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By Mark Di Stephano, 17 January 2019 https://www.ft.com/content/79354020-386d-11ea-a6d3-9a26f8c3cba4 The BBC is under fire from its own staff for hiring an employment consultancy to help tackle its gender pay gap because the firm’s own gender pay gap is twice the size of the public service broadcaster’s. Croner was brought in by the BBC in Autumn 2018 […]

MPs Report January 2020

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Dear Newcastle January 7th  2020

I hope it is not too late to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and indeed a New Decade. I am immensely grateful to everyone in Newcastle Central, whether you voted for me or not, for the opportunity to be your Member of Parliament once again. It is a huge honour and privilege, and as I said in my acceptance speech when elected on December 12th, it is an education. I learn so much from the people of Newcastle, about solidarity, hope, kindness and endurance. After ten years of austerity another Conservative Government means that no respite is in sight. Boris Johnson may claim to be the ‘King of the North’ but his policies will soon prove otherwise.

Anne Frank Ambassadors at Excelsior School

Thanks to Newcastle Central voters and the hard work of Newcastle City Council staff, I was  the first MP to be elected and for a brief period Parliament was entirely Labour. However by Friday morning the scale of our defeat was clear as constituencies from Blyth to Warrington turned blue. Jeremy Corbyn is stepping aside as the leader of the Labour Party, the timetable for the leadership contest has been announced. I nominated Emily Thornberry and Rosena Allin Khan for leader and deputy leader respectively. I have yet to decide who I will be voting for, but I wanted to make sure these strong, feisty, women leaders were on the ballot.  I set out my criteria for the leadership in a blog:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/labour-leader-hustings_uk_5e15c0bac5b6c7b859d360a7?ncid=other_twitter_cooo9wqtham&utm_campaign=share_twitter

As the newly returned Member of Parliament my first official engagement was with the BKW Residents Association in Elswick for their Winter Festival. Strong communities are essential for a thriving city.  For the new decade, my first official engagement was to welcome the children of Westgate Hill Primary School to Westminster. Meeting young people from Newcastle and those who serve their communities  always give me hope for the future!.

Westgate Primary student council in Parliament

Backbench and Constituency Role

  • During the election I was a candidate, not an MP,  so I could not take up any casework but I am pleased to say the office continued to function in Newcastle, albeit with reduced capacity.  Most of the activities in this report are from before the election.
  • I spoke from the backbenches 13 times in October Oral Q: Universal Credit ID (7th), Topical: Benefit Freeze 2020 (7th), Nazinin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (7th), Prep for no deal (8th), Racism in football (15th), NI abortion (16th), Sexual Harrassment at work (17th), Pornography Age verification (17th), Service Personnel recruitement (21st), Queens Speech Response on the NHS (23rd), Share Rural Broadband (28th), Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment (29th), Leaving the EU: workers rights (29th)

I put down  8 written questions Written Questions in October: Northumbria Police: Northern Ireland (4th), Fracking insurance (14th), Cash Dispensing: Fees and Charges (14th),  Digital Technology: procurement (14th), Local Government adverts (16th), London Summit (16th), Fracking consultation (14th), Armed Forces Recruitment (21st)

Shadow Ministerial and PES Role

  • I spoke from the frontbench once in October on Electric vehicles  & Labour’s Green Industrial Deal (October 22nd)

Organisation

  • Gareth completed his PHD placement in the Newcastle Office and has now returned to Newcastle University. He is much missed but James Bamborough made an excellent start as my Parliamentary Assistant.
  • Jessica Foster, our Newcastle Apprentice, completed her apprenticeship and won an excellent permeant job. We are now recruiting a new apprentice.

Media

Featured in national and local media before and during the election including Domestic Abuse Campaign interview with Metro Radio, BBC Sunday Politics, Capital Radio UAE Sports Show interview.

BKW Tenants Association Winter Festival in Elswick

Meetings and visits

City Baths Ground Floor tour, Jeremy Corbyn Rally, Anne Mensah Netflix, Federation of Small Businesses, US Embassy Aldrin Foundation Space Reception, GSK, APPG Africa Roundtable HM Trade Commissioner to Africa, How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art, Kew’s Botanic Gardens, Michael Buraimoh – Nigeria, Singapore Senior Parliamentary Secretary Dr Tan Wu Meng, Women Researchers at the UK Parliament, Holocaust Educational Trust Orientation Seminar, Community Leisure UK, Artsmark Celebration Week St John’s Primary School visit, Slug and Lettuce, Alison Blackburn Newcastle Disability Forum Chair, Election of the new Speaker: BAME Labour MPs Meeting, Raise Awareness and Discuss the Importance of Finding Suitable Accommodation for Women Released from Prison, Discuss Labour’s Race and Faith Manifesto, APPG Africa AGM, Celebration of English Wine, Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin Leaving Dinner, Make Menopause Matter, Taste of Sweden, WASPI, 25 Years of Eaga Charitable Trust, APPG Inquiry into the Sales Capabilities of SMEs Report Launch, Tech Tools and Data with Nick Lowles Hope Not Hate, Meeting the Battery Challenge Dinner Discussion, Media Awards 2019 to Mark Anti-Slavery Day, Institute of Physics Business Awards, Premier League Reception, Mrs T’s Café 4th Anniversary,

