Jenny Chapman MP

JENNY CHAPMAN

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As you know, the General Election will be held on 8th June 2017. 

This session of Parliament will end on 3rd May and so we will have no MPs until the new Parliament meets. 

That means I will no longer be your elected representative - I will become a Parliamentary candidate as of May 3rd. 

Best wishes, 

Jenny Chapman

General Election

As you know, the General Election will be held on 8th June 2017.  This session of Parliament will end on 3rd May and so we will have no MPs until...

Picture credit: Stuart Boulton (Northern Echo)

Jenny joined Darlington-based firm DeepOcean on a visit to the children's ward at Darlington Memorial Hospital. 

DeepOcean organised a surprise for kids spending time at Darlington Memorial Hospital this Easter. Jenny was on hand with employees from DeepOcean, based on Coniscliffe Road, to hand out chocolate and spread some springtime cheer amongst those on the children's ward.   

Jenny said: 

It was lovely to visit the children's ward at the Memorial and hand out treats to kids who have been going through a hard time. It's also nice to see yet another local firm engage with the community.  


Jenny's office will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. 

Easter visit to Darlington Memorial Hospital

Jenny joined Darlington-based firm DeepOcean on a visit to the children's ward at Darlington Memorial Hospital. 

Jenny supports today's policy announcement that the next Labour Government will provide free school meals for all primary school children, a change that could benefit 221,004 children in the North East of England. 

Labour will fund the policy by introducing VAT on private school fees. Labour’s policy will benefit the educational attainment and health of all children while ending a subsidy to the privileged few.

Research confirmed by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown offering universal access to free school meals improves educational attainment through improvements in pupils’ productivity, enabling primary school pupils to advance by around two months on average. 

The provision of free school meals also has been proven to improve the health of pupils through better nutrition - with over 90 percent of pupils eating a school lunch consuming food or drink containing vegetables or fruit (including fruit juice) compared with only 58 percent of pupils who eat packed lunches.

No child in the UK should go hungry at school.

Jenny supports free school meals policy announcement

Jenny supports today's policy announcement that the next Labour Government will provide free school meals for all primary school children, a change that could benefit 221,004 children in the North...

Across England one third of Sure Start Centres have been closed as the Tories continue to slash the popular scheme introduced by the last Labour Government. 

Jenny believes the centres are important places within our communities, and it would be devastating to lose more of these vital services.  

The Tories famously pledged to be the “most family friendly Government we’ve ever had” before the 2010 election. As part of this claim they said they would protect Sure Start, the transformative early years programme introduced by Labour to give young children the best start in life. But new research, based on Freedom of Information requests to councils, reveals the Tories have broken their promise. It shows:

  • There are now over 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres than when the Tories took office – a fall of around 34 per cent since 2010.

 

  • Over 230 have been lost in the last year alone.

 

  • The North East and London have seen the biggest fall in numbers, with over 40 per cent of Sure Start Centres lost.

In Darlington this means that of the seven Sure Start Children Centres in the borough, two have been closed. The centres are offer a vital support system for children and their families.

Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education said: 

The Tories are taking us backwards. It’s a scandal that parents and children are paying the price.

 

Closure of Sure Start centres: North East is second biggest loser in England

Across England one third of Sure Start Centres have been closed as the Tories continue to slash the popular scheme introduced by the last Labour Government.  Jenny believes the centres...

Jenny today penned a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP in light of a multi-million pound deficit faced by schools in Darlington. 

Headteachers from schools in the town joined forces by asking parents to call on the Government for fair funding for Darlington schools. A letter was also sent to Jenny asking her to raise the issue further with the relevant ministers. 

Jenny called the £472 reduction per pupil per year damaging for the young people educated in the town. She went on to say: 

Eight of Darlington’s wards are amongst the most deprived 10 per cent in England, with approximately 21 per cent of the local authority’s children living in poverty. 

As Secretary of State for Education, it is your job to fight for the resources needed to secure the best education for all children and young people in every region.

Jenny will be meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the matter further in the coming weeks. 

You can read Jenny's full letter below. 


 

Rt Hon Justine Greening MP 

Secretary of State for Education

Sanctuary Buildings

Great Smith Street

London

SW1P 3BT

22 March 2017

Dear Justine,

I have been contacted by many Darlington parents and teachers about funding for Darlington schools. We are all extremely worried about the future of education in Darlington. Please find enclosed a copy of a letter sent to parents and carers by primary head teachers. 

As you know, school funding per pupil is being cut. Teachers and their leaders in Darlington will do everything possible to ensure children and young people receive the very best education but this is becoming more and more challenging as funding cuts continue. In the manifesto on which you were elected in 2015 you promised to protect funding per pupil. I would encourage you to honour this commitment. 

