The cut to Universal Credit (UC) was confirmed and went through on the 6th October 2021. Mary recently wrote an article in the Northern Echo to set out her opposition to the cut which was described as ‘the largest overnight cut to welfare since the establishment of the welfare state.’
Earlier this month, I authored a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was co-signed by all 17 Labour MPs representing the North East, imploring him to reverse his decision to cut £20 a week from our lowest earning families, 60% of whom are in work, but are not paid enough to get by. As Labour MPs we have mounted our united opposition to this policy, knowing fine well the poverty this decision will inflict in the areas we represent.
I’ve heard concerning stories from parents worried about having to choose between heating or eating this winter. They’ve reminded me of my childhood, when during my father’s unemployment in the shipyards, my mother would only put the heating on when ice started to form on the inside of our windows to save money. This shouldn’t happen in the fifth richest country in the world.
Mary also has been speaking about the issue of health in the local region. In addition to her work on the Health and Care Bill Committee, Mary has also been concerned about the news coming out of Darlington regarding delays to treatment.
Speaking to the Northern Echo Mary said:
The reality is that these delays impact the lives of real people and the residents of Durham are being put at risk.
Frustratingly, Government Ministers’ only solution appears to be to cross their fingers and pile more work onto already over-burdened staff.
It simply isn’t good enough.
Last month, a fire broke out at the Milburngate development in Durham City Centre. The situation developed quickly so it was necessary to liaise with the Fire Service to keep people updated. Mary placed on record her thanks to all those involved in extinguishing the flames.
I’d like to thank the emergency services for the swiftly organised response to the fire at the Milburngate development.
I’d also like to extend my thanks to the general public for adhering to the advice given by the emergency services and to local transport providers for diverting services as quickly as possible to try and allow commuters to safely travel out of the city.
Huge disruption was caused but it was dealt with professionally and quickly.
Mary has also commented on the issue of litter outside the Durham City Retail Park which has been a rather contentious issue for residents in the Gilesgate area, especially as McDonald’s and KFC litter has been increasing over the lockdowns. Mary said:
Litter is a huge blight on our communities wherever it comes from, and it is really disappointing that these two companies seem to be the source of the problem in and around Gilesgate Moor and Dragonville.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we are taking our litter home and disposing of it in the right way, and it is in fact an offence to leave litter on the ground, potentially attracting a £150 fine if caught.