Paul Blomfield - Sheffield Central

Affordable housing, child mental health and International Women’s Day – just some of my week ahead

Monday 2nd March - As we enter the last month in which Parliament will be sitting before the General Election, it’s a busy week ahead. I’m starting with a press briefing for the report of the Inquiry into Immigration Detention, of which I’m Vice-Chair. Then I’m meeting the Chief Executive of the Sheffield Wildlife Trust at an event on ‘What Nature Does for Britain’, before heading to the Commons Chamber for an Estimates Day debate (a debate which is formally called to approve public spending, but in practice focuses on particular spending items or a matter raised in a Select Committee report) on ‘Devolution in England : The Case for Local Government’ led by my Sheffield colleague Clive Betts.

Tuesday starts with a meeting on ‘English Votes and English Laws’, at which I’ll be making the case for regional devolution, followed by a meeting of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, at which we’ll be finalising the report of our Inquiry into Competition in the Postal Services Sector and the Universal Service Obligation, and then a meeting on the campaign for Growth By Research, backing a balanced research base across our universities. Over lunchtime I’m showing a group of sixth-formers from King Edward VII School around Westminster and having a Q&A with them. I then aim to drop in on a Student Stop Aids Campaign event, before speaking in the Estimates Day debate on ‘Children and Adolescents' Mental Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services’, which is something that was raised in my Big Conversation with constituents. Later on, I hope to get along to an event on ‘Parliament and Political Reform’, highlighting Labour’s ambitious reform agenda.

On Wednesday I’ll be at a Westminster Hall debate on the ‘Availability of Affordable Housing’, which I’ve helped to organise as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Hilary Benn, our Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Then I’ve a Q&A with a group of Journalism students from the University of Sheffield, before meeting with representatives of the Homes for Britain campaign. 

Back in Sheffield on Thursday, I’ve an early start for a Church Action on Poverty breakfast event on ‘Children, Young People, and Families in Poverty’ at St. Mary’s Church. Later, after catching up on casework, I’ll be out knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Wybourn. Then in the evening, I’m co-hosting an International Women’s Day (IWD) event with the University of Sheffield Women’s Committee and Unite the Union; we’re showing the film Philomena and raising funds for Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and the Snowdrop Project for survivors of trafficking. It’s something that I launched after my election in 2010 and it’s become the biggest IWD event in Sheffield, raising thousands for women’s charities – do lend your support this year; all the details of the event and how to book tickets are here. 

On Friday, I’m speaking at a conference organised by the Living Streets campaign to create better walking environments for older people and build more walking into their day. Then I’m meeting with constituents on issues ranging from Somaliland to women in business. On Saturday, I’ll be knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Walkley before heading to Bramall Lane for the latest episode in United’s promotion campaign. On Sunday I’ll be knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Broomhill and supporting a fundraising event for the local charity for asylum seekers and refugees, ASSIST.

Signing the Book of Commitment to pledge my support for Holocaust Memorial Day

Tuesday 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day which this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. I have signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in Parliament to pledge my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day, to honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust and to pay tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

I visited the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau a few years ago. It’s a powerful symbol of the risks of allowing prejudice and intolerance to go unchallenged. In honouring the victims and survivors of the Holocaust we should all commit to standing up against those who promote division and hatred today. Read more here.

Over £3000 raised to to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa - thank you

A big thank you from me and Linda McAvan MEP to everyone who supported our fundraising appeal for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders). We set ourselves a target of £1000 but have raised three times to reach the huge amount of £3,106. This fantastic sum is a true show of Sheffield solidarity with communities in West Africa that are being devastated by Ebola. MSF staff are working tirelessly to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa and this money will support their heroic efforts. Read more about our fundraising appeal here.

Would you like to visit Parliament?

My next constituency visit to Parliament is on Monday 9th March - would you like to come? Full details about the day are here. To reserve a place please complete the form on the flyer and send it back to me, or contact my office.

I'm honoured to receive the Parliamentarian of the Year award from Citizens Advice

Thursday June 5th - At an event in Westminster yesterday I was honoured to receive the Parliamentarian of the Year 2014 award from the national charity Citizens Advice for my work campaigning for payday lending regulation.

It's a huge honour to receive this award from Citizens Advice. It's a tribute to everyone who has campaigned to stop the payday loan rip-off and forced the Government to act. Ministers could not ignore the sustained pressure from debt and consumer charities, churches, trade unions, MPs, Councils, and the thousands of people who signed our petition saying that the irresponsible behaviour and practices of payday lenders have to stop.

You can read my full press release and comments here.

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