Mrs Ts Café in Blakelaw

HSBC Anti-Slavery Day Event, Labour Bloc Let Us Be Heard March, Ghana Delegation, IPT UK Economic Diplomacy Priorities Post-Brexit, Festival of Learning: Celebrating Achievement in Lifelong Learning, Lord Freyberg and Annemarie Naylor, APPG for Children Who Need Palliative Care, Creative Industries, Food Standards Agency, Bridget Riley Exhibition, Reception in Honour of Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, APPG on Mozambique AGM, Runnymede Trust Black History Month event, Launch of Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians Oppressed for their Faith 2017-19, Honour the Retirement of the Speaker, Mitzvah Day, Embassy of Ireland Celebrate Black History Month, Gatsby Foundation, Dame Jackie Daniel Chief Executive Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sainsbury’s Reverse Vending Recycling Trial, RSPB, Black History Month Celebration, Parliamentary Space Committee APPG AGM, British Council’s Future Leaders, APPG on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform AGM, Builders Merchants Federation Innovation, Being Black British and Muslim today, ENA’s Pathways to Net-Zero: Decarbonising the Gas Network in Great Britain, How Vocational Training Can Transform the Lives of African Women, Embassy of Japan.

 

Speaking

Burger King Objection public meeting, Diversity in Energy Summit 2019, Digital Transformation Expo Europe, Rolls Royce Reps Meeting, CBI Companies Committee Meeting, Anne Frank + You Exhibition Launch, Democracy Café, Labour Black History Month Business Roundtable, Chair Roundtable Meeting with Andrew Stephenson MP, Ndi IGBO North East England, Hadrian School Pendower Land call.

 

Secretary of State visit to Mansfield

Ben Bradley (Mansfield)

Only three weeks into 2020 and we've already had our first visit from a Secretary of State!
Great to welcome Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to Mansfield today to meet with me and the Council to talk through our Town Deal proposals.
We need to make sure we're ploughing ahead to get things delivered. Rob wants our plans to be signed off in a matter of months!

Gwynne to take charity jump for Dukinfield girl

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, will undertake a charity parachute jump to raise funds for Florence Croce, a five year old from Dukinfield with a rare life-limiting illness.

Florence has Gangliosidosis GM1, an inherited disorder that progressively destroys the brain and spinal cord and which will slowly take away her ability to walk, talk and swallow.

Gwynne met with Florence’s mum Jenny in October and will be meeting Florence herself later this month ahead of the jump in May.

Florence lives in Dukinfield with her mum Jenny and big brother Riccardo, who are raising funds so that they can:

  • ensure Florence gets the very best treatment possible.
  • try to get Florence to America to join the Cure GM1 trials.
  • contribute towards the adaptations to Florence’s house so that she can stay with her family as long as possible.
  • make memories for Florence, her brother Riccardo and their family.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“Having heard so much about Florence from her mum, I am really looking forward to meeting her soon.

 

“Florence’s mum Jenny told me about Gangliosidosis GM1, the hideous disease that will slowly take away Florence’s ability to walk, talk, swallow until, eventually, the worst will happen.

 

“I am terrified of heights but have decided to take part in a parachute jump to raise funds for Florence and would encourage everyone who can to donate to this cause.”

You can read more about Florence and donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jenny-croce-fallout

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling

The blight of illegally moored boats has long been a frustration for many Elmbridge residents, particularly those living along the River Thames in Molesey. This problem has been getting worse, and it is time to tackle it.

A council consultation, which closed in July 2019, presented four different options for dealing with the problem. Only one of these – introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) – will be effective. It would stop individuals or groups committing antisocial behaviour in a public place by restricting unreasonable, persistent behaviour which has or is likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of local residents.

I strongly supported this in my response to the consultation, which you can read here. It has been over five months since the consultation closed, so it is time for action. I am calling on Elmbridge Borough Council to begin the process of introducing a PSPO as soon as possible. This is particularly important as a further consultation process would be necessary before it can come into force.

Less than 3 months after the last Queen’s Speech, which was used as a party political broadcast by the Tories, Health and Social Care was again on the agenda today.

Whilst, I welcome some of the initiatives put forward, it is hard to have faith in what the UK Government propose when Boris Johnson’s previous promise of 40 new hospitals for NHS England turned out to be 6 and their plan to recruit 6,000 extra GPs when they failed to recruit the 5,000 that were promised during the General Election in 2015! Indeed, England now has 1000 fewer GPs.

While NHS Scotland has challenges too, it is leading the UK in Emergency Care performance, Health and Social Care funding and provision of services such as free prescriptions and free personal care.

In addition, the Scottish Patient Safety Programme is an international trailblazer, having reduced post-surgical deaths by a remarkable 37%. For all his talk about Patient Safety, previous UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saw the WHO checklist in action on a visit to Scotland but never made it obligatory in NHS England.

The post My speech on Health & Social Care in the Queen’s Speech Debate 16/1/20 appeared first on Dr Philippa Whitford.

Weekly Round-up

Christina Rees (Neath)

At the start of the week I met with some inspiring ambassadors from The Voices Network, who represent asylum seekers and refugees from across the world. It was great to talk about what we can do to overcome the harsh and unfair family reunion rules the UK Government imposes, hindering families moving forward with their lives, while their loved ones remain in danger. We also discussed detention policies and ways to improve the asylum process. All too often, we forget that behind the statistics and political wranglings are human stories. The Voices Network website has some really important testimonials on what it’s like to be in the position of being a refugee and the awful realities you must face.

