Paul Blomfield - Sheffield Central

Press Release: Paul Blomfield MP launches campaign to defend human rights

Monday 5th October 2015 - Paul Blomfield has launched a campaign to defend the Human Rights Act. He brought the British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR) to Sheffield for the first stop of a national Human Rights tour.

Speaking at the launch event, which was held in Sharrow on Saturday, he warned of Government plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, saying:

“Why is there a debate about the basic rights we have as human beings in 21st century Britain? Why, when only a generation ago, the world united after the atrocities of the Holocaust and World War Two and said never again? The world has moved on since then. The situations we find ourselves in are different. But the values of a civilised society - dignity, equality and accountability - must remain enshrined in law.” 

He urged participants to stand up for the European Convention on Human Rights, which was incorporated into UK law by Labour in 1998 through the Human Rights Act.

At the event, organised with BIHR, Sheffield for Democracy and Sheffield Young Legal Aid Lawyers, participants heard about the Human Rights Act having helped an elderly woman with dementia moved to a care home against her will, a young boy being bullied at school and a victim of human trafficking.

The event was part of Mr Blomfield’s annual consultation, The Big Conversation, which sees him hold meetings across Sheffield so residents can share their concerns and let him know what issues he should raise in Parliament. 

He said that he had organised the event because, “Hundreds of constituents got in touch concerned about the Government’s plan to scrap our Human Rights Act. I will challenge the Government in Parliament. But we must send a message outside Parliament that the country will not accept ditching Churchill’s legacy. So I asked the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) to bring their Human Rights Tour to Sheffield to talk about what’s at stake.”

After the event Mr Blomfield said: 

“This vital human rights charter was born after the horrors of World War Two, but now it is in real peril in the UK. We must make clear to the Prime Minister that there is huge opposition to throwing out the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights designed to weaken protections and distance ourselves from the international standards set down by our grandparents.”

The Big Conversation week ahead

I have a busy week of Big Conversation events ahead. It would be really great to see you there. Here’s a list of some of the events I’ll be holding: (for a full list and to find out more about The Big Conversation click here)

Big Conversation Meeting at 393 Youth Club - Monday 5th October 6.30-7.30pm - 393 Youth & Community Centre, 393 Langsett Road, S6 2LJ.  - Limited disabled access at the venue. Please call Paul’s Office on 0114 2722882 for further info. Find out more on Facebook here. 

Join me at Jamesons’ Café - Tuesday 6th October 4.00-5.00pm - Jamesons’ Café and Tea Rooms, 334 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FN. Find out more on Facebook here. 

Big Conversation Meeting at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill - Tuesday 6th October 7.30-8.30pm - St Mark’s Church, Broomfield Road, Sheffield, S10 2SE. Find out more on Facebook here.  

Big Conversation with young people - Wednesday 7th October 5.00-6.00pm - Star House, 43 Division Street, S1 4GE. - Organised in partnership with Sheffield Futures. Find out more on Facebook here.

Big Conversation meeting in Nether Edge - Thursday 8th October 6.30-7.30pm - Nether Edge Bowling Club, 8 Nether Edge Road, S7 1RU. Find out more on Facebook here.  

Join me at Vittles Café - Friday 9th October 2.30-3.30pm - Vittles Café, 501a Glossop Road, S10 2QE. Find out more on Facebook here.  

The Carers Café - Friday 9th October 10.45 – 12 - Central United Reform Church, 60 Norfolk Street, S1 2JB 

Big Conversation meeting in the City Centre - Saturday 10th October 11am-12.00noon - Carpenter Room, Central Library, Surrey Street, S1 1XZ. Map. - Organised with Kelham Island Community Alliance (KICA) and Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group (SCCRAG). Find out more on Facebook here

Press Release: Sheffield can lead the fight against slavery, Paul Blomfield tells conference

Thursday 24th September - Paul Blomfield told delegates at a modern day slavery conference that Sheffield can be at the forefront of efforts to tackle the crime.

