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steps250.jpgSally Keeble has called on Network Rail to provide assurances about the main entrance to Northampton's new railway station after concerns over the lack of step-free access.

Her call comes after repeated requests for a ramp at the front entrance and extra stairs or escalators at the rear to reach the first floor ticketing hall of the striking new building which is nearing completing at Black Lion Hill.

Rail campaigners in Northampton have repeatedly queried the access arrangements for the station since the plans for the new building were first released. The building is a dramatic improvement on the existing station, but further work is needed on the access.

Sally has written to Network Rail setting out the problems and asking for an urgent response as the station is due to open in September.

She says: "The new station is a prestigious development for the town. However, the main pedestrian entrance off Black Lion Hill currently appears to be up a flight of about 13 to 15 steps. At the rear of the building there is a staircase and a small lift. This is inadequate for the many people who have restricted mobility due to disability, or because they are carrying luggage or children. There have been requests for a ramp, or for an extra staircase or escalators at the rear, but so far assurances on this have not been forthcoming.

"With the opening due soon, we need a speedy response from Network Rail. The station is an important development for the town, and the public access needs to be right."

A third access point for people arriving by car will be via a walkway from the first floor of a multi-story carpark which is currently at the planning stage and due to open next year.

The development of the station is led by a partnership led by Network Rail, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, with the Government providing £10 million of the funding.

 

Sally calls for assurances on public access to Northampton's new railway station

Sally Keeble has called on Network Rail to provide assurances about the main entrance to Northampton's new railway station after concerns over the lack of step-free access.

Bev200.jpgSally Keeble has condemned as thoughtless and hard-hearted the Government's response to the parliamentary debate on disability housing by Gavin Shuker MP, in which he called for a review of housing for the most vulnerable people.

And she set out the call for a review to make sure that people with profound physical impairments and learning difficulties are able to exercise choice in housing, including remaining in the places, like Hampton House, in Lumbertubs, Northampton, that have been their homes for decades.

Three people with disabilities attended the debate, along with about 25 family members and friends, and afterwards they expressed dismay about the Minister's response.

In his debate in Parliament, Gavin Shuker MP for Luton South and for Mrs Holmes whose daughter lives in Hampton House, set out the impending crisis as charities and companies shut their residential care homes for very vulnerable people who will need constant care throughout their lives. He said that while some people may want to live in more independent housing in the community, some did not, and he called on the Government to intervene to ensure that people were not forced out of their homes.

But responding to the debate, Norman Lamb MP, a health minister, reiterated assurances the Department of Health had been given by Scope, including some which were seriously misleading and hurtful to residents. There were audible gasps of dismay in the public gallery as the families heard some of the Government minister's comments.

Sally said: "Gavin Shuker is following up with the minister the matter of these very misleading remarks that were so hurtful to people who had travelled a long way to attend the debate - one family travelled up from Devon.  The Government accepted and repeated statements from Scope that bore no relation to the families' experience, and it is important that the Government has accurate information.

"Meanwhile the Government must address the wider issue of the impending crisis in residential care for people with profound physical impairments and learning difficulties so that they can have security and dignity in their lives."

You can support the Hampton House residents and the call for the review by signing here.

Sally slates Government response to Hampton House residents request for a review

Sally Keeble has condemned as thoughtless and hard-hearted the Government's response to the parliamentary debate on disability housing by Gavin Shuker MP, in which he called for a review of housing...

nationwide250.jpgThe Living Wage took centre stage when shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie MP visited Nationwide in Northampton to hear about the mutual's pioneering Living Wage policy.

Sally is backing the living wage as a key part of building a fairer society in which work pays. She's supported the Living Wage Commission's report which sets out steps to get 1 million people out of the low pay trap. You can add your name to the Living Wage campaign.

Chris Leslie MP was visiting Nationwide's Kingsthorpe branch with Sally Keeble to hear about how the building society had put in place the progressive pay policy - and the set out Labour's commitment to the Living Wage.

As well as covering the directly employed staff, the building society also described how it was working to extend the policy to its contractors and supply chain - a more difficult move.

Opinion polling released by Nationwide showed the strength of public support for the policy. Among people polled:

  • 85% thought that companies that could afford it should pay their staff at least the living wage.
  • 72% thought that the Living Wage should eventually replace the Minimum wage.
  • 74% thought that companies should be required to reveal how many of their employees are paid below the Living Wage.
  • 54% of people said that they would be more likely to use the services of a company that paid all its staff the Living Wage.

Chris Leslie said that Government could work with employers and employees to ensure that the benefits of the Living Wage - in terms of reduced reliance on in-work benefits - were shared, to encourage employers to voluntarily adopt living wage policies.

Sally Keeble said that Nationwide had shown how large employers could adopt and extend progressive employment policies by using their leverage with contractors and supply chains to tackle the problem of low pay. A survey of people across Northampton North also showed strong support for the Living Wage as a way of overcoming the cost of living crisis.

Nationwide was the first major high street name to sign up with the Living Wage Foundation as a Principle Partner in encouraging other firms to sign up to the Living Wage.

You can endorse the Living Wage here.

Living Wage commitment at heart of Labour frontbench visit to Northampton North

The Living Wage took centre stage when shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie MP visited Nationwide in Northampton to hear about the mutual's pioneering Living Wage policy.

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