On Wednesday, I was on the Labour Front Bench in my role as Shadow Secretary of State for the first Wales Questions session of this Parliament. I pressed the Secretary of State for Wales about properly supporting Welsh steel workers, and demanded the UK Government intervene and reduce energy prices for the industry. Liberty Steel’s announcement last week that they were to cut more than 350 jobs, 72 of which would be cut from its plant in Newport, has led to huge concern for workers and families about the future of steel in Wales. The UK Government has to do more to protect the Welsh steel industry and make sure that Welsh steel workers get a fair deal – following the hands-on commitments from the Welsh Labour Government.

In a lively session, many Welsh Labour MPs demanded to know about the funding that has been promised to Wales through the Shared Prosperity Fund that should replace the £680 million that comes from the EU each year. The Welsh Labour Government needs answers so that businesses and communities can plan their support for the Welsh people after this year.

The UK Government also seems to forget that Wales extends to the west of Cardiff and Welsh MPs also demanded answers over electrification of trains travelling between Cardiff and Swansea and other investment promises into Welsh infrastructure.

Away from the Commons Chamber, I am really pleased to have been elected as Co-Chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hairdressing, Barbering and Cosmetology. We had our first meeting where we heard how barbers and salons can play such an important and positive role in alleviating loneliness and providing a lively hub for the community. In the current climate on our high streets, hairdressers and barbers have been among the more resilient small businesses, but their staying power isn’t their only strength. We were joined at the meeting by the Lions Barbers Collective, barbers who work to raise awareness of male suicide. Barbers, hairdressers, and beauty therapists can play such an important part in supporting people suffering from loneliness and mental health issues and it’s a really exciting prospect to be part of a group that will work with representatives from across the industry and charities to see how we can support communities in their fight against loneliness and mental health.

If you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on christina.rees.mp@parliament.uk or call us on 01639 630152.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Christina with Kevin Brennan MP and Voices Network Ambassadors.

St Giles Hospice Christmas Cards 2019

Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

After a busy week back at Westminster I was pleased to be back in Aldridge-Brownhills and able to call into the St Giles Hospice Shop in Aldridge and drop off my Christmas Cards for recycling last week. All of the donated cards will be recycled into reusable material and St Giles will receive a cash contribution for the used cards to enable them to continue with their valuable work.
 
St Giles now receive cards right throughout the year to help raise valuable funds for the charity, so if you have left over Christmas Cards and Greeting Cards then pop them into the shop in Aldridge Shopping Centre.

The Bank of England wobbles

John Redwood (Wokingham)

Members of the Monetary Policy Committee are now telling us that maybe they should cut interest rates after all. Having watched as their tight money policies predictably slow the economy, they now express surprise at what they have done and seek some change of tack.

I am not proposing a 25 bp rate cut. I would urge them to look at the substantial tightening their Bank has undertaken through changes to the capital buffers, tough guidance on lending and the cessation of the Funding for Lending scheme. There is practically no money growth in the UK, implying continued slow performance from the economy.

Meanwhile the reintroduction of Quantitative Easing by the ECB has led to a spurt of money growth which probably heralds some pick up in the economy later this year. The Fed has stimulated a sharp rise in money growth in the USA which probably means a decent recovery for an economy still growing faster than the other advanced countries as the year advances.

Why has it taken the Bank so long to notice the obvious? Why are they still so out of line with all the other major Central Banks of the world? This institution got the ERM comprehensively wrong, the banking crisis and great recession hopelessly wrong and now is getting the world slowdown wrong.

MP calls for Budget action to help local pubs

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has called on the Chancellor to act on beer duty in the upcoming Budget to help more local pubs to stay open. read more »

Edinburgh residents who don't currently use the Council's paid-for garden waste collection service have an opportunity to subscribe later this month.

Climate change and recycling event

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Jonathan attending Buckden Parish Council’s great climate change and recycling event at Buckden Village Hall.  read more »

Residents urged to participate in review of Eyemouth Community Campus

John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Eyemouth MP and MSP, John Lamont and Rachael Hamilton, have urged local residents to take part in review of where Eyemouth Community Campus should be located.

After receiving numerous emails and letters from constituents, both representatives wrote to Scottish Borders Council asking for clarification on the current situation regarding the campus.

MP welcomes huge cash boost for local schools

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed has welcomed the Education Secretary’s announcement of huge increases to schools funding, which will especially benefit smaller schools. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, announced a total investment of an extra £14 billion over three years, including a large new fund ear-marked for the support of children with special needs and disabilities.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has given his backing to ‘Men’s Sheds’ projects across his constituency, supported by the UK Men’s Sheds Association.

Men’s Sheds aims to support older men, and women, to get together and connect with likeminded people in the area while learning new skills such as metalworking, electronics or even building cars.

It is a community-led initiative which provides social benefits like combatting loneliness, while also equipping people with new and improved skills in a fun setting. Many Men’s Sheds get involved in community projects such as restoring village features or improving parks; providing wider benefits for the local area.

The concept was originally founded in 2013, when there were just 30 Men’s Sheds across the country. There are now over 500, with another 100 currently being developed, including in Beverley and Holderness.

With one project located in Withernsea – formerly located in the SHoRes Centre but now with a site of their own – and new locations in Beverley and Hornsea, Graham is looking forward to seeing the benefits to the local community first-hand.

Graham commented, “Tackling loneliness has been a priority for this and the last Government, with the first ever strategy for tackling loneliness launched in 2018 – building on the excellent work of the Jo Cox Foundation who I’ve supported in Parliament.

“The strategy singled out the need to increase the number of spaces available for community use, and Men’s Sheds is a great example of this. They provide an easy opportunity to get out, connect with new people, and learn new things.

Alan Cusworth, Chair of the Hornsea Men in Sheds trustees, said: “After a full year trying to find suitable premises, we finally signed a lease and moved into our ‘Shed’ on 2nd December 2019.