The conference, organised by The Sheffield College, is part of a European Union project to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking among those who are more likely to come into contact with victims, such as doctors, nurses, police officers, border agency staff, social workers, youth workers and teachers.

At the conference, international experts on slavery and human trafficking told frontline professionals about the extent of modern slavery in the UK, how to become aware of the signs, and where to report concerns.

In his speech to the conference, Paul said:

“People think slavery is a thing of the past. But there are almost as many people around the world today in situations of slavery, servitude or forced labour than there was during the Atlantic slave trade… That is why the Truth Uncovered project, and the conference today, are so important.  Shining a light on what is really going on. And, crucially, what we can all do about it.”

He criticised the Government for treating victims of slavery as criminals, rather than going after the gangmasters who exploit them, saying:

“I will be doing all I can, together with my colleagues in Parliament, to convince the Government to take a different approach – to focus on enforcing labour standards and stopping the gangmasters, rather than punishing the victims of slavery.”

Speaking before the conference, Paul said:

“Sheffield has a great tradition of challenging exploitation. Local people fought slavery in the eighteenth century; this conference will help us defeat the evil of modern day slavery that shames our society."

Challenging the Home Secretary about the need for safe and legal routes for refugees

18th September 2015 - On Wednesday I asked Theresa May about what the Government is doing to ensure that refugees have safe and legal routes to countries where they can apply for asylum. I’m concerned that just focusing on tackling people smuggling by criminal gangs risks leaving vulnerable refugees stranded in dangerous situations - in unstable and unsafe countries like Libya for example. More needs to be done to ensure refugees can reach safe countries for their cases to be considered. Click here to watch my exchange with the Home Secretary in the House of Commons. 

Paul Blomfield challenges Minister to meet Sheffield mum hit by tax credit cuts

Friday 18th September 2015 - Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, today challenged a Government Minister to meet a Sheffield working mother hit by cuts to tax credits, saying, “the Government talks endlessly about supporting people in work, but their biggest change to the welfare budget is hitting working people.” 

Government changes to tax credits, benefits and the minimum wage will make the average household with children £1,127 a year worse off, according to the House of Commons Library. The changes will affect 27,100 families in Sheffield. 

After voting against the cuts on Tuesday, Mr Blomfield challenged Government Minister Damian Hinds, to meet one of his constituents to see the real impact of the policy. He said: “The Government talk in big numbers. They need to hear human stories.  My constituent was desperate for her voice to be heard. She works hard, but on low pay. So she relies on tax credits to make ends meet.”

In his letter Mr Blomfield, told the Government Minister about the single mother with two young children who works 31 hours a week, 42 weeks a year, who will lose £1,878 each year, a weekly cut of £36 of her income, and urged the Minister to meet her to understand the devastating impact of the cuts.

The mother, who would prefer to remain anonymous, said: “I have always worked and never signed on in my life, although the harsh reality is that I would probably be better off not working. Self-respect and trying to be a good example for my children doesn't count for anything.”

Mr Blomfield said to the Minister: “I do hope that you will agree to meet with her, to hear directly about the impact of the tax credit changes from just one person whose life will be deeply affected.”

Science, anti-trafficking and defending tax credits – my week ahead

Monday 14th September 2015 - All eyes are going to be on tonight’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which Jeremy Corbyn will be addressing as our new leader, and I’ll be there. I didn’t support Jeremy in the election, but will be doing all I can to make sure that Labour succeeds under his leadership. But ordinary business continues and before that I’ve got meetings with the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CASE), Sheffield anti-trafficking charity City Hearts and the APPG on Migration, of which I am Chair. I’ll also be in the Commons Chamber to oppose the Trade Union Bill.

On Tuesday, I’ll be speaking against the Government’s unfair plans to cut tax credits for working people, highlighting the impact on local people.  Earlier in the day, we’ve a meeting of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, of which I’m a member, where we will be planning our priorities for the year ahead. After that I have a meeting with Global Justice Now on trade agreements. 

