Last week, I was sworn in for a second term as the MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton.
It was one of the proudest and most humbling moments of my life and, as I said in my column in The Press a couple of weeks ago, I’m determined to keep standing up for local people and our area.
I’ve set out to do just that, and from speaking out against NHS cuts at the Party in the Park rally organised by ‘Hands off HRI’, to taking the government to task over their cuts to school funding; and from speaking out in Parliament against the Tories’ damaging public sector pay freeze, to calling for our area to get its fair share as the PM does a costly deal with the DUP, it’s great to be back!
In all seriousness, there is a great deal to get stuck into, and I’m not wasting any time.
The election, just a few weeks ago, was called by the Prime Minister with the sole purpose of bolstering her majority in Parliament.
But instead she put her party’s interests ahead of the good of the country and now she’s doing it again.
Whilst people here in the Dewsbury constituency and across our region are expected to endure cuts to our essential public services in the name of this government’s austerity cuts, the Tories have found more than 100 million per DUP MP to prop up their weakened Government.
On top of this they are still giving away billions in capital gains tax, corporation tax and inheritance tax.
As the Government focus their efforts on shamelessly clinging to power, our firefighters, police officers, and medical services continue to show extraordinary professionalism.
Over recent months we have tragically been reminded of the dangers that our emergency services heroically run towards.
The public sector pay freeze has to end – it’s time that they were treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
From firefighters risking their lives to save people from Grenfell Tower, to the police and medical staff who deal with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, to the teachers putting in overtime to teach our children, their work is fundamentally important to all of us – and it benefits no-one for these roles to be devalued.
We’ve seen the impact of austerity policies on public services in our area – our NHS trusts have struggled with wage bills for temporary and agency staff and continue to face a significant staffing crisis.
Schools face a high turnover of teaching staff and, with funding cuts on the way to every one of our schools over the next few years, the situation is not likely to improve.
Please be assured that I will keep fighting for every one of you both here and in Parliament and, as always, if there is anything you want me to look into on your behalf my office is open from Monday to Friday and we can be contacted on 01924 565450 or email paula@paulasherriff. org.uk.