Monday 7th December 2015 – Before heading to Westminster today, I’ll be at the launch of Labour In for Britain’s Yorkshire and Humber Campaign, which will be making the Labour case to keep Britain in the European Union. Membership of the EU received strong support in my recent Big Conversation, so if you’re interested in getting involved in campaigning for the EU referendum, likely held next year, email me at paul.blomfield.mp(at)parliament.uk.)
Later on Monday I am at a meeting of the new Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy, of which I’m a member. It’s a joint committee of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee (and the Education Select Committee. It’s the first time two select committees have formed a joint committee of this sort, but reflects the importance we both place on the issue. I’ve then got further work with my BIS Select Committee colleagues, when we’ll sit down to finalise reports from our inquiries into the steel industry and productivity.
On Tuesday, the BIS Select Committee will meet again to question experts and Universities Minister Jo Johnson as part of our inquiry into teaching quality in higher education. But first I’ve a breakfast meeting of the APPG on Universities, of which I’m Secretary, about sexual harassment and ‘lad culture’ in universities, where we will be hearing from Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and Chair of the Harassment on Campus Taskforce, and Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project.
Later on Tuesday morning, I’m also hosting an event on a new report into ‘How not to predict migration’, from the University of Southampton and the Centre for Population Change. The project looks at how the precise numbers of people migrating into and out of the country are difficult to measure, with the result that predictions are often biased or inaccurate. This sort of evidence-based analysis is much-needed at a time when debates around immigration are clouded by inaccuracies.
This week I’m also speaking at a NUS ‘Cut the Costs’ rally in Parliament, which brings together students, politicians and stakeholders to discuss the impact of the scrapping of university maintenance grants and other cuts to further and higher education. I’ll also be joining a roundtable discussion on graduate skills with Universities UK, and have meetings with the Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), as well as London Chamber of Commerce.
On Thursday, I’m heading back to Sheffield for the funeral of Mary Caborn, a legendary figure in the Co-op Women’s Guild, who died recently at the age of 99, and during the rest of the week I have various meetings, including with UNISON Police Civilian staff representatives, the CEO of Manor & Castle Development Trust, and Councillor Ben Curran who’s responsible for Town Hall finances. Then on Saturday, I’ve one of my regular ‘advice surgeries’ for constituents.