Paul Blomfield MP

Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central

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The Government has put dogma before common sense by announcing that they will not require universities to adopt the Sheffield student voter registration model, which gives students the option to register to vote when they enrol at university, despite backing from the House of Lords.

I have led the campaign to make the model of integrating university enrolment and voter registration, which was successfully developed between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council, compulsory for all universities. The ‘Sheffield model’, which has been supported by the Cabinet Office, has won the backing of the Association of Electoral Administrators and the National Union of Students. In trials it achieved voter registration levels exceeding 65%, many times higher than other approaches.

I proposed an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill to achieve this objective, which was rejected in the House of Commons. An amendment to the same end proposed by Labour Peer Baroness Royall won support when the Bill was debated in the House of Lords, and was due to return to the Commons this week. During negotiations on the final drafting of the Bill, which must be concluded before Parliament is dissolved for the General Election campaign, I urged the Government to adopt the simple tried and tested Sheffield model. The Government’s agreed amendment to the Bill on the issue proposes a weaker obligation on governing bodies of universities to cooperate with electoral registration officers in local councils.

This is hugely disappointing. The Government clearly accepts there is a problem getting students on the electoral register, and they know that our system works, but their proposed amendment falls short of the action needed. 

Government rejection of Sheffield student voter registration model is a disgrace

The Government has put dogma before common sense by announcing that they will not require universities to adopt the Sheffield student voter registration model, which gives students the option to...

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I today challenged Ministers over the unequal distribution of funding for adult social care, which is creating a crisis for cities like Sheffield. 

The social care precept, which allowed Councils to increase Council Tax by up to 3% in March, was introduced to help plug the funding gap for adult social care created by Government cuts to local council funding. But the amount raised through the precept varies across the country, according to the value of properties in each area, in line with Council Tax calculations. In the House of Commons, I told Ministers:

The social care precept means that funding available for social care will increasingly depend on a local authority’s tax base. In 2017/18 the precept will generate £9m in additional funding for Sheffield compared with over £31m for Surrey. Does the Minister think that’s fair?

Sheffield City Council has had to make savings of £350m since 2011 because of cuts from central Government. They are required to make a further £40m of savings this year. It says everything about this Government’s priorities that the Councils that have faced the greatest cuts, like Sheffield, can raise the least in Council Tax to plug the gap. Our older people deserve the best care, whether they live in Surrey or Sheffield. I will continue to fight for a better deal for Sheffield.

Read more about my work on health and social care here.

My opposition to Sheffield’s social care raw deal

I today challenged Ministers over the unequal distribution of funding for adult social care, which is creating a crisis for cities like Sheffield. 

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I today challenged Ministers over historically low levels of house building across the UK. In the House of Commons, I paid tribute to a Sheffield City Council house-building initiative, seen as a model for tackling the housing crisis, and called on the Government to play its part in addressing the need for more affordable homes. I said:

Sheffield City Council is leading the way building much-needed affordable houses, through its innovative Sheffield Housing Company partnership. But across the country, the number of affordable homes built last year fell to the lowest level in 24 years. Sheffield is doing its bit. Why is the Government failing so badly to address the country’s housing crisis?

The need for decent affordable housing is one of the most pressing priorities we face, so why is the Government dragging its heels? Sheffield is leading the way, but there’s more the Government could and should be doing to make it easier for Councils to provide the homes people need.

Read more about my work on housing here.

Government should follow Sheffield’s lead on housing

I today challenged Ministers over historically low levels of house building across the UK. In the House of Commons, I paid tribute to a Sheffield City Council house-building initiative, seen...


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