In Darlington, it is predicted that our schools will lose £6,111,359 by 2019. That is a loss of £427 per pupil. These estimates are in cash, not real terms. I cannot see how this is fair. Eight of Darlington’s wards are amongst the most deprived 10% in England, with approximately 21% of the local authority’s children living in poverty. The proportion of our children entitled to free school meals is higher than the national average: - in primary schools the figure stands at 19% and in secondary schools 17%.

The argument being made by teachers and parents today is familiar to me because we're seeing the largest cuts to school spending per pupil since the early 1980’s when I was a pupil at school in Darlington. As Secretary of State for Education it is your job to fight in Cabinet for the resources needed to secure the best education for all children and young people in every region. If the proposed cuts to per pupil funding are take place you will have failed in this task.

I would be grateful if you could address the points made by head teachers in their letter to parents. These are turbulent times for young people. We need to know that the Government is doing all that it should to provide a first rate education for our children and young people.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Chapman MP

Jenny prompts action over cuts to Darlington school funding

Jenny today penned a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP in light of a multi-million pound deficit faced by schools in Darlington. 

The Prime Minister has now officially informed the President of the European Council that the UK intends to leave the EU, signalling the start of the most complex and important set of negotiations undertaken by any British Government since the end of World War II.

At a moment of this magnitude it is essential that our response reflects core British values which are rooted in the everyday life of communities in Darlington and up and down the country.

My colleague and Shadow Brexit Minister, Keir Starmer recently set out 6 tests against which we will judge the deal negotiated by Theresa May over the next 2 years.

In this monthly column, I will spell out each of these tests in detail, starting this month with our first key test which is whether Theresa May’s deal ensures ‘a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?’

This matters for the UK and it matters to the EU, who are looking to us as natural allies in the context of increasingly volatile global politics.

But there is a worrying groundswell on the Government benches to sever our links and turn our backs on Europe entirely. This sort of approach to Brexit would be disastrous and would obstruct continued continental cooperation in important fields such as medicine, security and significantly, trade.

For all the grandstanding about trade deals in new markets, the nature and strength of any future EU-UK trade deal has to be the Government’s priority. Just look at the figures - we export more to Ireland than we do to China, twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and three times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. Assuming we can just conjure up new markets to replace these relationships with our European partners is just not realistic.

That said, we do all accept that Britain should be an outward looking, global trading nation but in terms of jobs and the future of our economy, the trade deal that matters most is the one we eventually reach with the EU.

We must press the Government to secure continued tariff-free trade for UK businesses with the EU. Whilst I acknowledge that retaining Single Market membership as a non-EU country will be challenging, it is the overriding priority put forward by the hundreds of businesses and trade union members we have consulted in recent months and must be the Prime Minister’s priority.

How these objectives are reached is frankly secondary to the outcome - what matters most to me is that jobs, the economy and living standards do not suffer in Darlington as a result of Brexit.

Read more from Jenny here.  

Jenny's response to the triggering of Article 50

The Prime Minister has now officially informed the President of the European Council that the UK intends to leave the EU, signalling the start of the most complex and important...

Yesterday students from Darlington's Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form met with Jenny in Parliament to talk politics. 

After taking a tour of the Parliamentary estate, 23 students spent lunchtime mulling over the current political landscape with Jenny in the Commons. They discussed the triggering of article 50 among other issues before spending time debating with Jenny.  

The trip formed a part of the students politics A-level course, a visit that proves important to understand the working life of a Member of Parliament at the heart of British democracy. 

Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form students talk politics with Jenny in Parliament

I have been working hard over the last few months standing up for our town and local services in Parliament. 

As you may know our local health services at Darlington Memorial Hospital are under threat from possible downgrades as part of the local NHS Trust's Sustainability and Transformation Plan. 

I have raised the issue on a number of occasions in Parliament. I have called out the hugely expensive Better Health programme which includes PR and community engagements and has cost a whopping £4.6 million pounds and counting. Yet it has failed to communicate with the people who rely on services effectively, to the point that people from Darlington, Northallerton, Barnard Castle and so on aren't aware of the plans. 

Further to this I have been continually putting pressure on the Government over cuts to NHS funding and the crisis within the social care system. I have spoken numerous times about the need to protect services at Darlington Memorial Hospital

I will continue to raise the issue of services cuts to our hospital and support our local health campaign - SOS Darlington. 

Working hard for Darlington

I have been working hard over the last few months standing up for our town and local services in Parliament.  As you may know our local health services at Darlington...

jenny-blog.png

Jenny asked the Secretary of State for Education a series of written questions on April 27. Here is a summary, with the answers from Sam Gyimah, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

Q: What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the effect of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on the health, wellbeing and performance of young people in schools and colleges?

