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MP encourages applications to Gigabit Broadband Scheme

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones is encouraging Bristol’s small and medium-sized businesses (as well as local residents) to apply for funding available through a new Government broadband scheme.

Businesses may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade business broadband to a Gigabit-capable connection. This is through a Gigabit Voucher Scheme which will provide vouchers to support the capital costs of getting new gigabit-capable connections for businesses. There are also vouchers worth up to £500 available to connect homes in Bristol.

You can find out more by visiting Connecting Bristol. 

Darren said:

“Slow and patchy broadband is a real problem for many residents and businesses here in Bristol North West – it is holding back some local businesses as so much time is wasted on slow connections. This scheme won’t solve the wide-spread issues the UK has with broadband speeds but it is a step in the right direction and I welcome the DCMS’s investment. I urge businesses and residents interested in getting super-fast gigabit broadband to apply for the funding available to this area”.

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MP visits Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones visited Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project on Saturday 11th November and met with the Area Manager, Centre Manager and a number of residents.  The team on-site provide support to people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, from across the Bristol area. Referrals are made to the centre by Bristol City Council with space available in self-contained flats, with dogs being accepted in a number of the apartments. Crucially, the team provide named support and work with residents to source appropriate longer-term accommodation.

The team showed Darren the accommodation on-site and talked through some of support options available to residents.

Darren said:

“It was invaluable for me to speak with residents and staff at the Riverside scheme. The team provide emergency accommodation, care and support services to some of our cities most vulnerable people. Riverside is clearly a values-driven organisation with a strong sense of social responsibility. The residents I spoke to were clear about the need for the services such as those Riverside provides, and how important these bases are to them as individuals. Housing is at breaking point with extremely high demand for social housing and with many people finding themselves unable to afford private rents, organisations such as Riverside provide vital support to people when they most need it”.

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MP hosts Pub Politics in Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones hosted his second ‘Pub Politics’ at The White Lion in Westbury-on-Trym on Friday 10th November.

Darren heard from constituents who shared their views on policy issues including Brexit and more local issues such as concerns about crime and cuts to public services.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to talk to a variety of constituents at my second pub politics, after the first was held in Horfield in September (picture below). This get-together was well attended and informal so people feel comfortable having a chat about both national and local issues. Due to Christmas and New Year festivities, the next Pub Politics will be held in mid-January. I also host Cafe Politics sessions for those who prefer to chat over a coffee in a more family-friendly environment, the next will be held on the morning of 2nd December in Avonmouth with venue information to follow soon.”

All of Darren’s events are promoted on this website and Darren’s Facebook page. Key events are also featured in the monthly e-newsletters which you can sign-up to here.

Highlights from Darren at the Science and Tech Committee, 14th of November

The second set of witnesses consisted of Silkie Carlo, Senior Advocacy Officer, Liberty, Dr Sandra Wachter, Lawyer and Researcher in Data Ethics, AI, and Robotics at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr Pavel Klimov, Chair of the Law Society’s Technology and the Law Group.

 

The subject of the Committee meeting was algorithms in decision-making.

The first set of witnesses consisted of Hetan Shah, Executive Director, Royal Statistical Society, Professor Nick Jennings, Royal Academy of Engineering, Dr Adrian Weller, Turing Fellow, Alan Turing Institute, and Professor Louise Amoore, Durham University.

The second set of witnesses consisted of Silkie Carlo, Senior Advocacy Officer, Liberty, Dr Sandra Wachter, Lawyer and Researcher in Data Ethics, AI, and Robotics at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr Pavel Klimov, Chair of the Law Society’s Technology and the Law Group.

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MP to open Shirehampton’s first Santa Dash

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, has confirmed he will be opening the first-ever Santa Dash in Shirehampton.

The santa dash will take place on Sunday 3rd December from 11am at the PBA club. Tea, coffee and bacon rolls will be available beforehand with a family party taking place at PBA after the family (and dog) friendly 5km route. Entries can be booked online. At the time of writing over 250 santa’s will be taking part by running/walking/jogging the route.

All proceeds from the dash are going towards the annual Shirehampton Christmas Illuminations which are funded and organised by the local community.

All residents are welcome to come along and wish the entrants well as they set-off.

 

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MP visits Southmead Hospital and meets CCG Chief Exec

In a day of health-related meetings (10th November), Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones met Southmead Hospital Chief Executive, Andrea Young and completed a tour of the hospital’s modern Brunel Building.

Andrea and Darren discussed the impact of Weston A and E’s closure on Southmead, Brexit and the hospital team’s preparations for winter.

Darren is now planning to meet some of the nursing staff to hear their views on how Brexit will affect the NHS and EU staff recruitment and retention.

In a separate meeting, Darren also met with Julia Ross, Chief Executive of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG. Julia and Darren discussed the planned merger of the three CCG’s and the impact of budget cuts on the range of treatments constituents can access. Darren expressed his pleasure at the CCG’s decision (announced on 9th November) to scrap plans to reduce the upper age limit on which women can access one NHS-funded cycle of IVF. A decision from the CCG on proposed changes to access to post-cancer breast reconstructive surgery is still outstanding. On 15th September , Darren wrote to the CCG expressing his concerns about both proposals and their disproportionate impact on women.

 

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MP to attend Southmead Community Meeting

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, has confirmed he will be attending a community meeting to discuss crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in the Southmead area. The meeting has been organised by Southmead Councillor, Helen Godwin, and will see representation from local councillors, senior representatives from Avon and Somerset Police as well as Darren and the local beat team.

The meeting will take place on Friday 17th November from 6.30 to 8pm at the URC on Wigton Crescent.

All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Darren first called on Police to hold a meeting in Southmead following high levels of ASB this summer. Darren also highlighted his broader concerns about local policing levels and the impact of further Government cuts to Police funding by writing to Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing in late September. In this letter, Darren called on Government to protect police funding and  heed the warnings issued by Avon and Somerset Police.

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Darren comments on foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol

A number of reports have been released this week in relation to rising foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol.

Yesterday (7th November) the Trussell Trust and North Bristol Foodbank released figures showing the continued rise in foodbank use. Data showed that 722 children required emergency food parcels and overall use of North Bristol Foodbank increased by 9% in the last 6 months.

Today (8th November) the countries leading housing charity, Shelter has released their ‘Far From Alone’ report on homelessness in Britain in 2017. Shelter has calculated that 307,000 are now homeless in Britain with 1 in every 170 people in Bristol now homeless, the highest level recorded in the city.
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Darren asks about post Brexit NHS staffing crisis

Darren asked:

What steps the Secretary of State for Health is taking to ensure that non-UK NHS staff do not leave the NHS when the UK leaves the EU.

 

Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Health, replied:

The Department values highly the enormous contribution made by all staff working across the health and care sectors, including those from other European countries and elsewhere in the world.

We continue to monitor closely the overall staffing levels across the National Health Service and social care. We are also working across Government to ensure there will continue to be a sufficient number of staff to deliver the high quality services on which patients rely following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been very clear that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK at the point when the UK leaves the EU will be allowed to stay.

It is disappointing to hear that the government is taking no specific steps in this regard.

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Darren meets residents in Lockleaze

Darren Jones and the team campaign all year round, not just at election time. This weekend, along with Lockleaze Councillors Gill Kirk and Estella Tincknell, Darren headed out to knock on doors and chat to constituents.
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