Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

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New Year rail fare increases mean Five Towns commuters have seen some of the biggest increases in the country over the last eighteen months according to figures uncovered by local MP Yvette Cooper.

Figures from the Avantix Traveller Database that is used to show prices on train operator websites and the trainline.com shows that tickets from Knottingley to Wakefield have risen by 33% since September 2014 while a return from Pontefract to Leeds has risen by 35% over the same period. Tickets from Castleford to Leeds have risen by 35% and to Wakefield by nearly 20% since last year.

Local MP Yvette Cooper has condemned the scale of price hikes at a time when pay still isn't rising and commuters are still getting squeezed. She pointed to funded plans that could have kept rail fares frozen this year. 

“For prices to rocket by a third in just over a year is a real problem for local people. More and more people have to commute to work, yet rising fares are making that tougher and tougher. With more jobs being sucked out of towns and into cities, these sudden price hikes are really unfair on people living in towns across Yorkshire and the north.

“The government talk about a Northern Powerhouse, but it’s hardly going to take off if it gets harder to afford to travel to the major cities. We need proper regulation of rail fares to stop these rocketing prices. We set out funded plans that could have frozen rail fares this year, but the Tories ignored them. Government ministers are completely out of touch on the rising cost of public transport. Prices have risen three times faster than wages under their watch.”

ENDS

Yvette condemns massive fare increases for Five Towns commuters

New Year rail fare increases mean Five Towns commuters have seen some of the biggest increases in the country over the last eighteen months according to figures uncovered by local...

Round here we owe thanks to the army, emergency services and Wakefield Council who were out on our streets at all hours when flooding threatened in Lock Lane in Castleford, in Ferrybridge and in Kirkthorpe. And we feel for neighbours and friends still blighted by the collapse of the bridge in Tadcaster, and by the terrible flood damage to two of our great Northern cities in Leeds and York.

We've seen some warm hearted Yorkshire spirit as people have rallied round to help - volunteers who turned up in Kirkstall to help with the big clean up, the church halls that opened, the groups who turned up with hot meals and cleaning products.

But the Government has let Yorkshire down - especially Leeds where a major programme of flood defences was cut back. Even now they aren't doing enough to help - either to support families and businesses enduring the nightmare of coping with flood damage or to prevent flooding in the first place.

Today in Parliament I urged the Environment Secretary to ensure the Government's flood defences review includes the Five Towns and the entire Aire Valley. We also have to make sure defences in one part of the river don't cause problems elsewhere.

Four years ago Tory Ministers cancelled the planned flood defence scheme in Leeds that was designed to protect Kirkstall Road and other areas. One Minister dismissed it as “a Rolls-Royce, where a reasonably priced family car might serve some of the purpose." Tell that to the families and businesses coping with terrible flood damage now. 

Warm words from David Cameron just won't wash any more. We need answers and action - including rapid help for homes and businesses affected.

It's not good enough to just make promises as the water flows, then let them ebb as the water (and the headlines) subside. The Yorkshire Evening Post is right - the Government call us the Northern Powerhouse, yet allow two great cities to see their centres submerged in dirty water. As the capital city, London has had much needed flood defences for decades - but climate change is putting more places at risk and our great northern cities and towns need protection too.

The flood waters across Yorkshire may now be receding but the Government still hasn't learned the lessons

Round here we owe thanks to the army, emergency services and Wakefield Council who were out on our streets at all hours when flooding threatened in Lock Lane in Castleford,...

Following last week's debate on Kellingley, today Yvette has sent a letter to the Secretaries of State for Energy and Climate Change and BIS, asking them to intervene and offer a better deal to the last workers at Kellingley Colliery. The letter is co-signed by many other coalfield MPs. You can read the full text below:

 


The Secretary of State
Department for Energy and Climate Change
3, Whitehall Place
London, SW1A 2AW

The Secretary of State
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
1, Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0ET

Tuesday 15th December 2015


Dear Secretaries of State,

In just a few days’ time, Britain’s last working deep coal mine, Kellingley Colliery, will close after a two year campaign by workers, elected representatives and the local community to try to keep it open. The last 450 miners will lose their jobs before Christmas.

The hard work of Britain's miners has powered the British economy, kept the home fires burning and sustained our coalfield communities for generations and the Kellingley miners have stayed loyal to the coal industry until the very end - saving the Government tens of millions of pounds in doing so.

When UK Coal was at risk of imminent collapse the miners pulled out all the stops and increased production and were even willing to risk their own money in order to keep it open with a workforce buyout. When UK Coal nearly went bust they were ready to accept changes to their pensions and working arrangements to keep the pit open.

If the workforce hadn’t stayed with the industry, the Government would have lost the millions in tax that UK Coal owed, and would have been landed with the bill for closing Kellingley pit—so the Government is saving tens of millions of pounds. We also understand that the Government will be saving over £9m in future compared to the original estimate for concessionary fuel that was announced by the Chancellor.

Yet despite often decades of service keeping our lights on, powering our factories and fuelling the nation, the last British coal miners are being offered the worst deal of any of the hundreds of thousands of miners who have left the industry over many decades. We feel this is a total betrayal of these miners by UK Coal and the Government.

Miners who were made redundant under Margaret Thatcher and in almost all the pit closures since, have had enhanced redundancy pay as recognition of the long years they worked, the difficult and skilled job they have done, and the limited alternative skilled work available.

Yet the last miners who have been loyal until the end at Kellingley have had their redundancy cut back just to the minimum statutory redundancy pay.

UK Coal has finally said that they will receive severance pay in lieu of notice paid at average pay. However they have not been guaranteed the concessionary coal deal that the NUM had expected to help those miners just under 50 or those getting temporary work.

