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Rachael's Column: The Fight for Equality

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York has a history of pioneering women from chocolate’s Mary Craven to educator Mary Ward but it wasn’t until 2015 that York sent a woman to Parliament. 100 years ago, York women, joined forces with women across the country to fight for the right to vote, as depicted so well in last year’s York Theatre Royal production of ‘Everything is Possible’. Until this point, women were not deemed capable of determining who should govern them, let alone govern themselves.

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Speaking up for women

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This year marks 100 years since women won the right to vote, and while women have made so many advances in society, the news this year has shown that we have a long way to go.

As the first women MP for York in 800 years, I have made it my focus to speak up for women. Only this week, having talked to so many women in the city, I asked the Government were addressing cases where women are perpetually taken to the family courts by a former partner.

The news has been littered with stories about the exploitation and objectification of women this year. On 1 January, we heard how Toby Young had been appointed to public office, resigning after MP’s highlighted a string of offensive tweets directed at women as well as controversial writing about working-class students. We have since had the disgraceful President’s Club story, where hired hostesses at a men-only dinner were exploited and harassed. The #MeToo campaign has highlighted the extent of exploitation of women. I have taken up a campaign locally to ensure that those who have experienced sexual trauma, get the support they need.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

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Last week Rachael Maskell MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

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Carillion Crisis

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Carillion

Last July the Government was scrutinised over the profit warnings issued against Carillion, which employs 20,000 people across the country, including people here in York. Many of these infrastructure companies run contracts from Government and the wider public sector, with a model of creaming off the profits and holding down workers’ wages.

While Carillion does a lot of work in the rail industry, it also has contracts with hospitals, local government, prisons, and right across the public sector. These companies have overstretched themselves and through a risk-based approach, has put at risk the jobs and apprenticeships of thousands of workers.

While other companies are in a similar position to Carillion, Carillion hit the buffers earlier this month, and while the shareholders looked after themselves, it has put many people out of work. Corporate greed at the expense of a fair deal for workers, the real wealth earners, is rampant across the economy, and that is why Labour has been setting out an alternative business model this last week. We would end the contract culture, and ensure that as much as possible is run by the public for the public. In the sixth richest nation, I believe that we need to see a far fairer distribution of wealth.

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HMS York

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Rachael Maskell MP for York Central has written to the Secretary of State for Defence to call for one of the eight new Royal Navy Type 26 Frigates to be named the HMS York.

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Happy Christmas 2017

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Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With warm regards,
Rachael Maskell MP
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Planting trees at St Nicks Nature Reserve

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At St Nicks Nature Reserve in York, Rachael Maskell MP joined volunteers this week to plant new trees on the site.

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Rachael Maskell helps collect groceries for York Food Bank

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Today, 2 December, Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, will join people collecting food for the Trussell Trust outside a branch of Tesco in York.

From Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 2, more than 2,600 Tesco stores across the UK are taking part in the annual Food Collection, which encourages shoppers to donate long-life foods to help charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network to give food and support to people who might otherwise go hungry this Christmas.

The MP is visiting the Tesco store in Low Ousegate to support the appeal, which last year collected 3.6 million meals for people in need.

The food donated to foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network is given in emergency food parcels to people referred because they cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. Food donated to FareShare is distributed to charities and community groups who use it to provide meals for vulnerable groups such as isolated older people and those in homeless shelters.

 

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York MP - the Budget doesn’t offer York any help.

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In Westminster, yesterday evening, 27 November, York Central’s MP, Rachael Maskell, spoke about how the Chancellor’s budget offered people in York no support or relief from the harsh policies of the Conservative Government.

Ms Maskell pointed out that after seven years of austerity seeing a decrease in growth, productivity and wages the Chancellor offered no hope to York, which during this time had been significantly affected. Soaring house prices had seen a dramatic increase in the number of people unable to access housing, decreases in school funding has seen York schools becoming the worst funded schools in the country, the local economy is threatened with job losses, like with the barracks closures, while there is little growth and Brexit uncertainty is risking further employment security. She also highlighted how the Government’s promise at the last budget to consult on business rates had yet to take place, while local businesses are seriously challenged by the current rates.

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Keep the Guard on the Train

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This morning, Rachael Maskell MP for York Central joined workers from Northern Rail in the RMT union at York Railway Station as they strike to save the job of the guard on trains.

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Stay Well This Winter

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Today, Wednesday 8 November, Rachael Maskell MP visited the Day Lewis Pharmacy on Front Street, Acomb to learn more about how North Yorkshire Community Pharmacies are supporting the NHS England and Public Health England national campaign to help people prepare for winter weather. The message is to “Stay Well This Winter” and to encourage people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures. Click here to read the Minster FM article.

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Friends of Acomb Park

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Click here to watch the full video of Rachael Maskell MP and Councillor Stuart Barnes discussing the council’s plan to build on the old Manor School playing fields and why they support the Friends of Acomb Park project to save the green space.

Show your support for Friends of Acomb Park by clicking here and following on Facebook.

Rachael Maskell MP said: “Labour recognise the need for more housing, especially affordable housing; without it we will continue to see many working people struggle to buy homes in York, and will see rents continue to rise, making life harder for people and making it more difficult for York to attract the key workers it needs such as nurses, teachers and social workers."

“Nevertheless, the British Sugar site in Acomb is already going to provide more than a thousand homes, and the area needs to preserve this green space for the benefit of residents.”

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Rachael Maskell MP to meet with minister over York’s NHS trust

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Today in Health Questions, Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central pressed the Health Minister, Steve Brine MP to meet to discuss York’s health economy.

Ms Maskell has outlined on several occasions how York has had sustained underfunding, to match the demographic composition of people across the city and surrounding rural catchment area. Click here to see the full Minster FM article

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Huge support for ‘Friends of Acomb Park’

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A new campaign group set up to save playing fields in Acomb from being used for housing development has attracted huge support from residents of all ages.
 
Labour Councillor for Acomb Ward, Stuart Barnes, called the public meeting to bring the local community together after council bosses identified the playing fields of the former Manor School site on Boroughbridge Road as an area to be used for housing.
 
More than 80 residents attended the meeting at Lidgett Methodist Church, which discussed the history of the site which had been known as Acomb Park in the 19th Century, long before it became Manor School in 1965. Click here for the York Press article.
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Rachael Maskell MP’s weekly update 15th October

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Rachel Maskell MP’s Weekly update, topics include Brexit, the NHS, Division in the Tory party and what it means to be a Coop MP.

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Rachael Maskell calls for an end to fracking and investment in green energy

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Rachael Maskell visits the campaigners up at the Kirby Misperton fracking site calling for an end to fracking and investment in green energy.

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World Homelessness Day, 10th of October 2017

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Today is World Homelessness day, I spent Sunday evening talking with York’s homeless community, charities and other support agencies.

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At Kirby Misperton Fracking Site

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Rachael Maskell MP for York Central joined with anti-fracking campaigners at the gates of the fracking  site in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale yesterday to call for an end to fracking and for the local Council to listen to the objections from the local community.

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September Update

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Click here to view my weekly video update from Westminster

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Rachael Maskell MP: Calling for fairer business rates for Pubs

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Pubs are important community hubs in York, and across the UK they provide 850,000 jobs. We must try to ensure that pubs continue to play their important role in British life.

Before the Spring Budget, a number of organisations joined CAMRA in calling for support for pubs facing significant increases in their business rates due to the revaluation which comes into force in April. I supported this call as I know the detrimental impact that this is having on pubs.

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