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Responding to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement delivered in the House of Commons today, Anna said:

“Today the Chancellor admitted what Labour have been saying for the past six years – austerity has deprived our country of the investment it vitally needs, dragging down productivity, wages and growth. Ordinary working people on Teesside have paid a heavy price for the Tories’ slow recovery. I hear from too many people, at my surgeries and on the doorstep, struggling in low paid jobs and insecure work and there was very little to help them today.

“Labour have repeatedly called for more investment in infrastructure and for investment in new technology and innovation in industry so the change of tack on that is welcome. It is just a shame that the Government did not hold this view last year when the steel industry vitally needed support and protection. The Government can find money to invest in grand houses, like Wentworth Woodhouse and Buckingham Palace, but were not willing to invest in one of Europe’s most efficient and productive steelworks, SSI’s plant in Redcar. Now, too many of the men and women who worked at the plant in Redcar are still looking for work or have taken significant reductions in wages.

“I hope Teesside will see some of the investment promised today to help create the new, decent jobs we need. A good start would be to back MPI’s bid for a materials catapult. On Teesside we are already attracting international interest in our work on new industrial materials technology and there is great potential for us to become a world leader in this, bringing new investment and jobs here. The proof on the Chancellor’s support for industry and local growth will be in the detail.

“I also hoped to see some real support for low and middle income families who need a boost. Any rise in the minimum wage is welcome but £7.50 is well short of the £8.45 the independent Living Wage Commission calculates people need to cover the cost of living. Changes to the taper rate of Universal Credit also fall well short of reversing the cuts announced by George Osborne which penalise people striving to work.

“After a tough six years of austerity and job losses, there wasn’t enough in today’s statement to give Teesside’s economy the boost it needs.”

Anna's response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2016

Responding to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement delivered in the House of Commons today, Anna said:

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Redcar MP, Anna Turley, has shown her support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence. A Private Member’s Bill that sought to introduce such training was debated on 18th November but was not voted on due to a lack of time.

Anna spoke to guide dog owners at an event in Parliament last week who told her how taxi and minicab drivers refused to carry them because they had their guide dog with them. They explained that they had missed important appointments due to the refusals and how it had left them anxious and reluctant to use taxis and minicabs again.

Although the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of people living with sight loss were turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have illegally been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.

Guide Dogs is calling for disability equality training to be made a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the rights and needs of disabled people and how to welcome assistance dog owners.

Anna said:

“It is shameful to hear from so many people who are illegally turned away from taxis and minicabs because they travel with an assistance dog. I’m asking the Government to act to ensure all taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training so they are aware of the law and how to assist their disabled customers in the right way.”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:

“Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog. This discrimination is not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and can stop them doing everyday things that most people take for granted.”

The Disability Equality Training (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers) Bill, introduced by Andrew Gwynne MP, was not voted on due to a lack of time. Transport Minister John Hayes indicated support for ending the discrimination and promised the issue would not be dropped.

“Stop discrimination against disabled people” says Anna

Redcar MP, Anna Turley, has shown her support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence. A Private Member’s Bill that sought to introduce such...

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There are over 100,000 people of working age who are deafblind and living in the UK. However, a new report from the disability charity Sense, has revealed that, although many of them are keen to enter the workforce, only a shocking 4% of 18 to 24-year-olds who are deafblind are actually in employment – a rate almost ten times lower than the employment rate of non-disabled young people – and the employment rate of deafblind people over the age of 24 is just 20% - almost four times lower than the national average.

More broadly, with 46% of disabled people out of work, the rate of employment of disabled people is 30% lower than that of non-disabled people. These striking statistics reveal how important it is that the right support structures are in put in place so that those who want to work, can.

With the Government now publishing their Green Paper on disability employment, and reaffirming their commitment to halving the disability employment gap, it is essential that all disabled people who want to work - especially those with more complex conditions such as deafblindness - benefit from the extra resources being put in to place. I share Sense’s belief that disabled people who want to work, fulfil their ambitions, and play active roles in their communities, should be supported to do so. Everyone should be empowered to fill their potential.

In their report, Sense undertook research with people who are deafblind of all ages and in differing employment situations, from actively seeking work to running their own business. The final report, Realising Aspirations For All, revealed the multitude of barriers faced by people who are deafblind, both to enter employment and to progress when in the work place.

The report highlighted the appalling situation that currently prevails, where support programmes and employment support providers are failing to provide the right level and type of support for disabled people to enter, and maintain, employment. The situation is exacerbated by some employers, who lack awareness of existing support schemes, run inaccessible recruitment processes, and harbour negative views about the abilities of disabled people in the work place.