We are calling on the Government to work urgently with UK Coal to give a fair deal to the last British miners - including enhanced redundancy pay, full severance pay, an extension of concessionary fuel and a commitment to more skills and training support and regeneration in the coalfield communities.

The Kellingley miners have done their bit to save the Government money, and stayed loyal to the coal industry and their communities to the very end. The very least you can do now is show them the respect they and the coalfields deserve and give them a fair deal now.

Yours,

Yvette Cooper, Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley

 

 

J

Nigel Adamas, Member of Parliament for Selby and Ainsty
Jon Trickett, Member of Parliament for Hemsworth
Mary Creagh, Member of Parliament for Wakefield
Dennis Skinner, Member of Parliament for Bolsover
Caroline Flint MP, Member of Parliament for Don Valley
Ian Lavery, Member of Parliament for Wansbeck
Natascha Engel, Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire
Rosie Winterton MP, Member of Parliament for Doncaster Central
Sir Kevin Barron, Member of Parliament for Rother Valley
Dan Jarvis, Member of Parliament for Barnsley Central
Toby Perkins, Member of Parliament for Chesterfield
Gerald Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Jo Cox for Batley and Spen, Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen
John Healey, Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne
Roberta Blackman-Woods, Member of Parliament for City of Durham
Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon
Chris Rees for Neath, Member of Parliament for Neath
Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for Durham North
Helen Jones, Member of Parliament for Warrington North
Emma Lewell-Buck, Member of Parliament for South Shields
Helen Goodman MP, Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland
Angela Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge
David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Blaydon
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West
Pat Glass MP, Member of Parliament for North West Durham
Nick Smith for Blaenau Gwent, Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent
Anna Turley MP, Member of Parliament for Redcar
Chris Bryant, Member of Parliament for Rhondda
John Mann MP, Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw
Gloria De Piero, Member of Parliament for Ashfield
Grahame Morris, Member of Parliament for Easington
David Hanson (politician), Member of Parliament for Delyn
Yvonne Fovargue, Member of Parliament for Makerfield
Marie Rimmer MP, Member of Parliament for St Helen’s South and Whiston
Michael Dugher, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East
Conor McGinn, Member of Parliament for St Helen’s North
Mary Glindon, Member of Parliament for North Tyneside
Nic Dakin, Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe
Andy McDonald - Putting Middlesbrough First, Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough.

Letter to Secretaries of State calling for a better deal for Kellingley Workers

Following last week's debate on Kellingley, today Yvette has sent a letter to the Secretaries of State for Energy and Climate Change and BIS, asking them to intervene and offer...


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Recent Refugee Taskforce

Responding to John McDonnell's comments on the Sunday Politics about the future of national borders, Yvette Cooper MP said:

"Border checks are really important for managing the refugee crisis - including stopping trafficking gangs, protecting child refugees who are disappearing in Europe, making sure proper asylum assessments take place so refugees get swift help and preventing people from travelling illegally if they are not refugees and have a safe home to return to. 

"We need a system of clear border controls alongside sanctuary for refugees to cope with the terrible humanitarian crisis we face - that is why the Schengen system in Europe isn't working any more and many countries are rightly re-introducing border checks.

"At a time of extremist and terrorist threats, countries also need strong border checks for example to stop their own citizens going to join ISIL, or to prevent terrorists, extremists or criminals travelling with guns or weapons. And of course governments need to be able to manage and enforce immigration rules in the interests of the country and the economy.

"Labour needs to maintain a policy in favour of firm and effective border controls alongside help for refugees. I also disagree with John McDonnell about what will happen in the coming decades. Given the challenges we face, proper border checks are likely to become more important not less in future."

 

ENDS

Yvette's response to comments about the future of borders

Responding to John McDonnell's comments on the Sunday Politics about the future of national borders, Yvette Cooper MP said:

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of Labour's Refugee Taskforce said:

"It's good news that the Government seems to be responding to the call by Save the Children with cross party support to help 3000 unaccompanied refugee children. But we are hearing some concern that the Government may only be planning to help children within camps near Syria, and excluding those alone in Europe.

"There are thousands of children now alone in Europe at terrible risk of abuse and harm. I've met 11 and 12-year olds in the camps in Calais and Dunkirk and seen how vulnerable they are to cold and disease, to trafficking and sexual exploitation by criminal gangs.

"Providing refuge to 3,000 of these children in Europe is what Save them Children have called for and is what the amendment by Labour's Alf Dubs in the House of Lords would put into effect. Any action by the Government must help children in Europe. I hope the Government will heed these calls and announce help for child refugees alone in Europe this week."

ENDS

Responding to reports that the Government is considering action on unaccompanied refugee children

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of Labour's Refugee Taskforce said: "It's good news that the Government seems to be responding to the call by Save the Children with cross party support...

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Refugee Taskforce, responding to reports that the European Commission is considering scrapping the Dublin III regulations on refugees:

"The humanitarian crisis in Europe will be worse this year than last unless European governments act fast. But the latest proposals from the EU Commission still don't add up to a comprehensive response. 

“Europe needs a sustainable plan which should include more countries offering sanctuary to families fleeing persecution and conflict, but should also include ending Schengen and bringing back internal border controls to manage the crisis.

“Britain is rightly outside Schengen and won't be directly affected by these proposals. But we have a long history of offering sanctuary to those fleeing persecution and conflict and the British Government should start by supporting Lord Alf Dubs amendment and Save the Children's campaign to take 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from within Europe.”

ENDS

Response to reports that the European Commission is considering scrapping the Dublin III refugee rules

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Refugee Taskforce, responding to reports that the European Commission is considering scrapping the Dublin III regulations on refugees:


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