Credit has been set up with a six week wait for payment, and one in four new claimants have had to wait even longer, causing rising debt and rent arrears – leading some to eviction.

Citizen’s Advice found that 79% of those in debt on Universal Credit had priority debts such as rent or council tax, "putting them at greater risk of eviction, visits from bailiffs, being cut off from energy supplies and even prison.” Even the DWP admit that half of those with rent arrears under Universal Credit went into arrears after making a claim.

As well as voting tonight, I’ve co-signed a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke urging him to reconsider the huge expansion of the roll-out of Universal Credit.

The Government should learn the lessons and sort out the problems before inflicting a flawed system on more people.

Join me and sign Labour’s petition on the issue here

Government must pause and fix Universal Credit

I’ll be voting tonight to back Labour’s call to pause and fix Universal Credit. Where it’s been rolled-out payment delays have driven people into debt. 

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I was pleased to visit the World Wildlife Fund’s innovative ‘A River Runs Through It’ display in Parliament; celebrating nature and highlighting the problems facing rivers in England and Wales.

The spectacle includes a ‘river’ running through the Upper Waiting Hall – a busy thoroughfare for Members of Parliament – and collaborative artwork by local children and artist Layla Andrews.

WWF campaigners talked to me about the challenges facing rivers, including our own River Don. I’m backing the WWF’s call for the Government to tackle river pollution and over abstraction.

Although there have been improvements in protecting river and freshwater wildlife in recent decades, it’s unacceptable that four out of five rivers in England and Wales are failing to reach the required health standards as a result of pollution of farms and sewage, and unsustainable abstraction.

Brexit also poses risks to the environmental standards introduced through the EU, and the enforcement regime it offers – something I’m challenging as a Shadow Brexit Minister.

The exhibit follows the recent WWF reportFlushed Away, that found 80% of rivers in England and Wales are unhealthy, and up to 40% are polluted with sewage.

Backing WWF’s ‘Nature Needs You’ campaign

I was pleased to visit the World Wildlife Fund’s innovative ‘A River Runs Through It’ display in Parliament; celebrating nature and highlighting the problems facing rivers in England and Wales....

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I had expected the EU Withdrawal Bill to be starting Committee Stage this week, but the chaos at the heart of the Government appears to have delayed it. Instead we’re debating another piece of Brexit legislation today, the Nuclear Safeguards Bill, on which I’m winding up for Labour. I’ll reiterate our support for continued participation in Euratom – you can read an article I wrote with Keir Starmer in July about the issue here. Before that, I’ll be meeting with consumer organisations to hear their concerns about Brexit.

It will be Brexit again tomorrow, when I’ll be on the front bench for a Government statement on the latest round of negotiations. I’ll also  be attending a Make Votes Matter conference as a long-term supporter of electoral reform; talking to CBI Yorkshire and Humber members; meeting with the Migration Advisory Committee to discuss their work on the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy; and joining a UNISON meeting opposing the public sector cap.

On Wednesday I’m meeting with the Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying  – you can read why I support a change in the law on assisted dying in an article I wrote for the Daily Mirror here. I'll also be attending A Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in Parliament to hear from people living with cancer about what life is like after treatment.  And in the evening I’ll be speaking on a panel at a report launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Young People.

I’ll be heading back to Sheffield on Thursday to take part in the 40th birthday celebrations of the great youth homeless charity Roundabout. On Friday I’ll be interviewing for a new part-time caseworker in my constituency office, and I’ll be attending the funeral of my old friend and former Member of Parliament for Heeley, Bill Michie – you can read some of the tributes to Bill in the Star here.

On Saturday morning I’ll be going to Labour’s regional European Policy Forum in Hull to speak on Brexit, before heading back to catch the Blades take on Reading - and pick up another three points. Finally on Sunday, I’ll be joining Sheffield University students and staff at the World Week Parade to celebrate the huge contribution of international students to Sheffield and the UK.  

Nuclear safeguards, migration, World Week and, of course, Brexit – some of my week ahead

I had expected the EU Withdrawal Bill to be starting Committee Stage this week, but the chaos at the heart of the Government appears to have delayed it. Instead we’re...


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