On Wednesday, Officers from Hallam University Students’ Union will be in Parliament to chat about the issues affecting their students. After that I’ll be at Prime Minister’s Questions when Labour’s new leader will get the chance to hold the Prime Minister to account for the first time in his new role. I’ll also be going to an event organised by The Energy People Trust and launching a photography exhibition with the Sheffield-based Sir Bernard Crick Centre about the value of ‘everyday politics’. 

On Thursday I’m heading back home to Sheffield to meet with Sheffield Citizens Advice to discuss the impact of the new benefit Personal Independence Payment  on constituents. Then on Friday, I’m meeting with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust and working with my Sheffield team on constituency casework. 

Parliament’s in recess for the next three weeks for all the Party Conferences and I’m using the time to organise more than 50 events across the constituency as part of my Big Conversation, hearing about the issues people want me to take up in the year ahead – do join in (see all the details here.) Start the Week will be back on 12 October.  

How you can help refugees

A lot of people are getting in touch with me about how they can help respond to the current refugee crisis. Sheffield has a proud tradition of supporting those fleeing persecution and war, and there are a number of great organisations that provide practical and much-needed support for refugees and asylum seekers. They always need volunteers and donations. 

Some of the organisations you can help are:

  • Assist Sheffield – see here 
  • Northern Refugee Centre - see here
  • City of Sanctuary Sheffield – see here  
  • Learn for Life –  (specifically looking for volunteers to help teach English to refugees) see here
  • Project Paddington - see here

At a national level there is also the Refugee Council (see here), which helps refugees across the UK.  

Collecting donations for refugees in Calais:

There is a collection for items to be sent to refugees in Calais at the Theatre Delicatessen on the Moor. Please drop off all donations at the Moor Theatre Delicatessen (The Moor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 4PF), which is open every Thursday to Saturday, 11am - 4pm. 

The refugee crisis, the EU Referendum and Assisted Dying – all part of my week ahead

Monday 7th September 2015 - Parliament returns today in a week that the deepening refugee crisis dominates the political agenda. I’ve had hundreds of emails from constituents who are appalled by David Cameron’s reluctance to let our country play its part and take our share of refugees – it was only late last week that he was shamed into agreeing that the UK will take more refugees, but we need to do more. I called for action early in August, spoke out on Newsnight last week and will be making the case for more to be done in a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday.

Refugee and migration issues dominate my week. On Thursday I’m leading a debate in the Commons calling for an end to indefinite immigration detention, arising from a cross-party inquiry of which I was Vice-Chair (see our report here), on Wednesday I’m hosting a meeting at which the Children’s Commissioner for England is launching a report on the impact of the Family Migration Rules on children and I hope to get along to a Children’s Society briefing on changes to the support paid to asylum seeking families.

Before all of that my week starts today with the remaining stages of the EU Referendum Bill, where I’ll be supporting the Shadow Foreign Office team in my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to our Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. Tomorrow I’ve been drawn for Justice Questions where I’ll be challenging the Government on their attack on human rights and on access to justice. During the week I’ll also be meeting with representatives of the Methodist Church over benefit sanctions, on which I’ve led a debate in Parliament, and attending meetings and events with the Federation of Small Businesses, Breast Cancer Now and the UK Youth Parliament.

Unusually I’m staying in Westminster on Friday as the House is sitting to consider Private Members Bills and I’ll be there to support the Assisted Dying Bill – an issue on which I’ve spoken in Parliament before. Then I’ll be heading back to Sheffield to launch my Big Conversation  with an event organised with Shoreham Street Tenants and Residents Association. On Saturday I’ve one of my regular open surgeries for constituents, I’m distributing Big Conversation leaflets with local volunteers (all offers of help welcome!) and then launching a new book about the Broomhall Centre as part of the Our Broomhall project - before heading to Bramall Lane hoping that the Blades great league start will continue! Finally on Sunday, I’ve a Big Conversation event at the Madina Mosque as part of their Open Day – do come along, it’s a great opportunity to find out more about what goes on in one of Sheffield’s landmark buildings.

