Last month I was in Parliament to support Labour’s Geoffrey Robinson’s Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill. I was pleased to see it gain cross-party support. Geoffrey’s bill will introduce an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation. This will replace the current ‘opt-in’ system, where people who want to be organ donors must inform the NHS.
There are around 6,500 people on waiting lists for an organ, and nearly 500 of them die every year. Replacing the opt-in with an opt-out will prevent those 500 avoidable deaths from happening.
10 year old Max Johnson recently received a new heart which has saved his life. When Geoffrey’s bill becomes law it will be known as ‘Max’s Law’, in recognition of the work Max and his family have done raising awareness of this issue.
Sunday is the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight. It is a chance to celebrate how fair trade improves lives across the world. At the heart of fair trade is the idea that workers and producers should be able to earn a minimum, sustainable, fair price – and that this principle extends beyond our own borders. Certification schemes like Fairtrade helps farmers achieve that, and allows them to reinvest in their communities.
Fighting global poverty is not just the work of the Department for International Trade and Government funded aid - we can all play a role. Whether it’s buying fair trade fruit, chocolate, coffee or wine - the choices we make here in Wakefield are felt in the poorest countries of the world.
During the artic weather we have been experiencing recently, I found my thoughts moving to the homeless and rough sleepers in our country. It is sickening to think that the number of people across the country forced to sleep rough has more than doubled since 2010.
Here in Wakefield, the Baptist Church on Barnsley Road opens its door for rough sleepers when temperatures are low. It’s a scheme run by Wakefield Council, and the emergency shelter opens from 8pm and serves dinner and breakfast. The council are doing great work helping and supporting rough sleepers, and the shelter is always open for people looking to volunteer.
Theresa May on Monday said homelessness in the UK is a “national shame”, I agree. Homeless has risen every year under the Conservatives, home ownership has fallen to a 30-year low, and the number of new homes built for social rent has fallen to the lowest level since records began. The Government’s task force set up to solve this problem has yet to meet since being established, and the £28m earmarked for schemes around the country has gone unspent. It is time for the Tories to roll their sleeves up and sort this mess out.