AS THE summer draws to an end, children are heading back to school and others will be heading off to college or university.

I have now returned to Parliament after a busy summer working to support residents and businesses across the city.

Some of the biggest global challenges for a generation will be debated in the forthcoming term in Parliament and I will also be focusing my work on the future of our region and the need for investment in the local economy and infrastructure.

Instead of the same rhetoric coming from the Government surrounding the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ we actually need a strategy that plugs into the potential that cities like York has to offer.

Whether rail electrification or business investment, we’ve all had enough of the Tories ‘Northern Powercut’ and want to see some action.

There are challenges ahead and I believe to shape a positive future we must work constructively to find solutions to the issues we face.

We must also empower the next generation so they can go on to achieve their potential and bring about positive change.

Education and lifelong learning is essential and the Government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills throughout their lives.

However the Tories have lost sight of what our education system should be about.

Schools are being forced to make difficult decisions, at the same time, the Government are making more and more demands on them.

Teachers do a terrific job under ever increasing pressure and as schools face further cuts to their budgets, class sizes are increasing and they are forced to cut corners.

With the shift in focus on passing exams, and the narrowing of the school curriculum, children full of skill and talent are having their opportunities stolen and their dreams crushed.

Education should enable the enquiring mind to find out more.

Every child should be able to reach their full potential and teachers should be free to maximise ability and build confidence.

Children who excel in problem solving, should be given the opportunity to develop their skills.

All children should have access to music and the arts and of course, every young person should be prepared for the challenges of life.

It is also essential to ensure that our education services are able to work in partnership with business and services to provide a strong connection to the workplace.

To meet the growing skills gap, apprenticeships should be of a high quality and employer-led in order to provide future opportunities for our young people.

We also need an economy with skilled jobs that pay well and provide security and a future that all young people have a stake in.

As I meet with residents and businesses across our city it is clear that we need a new approach to tackle insecurity, the cutting back of our public services and the growing anxiety of what the future holds.

However, the Government continues to fail in addressing the increasing skills gap and has no industrial strategy to ensure that people can access lifelong learning to become equipped with the right skills.

The Tories’ narrow-mindedness has resulted in a failed Government and a failed economy.

That is why Labour continues to bring hope to the next generation.

We believe in creating an economy that works for everyone, investing in education and providing access to opportunity.

Together we can achieve a fairer society and ensure every child has a bright future. No one or no community should be left behind.