“When someone retires after having worked their whole lives, they sometimes find it difficult to mix with others or find something to do. Hornsea’s Shed offers people the opportunity to get out of the house and helps to prevent depression.

“The first task in our shed has been the construction of a social area and the impact on people has been immediate. Members have made new friends and shared new skills, while some new to the area have forged new relationships very quickly and feel integrated.

“Some of our members aren’t in the best of health, and by coming to our Shed they’ve been able to enjoy new company. Many have said that it was just what they needed.”

Graham added, “I’m very much looking forward to meeting Shed members while visiting the new sites in Beverley and Hornsea in a few weeks’ time, and seeing for myself the benefits that come from providing community spaces like this.

If anyone is interested in setting up a Shed in their own community, they can find out more at menssheds.org.uk.

Evennett calls for more action on Social Mobility

David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Yesterday afternoon (14 January), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, participated in the debate on the Queen’s Speech to raise the issue of the underachievement of white working-class boys.

The Future of Epsom Hospital

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell)

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update about what is happening over the future of Epsom Hospital.

The NHS has now decided to launch its formal consultation about the proposed new £400 million acute hospital, which it wants to build during the 2020s to serve our area. It has not formally decided where it wants to build the hospital, but is recommending that the final decision should be to have the new facility on the Sutton Hospital site next to the Royal Marsden.

I support the new investment, as there is no doubt that the existing services at both St Helier and Epsom are sited in buildings which are not going to be fit for the future. It’s clearly good for everyone who uses the NHS locally to have access to new facilities.

The option of having a new hospital built on a site between Epsom and St Helier, and adjoining the Marsden, is clearly a potentially attractive one. However I have looked carefully at all the evidence put forward and believe that there remains a very strong case for the new build to be at Epsom.

So I will be making the argument that it should be at Epsom, which is sited at the geographic centre of the area covered by the Trust. In fact the Epsom option is the most financially attractive to the Epsom and St Helier Trust, and delivers the same care plan as the other two sites. But it does have more of a knock-on effect on other hospitals, with patients in the St Helier area more likely to go to Kingston, Croydon or St George’s if the new unit is at Epsom. That’s why the NHS is making the recommendation for Sutton.

However with the need to provide more homes in Surrey, I am not convinced that all the benefits of Epsom have been properly considered, and will be making this argument strongly. That part of Sutton is also poor for transport links compared to Epsom and access to the site is not great.

You will be receiving a leaflet through your door from the NHS about this. Please do take part in the consultation.

I have also now had confirmation from the NHS about what the plans mean for Epsom if it does not win the battle to be the chosen site. It will continue to provide most of what it does at the moment, and will be particularly focused on supporting the frail elderly.

The services that would remain at Epsom would be:

  • All current outpatient clinics
  • All current daycase surgery
  • All current urgent treatment centre attendances (c. 66% of emergency attendances)
  • All current diagnostics and endoscopy
  • All current chemotherapy
  • Inpatient spell for patients needing inpatient care but not needing major acute services (c. 57% of NEL inpatient days)
  • All current ante- and post-natal care
  • SWLEOC – the elective orthopaedic centre

The services currently provided at Epsom that would move would be:

  • Emergency department attendances and admissions (c. 33% of emergency attendances)
  • Inpatient spell for patients needing critical care and/or major acute services (c. 43% of NEL inpatient days)
  • High dependency unit
  • Inpatient paediatrics
  • Hospital birth episodes

I have been promised that some ambulances will continue to come to Epsom, particularly for the frail elderly who need the kind of specialist care that it will offer. It will continue to have just under 300 beds. So if Sutton is the chosen option Epsom will remain a significant local facility for the NHS, though it won’t carry out major operations any more.

I hope this is helpful, and will be back in touch shortly with more details of how my team and I, together with Sir Paul Beresford in Mole Valley, will be mounting the campaign in support of Epsom Hospital.

With best wishes

Chris Grayling

 

The post The Future of Epsom Hospital appeared first on Chris Grayling.

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Air Traffic Control options non-starter says MacNeil

Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Isles MP Angus MacNeil is again expressing concerns about proposed changes to air traffic control (ATC) in the Islands.

Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd propose to centralise air traffic control services in Inverness by using ‘remote towers’.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“HIAL have named this high risk and costly option as ‘remote towers’ when in actual fact it is the centralisation of air traffic control meaning high-value island jobs going to Inverness.

“The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament committees, particularly the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee should be scrutinising this proposal line-by-line because it has huge implications not only for transport but for the community in the Western Isles. 

“We know that air traffic control has a difficulty with recruitment and retention, but this is not the case in the island areas – when they recruit locally, they do retain locally. 

“There is a huge risk that if air traffic control is centralised in Inverness that all air traffic controllers could be lost from Inverness as they are in demand globally and we would find ourselves without air traffic control anywhere in the HIAL network.

“This is an ill-conceived proposal which HIAL has somehow taken regardless of the warning voices from everyone else.”

ENDS

Thank you! Re-election to the House of Commons

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

Statement by Rt Hon Alec Shelbrooke M.P. (Friday 13th December 2020).

“It is overwhelming to have received the support of so many constituents in the General Election – especially to have secured a majority of vote in every polling district – and it is humbling to be re-elected to represent my home constituency in the House of Commons.

Whether you cast your vote for me or not, I will now get back to work speaking up for our area and supporting the Government to get Brexit done and then focus on the country’s priorities: investing in our NHS, schools and police”.

