This week is Apprenticeship Week which is a great opportunity to celebrate training providers like the YMCA, who I am a parliamentary champion for. I hosted their annual reception and met both apprentices and employers, hearing about how the YMCA works to improve their chances in life in both education and work.
On which subject, this constituency is brilliantly served by some great 6th Form colleges, like Barton Peveril and Peter Symonds. I was elected this week as a Vice Chair of the APPG for Sixth Form Education. This APPG provides an opportunity for cross party working to support our colleges and to improve our education system. Slightly earlier on in the education journey I met pupils from both Wellow and Awbridge primary schools on Wednesday when they visited Parliament. I was impressed with their probing questions and desire to learn more about how Parliament works..
Fifty years on from the Equal Pay Act 1970, I spoke at a Fawcett Society event on how we can make equal pay fit for the 21st century. The Government has done excellent work in introducing mandatory pay reporting for companies with 250 employers or more. We must build on this progress and ensure nobody is discriminated against in the workplace. As the Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee it is my job to scrutinise how well the Government Equalities Office is doing, and I look forward to working with The Fawcett Society over the coming years.
Finally this week, I will be marshalling the ‘LOVE’ run which is being held to protest against the proposed plans for a massive incinerator between Longparish and Barton Stacey. This run is designed to show how many villages in the constituency will be negatively impacted by the incinerator. I hope we see a good turnout on this run and fingers crossed the weather isn’t as terrible as forecast.
February 13th 2020
Last Friday five local choirs came together for an evening of song in support of the Jumbulance Trust, which makes accessible travel possible for adults and children who are disabled or have serious or complex health conditions. There was a packed audience in the Abbey for the concert and I have no doubt there will be another full house for a musical performance this Friday at Romsey School’s performance of High School Musical.
After marshalling Sunday’s wet and windy ‘Love Run’ highlighting the proposed incinerator between Longparish and Barton Stacey, I was back in Westminster Hall this week for another debate on Waste Incineration Facilities. The Government has bold ambitions through the Environment Bill to create a cleaner and greener environment for us, for our children and for generations to come. I urged the Minister, to make sure she has as tight a grip as possible on the future waste strategy, so we don’t keep seeing more and more incinerators being built, tying us to old technologies for generations to come.
It has been a week of visits from young people, and following last week’s tour of Westminster by Wellow and Awbridge Schools this week it was Halterworth Primary School’s turn. There was a great Q&A session with the pupils, a deep dive into housing policy and also a great question about criticism of politicians. I told the pupils about the constituent who calls me “fatty (affectionately)” and those who choose to email me about my clothes. Hot on the heels of Tracy Brabin’s dress, it still seems it is easier to criticise women for what they wear or look like than what they say. I also had the wonderful experience of meeting a group of 8 year old girls from Bethnal Green who were taking part in the I Can Be project. They were funny and clever and mostly determined to be doctors or lawyers – so crucial to have big goals. I told them to think big and never be put off by men who tell them what they can and can’t achieve (or what to wear).