‘Back to school’

7th September 2017

As I head back to Parliament, I feel much like my children who have mixed views on going back to school – it has been wonderful to have time away from Westminster, but it will be good to see colleagues again and get on with the job in hand.

I spent the summer ‘recess’ holding vital meetings across High Peak with businesses, services and organisations, but also keeping in touch with local views – holding surgeries, street stalls and knocking on doors to speak to people.

Most people were very surprised to have their MP visit them when it’s not election time, but were pleased to see that I am interested in their views, and how I can help them.

Many children are returning to school, college or nursery and I wish them well for the coming term. It can be a worrying time, especially as funding cuts loom over our schools and nurseries.

The government still has not decided on the new National Funding Formula – it is now expected later this month. Whilst the delay is hopefully good news for authorities like Derbyshire, which is among the lowest funded councils in England, the delay makes it even harder for schools to plan ahead.

I will continue to press the government inadequate school funding and on the lack of funding given to nurseries to deliver the 30 hours of ‘free’ childcare that the Conservatives promised in the run-up to the 2015 election.

The underfunding of this last-minute election pledge, which I highlighted in my maiden speech to Parliament, has now been acknowledged as a national issue. Huge pressure has been put on the kind of independent nurseries that we have in High Peak, and has contributed to some deciding to close their doors.

This is tragic at a time when we need more childcare, not less. If you are a parent who has not been able to receive your 30 hours of free childcare, please let me know so I can work on this problem locally as well as nationally.

In Glossop I met with dozens of staff from Shire Hill Hospital who are angry at the way the hospital has been portrayed in the consultation – which could result in its closure. They are passionate about fighting for Shire Hill’s excellent rehabilitation care.

There is huge support across Glossopdale for Shire Hill and the importance of our health services being kept as local as possible. I have launched a petition to Parliament and will continue to fight for Shire Hill, even when I have to spend most weekdays in Westminster.

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