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Kate has expressed concern at statistics showing that nearly half of children in Stretford and Urmston receiving Free School Meals (FSM) don’t reach the expected level of speech and language skills by age five.

The statistics from charity Save the Children, show that 27 per cent of local children did not reach the expected levels of speech and language skills by the time they were five years old.

This increased to 47 per cent of the children on free school meals, meaning that children from the poorest families are twice as likely to fail to reach the expected level of attainment by the age of five.

Research by Save the Children shows that falling behind at an early age has a significant impact on their attainment throughout school and their prospects in adulthood.

This isn’t the first time that Kate called out huge inequalities between children in Trafford.

Kate wrote to the Conservative Leader of Trafford Council, Sean Anstee, back in January, to express her anger that, in some areas of Trafford, almost half of all children are growing up in poverty.

There are huge contrasts in the levels of child poverty across the borough of Trafford - 41 per cent of children are growing up in poverty in Bucklow St Martins, which includes Partington, Carrington and parts of Sale, compared with just six per cent in Timperley.

Mr Anstee responded to Kate with a list of measures that the Council is taking to reduce child poverty.

He claimed that “Targeted work has been undertaken in those schools with a higher proportion of children in receipt of Free School Meals, with some real improvement in reducing the attainment gaps over recent years.”

However, these Save the Children figures reveal there is still a big gap in attainment between the youngest children getting Free School Meals and those who don’t.

Last week the Tory government voted through changes in Universal Credit which will leave over 4,000 poor children in Trafford without a Free School Meal.

Kate said, “We should be concerned when any young child doesn’t meet the expected requirements for speech and language skills. But it’s a disgrace that in Stretford and Urmston, how well you’ll get on at school is determined by how much money your family have got, even at the young age of five.  

“Though Trafford Council say they’re taking action to reduce the difference between the richest and the poorest, it’s clear that more needs to be done.

“I’ll continue to press the Council and the government at every opportunity to make sure that all children across Trafford have a fair start in life.”

Kate concerned over lack of support for disadvantaged local children

Kate has expressed concern at statistics showing that nearly half of children in Stretford and Urmston receiving Free School Meals (FSM) don’t reach the expected level of speech and language skills...


Having arrived back home last Thursday for my usual round of constituency visits and activities, I found myself making a daytrip back to London on Friday - I spent a lot of the end of last week on trains.

But in a very important cause: I went to London to be sure to vote for the Refugee Family Reunion bill. This will give refugees better access to advice, it will help us to settle more child refugees here, and reunite them with their families. 

Normally, I wouldn’t be in parliament on Fridays, as we don’t vote on government business that day, and the backbench members’ bills that are debated on Fridays have little chance of becoming law. So MPs like me prioritise constituency work on Fridays. But sometimes there is a possibility of forcing the government to give time for these bills, especially when they have cross-party support, and that was the case last week. We needed 100 MPs to vote the bill through, so 100+ of us who thought this bill was very important made the trip to be there. I am glad to say it was worth the journey - we won the vote, and the bill will now proceed to the next stage of the parliamentary process.


And on the subject of making refugees welcome, thanks to everyone who attended my community consultation event at Limelight last Saturday to contribute to Andy Burnham’s commission on integration and tackling hatred and extremism. We’re writing up the notes of the discussion to feed into Andy, and I’ll publish them on my website too.


In parliament this week, I’ve been concentrating on some of the issues raised with me in the constituency. I attended a packed out debate about access to a new drug, Orkambi, for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. This powerful and life changing product has yet to be approved by NICE (the body which gives permission for medicines to be used in the NHS), as the NICE rules are proving too inflexible to assess it appropriately. But many MPs, myself included, know from our constituents just what a difference this drug could make, and the debate was a good opportunity to press the minister to look again at the NICE process. 