A: We want children to do well academically. Attainment is supported if students have good health and mental wellbeing and when they have access to specialist mental health services where they need it. The Government is investing an additional £1.4bn in children’s mental health this Parliament. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country have worked with partners, including schools and colleges, to produce local transformation plans for children and young people’s mental health services. These should set out what will be done locally to make the best use of the resources available – changing how child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are delivered in response to the challenges set out in the Future in Mind report and increasing the focus on preventative activity. NHS England has put the plans through an assurance process before releasing funds and is carrying out an analysis of plans to identify practice that can be shared to inform future planning. In addition we have contributed to a £3m joint pilot with NHS England which is testing how single points of contact in CAMHS and schools can secure effective mental health support to pupils. The pilots are involving over 250 schools in 27 CCG areas through joint training, which supports schools and CAMHS leads to identify specific activity to improve support in their area. The Department of Health has commissioned a new survey into the prevalence of mental health conditions in children and young people in England, the first since 2004. They expect this to be published in 2018.

Q: What recent representations has the Department received from primary schools on the requirement to make milk available during the school day? What guidance has it provided to schools on their compliance with the milk requirements of the Department's school food standards? What assessment has the Minister made of the effect of those standards on milk consumption in primary schools?

A: “We have had one piece of correspondence on milk from a school in recent months. The Department does not collect data on the consumption of milk. The revised School Food Standards are effective from January 1 2015 and designed to be easier to read and implement. A full public consultation on the School Food Standards regulations was held between March 6 and April 16 in 2014. All schools were subsequently notified of the guidance through our termly communications with schools.” The standards and guidance are available on gov.uk at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1603/contents/madehttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-englandhttp://www.schoolfoodplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/School-Food-Standards-Guidance-FINAL-140911-V2C.pdf

Q: What progress had been made on the provision of universal infant free school meals?

A: Universal infant free school meals have been a great success, with over 1.3m additional infants enjoying a nutritious, free meal at lunchtime and parents saving hundreds of pounds a year. She also asked how many Sure Start centres were in operation on March 1, this year. Mr Gyimah said there were 3,331 main children's centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network. Children’s centre records are maintained by local authorities and are made publicly available via the department’s “EduBase portal” at: http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml

Q: how many Sure Start centres were in operation on March 1, 2016?

A: Local authorities listed as being in operation 3,331 main children's centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network.
Children’s centre records are maintained by local authorities and are made publicly available via the department’s “EduBase portal” at: http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml

Jenny asked the Secretary of State for Education a series of written questions on April 27. Here is a summary, with the answers from Sam Gyimah, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

Q: What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the effect of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on the health, wellbeing and performance of young people in schools and colleges?

A: We want children to do well academically. Attainment is supported if students have good health and mental wellbeing and when they have access to specialist mental health services where they need it. The Government is investing an additional £1.4bn in children’s mental health this Parliament. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country have worked with partners, including schools and colleges, to produce local transformation plans for children and young people’s mental health services. These should set out what will be done locally to make the best use of the resources available – changing how child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are delivered in response to the challenges set out in the Future in Mind report and increasing the focus on preventative activity. NHS England has put the plans through an assurance process before releasing funds and is carrying out an analysis of plans to identify practice that can be shared to inform future planning. In addition we have contributed to a £3m joint pilot with NHS England which is testing how single points of contact in CAMHS and schools can secure effective mental health support to pupils. The pilots are involving over 250 schools in 27 CCG areas through joint training, which supports schools and CAMHS leads to identify specific activity to improve support in their area. The Department of Health has commissioned a new survey into the prevalence of mental health conditions in children and young people in England, the first since 2004. They expect this to be published in 2018.

Q: What recent representations has the Department received from primary schools on the requirement to make milk available during the school day? What guidance has it provided to schools on their compliance with the milk requirements of the Department's school food standards? What assessment has the Minister made of the effect of those standards on milk consumption in primary schools?

A: “We have had one piece of correspondence on milk from a school in recent months. The Department does not collect data on the consumption of milk. The revised School Food Standards are effective from January 1 2015 and designed to be easier to read and implement. A full public consultation on the School Food Standards regulations was held between March 6 and April 16 in 2014. All schools were subsequently notified of the guidance through our termly communications with schools.” The standards and guidance are available on gov.uk at:http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1603/contents/madehttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-englandhttp://www.schoolfoodplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/School-Food-Standards-Guidance-FINAL-140911-V2C.pdf

Q: What progress had been made on the provision of universal infant free school meals?

