Monday 19th October – Friday 23rd October – The main events of my Big Conversation are over for another year, but I’m keen to do more. Do get in touch if you’d like me to come and meet any groups you’re involved in, if you’d like to host a session with your neighbours, or if you’ve any other ideas. I want to do everything I can to make sure Sheffield’s voice is heard by the Government.
Now Parliament’s in full swing, I’m already raising the issues from the Big Conversation, with tax credit cuts high on my agenda. As Jeremy Corbyn said in last week’s PMQs, these changes must be resisted - and Labour will be holding a parliamentary debate about the cuts on Tuesday. I’m determined to tell Government Ministers how badly these cuts will hammer the 27,000 working families and 43,000 children in Sheffield who will be affected. You can read the Star’s report on me pressing the Government here.
It was great to meet students at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield College and Hallam University over the last few months and I will continue to raise their concerns. Last week I pressed Business Secretary Sajid Javid on student loans and this week I’m meeting the Director of the Office of Fair Access (OFFA), as well as attending a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Universities, of which I’m Secretary, to discuss why EU membership and reform matter to the higher education sector.
As Chair of the All-Party Group on Migration, I’ve been heavily involved in a number of issues on immigration and will be putting this experience to use in scrutinising the Immigration Bill, because I’m on the Committee that will examine the legislation line-by-line two days a week for the next four weeks. I have serious concerns about a number of aspects of this Bill, and particularly the way it will give too much power to gangmasters over exploited workers. You can see me challenging the Home Secretary on this issue last week here.
This week I’ve also got meetings with the University and College Union, Care England and the TUC. Then on Friday I’ll be at the University of Sheffield’s Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) to take part in a debate on ‘The British Growth Model: Building a Sustainable Future’. I’ll also be meeting the organiser of the S2 Food Bank, the Managing Director of Forest Fuel, and local Councillors – as well as holding one of my regular surgeries for constituents to chat to me about concerns. (If you are interested in coming to a future surgery then please give my office a call on 0114 272 2882) Then on Saturday I’m speaking on tackling inequality at a conference organised by the Co-op Party and Compass on the theme of ‘Radical Hope’ (book places here), before going on to Bramall Lane for the match with Millwall.