The 2015 Big Conversation events programme

11 September - 11 October

I'm holding my 2015 Big Conversation so that I can listen to your concerns and press them in Parliament. Last year almost 2000 people came to one of my 60 events. This year I am holding events across Sheffield Central where you can tell me what you think.

Please click here to read the programme of events for this year's Big Conversation.

If you can't make it to any of the events, you can fill in this short survey to let me know what you think should be my top priorities this Parliament. 



Opposing the Welfare Reform and Work Bill

23 people have written to me about the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. I wanted to share my response more widely:

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to explain the position I took on the Government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill at its initial Parliamentary consideration at Second Reading, when I voted for the Labour amendment against the Bill. I believe passionately in a system of social security where people are properly supported when in need, and contribute as they can afford it through progressive taxation. I am appalled by the Tory demonisation of those on benefits – whether in or out of work – and am particularly opposed to those Tory proposals to reverse the progress made by Labour Governments in tackling child poverty.  

You’ll recall that the issue at the heart of the debate on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill was Harriet Harman’s suggestion, made on the Sunday Politics programme on 13 July, that Labour might accept the Tory proposal to cut child tax credit from third and subsequent children. Immediately that day, and on the following day, I made my view clear that I would not support such a proposal. It is completely unacceptable that families who find themselves out of work or on low pay, and therefore entitled to child tax credits, should be penalised for having more than two children – and that the children themselves should be punished – by the withdrawal of tax credits.

My view was shared by a huge number of other Labour MPs, including three out of the four candidates for our leadership. As a result of the discussion within the Parliamentary Party, Labour submitted a ‘reasoned amendment’ rejecting the Bill on the grounds of its impact on child poverty and, leading the debate for Labour, Stephen Timms made it clear that we did not support this proposal. I voted for this amendment, which clearly stated our opposition to the Bill. Sadly, the vote was lost because of the Conservative majority in the House of Commons.

I would stress that this debate was only the initial stage in the long Parliamentary consideration of the Bill, which will now go to detailed consideration in Committee and then return for Report Stage and Third Reading, before going to the House of Lords, and then returning to the Commons. I intend to make the case against the removal of tax credits, and other pernicious aspects of the Bill, at every opportunity.

I’m also thinking about running a public campaign on the issues and wondered whether you would be willing to join me – going out to meet local people and making the case against these proposals. If so, drop me a note and I’ll stay in touch.

Welfare reform, BIS Select Committee, Assisted Dying, Park Hill Flats and recess – all part of my week

Tuesday 21st July 2015 - Today is the last day Parliament is sitting before the summer recess, but there’s still plenty in my diary before I head back to Sheffield later in the week. Yesterday, we debated the Welfare Reform and Work Bill to which Labour tabled an amendment opposing the Bill because of the impact on child poverty. You can read about how I voted yesterday and why here. I’ve got two meetings of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee this week, to which I’m pleased to have been re-elected by fellow MPs. I’ll also be going to the Backbench Business Committee to argue for a Commons debate on immigration detention following the report of the cross-party inquiry of which I was Vice-Chair in the last Parliament.  

In Westminster this week I’ll also be at a meeting of the GMB Parliamentary Group, of which I’m a member, and talking with the free debt management advisers PayPlan. I’m also talking to Radio 4 about the Assisted Dying Bill and, with other South Yorkshire MPs, meeting the Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, Councillor Steve Houghton, to discuss the budget and devolution. Back in Sheffield on Thursday and Friday, I’m visiting Park Hill for an update from the developers and I’ve meetings with the Clinical Director of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Hallam Students’ Union Officers, the Chief Executive of the Council, and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire.

With Parliament if recess, I’ll be spending more time in Sheffield - meeting constituents, visiting groups and planning for my 2015 Big Conversation – as well as taking a couple of weeks holiday! My next ‘Start the Week’ will be published on 7 September when Parliament meets again.

Low pay, students, fox-hunting and welcoming constituents to Westminster – some of my week ahead

Monday 13th July 2015 - Today I'm welcoming a group of 50 constituents to Westminster. They've joined one of my regular coach trips to Parliament – which offers a guided tour of Westminster (including visits to the Chambers of the Commons and the Lords), a chance to watch a debate, a Q&A with me, and some free time. If you're interested in a future trip, drop me a note.

