Local delegation meets minister to raise gaps in social care

20160510_165228Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox led a delegation of local organisations to Westminster to discuss gaps in social care with ministers.

The delegation met with Alistair Burt MP, the social care minister, and also met with the Shadow minister Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Labour’s social care spokesman.

Yesterday’s delegation was part of an ongoing national campaign being led by Mrs Cox exploring issues around adult social care that directly link in with her campaign on loneliness and isolation.

Mrs Cox said: “Problems in adult care have come up time and again since I was elected last May. Local voluntary and charitable organisations have highlighted the many challenges they face in delivering services.

“They feel national policies do not reflect local needs and demands. There is a clear expectation that they will be heavily involved in delivering social care support but without any real investment.

“Social care is hugely underfunded and there is a lack of integrated services. However, the current lack of analysis has allowed the government to avoid taking decisive action.

“The discussions arising from delegation will, I hope, help address that, raise awareness with ministers and also contribute to the work I am doing locally and nationally to tackle loneliness and isolation.”

The Royal Voluntary Service, Alzheimer’s Society, Batley Food Bank and Community Partnerships were among those who attended the meetings in Parliament.

Contributions from a series of meetings hosted in Batley & Spen by Mrs Cox were also fed in along with feedback from other local organisations who were unable to attend.

Brownies hear of MP’s work all around the world

2016-04-29 20.13.22Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox joined Brownies from Roberttown and Norristhorpe at the Fan Wood campsite in Gomersal for their first ever camping trip.

The Brownies were doing crafts on the theme of ‘all around the world’ on their first night away from their parents.

Having worked on four continents, Mrs Cox spoke about the work she did as an aid worker as well as her work most recently as their Member of Parliament. She answered questions before joining them for supper.

Mrs Cox said: “It was lots of fun and a great way of spending a Friday evening. I talked about the work I do now as well as about growing up in Heckmondwike and Batley before going off to work all over the world.”

Newspaper column: No child should be left behind

Every month Jo Cox writes a column for the Batley News and Spenborough Guardian. This month’s column appears in this week’s editions.

Jo Cox leads the debate on education in Yorkshire

Jo Cox leads the debate on education in Yorkshire

I never cease to be impressed at our local schools. I have had the honour to visit many over the last year as part of my plan to visit – and revisit – every one. As well as some inspiring pupils, I have also met tremendous teachers, truly visionary headteachers and deeply committed governors.

We have many schools doing incredible things.

But research by the Social Market Foundation paints a very stark picture across our region.

They found marked disparities in GCSE performance between regions, with over 70% of pupils in London achieving 5 good GCSEs compared to just 63% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

These regional differences are already apparent by the end of primary school – and they are evident even after account is taken of other factors such as ethnicity and income.

Tragically for our children the region has gone from the fifth lowest achieving in the 1970s to the worst in England today. Nearly a quarter of pupils are attending schools that are rated less than good.

In Yorkshire and the Humber children are being left behind.

Here in Kirklees, we out perform the regional average at secondary level but match it at primary level. There is no doubt that there is a postcode lottery in education – and this is a disgrace.

After 30 years of neglect and a lack of focus from Government – we now live in a society in which a child born here has less chance of reaching their potential than one born in London.

I led a debate in Parliament on this issue. Beforehand I met with a group local headteachers to discuss what works and what doesn’t and what they need from the Government.

As one of them said to me: “It is time to stop beating teachers and start giving us the support we need to do our job.”

They are scathing about forcing schools to become academies, something even Tory MPs are threatening to rebel in Parliament over.

The reality of academies is they are neither inherently good nor bad and they should not be bluntly imposed on all schools. Instead of fixating on school governance the Government needs to ensure that schools have the tools they need to do their job. This means focusing instead on issues like teaching standards and recruitment.

This growing divide in regional academic attainment can no longer be left unchallenged.  Nothing politicians do matters more than ensuring that no child is left behind.

If “education, education, education” is a priority then the answer must, in part, be teachers, teachers, teachers.

And what has worked in London, the investment and improvement brought about by Labour’s London Challenge, can work elsewhere. It can work in Yorkshire but it will need real investment and sustained political commitment. It is time for a new, bold and ambitious target to end the postcode lottery in educational attainment.

We have a duty to make sure every child has access to the best possible education. It should not matter where you are born. No child should be left behind.

Vulnerable, terrified and alone – why I supported the Dubs amendment

Jo Cox vJo Cox speaks in the debate on Britain accepting 3000 child refugeesoted for the UK to help 3,000 vulnerable child refugees, who are alone in Europe and fleeing unimaginable horror in their own countries.

The Batley & Spen MP spoke in the debate on the Immigration Bill and in favour of the Dubs amendment.

The amendment was tabled by 83 year old Labour Lord Alfred Dubs, who arrived in the UK as a six year old child fleeing the Nazis.

Mrs Cox said: “The vast majority of the terrified, friendless and profoundly vulnerable child refugees scattered across Europe tonight came from Syria.

“As that conflict enters its sixth barbaric year, desperate Syrian families are being forced to make an impossible decision: stay and face starvation, rape, persecution and death, or make a perilous journey to find sanctuary elsewhere.

“Who can blame desperate parents for wanting to escape the horror that their families are experiencing?

“Children are being killed on their way to school, children as young as seven are being forcefully recruited to the frontline and one in three children have grown up knowing nothing but fear and war.

“Those children have been exposed to things no child should ever witness, and I know I would risk life and limb to get my two precious babies out of that hellhole.”

She told MPs that the latest estimates suggest that there could be up to 95,000 such children in Europe right now – four times more than was thought. Even if Britain did agree to take 3,000 of them that would just be three per cent.

Mrs Cox added: “Sadly the Government did not listen and Parliament rejected Labour’s attempts to force the UK to act.”

You can watch Mrs Cox’s speech by clicking here.  

News offers no new help to vulnerable child refugees alone in Europe

1204 FCO questions Syria aid drops 2crToday’s announcement that the government will take in 3,000 lone refugee children has been branded little more than a rehash of
old news by Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox.

Mrs Cox, a former aid worker, said: “Despite the fanfare, today’s announcement is a rehash of commitments that the Government made last January. There is nothing new here to address the crisis facing incredibly vulnerable, unaccompanied children who are in Europe and at risk right now.

“The latest estimates suggests that this year alone 95,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe. This is three times what we thought the number was.

“The situation is far worse than we thought and our response is not good enough. It won’t involve more than a few hundred over the coming year and won’t help any children already in Europe.

Mrs Cox, who has been praised for her work in helping protecting civilians in Syria and fleeing the civil war, added: “This is a cynical attempt by the government to avoid defeat in the Commons on Monday when MPs will be asked to vote on an amendment that would led to the UK taking 3,000 vulnerable lone children immediately.”