On Friday the 8th of June, I was interviewed in ‘The Hot Seat’ on ‘The Big Yorkshire Phone In’. I was grilled on a number of topics, ranging from Brexit to my personal best in the Bramley Park Run!
In regards to Brexit, it is incredibly important that we leave the European Union in March 2019 with a deal in place. No deal will lead to the implementation of tariffs. This means that for shoppers, the prices of imported goods will increase. Manufactured exports would also have a higher price, meaning that jobs will be threatened. We have a once in a generation opportunity to re-define our relationship with our international partners; and while it is important to use this to engage with exciting, emerging economies, we must also ensure that we have a coherent trading relationship with our European neighbours. People voted to hand power back to Parliament, not as my colleague Hillary Benn put it: ‘jump off the ship without a lifeboat’. We have a responsibility to protect the rights of both shoppers and workers during this process. I have been completely underwhelmed with the Government’s attempt to successfully leave the European Union, it appears that there have been more negotiations within Theresa May’s divided cabinet than with Brussels.
People in Leeds are currently being weighed down by a failing transport system. Chris Grayling must take responsibility for this, as he is responsible for the implementation of timetable changes that Northern Rail simply could not accommodate to. Delays and cancellations have meant that people have turned up to work late, and through no fault of their own, have had to face a dock in pay. The dysfunctional public transport system has also led to more people driving in an attempt to claw back some control over their commute. This has increased congestion on our roads, and has contributed to the growing air pollution problem in the area. Unfortunately, Leeds is one of the most polluted cities in the U.K. This is an example of climate change transforming itself from a local issue, into a global one. As long as we have a public transport system that is not up to scratch, we will continue to contribute to the worldwide climate change crisis. Equally, it is important that we begin to transition to using electric cars and buses so that the city of Leeds can reduce its carbon footprint.
I received many calls about anti-social behaviour in Leeds West, especially in and around Armley Town Street. I want to stress that I will not rest until we have sorted out the problems in Town Street. I am working with the council to ensure that we can cut down on the street-drinking, drug taking and public congregations that all contribute to anti-social behaviour in Town Street. The council has recently rejected planning permission for another off-licence, and we want to halt the selling of cheap and strong alcohol in the area. More needs to be done to take care of the dilapidated buildings in the area, as these are acting as hotspots for antisocial behaviour. Armley Town Street would also benefit from a greater police presence to enforce public drinking laws. However, it is difficult to provide this because of inadequate funding from Westminster. Make no mistake, Armley Town Street needs a massive overhaul, we must make sure that it can be enjoyed by both residents and businesses once again. On a more positive note, I am looking forward to the upcoming Armley Festival. This will be a great chance for the local community to come together and celebrate the area.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in ‘The Hot Seat’. It was great to be able to speak to so many local residents about issues affecting them. To listen to the hour-long interview, please click the link below, and start the programme from two hours in.