Elmet & Rothwell General Election Result 2019:

Alec Shelbrooke (Conservative) 33,726 (57.6%) + 3.6%
Labour 16,373 (28%) – 9.8%
Lib Dem 5,155 (8.9%) + 4.5%
Green 1,775 (3.1%) + 1.4%
Yorkshire Party 1,196 (2.1%) + 0.3%

Conservative Majority: 17,353 (29.8%) + 13.3%

The post Thank you! Re-election to the House of Commons appeared first on Alec Shelbrooke.

Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

The Week in Parliament

Thank you Lord Mayor

In January 2019 I made the pledge that the City of Nottingham would be carbon neutral by 2028. This was an ambitious pledge, which then transferred into our Manifesto and now is part of the Council Plan. The motion I brought to Full Council was passed unanimously, and I am hoping that today’s actions will also be welcomed across the political spectrum.

I am taking this opportunity to make the formal declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency, something which I was unable to do last year, but seems ever more important in the light of recent events.

The realisation of the seriousness of our situation surely cannot have been missed by even the most sceptical citizen. Around the world there are shocking events, which, taken individually might not be an indication of climate change, but when one seems to come around every corner the connection becomes clear.

Since my motion last year we have had:

  • Probably the 2nd hottest year on record
  • Summer heatwaves in Europe, smashing temperature records
  • Flooding around the world, including the UK and recently Indonesia,
  • Drought in Zambia and eastern Africa, parts of Australia, and South America – Santiago the Capital of Chile received only 25% of its normal rainfall last year.
  • Wildfires in Siberia and Alaska as well as terrible devastation in South America and more recently in Australia.
  • Extremely powerful cyclones in Japan, the Caribbean and east Africa.
  • Shrinking glaciers and ice caps in the Alps, Greenland, Antarctica and the Himalayas
  • Coral reefs, some of the most diverse and beautiful ecosystems on the planet are suffering repeated bleaching events due to rising sea temperatures and are genuinely threatened.

None of this is good news, heatwaves, floods, cyclones and wildfires all directly threaten people’s lives and the ecosystems on which they depend. Shrinking glaciers and ice caps threaten coastlines around the world with inundation and reduce flow of water downstream, threatening drought to people dependent on river flows for agriculture and their water supply.

Around the world the ability of people to feed their families is affected by all these devastating events, and without healthy natural environments their long term future is threatened, creating a growing number of environmental refugees.

Here in Nottingham we are in a relatively safe place, we mostly have decent quality of housing, are comparatively well served by public services and the UK is not particularly vulnerable to the most devastating hazards, however, our citizens will gradually notice the impacts of changes in the environment. We will be increasingly affected by the changes both here and around the world, our young people are aware of the growing risk and are rightly demanding we take action.

Although we have not been hit by devastating disasters I’m sure members have noticed changes we are experiencing, last year in July, we experienced a new record temperature for the city of 36 degrees. I reckon we’ve only had one decent frost this winter, and we’ve had more heavy rainfall, and, in a city with significant rivers such as the Day Brook, the Leen and the Trent the risk of fluvial flooding is heightened. Anyone living at the bottom of a slope, of which there are many in the city, is also vulnerable to flooding from surface run-off as water rushes down hardened surfaces under gravity. Already, we as a city, are having to take increasing action to protect our citizens, which is why I had the pledge to protect a further 1,000 homes from flooding included in our manifesto, and now the Council plan.

More vulnerable citizens, young and old, and with existing health conditions are the ones who will be most severely impacted, and it is vital that we do not allow climate change to worsen increasing inequalities.

As a Council, one of our most fundamental duties is to protect our citizens from emergency situations, and we have a duty to take a lead in reducing emissions to protect future generations from the worst potential impacts of climate change.

There is also our wider responsibility as a Core City, recognised for its excellent record on climate change to lead on carbon neutrality in the country.

Do any of us want to live in a world where there are no polar bears, koalas, snow leopards and coral reefs? Obviously not, but that is what is staring us in the face, a real possibility that, within our lifetimes polar bears will starve to death because of the loss of sea ice, koalas will not survive because of destruction of their forest habitat and in particular the eucalyptus trees on which they depend, snow leopards are adapted to hunt in the high mountain areas of central Asia where the quantity of snow is depleting rapidly and coral reefs may well be bleached out of existence by warming seas.

Do we want to turn on the news and be bombarded every day with grim reports of more death and destruction by extreme weather events? Do we want people to be increasingly driven from their homes becoming environmental refugees because of sea level rise? Of course not.

More particularly, do we want mortality rates of our more vulnerable citizens to rise because of the impacts of heat waves in the summer, the increased threat of serious flood events in the city and the cost of food rising as the vegetable growing regions of the world, including Lincolnshire are inundated by rising sea levels? No we do not!

We want future generations to have a good quality of life, and, in order to help make that happen we need to join with all the other regions, cities, towns and parishes around the world who have made the commitment to make changes now in order to preserve our future.

We have made a good start. As the Charter before Council outlines, we have made significant progress in cutting carbon emissions already, from the Nottingham Climate Change Declaration, made in 2000. So far our emissions are down by an impressive 41% since 2005.

Various key actions have helped our progress towards this reduction, the use of our EnviroEnergy District Heating scheme, to heat 5,000 homes and businesses, a wide range of energy saving measures in homes, including large scale retro-fitting of Council Housing, for example in Clifton and Lenton Abbey, the establishment of Robin Hood Energy which now supplies green electricity to city residents and the Workplace Parking Levy, which enabled us to provide high quality public transport improvements to encourage people to get out of their cars and get on the tram or our electric buses.

