Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

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I’m not sure if Parliament has ever seen children dancing Gangnam style in its corridors before, but that's what I ended up doing with pupils from St Joseph's Castleford when they visited Parliament this week. We had a great discussion about how the House of Commons works, and how new laws are made but when the last question was about Strictly, none of us could resist having a quick go.

I’m not sure if Parliament has ever seen children dancing Gangnam style in its corridors before, but that's what I ended up doing with pupils from St Joseph's Castleford when they visited Parliament this week. We had a great discussion about how the House of Commons works, and how new laws are made but when the last question was about Strictly, none of us could resist having a quick go.

 

I've always seen visiting local schools or meeting up with them if they visit Parliament as a great part of the job and a chance to champion education for our future.

 

But that's what makes it so shocking to hear about the big cuts the Government is planning for education in our area. Some schools will be losing hundreds of thousands of pounds - the equivalent of over £700 per pupil.

 

The Tories have decided to change the funding formula and shift money round the country, and the budget is being squeezed too. But our area already gets less funding for schools than many others and now we are being even more badly hit.

 

I’ve been told that some of our local secondary schools could even be forced to cut up to a dozen teachers to make ends meet if this goes ahead.

 

Already Head Teachers across the country are cutting back on new equipment. Surveys show that the cuts are resulting in fewer clubs, a narrowed curriculum, less support for children with mental health issues, crumbling buildings, reduced access for children to IT based learning and no new textbooks or planners.

 

It’s not fair on our children. The education they get now affects their future for decades to come. I don't want to see the clock turned back to overcrowded classes, over stretched teachers or outdated equipment.

 

I've contacted all our local schools in Pontefract, Castleford, Normanton and Knottingley to see how hard they will be hit.   Labour MPs across the country are campaigning to halt these cuts and reforms. The Government must not turn their back on areas like ours or on our children's future. Westminster does a lot to welcome children to visit but that's not good enough if in reality they are letting children down.

 

Cuts to Education in Our Area

I’m not sure if Parliament has ever seen children dancing Gangnam style in its corridors before, but that's what I ended up doing with pupils from St Joseph's Castleford when...

I am bitterly disapointed to hear Knottingley and Castleford pools will be forced to close at the beginning of February after our long campaign to try to keep them open.

This is the direct consequence of the brutal £180m cuts that the Government has imposed on Wakefield Council

I am bitterly disapointed to hear Knottingley and Castleford pools will be forced to close at the beginning of February after our long campaign to try to keep them open.

This is the direct consequence of the brutal £180m cuts that the Government has imposed on Wakefield Council - including big cuts to social care budgets just when pressures are rising. The trouble is that this is so short-termist - because if you cut sports and leisure facilities then in the long run you jus...t make it harder for people to stay healthy and push up the costs of social care. Unless the Government puts more money into councils and social care in the Budget, even more local services will be hit, making it even harder for our local councillors. We need an urgent increase in cash from the Chancellor for Wakefield Council or things will get even worse.

I will be meeting tomorrow with one of the local community based groups that was interested in taking over Knottingley Sports Centre to see if there is any last shot at keeping the facilities open. In other parts of the country (for example in Stocksbridge) community asset transfers have managed to keep pools and sports centres open. I'm urging the Council to work with these groups and to give them time to draw up proper plans rather than rush to closure. Having a new pool in Pontefract will be great when it opens in a few years’ time but we need facilities in other towns too. Community takeovers aren't easy given the age of the buildings but I believe every last option should be tried and if anyone else wants to get involved or be kept updated then contact me as soon as possible on 01977 553388 or coopery@parliament.uk.

I have also asked the Council for more information about the regeneration investment that they have announced, as I have long been calling for major new investment in Knottingley town centre.

I also believe there is a wider problem for towns like ours right across the country. It is deeply unfair that towns across Britain are taking the biggest brunt of Government cuts to services, while more new investment and jobs go into the biggest cities so towns get left behind. That's what we've seen time and again over the last few years. Ministers talk a lot about big cities but what are they doing for our towns?

We need a major shift in Government policy to get a fairer deal for towns.

Dissapointment at closure of Knottingley and Castleford Leisure Centres

I am bitterly disapointed to hear Knottingley and Castleford pools will be forced to close at the beginning of February after our long campaign to try to keep them open....

On 18th December 2016 Kellingley Colliery closed for the last time, ending hundreds of years of Yorkshire mining history. The miner’s redundancy terms were far worse than those in the 80s and 90s and the Government refused calls from me and other campaigners such as the NUM to provide more support. Britain's last miners at Kellingley Colliery have had lower pay-outs that the Thoresby miners or almost all the miners in any of the past pit closures including under the Thatcher Government.

 

It's been well over a year since the closure of Britain’s last deep coal mine, yet Britain’s last deep coal miners are still fighting for a fair deal. 

 

On 18th December 2016 Kellingley Colliery closed for the last time, ending hundreds of years of Yorkshire mining history. The miner’s redundancy terms were far worse than those in the 80s and 90s and the Government refused calls from me and other campaigners such as the NUM to provide more support. Britain's last miners at Kellingley Colliery have had lower pay-outs that the Thoresby miners or almost all the miners in any of the past pit closures including under the Thatcher Government.

 

Now it has emerged that the Government has accepted the claim by Thoresby miners for an extra payment as a result of failure to consult properly on the pit closure. However they have refused the payments for Kellingley miners even though the consultation process was the same and the Kellingley miners were the last to go. The extra award is worth up to an extra £3800. 

 

Both me and my colleagues at the NUM are calling on the Government to stand by the last British miners and provide the extra payments for Kellingley

 

I'm also concerned about the unfairness of concessionary fuel payments, particularly for the ex-miners who were just under 50 at the time Kellingley closed but who still lose their entitlement forever even if they take up further employment, even if this job doesn’t work out.

 

I'll continue to fight for a fair deal for the Kellingley miners.

1 Year Anniversary Since the Closure of Kellingley Mine, Yet Britain’s Last Deep Coalminers Still Aren’t Getting a Fair Deal

On 18th December 2016 Kellingley Colliery closed for the last time, ending hundreds of years of Yorkshire mining history. The miner’s redundancy terms were far worse than those in the 80s and...


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