To address these failures Sense is calling on the Government, employment support providers, and employers, to make targeted support available, to increase the accessibility of employment, and to give disabled people equal opportunities to realise their aspirations.

An important first step is for the introduction of specialist support models targeted at people who have more complex support needs and are not likely to benefit from the Work and Health Programme, and trials of innovative specialist support models using the Innovation Fund from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health (DH).

These efforts should be complemented at a local level by a better understanding of the demands of the local labour market so employment support providers can proactively reach out to employers, encouraging applications from disabled people.

The impact of the correct support and guidance for disabled people to access work can make the world of difference. Sense highlights the case of Bethany, who is 23, born deaf and with deteriorating vision. Receiving support meant she could go from struggling to find employment, to growing in confidence and working towards starting her own business.

The new report provides an important opportunity to build a more inclusive, diverse and meaningful society that enables everyone to contribute. I join Sense in calling on the Government to do all it can to make this a reality. 

Anna backs report calling for more employment support for disabled people

There are over 100,000 people of working age who are deafblind and living in the UK. However, a new report from the disability charity Sense, has revealed that, although many...

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MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has backed the ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, led by shopworkers’ union USDAW, calling for an end to abuse in the workplace.

During this year’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week (14th to 20th November), USDAW have revealed shocking statistics which show nearly one in ten shopworkers have been assaulted in the course of their duties, but almost a third of them didn’t report the incident.

Anna said:

“This is a really important campaign led by USDAW to raise awareness of the abuse, threats and violence that shopworkers have come up against in the course of doing their job. No one should have to put up with this kind of behaviour at work.

“Shop workers are the back bone of our retail sector and I am proud to be supporting USDAW’s campaign to ensure they are treated with the respect they deserve.

“I urge everyone to remember, especially during this busy Christmas shopping period, that if you are out shopping and tensions are running high, retail workers are just doing their job so don’t lose your cool.”

 

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail staff about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with employers to promote respect and make shops safer for staff and customers alike.

“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender isn’t even charged, victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted. That can lead to staff not reporting incidents and our strong message is ‘report it, to sort it’.

“So there needs to be action to help protect staff. It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals. On four separate occasions Parliament has had the opportunity to toughen the law to better protect shopworkers, but each time the Tories and Liberals have combined to block Labour’s attempts.”

“This week our members are out campaigning on high streets, in shopping centres and stores; talking to the public and asking them to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

Anna Turley backs shopworkers’ campaign against workplace abuse

MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has backed the ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, led by shopworkers’ union USDAW, calling for an end to abuse in the workplace.

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Teesside MPs Tom Blenkinsop and Anna Turley, today led a debate on the future of the UK steel industry in parliament.

During the debate, which they secured, Tom and Anna raised a number of issues from the challenge of Chinese steel dumping to future of the former SSI site in Redcar. 

The debate was well attended by members from a variety of different parties. 

 

Tom, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said:

"I am glad members from across the house were given the opportunity to push the government again on this issue. 

"Just because steel has fallen down the news agenda doesn't mean the industry has overcome the challenges it was facing only a few months ago. The government needs to act on Chinese steel dumping, access to European markets, energy costs and to support innovation in the sector."

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Specifically, several MPs called for the creation of a Materials Catapult to boost research and development in the sector. 

 

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said:

“The steel debate has highlighted the importance of continued innovation-support for the future of the UK steel industry, through the development of a Materials Catapult in the region, to keep UK manufactures on the front foot in responding to the international market.

“The North East has a proud and prestigious history of steelmaking and has built extensive expertise in production and processes. The Materials Processing Institute continues to develop and share this expertise with international steelmakers, which would be bolstered by the creation of a Materials Catapult.”

 

Anna's speech focused on the inaction of the government during the SSI closure and the fact the site was now currently in limbo.

 

Anna, MP for Redcar, said:

“I took the opportunity again today to raise the deadlock around the future of the former SSI site with the Minister. The site is stuck in faraway wrangles between the official receiver and faceless banks in South East Asia and there are no signs of progress. I have met with serious potential investors who are looking very closely at Teesside and are attracted by the key strengths we have but we need the site to be liberated. The businesses of Teesside are ready to rebuild, invest, regenerate and bring much needed jobs to our area but not being able to redevelop the steelworks site is a big stumbling block.”

 

In response to the debate, Nick Hurd, the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, denied the government was not acting to solve the crisis which continues to embroil the steel industry and reiterated their commitment to securing the future of UK steel.

Teesside MPs lead steel debate in parliament

Teesside MPs Tom Blenkinsop and Anna Turley, today led a debate on the future of the UK steel industry in parliament.


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