Posts Tagged ‘Roberta Blackman-Woods’

Heading for a generation of Neets in the North East

05/12/2011, 02:17:44 PM

by Roberta Blackman-Woods

Last week the chancellor delivered his autumn statement which offered very little to stimulate growth and create employment opportunities for areas of high youth unemployment. Last month figures revealed that youth unemployment has for the first time topped one million in this country and in the North East the situation is extremely troubling.

The government scrapped Labour’s future jobs fund which created over 100,000 jobs for young people. Youth unemployment is now reaching crisis levels, having shot up by 77% this year alone. There are now fewer people moving from benefits into work than at any time since 1998 which the chancellor’s statement fails to address at all.

Whoever the government tries to blame, the fact is Britain’s economic recovery was choked off a year ago and unemployment started rising again well before the recent eurozone crisis. We know this because unemployment rates are time lagged.


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Shadow cabinet “vote for me” letters

15/09/2010, 09:29:16 PM

The shadow cabinet race is well under way, and a welcome distraction from the leadership contest. The decisions have been made and confirmed. The nominations must be in by Wednesday 29 September and the canvassing has begun.

So far we have seen “vote for me” letters from:

Roberta Blackman-Woods

Kevin Brennan

Chris Bryant

Barry Gardiner

Helen Goodman

Tom Harris

Meg Hillier

Huw Irranca-Davies

Sadiq Khan

Ivan Lewis

We will keep posting over the coming days until we, like Bob,  get tired of them:

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First of the ShadCab “vote for me” letters

15/09/2010, 02:46:15 PM

We’re going to post these until we get bored of them.

We think it’s more likely to be days than weeks.

Sent: 14 September 2010 20:00
Subject: Shadow Cabinet Elections

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to let you know that I am standing for the Shadow Cabinet, and to ask you to use one of your votes for me.  My guarantee is this: I will draw on all the talents of the PLP to turn our government-in-waiting into a government in power.

With the clear direction of a new Leader, the Shadow Cabinet team must quickly capture the imagination and hopes of the public with bold ideas and a clear vision of the Britain we want to see. Our cabinet must be truly representative of wider society, with a blend of old-hands and new faces, of gender and ethnicity, of intellect and ideas and passion. We need people with varied life experiences – in direct contrast to the Coalition Cabinet of multi-millionaires.

As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, I will work directly with members of the PLP because we simply cannot ignore this wealth of talent and knowledge. For me, this is more than words: the hallmark of every policy and piece of legislation I have taken through the commons as a Minister – including the Marine and Coastal Access Act last year – has been an active and constructive engagement with colleagues.

My experience as a Minister for the Environment, in the Wales Office, as a Government Whip, and as a parliamentary aide in the Northern Ireland Office, DCMS and DWP has provided a thorough and varied preparation.  Alongside my experience in negotiations with devolved administrations and at the European Council, I can confidently say that I am ready to serve in the Shadow Cabinet.

Before Westminster, I had a successful career in public and private sector management, and in Higher Education, but I began as a sports centre recreation assistant. My wife – an NHS front-liner – and I juggle the responsibilities for three boys aged 14, 13 and 12 with our work. I’ve been through the shock of redundancy – a real lesson in life – subsequently working as a night-shift security guard. These experiences – the knocks and the successes of life – make us what we are, connect us with the people we represent, and make us better politicians.

I have campaigned for this great Labour Party since I was young, as a grassroots activist and community organiser. Having served the party in many capacities, I am now ready to serve in the Shadow Cabinet in preparation for our return to government.

I ask for your support, and I look forward to speaking with you in the next few days.



Huw Irranca-Davies

Shadow Environment Minister


Sent: 15 September 2010 11:54
Subject: Roberta for Shadow Cabinet

Dear colleague,

Sorry to add yet more to your overloaded inbox but I want to let you know that I am standing as a candidate for the Shadow Cabinet and to ask for your support.

Since I arrived in Parliament in 2005 I have shown myself to be a hard working MP who is not afraid to take on the opposition and speak up strongly for the Labour cause.

I am pleased that colleagues elected me a number of times onto the Parliamentary Committee as one of your six representatives. I was a Deputy Minister in the last Parliament and am currently a Shadow Minister in BIS. I have served on the Education Select Committee, the Science and Technology Select Committee and the BIS Select Committee. I also served on 13 Bill Committees and spearheaded new legislation on private rented accommodation and licensing.  Along with other MPs I also led the campaign for universal free school meals in our primary schools.

Before entering parliament I had a successful career in higher education and I now chair the All-Party University Group. I also chair the Associate Parliamentary Group for Afghanistan and the Balanced and Sustainable Communities Group. I have previously been Co-Chair of the Women’s PLP and colleagues recently elected me to Labour’s most senior position within the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as Vice Chair.

I write this to demonstrate that I would very much want to use this experience and expertise to help make the Shadow Cabinet a really effective fighting force.

I am a good listener too and would want to keep open a real dialogue with the PLP. I think this is ever more important as we seek to develop a new set of policies. These need to challenge the Coalition’s damaging and divisive agenda, driven by a right-wing ideology that we need to expose and defeat.

I think it is vital that we elect members of the Shadow Cabinet who not only have stamina, and can inspire and motivate others, but are also team players. Resources are much scarcer in opposition and members of the Shadow Cabinet must be able to make the most of the talents of the Shadow Ministerial teams and the PLP. I think I can do this, but we can also draw on wider support which can help us win our arguments.

For example, there are sympathetic academics I know who will help us gather the evidence we need to undermine the policies of the current government. We didn’t always manage to do this when in government, and it is essential that we do it in opposition so we can win the argument and shape a renewed progressive agenda for Labour.

If elected I would also make sure we keep listening to our party members. They too have expertise and knowledge that we need.

Please do get in touch if you would like further information. I won my Durham seat this year against the odds because of relentless campaigning and hard work, a reputation for listening and delivering, and by mobilising a truly collective effort. I now want to offer these skills and commitment to serving the Labour Party in our Shadow Cabinet.

I hope that you will give me your support.

Best wishes

Roberta Blackman-Woods

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