On Tuesday I'll be speaking in the debate on last week's Budget, focussing on the plans to cut tax credits to low paid workers – and earlier in the day I'll be at a meeting on the impact of the proposals for welfare reform. I'll also be in Foreign Office Questions, where I'm supporting Labour's team as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn – and at meetings on the campaign for the UK to stay in the EU.

I'm hosting a Parliamentary event for the All-Party Group on Students, of which I'm Chair, bringing together student representatives with MPs, Peers and others from further and higher education  - and chairing a meeting on student voter registration, on which the University of Sheffield is leading the way. On Wednesday, I've been drawn to ask the Prime Minister a question. Clearly, after last week's budget, there's a lot to go on. I'll be in the Chamber to oppose the Government's attempt to overturn the ban on fox-hunting too – something many constituents have contacted me about.

Other meetings this week cover electoral reform, finance and personal debt, arts funding and an event organised by Water Aid to highlight the importance of clean water supplies. Back in Sheffield on Thursday evening I'll be speaking at the launch of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity, and on Friday I'm meeting with the Chair of Voluntary Action Sheffield, the Practice Manager of Park Health Centre, the Chair of Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group and the Chief Executive of Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust. On Saturday I'll be meeting some of the 380 new Labour members in Sheffield Central at an informal event, which is also open to anyone else who's interested in finding out more about the Labour Party - get in touch if you'd like details.

Press release: Paul Blomfield MP calls for Parliament to move north

Paul Blomfield MP today called for Parliament to move to Sheffield or another northern city while restoration work is undertaken on the Palace of Westminster.

In a challenge to the Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, in Parliament today Paul Blomfield said:

“Too many decisions affecting the whole country are made by people who view them through the prism of their experience living and working in London. Does the Leader of the House recognise that moving Parliament out of the Palace of Westminster is not only the most cost-effective approach to restoration, but provides a unique opportunity to take decision-making out of the metropolitan bubble? And will he think seriously about temporary re-location to one of our great northern cities like Sheffield?”   

Speaking after the debate, Mr Blomfield said:

“The UK is more centralised than most other countries. The majority of people live outside London, but too many of those who take the decisions have little experience of life beyond the capital. I've argued in the past that we should distribute the big Government Departments around the country. This is an opportunity to move Parliament itself.”

Notes for Editors

1. Read the exchange between Paul Blomfield MP and Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP here.

2. The Independent Options Appraisal of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme was published on 18 June 2015. It sets out options, costs and timescales for restoring the Palace of Westminster, including restoring the Palace without moving MPs and Peers out over a period of 32 years at a cost of £5.7bn and moving MPs and Peers out for 6 years, at a cost of £3.5bn.

3. Speaking in a debate on the 2014 Budget Paul Blomfield challenged George Osborne to move Government Departments to Sheffield and other cities.

4. In November last year, Labour backed the proposal to move Departments around the country.

Contact details 

For further information please call Paul Blomfield MP's office on 0114 272 2882.

Press release: Paul Blomfield MP condemns end to student grants

Paul Blomfield MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students, has condemned the Government decision to end maintenance grants for poorer students. 

Mr Blomfield, who has more students in his constituency than any other MP, said:

“Maintenance grants provided the last remnant of fairness in the student support system. By cutting these grants, the Government is deliberately choosing to attack students from low-income families, while other parts of the budget give tax breaks to higher-income households and boost the inheritance of those from million pound homes.”

Notes for Editors
1. Paul Blomfield Sheffield Central Constituency is home to 36,000 students and includes both Sheffield's universities.

2. Paul was recently re-elected Chair of the APPG on Students, which he set up with cross-party support in 2014. He is Secretary of the APPG on Universities and was re-elected to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee last week. 

3. In March, Paul was voted ‘most inspiring leader' in higher education in the Guardian's 2015 University awards.

Contact details 
For further information please call Paul Blomfield MP's office on 0114 272 2882.