I spent a morning at a seminar on the future of social care, a huge issue for us in Trafford. New figures have shown nearly half of Trafford care homes require improvement, it’s becoming harder and harder to recruit home care workers, and providers of care say the contracts they receive from the council don’t cover the living wage,  travel costs, and the cost of running their business. We desperately need a new model of providing and paying for care, and this is becoming all the more acute as we all live longer. 

I attended a briefing given by the DWP minister about new rules that mean people on benefits now have to take a loan to cover their mortgage interest - previously this was paid as part of benefits. I have heard from many disabled constituents who are really worried about the change in rules, and I and other MPs present pressed the minister to reconsider, or at least slow down, the plans. I’m afraid our pleas fell on deaf ears, but we will be keeping up the pressure. 

Much excitement back in the constituency on Thursday when Jeremy Corbyn and shadow cabinet colleagues came to launch Labour’s local election campaign. Everyone here knows how badly Tory cuts are affecting local services - I hear complaints about our parks, roads, youth services, and bins whenever I’m on the doorstep. We’re working really hard in Trafford to win seats from the Tories so that we can prioritise these basic services that people really value and need, and ensure all parts of Trafford are treated fairly, so it was great to have Labour’s top team here to kick off the campaign. But I was even more delighted that Jeremy visited Stretford High to participate in a Q&A with students there - thanks for making us so welcome at school, and I must say I was glad I wasn’t the one having to answer the tough questions!

Finally, was good to meet up with the Jewish Leadership Council, to discuss the work of the Jewish community in Manchester. Although I don’t represent many Jewish families in Stretford and Urmston, many constituents have contacted me to express their deep concern and revulsion at growing antisemitism. I discussed this in detail with the JLC, how we challenge and change behaviour, and how we can celebrate and highlight the value of the Jewish contribution to our community, culture and history, and I’m looking forward to working with other MPs to give this issue higher profile in parliament. And closer to home, one clear message coming out of our community consultation event last Saturday was that people want to learn more about other cultures and faiths - so I’d love to hear your ideas about how we could do that as a means to tackle prejudice, hatred and discrimination. 

A packed week raising constituency issues in parliament, with an exciting visit at the end!

Having arrived back home last Thursday for my usual round of constituency visits and activities, I found myself making a daytrip back to London on Friday - I spent a...


Kate joined the Leonard Cheshire disability charity at a parliamentary event to highlight their #MakeCareFair campaign for good quality social care and an end to rushed 15 minute personal care visits which can deprive people of dignified and compassionate care.


Over 12,000 people are still receiving ‘flying’ 15-minute personal care visits across England according to freedom of information requests by Leonard Cheshire, a leading disability charity.

Kate said: “I was delighted to join Leonard Cheshire Disability in support of their #MakeCareFair campaign. These 15 minute personal care visits rob too many people of their dignity and are completely unacceptable.

“15 minute visits are a symptom of the problem of the chronic underfunding of social care. The Government must take action now to make these visits a thing of the past and ensure that no one has to experience undignified care.”

Flying visits in England continue despite statutory guidance within the Care Act 2014, which came into force in April 2015 stating: ‘short home-care visits of 15 minutes or less are not appropriate for people who need support with intimate care needs.’

The charity has long campaigned against the use of 15-minute personal care visits to support people with basic needs such as washing, dressing and eating. These can deprive people of dignified and compassionate care.

Good care transforms disabled people’s lives. But social care is being chronically underfunded, leading to too many disabled people not receiving the care they need.

Neil Heslop, Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive added: “As we approach the long awaited government green paper on social care, the situation is tough in the sector.

“Inadequate flying visits are indicative of a care system in crisis and coupled with PIP shortcomings have rendered disabled people an increasingly embattled, beleaguered community, singled out for punitive measures.

“We will continue to campaign for the critical long term funding that is needed to transform the provision of care and improve the quality of thousands of lives.”

#MakeCareFair and end scandal of 15 minute visits, says Kate

Kate joined the Leonard Cheshire disability charity at a parliamentary event to highlight their #MakeCareFair campaign for good quality social care and an end to rushed 15 minute personal care...

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