Mary in the Media - August/September 2021
Mary in the Media - August/September 2021

Following the decision by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s ruling in July that there were “failings” in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Mary wrote to the Secretary for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, and the Minister for Pensions, Guy Opperman, to ask for proper compensation for 1950s women that were impacted by the failings of the DWP.

Mary’s demand for compensation was featured in several news outlets including the Financial Times who wrote:

A Labour MP has demanded the government apologise and provide compensation to women affected by the state pension age changes, after its failings in communication were confirmed by the ombudsman… In the letter, sent yesterday (August 3), Foy said there were about 5,600 women in the City of Durham constituency who have been impacted by the changes which were not adequately communicated by the DWP.

Foy said: “Not only have many of these women lost out on thousands of pounds, they are struggling to find employment, are financially dependent on their husbands or partners, and are navigating a complicated welfare benefit system.

Mary’s letter was also featured in the Northern Echo and the Express and highlights Mary’s pride in the Labour Party’s manifesto commitment of compensating for justice for 1950s born women.

It is clear that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has been a news story that has affected many people across the country and indeed across the world. Mary appeared on Bloomberg’s ‘Westminster’ show where she said that Boris Johnson had failed to persuade US President Joe Biden to extend the deadline of withdrawal, warned of the forthcoming humanitarian crisis that would need action from the UK, and mentioned the work that her office were doing to help distressed Afghans leave Afghanistan:

“As an office, we’ve been working tirelessly to secure some sort of evacuation and refuge for these families, however, the processes that we’re faced with are absolutely chaotic and we’ve had very contradictory information coming from the Home Office… It’s clear from the conversations we’ve had that the plan from Britain, from the Home Office, isn’t established yet. We really need clear information from the Government regarding clear and safe routes.”

Mary was also asked about the safety of schools ahead of the return to the classroom at the start of the new academic year. Mary highlighted that she’d been in touch with Durham County Council to ask about their plans to introduce CO2 monitors and ventilators in schools and had pressed the Government on the issues of ventilation. You can find Mary’s letter to DCC below:

Also featuring in the news in the last month was Mary’s role as Co-Chair of the Cerebral Palsy APPG. iNews discussed the case of Helen Hunt, who’s had to move 120 miles away from home and live in a caravan so that her son could attend a school that met his special educational needs.

Mary said

“it was awful to hear of the sacrifices that Helen had made to get proper care for Wilf. Any system that forces these extremes upon parents is clearly not fit for purpose. In the UK, it’s undeniable that there is a postcode lottery for access to services for children with Cerebral Palsy, with the quality of provision varying widely.”


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