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Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election and I am no longer an MP.

Dear friend,

I hope this finds you well.

Nationally the news hasn’t improved since I last wrote to you, with the UK economy  falling into another recession and the awful revelations around the treatment of Post Office sub-Postmasters. However, I have been busy in the constituency where thankfully there are some good news stories. That said, I will start with the commemorations of 50th Anniversary of the loss of the Gaul.

50th Anniversary of the Gaul

The Gaul was lost with all hands sometime during the night of February 8/9th 1974 in storm conditions in the Barents Sea. Last week saw a series of events organised by Bullnose and STAND to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that tragic night and it was an honour and a privilege to attend them.

In Parliament I tabled an Early Day Motion.

The events were all very moving. I was particularly touched hearing the original Gaul Bell, salvaged from the wreckage, rung and the heartfelt words from relatives who had lost loved ones. There were two fabulous murals unveiled – at the MKM Stadium and the Boulevard, It was great to see our football and rugby teams unite to honour the memory not just of those who were lost on the Gaul, but of all those who have sailed from Hull for the fishing grounds of the Northern and Arctic Seas, never to return.

The deep-rooted connection between our community and the fishing industry remains unbroken and will never be forgotten.

Future Parliament School

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Future Parliament School, a three-day programme designed to provide 16-19 year olds in Hull West and Hessle with a comprehensive understanding of UK politics at all levels.

It is really important to me that future generations understand, and are actively engaged in, the political processes that affect their lives. Hull West and Hessle had a low voter turnout in the last general election and I believe something needs to be done to help get young people have a better understanding of the role of an MP and why it is important.

I have developed a programme with Hull College and University of Hull to start to address this and to raise awareness of the many career opportunities in politics that beyond being an MP.

The programme will cover various aspects of UK politics, including parliamentary roles, the running of a local council and public speaking skills, and contain guidance from experienced professionals including media experts.

Guest speakers will also include the CEO of Hull City Council, Matt Jukes, the leader of the Council, Mike Ross, and leader of the opposition, Daren Hale. And of course, yours truly.

The Future Parliament School will challenge the notion that a career in politics depends on who you know. We need a political landscape that represents a wider cross section of our country, but that will only happen if we have the confidence to put ourselves forward. This course will widen the knowledge, understanding and opportunity of young people in the constituency.

If you know of anyone living in Hull West and Hessle who is 16-19 and might be interested, then please encourage them to apply here- https://bit.ly/3Uqi6OD 

Re:Uniform

It’s hard to believe that Re:Uniform was launched almost five years ago and has sent out over 4,800 bags of uniforms to families struggling with school uniform costs. Demand for our service has increased amidst the worsening cost of living crisis.

This week, I volunteered at Re:Uniform, assisting with making up and delivering bags for families in Hull West and Hessle. As a mother, I understand the challenge of keeping up with the needs of growing children and the financial strain of having to purchase expensive branded uniforms when affordable alternatives exist.

While projects like Re:Uniform offer vital support, sending children to school should not be financial burden. Since becoming an MP I’ve advocated for lower school uniform prices. Although progress was made with the School Uniform Bill passed in 2022, enforcement remains lacking. According to the Children’s Society in 2023, the average annual cost for primary and secondary school uniforms was £287 and £422 respectively.

I’m pleased that the Labour Party has proposed a policy limiting schools to only two mandatory branded uniform items. This will significantly reduce the costs on families, saving them hundreds of pounds annually.Until then, Re:Uniform are always looking for volunteers to help deliver uniforms to those in need, especially during school holidays. So, if you or anyone you know can help them out, please get in touch- Reuniform.trinity@gmail.com

Butterfly City is back!

Butterfly City is partnering with Mires Beck Nursery and Reckitts to distribute 2,000 buckthorn plants to the community. These plants, provided, will be available at various events and pop-ups across the city.

The initiative aims to boost the Brimstone butterfly population in Hull and enhance biodiversity. The Brimstone caterpillar thrives on healthy buckthorn plants, which are essential for its growth. Additionally, buckthorn flowers attract bees, contributing to pollination efforts.

The first giveaway stall will be at the Hull Seed Swap event at Jubilee Central on Saturday, 24th February. Pop along to learn more about butterflies, attracting them to your outdoor space, and to collect your complimentary buckthorn plant and care leaflet. Let 2024 mark the year you engage in gardening, support butterfly conservation, and help environmental sustainability. Stay updated on additional giveaway dates and
locations by following Butterfly City’s Facebook page.

National Apprenticeships Week

During National Apprenticeships Week, I visited two apprentices in Hull West and Hessle, each pursuing different paths, showcasing the diversity of opportunities available through apprenticeships.

Josh, a degree apprentice at Asda, highlighted the invaluable hands-on experience gained alongside his degree qualification. He emphasized how this approach better prepares him for his future career compared to a traditional university route, thanks to learning on the job and working with experienced colleagues.

On the other hand, Lauren, undergoing a tailoring apprenticeship at Cock of the Walk, shared that without the apprenticeship, she wouldn’t have acquired the necessary skills to become a tailor. Despite initially pursuing a textiles degree, she felt inexperienced after graduating. The apprenticeship provided her with the practical experience she lacked.

While I’ve long supported apprenticeships, there’s a need to further encourage businesses to take on apprentices and raise awareness among young people about the range of options available. “You don’t know what you don’t know” – if young people aren’t aware of their options they can’t take them up. It’s really important young people are provided with high quality advice early in their journey through secondary school. Labour’s commitment to provide careers advice covering all options to all young people is something I am 100% behind.

Cost of Living

I know from conversations across Hull West and Hessle that for too many people work doesn’t pay anymore. Families in our area are facing the biggest hit to living standards on record, trapped in the cycle of insecure work, with costs spiralling.

I recently visited St Martin’s Foodbank on Anlaby Road. The volunteers there do a fantastic job and it was a pleasure to be able to thank them in person. Reading their 2023 report, I was shocked to see that the largest percentage of users were people in employment. This should never be the case.

We must make work pay, and I am pleased to support Labour’s ‘New Deal for Working People’ which will boost wages, make work more secure, and support working people to thrive.

Delivering a genuine living wage, banning zero hour contracts, and ending fire and rehire. This will create jobs that provide security and a decent wage. But this won’t just benefit working people. The plan will be good for businesses and the economy too.

It’s surely time to change the cycle of low pay, low investment, and low productivity.

Finally,

As always, please feel free to share this letter with anyone you think might be interested. I will be doing as much as I can to offer assistance and advice over the coming months and represent the constituency in Parliament; please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can help.

 

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