Campaigns

Here are some of the campaigns Catherine is working on. Click the headings for more information.

 

Maternity, new parents and families

Pregnancy and childbirth can be some of the most challenging times of a woman’s life, with potential long-term implications for both physical and mental health.

As Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine led an inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on new parents, particularly new mums, and published a report making 23 recommendations to Government.

Catherine has also been campaigning to allow birth partners to accompany women to hospital at all stages of the pregnancy, after many have had to go without support.

She has also successfully helped secure an exemption for childcare bubbles after tier restrictions imposed on the North East did not allow for informal childcare.

 

 

Newcastle’s night-time economy

Newcastle’s famous nightlife is core to our City’s character and its appeal to tourists and students.

The pandemic has been especially tough on hospitality and the night time economy and will continue to do so for some time as restrictions on social gathering remain in place.

Catherine is lobbying for extra support for the sector to ensure the history, character and some of what makes Newcastle great is not lost as a casualty of the virus.

 

Online Harms

Catherine has called for a strong Online Harms Bill to hold social media companies to account for tackling online hate and extremism on their platforms.

The Petitions Committee, which she leads, is currently holding an inquiry into online abuse looking at the experiences of people who have faced online abuse, focusing on potential solutions for its reduction and prevention, legally, socially, and technologically.

She also co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, which has raised concerns about antisemitism on social media.

 

Kinship Care

Catherine is Chair of the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care which is a cross party group of MPs, supported the charity Family Rights Group, campaigning to raise awareness of kinship care and to improve support for kinship carers.

If kinship care were better recognised and supported, thousands more children could be living within their family and friends network instead of in the care system.

In September 2020 the Taskforce published a report with a series of recommendations for national and local government. Read the report here.

 

Israel/Palestine Peace Fund

We have recently marked the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which set in motion the establishment of the International Fund for Ireland and set us on the path to the Good Friday Agreement.

Catherine has called on the Government to commit to establishing a new international fundraising project along the same lines to support peacebuilding activities in the Middle East.

 

West Denton Swimming Pool

Many of our swimming pools, sports clubs and leisure centres across Newcastle have struggled in the last decade of austerity, and now face further challenges due to months of closure and the need to operate at reduced capacity.

Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, the Government have been slow to provide financial support to prevent closures, even at a time when Ministers are urging people to get fit and lose weight to ease the burden on the NHS and help control Covid-19.

Alongside Labour councillors in the Outer West of Newcastle, Catherine wrote to the Chief Executive of Greenwich Leisure emphasising the importance of securing the reopening of the pool at West Denton Leisure Centre for its economic, health and social benefits, and to ask what support is needed to maintain this vital facility.

She has also pressed the government to ensure gyms, swimming pools and other sport and fitness facilities remain accessible to all.

 

East Coast Main Line

This rail line hasn’t seen major upgrades in the past 30 years and capacity issues on the lines are now holding the communities it serves back. Investment is long overdue.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on East Coast Main Line, Catherine is leading cross party calls to ensure upgrades are included in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, particularly on the congested section between York and Newcastle.

 

Community Champions

Catherine and her my team launched the Newcastle North Community Champions campaign because they were overwhelmed by all of the stories of people going above and beyond during the pandemic.

The Coronavirus crisis has been a difficult and demanding time for so many, but it has also shown the very best of our community. 

 

Great Park

Residents of Great Park live in a fantastic community but there are frustrations with the lack of many of the facilities initially promised.

Catherine is in regular discussions with the Newcastle Great Park Consortium, Newcastle City Council, and local health bodies to raise the ongoing issues, including with estate management fees, the town centre, school places, and health facilities.

 

Aviation

Newcastle Airport is an international and domestic transport hub, a strategic asset for our region, and it is central to economic growth in the North East.

Aviation is one of the hardest hit industries and large scale redundancies have been seen across the sector.

Catherine is campaigning for support for aviation to bounce back from the pandemic and also meet its net zero ambitions.

As a co-chair of the APPG on Sustainable Aviation, Catherine is lobbying for Government investment in new technology to make aviation cleaner and greener.

 

Debt Cancellation

64 of the world’s poorest countries went into the pandemic spending more on debt payments than they were on their own countries’ healthcare.

As Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Catherine has led a cross party call for debt cancellation to support poorer countries in their efforts to tackle Covid-19.