As we take a moment to look back over the year and what it means for our community, I don’t have to remind you that we face a challenging year ahead.
Over the course of 2018 I held 84 drop-in Advice Surgeries at locations across the constituency, with my office dealing with over 1,500 new cases. Sadly, as poverty rises as a result of Tory austerity casework has become more complex; whether housing, in-work benefits or social care, our community is being pushed to breaking point. Moving forward I will continue to make myself available to all of my constituents whether in person at one of my surgeries, or through my dedicated Constituency Office staff.
Ever since becoming your MP in 2005 I have proudly campaigned to protect and improve our local environment. Whether it’s supporting the Friends of Reddish Vale Country Park; helping volunteers with tree planting at Groby Road in Audenshaw; through to fighting for our open green spaces like the ‘Dane Bank Greenspace’ at Windsor Road. I will work with those who are ready to fight for Greater Manchester’s air quality and green spaces; that’s why in 2019 I will continue to campaign with William Wragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove, against the proposal to extend the Bredbury Parkway industrial estate deep into the Tame Valley. I believe these proposals would have a harmful impact on the Hulme’s Wood and Haughton Dale Local Nature Reserves.
Supporting local businesses and intrepid entrepreneurs across Tameside has always been very dear to me. Through my Community Heroes and Small Business Awards I recognise those individuals and businesses who leave a special mark on our community. I will be sure to carry on this tradition in 2019 as well as continuing to visit as many local businesses as I can to help support them and all they do for our high street.
I also support a number of campaigns nationally, and use my time in Parliament to lobby on their behalf. Three of the campaigns closest to my heart are supporting the 1950s ladies affected by the state pension changes, Guide Dogs Campaigns (to make our roads and transport safer), and animal welfare issues including the hard fought fox hunting ban. I won’t ever stop fighting for these campaigns throughout 2019 in Westminster.
I’m proud to serve as the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Shadow Cabinet.
Throughout 2018 I worked closely with the Association of Labour Councillors, the LGA Labour Group and Trade Unions to help highlight the impact of Tory Austerity on our local public services and communities. With Local Government now at breaking point I’ll continue to stand alongside our councils to ensure they have the strongest advocate possible in Parliament – I will never stop arguing for our local communities.
Whether in Westminster, my Denton and Reddish constituency, or more locally in and around Tameside, I promise all of my constituents that I will continue to help those in need and fight for the interests of our community.