These schemes have benefitted the city, not just in terms of carbon reduction, but by reducing air pollution, so that we now have the cleanest air of any UK city, reducing fuel poverty among our most vulnerable citizens and enhancing quality of life.

Since my motion last year we have continued to make progress for example:

  • Converting more of our fleet, so that by the end of this year 30% will be EV, saving 2,500 tonnes of Co2 in their lifetime,
  •  Installed more solar panels equivalent to 866 tonnes of CO2 during the year,
  • Improved cycle routes around Clifton and the Meadows,

We have worked with partners in One Nottingham Green Partnership to develop the Carbon Neutral Charter and received support from many people and organisations. On Friday when I met with local members of Extinction Rebellion they congratulated the Council on the quality of analysis and vision of the Charter. It is a very high quality document which clearly sets out the challenges we face and the path we need to take to achieve our ambitious goals. At the core of this Charter is the expectation that this carbon reduction will take place in an environment which will deliver further benefits to our citizens.

  • Continuing to improve air quality, reducing health problems and improving quality of life,
  • Having a more sustainable built environment, enabling sustainable communities.
  • Creating jobs in the green economy, our own “green industrial revolution”,
  • And creating a more safe and attractive city, with good access to natural environments improving wellbeing and health.

Now we are launching consultation on our Draft Action Plan, which is ambitious and far reaching.  It is a plan for today, with understanding of today’s technologies and opportunities, it is the first plan, and will need to be reviewed regularly in order to maximise new opportunities and ensure we are on the right track.

We need to talk to everyone. We need to hear what people from every part of the city have to say about this vital issue, all generations, from different backgrounds. We hope that in the next few months everyone will get to have their say. Whether they live, work or study in the city, we want everyone to get on board and help us achieve this challenging target.

The Council cannot do this alone, everyone will need to play their part, even in the smallest way. Can we ask and support all our citizens to take simple and cheap actions?

  • Switch to a renewable energy tariff,
  • Reduce the quantity of meat and dairy they consume,
  • Reduce car use, even if it’s just a couple of days a week,
  • Plant a tree if they have the space in their garden,
  • Increase their recycling and do it right!

Employers can easily help:

  • By allowing staff to work from home,
  • Gradually converting their essential vehicles to electric,
  • Explore the opportunities for carbon neutral deliveries and improve energy efficiency of their premises.
  • Make use of technology to video conference to reduce the amount of travel.

How can the government help?

  • Speed up the phase out of petrol and diesel vehicles and incentivise people to change from more polluting cars.
  • Provide funding for home owners to invest in insulation,
  • Change planning regulations to ensure high level energy efficiency in new buildings,
  • Invest in the electricity grid to enable new developments to access renewable energy, including projects like our Vehicle to Grid.

Over the coming years, more radical change will be needed, and the Council must lead the City on that more difficult path, among other things we will need to

  • support our citizens to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and encourage people in communities to get involved,
  • ensure that the benefits of new opportunities make a difference to the people we serve,
  • monitor progress towards the goal,
  • continue to seek funding from every available source to help deliver the huge scale of retro-fitting of poorly insulated homes and to extend our sustainable transport offer,
  • collaborate with partner organisations, in the public, private and voluntary sectors to learn from them and ensure we are all pulling together to reduce blockages to progress,
  • And be adaptable, so that our plans can change according to developments in technology, politically and in society.

As Councillors I hope we can speak as one on this vital issue, that we can lead our communities towards this cleaner, greener, healthier city and maintain our number one position nationally, while making a small but important contribution to global action.

Cllr Sally Longford.

The post Cllr Sally Longford’s Speech at January Full Council on Carbon Neutrality appeared first on Nottingham Labour.

Labour Leadership – Why I’m backing Jess Phillips and Ian Murray

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Last month’s election was disastrous for the Labour Party. Whilst it is a huge honour to have been re-elected to represent Newcastle North, we face another four and a half years of a Conservative Government delivering the hardest of Brexits and Tory policies. We have let so many of our supporters and those that need … Continue reading Labour Leadership – Why I’m backing Jess Phillips and Ian Murray

Weston’s MP John Penrose has welcomed news that North Somerset Council will withdraw from the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for the area around Bristol, and draw up their own approach instead.

The Council’s move comes after Government Planning Inspectors threw out the plans in 2019 and told North Somerset to go back to the drawing board. This was exactly what John and local campaigners had been calling for.

John said, “Although the Joint Spatial Plan had plenty of good ideas for the centre of Weston and Banwell’s bypass, there were serious problems for traffic jams on the M5, and unwanted housing developments in rural villages like Churchill, Congresbury and Langford. I’ve been pushing Government Ministers and campaigning alongside local groups to fix the plans ever since they were first launched, and this decision gives us an opportunity to put the problems right.