The Budget, funding for local GP surgeries, policing and the NHS – some of my week ahead

Monday 6th July 2015 - The main business of the week in Westminster is Wednesday's Budget. I'll be in the Chamber to hear if there are any announcements that haven't already been leaked by the Government. Those that have say everything about their priorities – like cutting tax credits for low paid workers alongside an inheritance tax giveaway for wealthy homeowners. I've been drawn for Health Questions on Tuesday, when I'll be pressing Ministers over plans to cut funding to GP surgeries dealing with patients with extra health needs – it affects two practices in my constituency and I've been campaigning on the issue for some time.

Also this week, I've organised the AGM of the All-Party Migration Group, which I chaired in the last Parliament and I'm leading a briefing for colleagues on student voter registration. Other meetings cover Trans-Pennine road and rail links, electoral reform (I'm Vice-Chair of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform), cancer research, Palestine, immigration detention, Post Office provision, and family migration rules. Together with South Yorkshire colleagues, I'm also meeting our Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings who is briefing us on issue facing the local police force.

Back in Sheffield from Friday, I'm meeting local members of Unite the Union and the ‘Sheffield Save Our NHS' campaign over concerns about the privatisation of the NHS  – and meeting constituents on issues ranging from drug policy to the Sheffield Move More campaign. On Saturday, I've one of my regular open access surgeries for constituents – see more details here.

Setting up All-Party Groups, welcoming constituents to Westminster and speaking on Mesothelioma - all in my week ahead

Monday 29th June 2015 - It's always difficult to predict my Parliamentary week. Last Thursday for example the Transport Secretary dropped a bombshell, announcing the postponement of electrification of the Midland Mainline, and I changed my day to be there to challenge him (see here). This week, the main business of Parliament is the Scotland Bill but there's lots of other things happening - and I'm interviewing for a new member of my staff team. 

On Tuesday I'll be in Business Innovation and Skills Questions, trying to challenge Ministers on cuts to further education funding and I've been drawn to question Cabinet Office Ministers on Wednesday. As we're at the start of a new Parliament, we're currently re-establishing All-Party Parliamentary Groups - and I'll be at meetings for groups on universities, motor neurone disease, and sickle cell & thalassaemia

I'll also be welcoming constituents to Westminster and doing a Q&A session with school students from Birkdale who are spending the day learning about Parliament. I'm attending an event on medical research, and I'll be going to the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition where Sheffield University students have been chosen to promote their research - the importance of science and research in driving economic growth is something on which I led a debate last week (see here). 

Back in Sheffield on Friday, I'm going to visit the solar test facility at the University of Sheffield to see the important work being done there to help us move to greener energy sources.  I'm also meeting the Managing Director of John Lewis, the Chief Executive of the South Yorkshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Director of the Snowdrop Project and am speaking at an Action Mesothelioma Day event at Sheffield Cathedral - and on Saturday I'll be at the Ruskin Park Fun Day as part of Walkley Festival, and speaking at a 'One Sheffield, Many Cultures' event on Fargate.

Science & Research, the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and the Spirit of 1945 - some of my week ahead

Monday 22nd June 2015 - I'm leading a Parliamentary debate this week on 'Science and Research in the UK and Regional Economies', in which I'll be pressing the new Universities Minister Jo Johnson on the important role of universities in driving economic growth and the need for investment in research. I'll also be meeting local representatives of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) at a national FSB event in Westminster, which will highlight the key role of small businesses - of which there are around 40,000 across South Yorkshire. 