A: Universal infant free school meals have been a great success, with over 1.3m additional infants enjoying a nutritious, free meal at lunchtime and parents saving hundreds of pounds a year. She also asked how many Sure Start centres were in operation on March 1, this year. Mr Gyimah said there were 3,331 main children's centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network. Children’s centre records are maintained by local authorities and are made publicly available via the department’s “EduBase portal” at: http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml

Q: how many Sure Start centres were in operation on March 1, 2016?

A: Local authorities listed as being in operation 3,331 main children's centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network.
Children’s centre records are maintained by local authorities and are made publicly available via the department’s “EduBase portal” at: http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml

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Quizzing the Minister

Jenny asked the Secretary of State for Education a series of written questions on April 27. Here is a summary, with the answers from Sam Gyimah, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

Labour MPs from the region spoke at a Westminster meeting, called by Jenny, on the cuts facing North East councils.

Jenny discussed the challenges facing the North East, in the context of severe cuts to local authority funding from central Government. Unfortunately, despite being well attended by Labour MPs from the region, no Conservative MPs from the region turned up.

Jenny said she was particularly disappointed by the absence of Stockton South MP James Wharton, whom David Cameron had put in charge of the much-touted "Northern Powerhouse" project.

During the debate, she strongly criticised the recently announced funding to soften the impact of cuts, described as 'transitional support', of which 83% has gone to Conservative-led authorities. At the same time, Darlington has received a £44 million reduction in funding between 2010 and 2020 - a 50% cut.

She described how the Government was finding money to give to Greater London boroughs and richer shires like Bucks, Oxfordshire and Surrey.

"But there is nothing for Darlington. Or for Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside," she said.

Communities Minister Marcus Jones said the Government had "done its utmost" to ensure that the settlement was right and fair for all.

Jenny and her colleagues called for a National Audit Office probe into the way the £300m transitional support package had been shared out.

You can see the debate here:

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/b2b6cbee-d351-4f73-b756-50b69f25dcc4

Jenny leads debate on North East council funding

Labour MPs from the region spoke at a Westminster meeting, called by Jenny, on the cuts facing North East councils. Jenny discussed the challenges facing the North East, in the...

In an article for New Statesman magazine, Jenny criticised the Government for claiming that we are living in a 'golden age of childcare' and noted the problems with their approach, including;

- Tax-free childcare promised by Autumn 2015 is now delayed well into 2017

- Childcare places have fallen by 40,000 since 2010 with 10,000 childminders leaving the profession

- Childcare costs have increased, with the Family and Childcare Trust's Annual Childcare Survey noting that (for example) the price of a part-time nursery place for a child under two and an after-school club for a five-year-old is now £7,933 a year

- A third of working parents of children aged three and four, who were promised to receive 30 hours of fre childcare, will now not get it

- Independent analysis for the Pre-School Learning Alliance has revealed there is a £480 million shortfall in funding for the Government's childcare plan

"Childcare is a major barrier to our economic success yet all we get is talk from ministers that everything is golden when time and time again experts warn of serious problems," Jenny said.

"Taken together, these difficulties will be devastating for families up and down the country already feeling the squeeze in their household budgets." 

You can read the full article at:

[ http://www.newstatesman.com/politicis/welfare/2016/02/government-needs-get-grip-childcarev ]

Broken promises on childcare

In an article for New Statesman magazine, Jenny criticised the Government for claiming that we are living in a 'golden age of childcare' and noted the problems with their approach, including;...

Jenny gave an impassioned speech in the Commons last night after Government announces extra £300m for mostly wealthy Conservative-run areas.

Greg Clark, Communities Secretary, insisted the new funding settlement was not about placating Conservative rebels. However several MPs  

Jenny spoke out on the matter, in speech which strongly criticised the Government's approach and labelled their funding strategy as divisive and disgraceful.

She said: "It's extraordinary what this Government has managed to do in pitting town against village, north against the south, the metropolitan areas against the shires - it is disgraceful. I don't resent members opposite being good champions for their areas, winning some extra funding for their councils.

"That's one of the things we're here to do. But I hope they enjoy that extra money they get. I hope they win their shire council seats that it was clearly designed to provide victory for, I hope they enjoy that."

She told MPs that, because of the Government's cuts, both libraries and the central market in her constituency were threatened, 200 jobs were to go and services which were vital to many would be lost.

"My town and the people in my town are angry. I have never seen them this angry before. They are angry about what is going to happen but also about the unfairness."

In response to these criticisms, Greg Clark warned that councils would have to get used to a new world of scarcer cash from central government. 

You can see her speech on Parliament TV here:    

[ http://goo.gl/9U1D18 ]

Anger over 'Disgraceful' Transitional Funding

Jenny gave an impassioned speech in the Commons last night after Government announces extra £300m for mostly wealthy Conservative-run areas. Greg Clark, Communities Secretary, insisted the new funding settlement was...


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