Kim Leadbeater MP: Transport strike disruption is a major concern

Unfortunately, I know this is a difficult week for many, with increased pressure on finances, along with rail and bus strikes.

By Jane Chippindale
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 3:50 pm

Kim Leadbeater MP writes: Since my last column we have enjoyed the fantastic celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It was

heartwarming to see how people across the country came together in their communities, including here in Batley and Spen, to honour Her Majesty and her 70 years of service. I had a very busy few days trying to attend as many events as possible to show my support for the volunteers and groups who had organised activities all over the constituency; I think I managed to get to 23 events altogether and enjoyed the many conversations (and pieces of cake) I had with people.

Unfortunately, I know this is a difficult week for many, with increased pressure on finances, along with rail and bus strikes going on at the same time. I am very concerned for everybody whose daily lives are being disrupted, especially those who rely on public transport to get to health appointments, to school, to work or to help care for the vulnerable.

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RAIL STRIKE: A week of disruption for millions of people. Photo: AdobeStock

The decision to resort to strike action is never taken lightly and with the spiralling cost of living, soaring inflation and squeezes on household budgets it is understandable that workers want to protect their wages and express their serious concerns about job losses, safety and maintenance. But given the pressures the strikes are putting on so many people I find it extremely disappointing that the Government have sat on their hands when they should have taken the responsible step and got around the table with the unions and the rail companies.

These disputes can only ever be resolved through negotiation and flexibility on both sides and I hope meaningful talks will happen soon before there is even more disruption to people’s lives.

It has been a difficult few days for me personally, as June 16 marked six years since the murder of my sister. I am very grateful for all the messages of support I have received and would like to thank everyone for their kindness and compassion. I hope this coming weekend will be a special one as it’s the

annual Great Get Together held around Jo’s birthday, with events taking place all over the country. You can find out about all the local events by going to http://www.greatgettogether.org/2022

I am delighted to see the return of the annual ‘Run For Jo’ on Sunday June 26, taking place from 9am to 4pm at Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall and The Great Heckmondwike Get Together returning to Green Park on Saturday June 25. There’s an additional highlight this year with my Great Health and Well-being Get Together in Wilton Park in Batley also on Saturday from 10am to 3pm. It has never been more important for us all to look after ourselves, both physically and mentally, and this will be a great opportunity for people to come along to find out what’s available locally and pick up some advice on how to keep healthy and well. There will be health screening carried out by NHS professionals and the opportunity to take part in a range of enjoyable exercise sessions and other activities.

So this weekend will be another fantastic opportunity to show how reconnecting in our community is good for all of us.

It’s coming up to the anniversary of my election as the MP for Batley and Spen on July 1. So much seems to have happened over the last 12 months but it’s a real privilege to represent in Parliament the place where I was born and have always lived. I’ve learned a lot over that time and I discover something new with every conversation I have - in Westminster and the constituency.

I know times aren’t easy for a lot of people at the moment, and there’s real anxiety about what’s to come in the months ahead. Fortunately our community remains strong and supportive and there is help available from a variety of sources including Kirklees Council’s ‘cost of living support’ service and the many charities and voluntary groups in the area.

I want to thank everybody for the support and encouragement I have received over the past year. Representing 120,000 people from such a wide range of backgrounds is not easy as there are inevitably an equally wide range of views and opinions, but I will always listen to the people who put me in this job and

do my very best to serve the interests of all my constituents, whether they voted for me or not.