Knife crime, Brexit and cost of public transport all raised as Sheffield MP holds Big Conversation

The rise in knife crime, worries over Brexit and the cost of public transport across Sheffield were the main talking points as a city MP met more than 900 people as part of an annual consultation.

Sheffield Central Paul Blomfield held 40 events across the city over three weeks between September and October to find the issues that mattered to his constituents.

Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP.

Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP.

He said the event, which he runs every year, would help shape his week both in Parliament and across the city.

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Mr Blomfield said: “I think you can only do this job of representing people if you hear what they want to say.

“When you are elected as an MP you go from an ordinary job to suddenly being expected to represent views and concerns on absolutely everything. You can only do that if you open your eyes and ears.”

Mr Blomfield held events in the city centre, Manor, Broomhall, Walkley, Crookesmoor. He also ran specific meeting son Brexit, mental health and a session with South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings.

He said: “The events genuinely do shape what I do and have shaped what I’ve done in the past. I led a coalition of MPs that changed the rules on pay day lenders and that came our a conversation with people in 2012.

“You pick up an understanding on how policy is affecting people but you also pick up on little things that policies can affect.”

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Mr Blomfield said the events all included a small number of guests to allow everyone to voice their views.

He added: “The rising cost of bus services and railway issues – both frequency and price – were discussed. Crime was also brought up – perhaps unsurprisingly given some of the incidents we have had around knife crime.

“Crime kind of came up last year but it came through even more this year, with knife crime added to it.

“We had lots of discussion about what’s led to knife crime and it’s the combined impact of the lack of funding for police, community groups and other organisations that has clearly led to groups of young people being groomed to commit crime.”

The Sheffield Central MP said people were also concerned about Brexit, with the deadline for the UK to negoitate a deal with the European Union approaching.

He added: “People were concerned with the way the negotiations are being handled and we are getting close to the wire now and still there is now deal in place and there is potential for crashing out without a deal and there is no sense of what the future will bring.”

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Mr Blomfield said a 90-page report had been produced with comments from the consultation, which he would use to draw up his work for the next few weeks.

He added: “People kind of bank the good news and want to raise their concerns about what’s not going so well. Sheffield remains a hugely resilient, positive city and there is a sense of community and pride and resillience which underlines all this work.

“We focus on the things that need fixing and there is a great deal of what we should be proud of in the city.”