This week in Denton & Reddish
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Dear Constituent,

Good afternoon and welcome to this week's edition of the Denton and Reddish Weekly News.

There's lots to update you on, including a successful (if rainy) Friends of the Tame Valley bulb planting session, and lots of goings-on in Westminster.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has slammed the Government after it announced the next stage of its levelling up funding grant – declining once again to provide funding for Denton and Reddish.

Gwynne had supported Tameside Council’s levelling up fund bid, which would have transformed Denton Town Centre, enabling Tameside Council to significantly improve festival town hall, with a new neighbourhood hub for children’s services and new NHS primary care services.

Of the 80 successful bids, only half of are in the most deprived areas of England, with Rishi Sunak’s wealthy constituency of Richmond controversially included.

Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:

“This announcement is the final nail in the coffin of the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

“In 2019, local people were promised investment which would transform neglected communities – particularly in the north of England.

“Since then, overlooked areas have had to scrap for exclusive pots of money in nothing more than a trumped-up smokescreen to hide this Government’s fundamental failure to improve regional inequalities.

“The whole thing is a joke, and I’m beyond angry that yet again local people have been let down. What have residents got to show for 13 years of Tory Government? Less money in their pocket, council finances decimated, decaying town centres and public services in meltdown.

“A General Election can’t come soon enough.”

On Monday, Tory MPs voted through the first stages of a Bill to impose minimum service levels on workers across England, Scotland and Wales. Under these proposals, Ministers would be handed new power to order compulsory ‘work notices’ on striking workers, who could then be sacked for going on strike.

I proudly voted against these measures and have made no secret of the fact that I think they’re unnecessary, unworkable and all-in-all pretty shoddy.

The Government has claimed that they’re rushing through this undemocratic legislation to guarantee public safety, but that just doesn’t wash.

Take NHS staff, for example. Unions already work with Trusts across the country to agree emergency cover during strike action. We’ve all seen the footage of staff breaking picket lines to care for unwell people. If the Government is so concerned about patient safety, what is it doing to tackle soaring ambulance waiting times and A&E waiting lists on non-strike days? Why isn’t it recruiting and retaining more staff?

Strike action is a last resort for our public service workers. Not only do they lose pay, but – and as I know from my own interactions with NHS staff in Tameside – our public services are staffed in the main by people who are wholly committed to supporting the public. The Government could have averted NHS staff strikes if they had met with nurses and discussed – just discussed – pay. They refused. It’s time we saw some minimum service levels from this Government.

In the darkest days of the pandemic, I stood on the doorstep of my home in Denton and clapped NHS staff. I saw families emerge from their homes brandishing pots and pans and banging them as loudly as they could to thank people working around the clock to save lives. It is totally beyond belief that the Prime Minister has now gone from clapping to sacking our NHS staff.

Put aside the moral issues with this strategy. Think about the practical ones, too. The NHS is suffering an acute workforce shortage – why on earth would sacking essential staff help?  The answer is it wouldn’t.

The people I represent here in Tameside deserve serious solutions to a serious problem. Proper investment in our NHS, a transport system that works for them, and access to high-quality education for their kids. This Bill is simply a distraction tactic from a Tory Government out of road and out of ideas, and I won’t fall for it.

Click here to read more of this week's stories
Andrew in the constituency

💚 A huge thanks to all the Friends of the Tame Valley volunteers who braved the torrential rain to help plant two sacks of daffodils and narcissi in Jet Amber Fields on Saturday morning.

Hopefully the footpath from St Anne’s Road to the bridleway will be full of colour this spring. Thanks also to Tameside Council for the kind donation of the bulbs. 🌼

🍽️ Thanks to Three cooks Café in Denton for inviting me to their new business.

A lovely warm cuppa 🫖 was very welcome after a rainy Saturday morning in the Valley… it was also nice to have a good chat with some of the customers too. I’m on a diet or a home cooked breakfast would definitely have been my order, but Lyle loved his chocolate fudge cake!

All food is homemade, and they have daily specials. Today’s was gammon steak. They’re where Di’s Diner used to be on Ashton Road. Please support them if you can!

As previously reported, the Hybrid Bill to bring HS2 to Manchester means that the Metrolink line from Piccadilly to Ashton will be severed and mothballed throughout the construction phase of the new rail line and station.

This is unacceptable and will cause lots of issues for my Audenshaw constituents. All three Tameside MPs strongly object to the plan and we have applied to petition the Bill Committee.