In my view our economic success depends on our future membership of the European Union and I'll be at the Westminster launch of the Labour Movement for Europe - while back in Sheffield on Saturday I'll be speaking of the issue at the Walkley Festival. On Tuesday I'm chairing a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration at which we're considering the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. I'll also be at a discussion organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Universities, of which I'm Secretary, on the Government's counter-terrorism legislation

Back in Sheffield from Thursday night, I'm hoping to get along to an event organised by Sheffield Futures, going to the monthly meeting of my Constituency Labour Party where we're discussing policing with South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, catching up on issues in relation to the New Retail Quarter, meeting the new Officers of the University of Sheffield Students' Union, having my monthly update with local Councillors, and holding one of my regular open advice surgeries for constituents. On Friday night, I'll be at Walkley Festival for the showing of Ken Loach's film 'The Spirit of '45' celebrating the momentous year that changed Britain - why not join me there?

Press release - Paul Blomfield MP warns of threat to Sheffield adult education and training

Tuesday 16th June 2015 - Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield today warned that thousands of local people would lose out on the education and training that they need if the Government pressed ahead with further cuts to adult skills funding.

Speaking today at a Parliamentary lobby in the House of Commons, Paul said

“We've seen a 30% cut in the adult skills budget since 2010, to be followed by a further 24% cut in the year ahead” and warned that the £2.1million cut in Sheffield College's adult education budget would mean that “thousands of adults in our city region will lose out on the education and training that they need, and that we need them to have to grow the local economy.”

He told the packed meeting in Westminster that “Sheffield College has a long and great tradition of high quality adult education and, even in the face of repeated funding cuts, continues to provide educational opportunities for the thousands of adult learners in Sheffield who wish to improve their skills each year”.  

But he warned that continued funding cuts would “leave too many adults in Sheffield and across the country without the routes into education that they so desperately need.”

Europe, further education and migration – some of the issues in my week ahead

Monday 15th June 2015 - Again my week ahead is dominated by the EU Referendum Bill, which was approved at Second Reading last week. Now it will get detailed consideration this week at Committee Stage which, because of its importance, will be open to all MPs. It's an issue I feel strongly about, but as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Foreign Secretary, my role is limited to supporting our team without being able to speak.

Also in Westminster this week I'm meeting constituents attending a lobby on climate change, attending an event on Motor Neurone Disease, chairing a meeting of the All-Party Group for Students which I set up in the last Parliament, and going to a meeting of the All-Party Group on Debt and Personal Finance, of which I was Secretary. I'm also meeting with the President of Sheffield College Students' Union and speaking at a UCU rally on cuts to further education funding.

In my role as Chair of the All-Party Group on Migration in the last Parliament, I'm meeting Humza Yousaf MSP, the Minister for Europe and International Development in the Scottish Government. I also hope to get along to an event at the British Library, where the great local community enterprise ZEST are up for an award for their work on employment support.

Back in Sheffield from Friday, I'll be seeing constituents on concerns including elderly care, international students and the refugee crisis in Myanmar.  I've also meetings with the Chief Executive of Sheffield Citizen's Advice, and with the Officers of Sheffield Hallam University Students' Union.

Press release - Paul Blomfield MP pledges support to carers in Sheffield for Carers Week

Wednesday 10th June - Paul Blomfield MP, who is patron of Sheffield Carers Centre, today pledged his support to carers across Sheffield as part of the national Carers Week 2015 awareness campaign, which runs from 8-14th June. 

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who care for a partner, relative or friend, of which 8 177 carers are in the Sheffield Central Constituency. 

Without the right help and support, caring can have a devastating impact – carers can quickly become isolated, with their physical and emotional health, work and finances all hit hard.

The six charities driving Carers Week 2015 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to take action to improve the lives of carers by building ‘carer-friendly communities' that consider and support their needs. 

The call comes after research for Carers Week revealed that the variation in the support and recognition carers experience from services across the country is putting the health of many carers, and their ability to support the people they care for, at risk.

After making the pledge, Paul Blomfield MP said:

“Carers make a hugely valuable contribution to society and they need support to carry on the work they do. That is why I am supporting this initiative to encourage services in my community to think about the needs of carers and reach out to carers across Sheffield and help ensure they don't miss out on support – from GP practices offering flexible appointments to employers facilitating workers juggling jobs and caring.”

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Election 2015

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Delighted to have been re-elected as Labour MP for Sheffield Central with a majority increased from 165 to 17,309. 

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