Tuesday 31 March 2015

Makerfield Labour Party launches its General & Local Election campaign with Tristram Hunt

I launched the General & Local Election campaign in Makerfield last night at Wigan Investment Centre.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt joined me in formally launching the campaign attended by Councillors, Labour Party and trade union members.

I will be seeking to hold the Makerfield seat I won in 2010 with a 12,490 majority over the Conservatives.

Earlier in the day, Tristram Hunt and myself held a Q&A with students attending Wigan & Leigh College at the invitation of Principal, Michael Sheehan before both heading to the formal campaign launch at Wigan Investment Centre.

Tristram Hunt said, “Yvonne has campaigned all her working life to fight injustice and speak up for those without a voice. She has used her experiences at work, first as a Housing Officer and later as Chief Executive of a local Citizens Advice Bureau to bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to Parliament.”

“Notably, she led the campaign to regulate payday lenders receiving plaudits from across the political divide.”

Labour’s key pledges ahead of the poll on Thursday, 7th May.

  • Labour will build an NHS with the time to care by hiring an extra 20,000 nurses, 8,000 GPs and 5,000 midwives
  • Labour will raise the Minimum Wage to £8 an hour over the next five years and support employers who pay a living wage
  • Labour will abolish the Bedroom Tax which has affected thousands of households across the Wigan Borough
  • Labour will introduce 25 hours of free childcare weekly to help families
  • Labour will end exploitative zero-hours contracts.

On Thursday, 7th May people in Makerfield will have the opportunity to make a choice, and it could be one of the most important choices they make. It will be a choice between a positive Labour vison that puts working people first, deals with the deficit and protects our NHS or a Tory plan where only a few at the top succeed and public services are threatened.

Fundamentally, it comes down to who we want our country to work for – everyday working people and their families or a privileged few at the top. The Tory experiment has failed and their record on living standards, prospects for our children, protecting our public services and dealing with our nation’s debt is one to run from, not run on.

Labour's local election candidates in Makerfield are as follows:

Abram - Eunice Smethurst
Ashton - Jenny Bullen
Bryn - Nathan Murray
Hindley - Jim Churton
Hindley Green - Frank Carmichael
Orrell - Stephen Murphy
Winstanley - Marie Morgan
Worsley Mesnes - Billy Rotherham

The deadline for registering to vote is 20th April. You can register to vote here. You will need your National Insurance number and it takes only a few minutes to complete the online form.

What's the choice in this election?

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Small firms urged to recruit apprentices after Shannon’s success

The value apprentices can bring to small businesses was highlighted to me by a visit to a growing Wigan firm.

I visited Lilac Lettings based in Ashton, to find out first-hand how they have successfully recruited an apprentice to their small team.

Wigan Council supported Lilac Lettings in recruiting apprentice Shannon Ormesher,18.

As part of its Deal for Business, Wigan Council has invested £1.5m into its business apprenticeship scheme which aims to get 350 young people into work.

Ms Fovargue, who is shadow minister for young people, met Shannon who is proving to be an invaluable employee to the small firm.

Lilac Lettings was founded by Debra Higgins and her sister-in-law, also called Debra Higgins, just three years ago. The company has grown to employ six staff and manage more than 250 properties across Wigan and the wider area.

Shannon, 18, took on the business administration apprenticeship with Lilac Lettings after leaving school and finding that college wasn’t for her.

Now Shannon is loving being an apprentice and is an asset to her firm. Debra said: “We are a small family business and we were getting busier and busier. We wanted to grow the business and take to the next step. We worked closely with Wigan Council to take on an apprentice and it was an ideal situation for us. It’s going really well with Shannon. She’s learnt so much and she’s far more confident than she was. Shannon can grow with us. We are putting a lot of time and effort into her and we are getting a lot back.”

Shannon applied to be an apprentice through the national apprenticeship website.

Shannon said: “It’s good, I really enjoy it. I like the fact I’m not just in the office all the time. I get to go out on viewings and inspections.”

Shannon, who is hoping to stay with Lilac Lettings and further her career, possibly through taking the next level of apprenticeship, said she would advise other young people to take on an apprenticeship.

“It’s a lot better option than going to college. You get good experience and you are getting paid as well,” she said.

Lilac Lettings is a really good example to show that you don’t have to be a big company to take on apprentices. You can be any size of company and benefit from an apprentice. There is also lots of support available to companies and Wigan Council deserves a great deal of praise for how it supports both companies and apprentices.

Councillor David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It is great to hear about so many apprentice success stories happening in Wigan Borough. Credit must go to the local companies who are willing to invest time and energy in our young people and many are reaping the benefits as a result.”

Thursday 12 March 2015

FE News Interview

FE News interview followed my speech at The Voice of Apprenticeships conference in London about Apprenticeships, Advice and Guidance for young people and Labours plans for Government departments working more closely together.

Monday 9 March 2015

Student Question Time

Yvonne Fovargue MP visited St John Rigby College on Friday, 6th March at the invitation of Principal, Peter McGhee.

During the visit which included a tour of the Law and Sociology Departments, the Makerfield MP held a Q&A with students.

Issues raised included Education Inequality, Tuition Fees, Votes at 16 and the National Minimum Wage.

It was good to be able to respond to the issues raised. I was very impressed by the thoughtful and interesting questions put forward by students. It was encouraging to see how engaged and knowledgeable they are about current affairs and the political process.

Principal Peter McGhee said, “It was very much appreciated that Yvonne created the opportunity to visit St John Rigby College at such a busy time.  We are encouraging all eligible students to register to vote and we will be holding our own elections in College on the 7th May.  We have an exceptional group of young people at St John Rigby College and it was wonderful to provide them with an opportunity for a question and answer session with our local MP.”

“Yvonne’s natural engagement and openness with our students illustrated her commitment to young people and to education, something that I was already aware of due to her support and lobbying on behalf of the College regarding current educational policy and the inequity of the ‘learning tax’ applied to sixth form colleges.”