HS2 have accepted that our constituents are affected, but they have legally challenged our right to petition the Committee on the basis that both Tameside Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority can represent these issues instead.

We strongly disagree and will be each appearing in person to challenge this so we can represent the views constituents. Earlier this week we had an excellent briefing on our legal status to be able to challenge HS2’s attempts to silence us. They will not succeed!

Andrew in Parliament

📺 WATCH: Later this year, I'll be taking part in a 'Wing Walk' to raise money for Fundraising for Florence.

For those who don't know, Florence is an incredible girl from Dukinfield with a rare degenerative condition. We're raising money so that Florence can enjoy her life to the fullest and make wonderful memories.

I raised the Wing Walk in Parliament, and even got cross-party endorsement. Please support Fundraising for Florence if you can!

📺 WATCH: The Government's levelling-up programme is in chaos, with allegations of favouritism and poor delivery.

I raise with the Minister the fact that Denton and Reddish has repeatedly been refused Levelling-up applications, and has effectively wasted time and resources through bidding in this flawed process.

Why should we bother applying for the next round now that the Government has proven that, to them, levelling-up is just a pretty slogan?

📺 WATCH: We have an Urgent Question on the appalling actions of the Taliban, who have recently banned women from working in NGOs and aid organisations.

This will have devastating impacts on Afghan women who are aid workers and often the sole breadwinners for their families.

I ask what support the Government is providing to women in Afghanistan who are now unable to work for aid organisations and are facing destitution.

📺 WATCH: In Transport Questions, I raise the ongoing Business Case for a passenger line through Reddish South and Denton, which are currently really poorly served by rail connections.

I want to meet with the Minister to discuss logistics regarding the Business Case, and highlight the way in which this proposed line would benefit growth in the local area.

I'll keep you updated on the outcome!

📺 WATCH: I intervene during my friend Alex Davies-Jones MP's excellent speech in the Online Safety Bill debate. 

This Bill has been watered down, with Rishi Sunak afraid to take on big tech giants. Labour is calling for much tougher laws to keep people safe online. 

I raise the appalling case of a constituent whose daughter was groomed on Spotify, and why it speaks to the urgent need for action.

📺 WATCH: We have a debate on Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). I respond in my capacity as Labour's Shadow Public Health Minister. 

SUDC is the sudden and unexpected death of a child, between 1 and 18 years of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough medical investigation is conducted.

Very little is known about why SUDC occurs, so it's really important that we raise awareness of it, and support research to ultimately tackle this tragic cause of death.

Andrew in the media

📰READ: Thanks to the Manchester Evening News for covering my comments on the Government's decision not to award desperately-needed funding to Denton and Reddish.

Next time you hear the Prime Minister say the words 'levelling up', remember:

📈Regional inequalities have increased since 2019.
💸 Local authority funding has been decimated since 2010.
🤷 The current process pits neglected areas against each other, and an estimated 70% of funding goes to Tory constituencies.

Read the full piece here.

📺 WATCH: On Sky News, I spoke about NHS strikes, and the Tories' refusal to negotiate properly with nurses.

The next Labour Government will roll-out the biggest workforce expansion in NHS history.

That means more doctors, more nurses, and better standards for patients.

📻LISTEN: Great to join Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 live to discuss the workforce crisis in the NHS, as well as Labour's plans for investment and reform. 

When Labour last left office, the NHS had the highest patient satisfaction on record, the shortest waiting times and the shortest waiting lists. In just 13 years, the Tories have torched that golden legacy. 

It's time for change.

📺 WATCH: Good to talk to BBC Politics NW about the really important issue of mental health in rural communities. Mental health services are in crisis across the country.

Labour has committed to recruiting 8,500 new mental health professionals, and placing a mental health hub in every single community. This would be paid for by scrapping tax loopholes for private equity fund managers.

The Tories have no plan, and patients are being let down as a result.

📰 READ: Thanks to The Mirror for so comprehensively and sensitively covering the tragic case of a local family, whose daughter was groomed on Spotify.

I've raised this repeatedly in Westminster, and want assurances that the Government is taking action to ensure this cannot happen again. I also want Spotify to set out what they will be doing to protect children on their platform.

I'll keep pursuing this, and I'm very grateful to the parents for raising this awful case with me. Read the full piece here.

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Andrew Gwynne · 139 St Annes Road · Denton · Manchester, Greater Manchester M34 3DY · United Kingdom

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