“The revised plans need big improvements to J21 and the M5 up to J20, to cut jams and misery for commuters; an end to the proposed ‘garden village’ between Churchill and Congresbury; and a new band of green belt to protect countryside around villages like Congresbury, Langford and Churchill”

Notes:

In January 2018, John Penrose called the JSP a ‘stinker’, saying it will not solve traffic jams on the M5:
https://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/weston-super-mare-mp-john-penrose-slates-joint-spatial-plan-1-5352989

John welcomed news that Planning Inspectors suggested the JSP be withdrawn in August 2019:
http://johnpenrose.org/wp/2019/08/06/westons-mp-responds-to-recommendation-joint-spatial-plan-be-withdrawn/  

Details of the Road Minister’s intervention on the M5 can be found here:  
http://johnpenrose.org/wp/2019/11/01/westons-mp-secures-roads-ministers-intervention-on-m5-congestion/

Resident action groups said they support John’s ideas to build up, not out: 
https://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/village-action-group-supports-penrose-housing-proposal-1-4903935    

John’s article following the Housing Minister saying he plans to adopt Build Up, Not Out policy idea: 
http://johnpenrose.org/wp/2019/10/16/bristol-post-the-secretary-of-state-for-housing-announced-my-idea-of-building-up-not-out-was-going-ahead-bingo/

A full copy of the letter John wrote to Planning Inspectors and Government Ministers asking them to block the plan’s adoption is available here:
http://johnpenrose.org/wp/2018/01/12/john-penrose-mps-written-response-to-the-joint-spatial-plan/

Shortly before Christmas I wrote to the Treasury to raise a number of issues relating to the Loan Charge. I know this issue effects many of my constituents and over the last two years a number have contacted me about it, for which I am grateful. At the end of 2018 I led a Westminster Hall debate about the Loan Charge, where I object to retrospective legislation that undermines the rule of law. You can read more about the debate here. […]

Rushanara Ali MP backs Keir Starmer in leadership election

Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow)

Greater Manchester Bus Consultation Response

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Debbie Abrahams' response to GMCA's Bus Consultation

As part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s consultation on how buses in Greater Manchester should be run in the future and whether a proposed franchising scheme should be introduced, I submitted a formal response, which is as follows:

I am writing in response to the consultation on how buses should be run in Greater Manchester and whether a proposed franchising scheme should be introduced. It is clear that we need a change in the way our buses are run. The current system does not work for passengers and has done very little to increase the usage of public transport. Many Oldham and Saddleworth residents have  told me fares are too high (in particular single tickets), routes don’t meet their needs and on too many occasions are late or do not turn up without any explanation as to why. This is leading to real world consequences, making people late for work, school, doctor and hospital appointments. It’s simply not good enough and my constituents deserve better. It’s time we put them first, something that has been lacking under the current de-regulated system.

In Autumn last year numerous constituents contacted me, concerned about changes to the First Bus timetable in Oldham East and Saddleworth. As a result of these changes many parts of my constituency, communities suffered significant cuts to vital services. The cut to the 81 service meant a large area of Derker was left without a First bus service during the day, losing a vital link to Oldham and beyond. Residents now have to catch either the 410 or 411 service operated by Manchester Community Transport, which is only an hourly service. Thankfully local Councillors secured a change to the route ensuring the 410 & 411 served top Derker which will only be served by the 81 in the early morning and late evening. However this happens too many times and there is little accountability for these major losses.

The frequency of the 180 service was cut in half leaving residents in Greenfield with an hourly service. This cut service no longer operates on Sundays or Bank holidays and will terminate at Oldham meaning residents lose a bus link to Manchester. The Principal of Oldham Sixth Form College wrote to me with his concerns stating the changes “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on attendance, punctuality, engagement and achievement.”

Constituents living in Sholver no longer have a direct route to Manchester during the day, the 83 will only serve Sholver after 18:30. The replacement bus for the Oldham to Sholver portion of the route, the 82, is less frequent. The replacement for the 81A, the 80, no longer allow residents from Holts direct access to Manchester either. I am also disappointed that lesser served parts of my constituency, such as Diggle which only has an hourly service, has not seen an increase in the frequency of their services. These cuts to services come at a time when we should be encouraging more people to travel by bus to cut down on carbon emissions and protect our planet. Under the current system there is a lack of accountability as services are cuts and local leaders are able to do very little to halt these changes.

Therefore I support the option to pursue the franchising option which would allow the bus network to be controlled in Greater Manchester as many buses are in other major cities around the world including London. We need to address this key regional imbalance and ensure routes, timetables, tickets and standards are set  by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and not individual bus companies who cream off the profitable routes and allow too  many communities to languish without a functioning bus route. A de-regulated system has not created competition instead it has allowed private monopolies to be created with 3 or 4 companies retaining the largest number of operations across Greater Manchester. There is also an urgent need to reform the current complex and expensive ticket system and ensure we have an integrated public transport system, something which I know is a key priority for the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.

The strategic case for change is now clear. I support the proposals as set out by the GMCA.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Debbie Abrahams MP

Oldham East and Saddleworth

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The post Greater Manchester Bus Consultation Response appeared first on Debbie Abrahams, Labour Candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has revealed that she is supporting Keir Starmer in his bid to become Labour Party Leader.

She has nominated Dawn Butler for Deputy Leader and also supports Angela Rayner.

She said: “All the declared candidates for Leader have very strong attributes; and I am confident that whoever wins will rise to the challenge and take the fight to Boris Johnson and the Tories.

“I am backing Keir Starmer.

“I worked closely with Keir both in my previous role as his Parliamentary Private Secretary and in my current role as Shadow Northern Ireland Minister. He’s campaigned with me here in Bristol South, most recently during last month’s General Election campaign.

“As part of his team, I’ve seen first-hand what a good leader he is and, when welcoming him to Bristol South, how well regarded he is on the doorstep. I have every confidence in him to lead the Labour Party and hold the government to account and I will work with him to achieve this.

“I think that both Angela Rayner and Dawn Butler would make excellent Deputy Leaders. Angela has already secured enough nominations, so I nominated Dawn; I look forward to hearing more from both of them – along with Keir – during the selection process.”

