Paul Blomfield - Sheffield Central

Back to Parliament and there's a lot happening this week. Start The Week blog - Monday 23rd February

Weíre back after a weekís recess and thereís lots happening. Tomorrow Iím launching the report of a cross-party inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration that Iíve led on the impact of changes to post-study work routes for international students, and today Iím separately briefing the Immigration Minister and the Shadow Immigration Minister on our recommendations. It might sound a bit obscure to everyone except students, but itís an issue which has set the UK back in recruiting international students who are vital to our economy. Before all of that, Iím welcoming a group of University of Sheffield students to Westminster and holding a Q&A session with them.

Also on Tuesday Iíve been drawn for Health Questions and, if I get called (Iím a bit far down the list), Iíll be pressing Ministers on the withdrawal of a particular funding stream (Minimum Income Practice Guarantee) that is threatening two GP practices in my constituency. Itís something Iíve been campaigning on for a while and Iíd be grateful for all support for the campaign petition Ė sign it here. Later Iíll be at a meeting organised by SIGOMA on fairer funding for local government, which is something Iíve also campaigned on (see here).  

Since my election in 2010, Iíve done more than I ever expected on rail issues, securing an agreement to keep the Sheffield station bridge open and working successfully with Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan (who represents Loughborough) to secure funding for improvements to the Midland Mainline, which will ensure more frequent faster trains to Sheffield. This week Iím meeting with Network Rail to discuss train services in Yorkshire, and with the First Group regarding TransPennine Express services.

Iíve an early start on Wednesday, as Iím speaking at a breakfast seminar organised by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy on ĎThe Wellbeing of Studentsí. Then Iím rushing to the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, where weíre questioning BIS Secretary Vince Cable on the work of his Department. Later Iím at a Delegated Legislative Committee (which does what the title suggests Ė consider minor legislation on behalf of the whole House of Commons) on the Local Government (Transparency) (Descriptions of Information) (England) Order 2015. Iíll also be meeting the Chair of the South Yorkshire Police Federation to discuss police cuts and calling in to a Macmillan Cancer Support event to meet a local constituent and back their ĎCancer Ė Time To Chooseí campaign.

Back in Sheffield on Thursday, Iíll be knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Wybourn and welcoming Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds to speak at a meeting organised by my Constituency Labour Party at Sharrow Community Forum. I do a lot of work with young people and the Youth Parliament and, on Thursday, Iíll be speaking at an event organised for the results of the annual elections to the Sheffield Youth Cabinet

On Friday Iíll be joining the Breakfast Club at Wybourn School and talking to pupils as part of their Careers Week. Then Iíll be visiting Chimo Sheffield Limited to talk about apprenticeship funding, catching up with the Sheffield Telegraph, meeting with the Friends of the Old Town Hall, talking to a campaigner on food poverty, holding one of my regular open advice surgeries and then heading up to Leeds for a Labour Party regional event in the evening. On Saturday Iíll be knocking on doors and meeting constituents in Broomhall, then on Sunday Iím heading up to Dewsbury to help Labourís great Parliamentary candidate Paula Sherriff in her campaign to overturn a Tory majority of 1500.


Signing the Book of Commitment to pledge my support for Holocaust Memorial Day

Tuesday 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day which this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. I have signed the Holocaust Educational Trustís Book of Commitment in Parliament to pledge my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day, to honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust and to pay tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

I visited the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau a few years ago. Itís a powerful symbol of the risks of allowing prejudice and intolerance to go unchallenged. In honouring the victims and survivors of the Holocaust we should all commit to standing up against those who promote division and hatred today. Read more here.


Over £3000 raised to to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa - thank you

A big thank you from me and Linda McAvan MEP to everyone who supported our fundraising appeal for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders). We set ourselves a target of £1000 but have raised three times to reach the huge amount of £3,106. This fantastic sum is a true show of Sheffield solidarity with communities in West Africa that are being devastated by Ebola. MSF staff are working tirelessly to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa and this money will support their heroic efforts. Read more about our fundraising appeal here.


Would you like to visit Parliament?

My next constituency visit to Parliament is on Monday 9th March - would you like to come? Full details about the day are here. To reserve a place please complete the form on the flyer and send it back to me, or contact my office.


I'm honoured to receive the Parliamentarian of the Year award from Citizens Advice

Thursday June 5th - At an event in Westminster yesterday I was honoured to receive the Parliamentarian of the Year 2014 award from the national charity Citizens Advice for my work campaigning for payday lending regulation.

It's a huge honour to receive this award from Citizens Advice. It's a tribute to everyone who has campaigned to stop the payday loan rip-off and forced the Government to act. Ministers could not ignore the sustained pressure from debt and consumer charities, churches, trade unions, MPs, Councils, and the thousands of people who signed our petition saying that the irresponsible behaviour and practices of payday lenders have to stop.

You can read my full press release and comments here.


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