I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and as we look back on 2021, I want to give you an update on the some of the work I have been doing as your Member of Parliament for East Hull.
I want to say thank you to all those who have been going above and beyond during this terrible pandemic, despite the hardship I know too many have experienced. The news of what happened in Downing Street last Christmas will feel like a kick in the teeth in the face of the country’s sacrifices, but I take pride in seeing our community still coming together to make sure no one is left behind.
At the very beginning of year, I raised the issue of The Kirkella, which catches between 8-12% of the cod and haddock destined for Britain’s chippies, which had been left without access to fishing grounds off Norway and Greenland. Due to the Government’s failure to negotiate a new deal for them, fishermen were left uncertain if or when they will be able to return to sea. We are, rightly, incredibly proud of our fishing heritage in Hull, but it deserves to be part of our future too, with local fisherman bringing home the catch for the national dish.
In March, I was proud to secure over 1,150 laptops secured for East Hull Primary Schools from Cranswick PLC, after too many children had missed out on vital learning because there wasn’t an adequate device or internet to connect it to at home. This generous donation allowed those children not only to access remote lessons but to have the best possible chance of catching up and fulfilling their potential when schools went too.
After a hard battle with the Rugby Football League, a Probationary Elite Academy Licence was awarded to Hull Kingston Rovers, after their initial decision to remove it. I was chuffed about this victory as I took on this fight on behalf of the club, the young players, the fans, and everyone who loves rugby league in this city. This wouldn’t have happened without rugby league fans being loud and proud and backing myself and others to make right the injustice that had been done to our game in the East side of our city.
Along with the entire Labour Party, I fought hard to oppose the £20 per week cut to Universal Credit by this Tory Government. I warned of families in East Hull being forced to make terrible choices between clothing, heating, and food on the table. The extra £20 a week has been an absolute lifeline to so many in East Hull and across the country, but the Tories were dead set on snatching it away. It’s unforgivable and has led to many families making tough choices this Christmas.
I also stood up against Fire and Rehire, a despicable practice, were workers face the sack unless accepting a new, worse contract, which too many bad employers have used Covid as an excuse for. It would be like Father Christmas laying off the Elves unless they signed a new contract, usually on worse pay and or terms and conditions, and without any Mince pie breaks. However, we saw that the Government refuse to take action by shamefully voting against a Bill to outlaw it.
Last week, I held a debate in Parliament calling on the Government to officially recognise Hull’s Lost Trawlermen’s Day as a national day of remembrance for fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. Fishing communities up and down the country share that experience – fishermen have often paid the ultimate price to put the national dish on the table. This has been under-recognised for too long at a national level. I was pleased that the Maritime Minister Robert Courts MP committed to explore the proposal further and engage with me and other supportive Members of Parliament.
My office has been incredibly busy helping thousands of people in East Hull this year with individual problems and enquiries. Assisting local people is something I take great pride in but it is not something I do alone, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my staff who again this year have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to allow me to keep fighting hard on behalf of residents. As ever, we are here to assist all residents of East Hull, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.
I ask everyone to keep safe this Christmas and enjoy the festive season and wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.