Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff on Holocaust Memorial Day, cuts to public transport and Brexit

The Weeping Sisters were created in Dewsbury for Holocaust Memorial Day.
The Weeping Sisters were created in Dewsbury for Holocaust Memorial Day.

I started the week at a service of remembrance at Dewsbury Town Hall. It gave me pause to reflect on the need to come together and unite against hate and extremism in all its forms, WRITES PAULA SHERRIFF, MP FOR DEWSBURY AND MIRFIELD.

The Holocaust Memorial Day event was deeply moving, particularly the powerful depiction of The Weeping Sisters, which were created here in Dewsbury.

The lessons we can learn from the horrors of the holocaust should be enduring, and down in Westminster, making decisions on the deeply divisive and far reaching issues that have been thrown up this week, I’ve carried with me the need to reunite as a community and as a country.

With the Conservatives voting on Tuesday to let the Prime Minister waste another two weeks until Brexit, and a damaging no deal is still an option, we need to act with determination and respect to find a path that brings us together, and works for communities like ours.

I’m not taking any decision on this weighty issue lightly, and, although everyone is understandably fed up with the whole process, it’s too important to just walk away.

I’ve resolved to do all I can to prevent a disastrous no deal. Nobody voted to put their working rights at risk. Or to be left without essential trade and agreements that allow our planes to land and our food and medicines to be regulated.

Yet this is not the only important issue worthy of scrutiny, and in Parliament I’ve raised other issues that have been slipping under the radar. The impact of staffing shortages affecting our NHS, I’ve tackled the appalling performance of rail operating companies in our region, and raised wider concerns about our public transport network.

Funding for our bus services has been halved in the past eight years.

We’ve seen the impact - cuts have meant routes being altered or withdrawn completely – and local people often tell me of the difficulties they face in accessing much needed services.

The impact of failed deregulation is that fares have risen and passenger numbers have fallen by over a third. But our bus services continue to play an important role in our communities – they’re vital for our economy, to get people into work, school and access essential services.

The same story is being told across the country. It’s time for our bus services to be regulated locally, so that the fares, routes and timetables serve our communities first, ahead of the interests of private profit.

This week we’ve also seen analysis published by the Centre for Cities that, unsurprisingly, shows austerity has hit Northern communities hardest.

Social isolation, poverty and a lack of opportunity are all things that have been exacerbated by cuts and austerity, and contribute to a feeling of social exclusion and marginalisation that cannot and should not be disregarded.

If we want to bring people together in this time of division and uncertainty, we need to tackle deprivation and decline.

I’ll keep fighting for the best for Dewsbury, Mirfield Denby Dale and Kirkburton.

As always, if there’s anything I can do to help you or your family, on these or any other issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me by emailing paula@paulasherriff.org.uk, calling my office on 01924 565450 or writing to Paula Sherriff MP, The Old Dewsbury Reporter Building, 17 Wellington Road, Dewsbury, WF13 1HQ.