Jesse’s Hereford Times Column

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)

I hope all Hereford Times readers have had the chance to have a good break, and went easy--but not too easy--on the mince pies and Christmas pud!

Bill Wiggin MP thanks North Herefordshire’s voters

Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

I would like to thank the voters of North Herefordshire for supporting the Conservative Party and for once again placing their trust in me as their Member of Parliament. My thanks also go to everyone who has helped with the... Continue Reading →

Northern rail

Conor McGinn (St Helens North)

at the start of the new year I was at Newton-le-Willows station,  talking to local commuters, alongside the Chair of Merseytravel, Liam Robinson, and local Labour councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron. Passengers across St Helens North in Newton, Rainford, Earlestown and Garswood are putting up with cancelled and delayed services every day, alongside increasing fares and overcrowding. I’m glad that the government has finally bowed to pressure by suggesting it will strip […]

Some Priorities for Me

Bob Stewart (Beckenham)

It is Boxing Day but Happy Christmas to anyone who reads this post.  This is a great time of year – especially for those lucky enough to have loved ones but there are still far too many people who have neither families nor a permanent roof over their head.  Although I was a co-sponsor, with Robert Halfon MP, of the successful Homelessness Act earlier this year, I feel this is something I ought to do more about – especially for homeless veterans.  For me that is a top New Year’s Resolution.

Homelessness

Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

An issue a lot of you asked me about during my campaign for re-election was homelessness within Chippenham constituency. I have worked on this topic since first being elected in 2015 including sitting on the bill committee for the Homelessness Reduction Act. I have mentioned many times in the House of Commons our local charity Doorway and their fantastic work. So I am delighted that yesterday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced funding of over £260m to prevent homelessness and support vulnerable people on our streets.

I am aware the problem of homelessness is multifaceted and complex and we need to keep progressing ideas that will help us try and prevent people becoming homeless in the first place. £200m of this funding is in the form of Flexible Homelessness Support Grants – FHSG was introduced in 2017 and means that local authorities can freely fund a range of housing options which are appropriate for specific needs. FHSG funding gives local authorities the tools to combat homelessness in ways that work for their area.

Where FHSG has been successful, councils are now spending 5 times as much on homelessness prevention than on temporary accommodation, treating the causes, not the symptoms, of homelessness, some have used FHSG to invest in support workers to work with families with complex needs to ensure they do not become homeless.

For the South West, our share of this extra funding is £15.6m and I will fight hard to make sure Chippenham gets it’s fair share to help those who find themselves homeless in our area.

The post Homelessness appeared first on Michelle Donelan MP.

Christmas Greetings

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield)

The debate over Brexit has destroyed faith in our political system and brought Parliament to an agonising impasse for more than two years. I know from the hundreds of people I spoke with during the election campaign how much they want us to move on from the never-ending bickering, Parliamentary manoeuvring and talk of a second referendum.

Following the general election result, the government now has a renewed mandate from the British people to deliver the referendum result. The Prime Minister’s revised European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed its Second Reading, meaning Britain will leave the EU in January and we will begin the next stage of negotiations: our future relationship with Europe.

2019 Election Victory

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen)

I would like to thank my constituents for re-electing me to serve as the Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen My campaign was simple. Get Brexit done and move onto the other important issues which, in my opinion, have not received the attention they deserve. The general election returned 109 new Conservative MP’s from all [...]

The post 2019 Election Victory appeared first on Royston Smith - At the heart of Southampton.

Re-Election as your MP

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

So it was quite a night across the country and here in North West Hampshire. At home I was honoured once again to win 62% of the vote with 36,591 people supporting me at the ballot box, giving an increased majority of 26,308. It was a humbling moment and I am grateful to everyone for giving me their confidence once again. I will do my best to live up to the faith you have put in me. Thank you.

Across the country is was an historic night for the Conservative party as we swept the board and won a significant majority in the House. It was a singular achievement by the Prime Minister and a vindication of his determination to see Brexit though. I know he will govern as a healer in this divided times, and that in the months ahead we will come together again and build a bright future. But for now, it’s back to work….

Thank you

Nia Griffith (Llanelli)

Many, many thanks to everyone who helped re-elect me as the Labour MP for the Llanelli Constituency.

I am absolutely committed to doing my very best for the constituency, and I look forward to continuing to work with many of you.

Congratulations To Brendan O’Hara MP

Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute)

Brendan O’Hara Re-Elected As MP for Argyll and Bute With An Increased Majority. For election result please read further. The SNP won a landslide victory in the recent General Election  with our own Brendan O’Hara retaining his seat with an increased majority.  Argyll and Bute UK Parliamentary Election results Published Date:  13 Dec 2019 – … Continue reading Congratulations To Brendan O’Hara MP

THANK YOU FOR VOTING

Martin Docherty (West Dunbartonshire)

It is a immense privilege to be re-elected as your MP for West Dunbartonshire. Thank you to everyone who voted on a cold December day and thank you to all those who worked tirelessly for a SNP mandate to re-enforce … Continue reading

The post THANK YOU FOR VOTING appeared first on Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.

Compensation package for Waspi women

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)

Labour has pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.

Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000.

The scheme will be delivered within Labour's first full five year term of government.

Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked.

David Cameron's coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women's state pension age to 65 in November 2018 - followed by 66 in October 2020.

Labour will introduce a compensation scheme as rapidly as possible for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron's Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011.

It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on his pledge to help those affected.

He dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered.

The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve.

They were not able to prepare and have had to suffer serious financial consequences as a result.

We have a historic debt of honour to them.