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Darren comments on Blaise Castle vandalism

A number of constituents have contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the recent vandalism, estimated to cost roughly £2000 to repair, to the Blaise Castle Museum’s balustrade wall.

A spokesperson for the Police said: “Between 4pm on Sunday, August 26 and 8.45am on Bank Holiday Monday, Aug 27, offender(s) caused around £2,000 worth of damage to stonework at the Blaise Castle House Museum in Bristol. If you have any information on this incident, call the police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5218 191 967″.

Darren said:

“This mindless vandalism is totally unacceptable. A number of residents have already contacted my office expressing their worries about rising ASB in the park- I’ll be sharing their concerns with the council and local beat team. I am also visiting the park today (31st Aug) for my Picnic Politics event so I’ll be taking a look at the damage and speaking to park users myself. I encourage anyone with information to inform the police”.

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Darren calls on Regional Mayor to attend Transport Forum

Labour MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to call for large-scale improvements to transport infrastructure in North Bristol by writing to the Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, and inviting him to an upcoming Transport Forum.

You can reserve your tickets for the Transport Forum here.

Ahead of the Transport Forum on 19th October, Darren previously chaired a Gridlock Conferencelaunched a petition calling on Tim to commit at least £50m to a new transport fund for North Bristol and voiced his concerns about congestion with members of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Darren also encouraged the LEP to back plans to invest £50 million into his North Bristol Transport Fund initiative.

Darren said:

“Transport remains the number one concern in North Bristol and anyone who uses our roads, buses and limited local rail network knows our infrastructure can’t cope with proposed development of thousands of new homes, let alone the 16,000 additional cars a day once tolls on the Severn Bridge are removed. I am frequently told, walking is often unsafe and cycle routes are inadequate.

 My Gridlock Conference in July brought together transport providers, transport campaign groups, developers, community groups and councillors who by working together can help to develop a series of ‘asks’ for our Regional Mayor and the LEP. I now hope to build on that local knowledge and add to those ideas by hosting a constituent- focused event on 19th October.

The LEP and the Regional  Mayor have the ability to fund large-scale transport projects, which is why I’m continuing to call on them to get involved with these events and help to deliver for my constituents and for North Bristol.”

Residents can sign up to support Darren’s call for a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund for road, rail, bus, cycling and walking improvements by signing his petition here. 

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Darren backs a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea

A number of constituents have contacted Darren to ask his views on the proposal for a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea.

Darren said:

“The Government must ensure the UK advocates strongly for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. Such a protected area would help safeguard one of the last pristine regions in Antarctica and ensure the conservation of vital ecosystems settled in these waters and the surrounding coast.

While I am glad to see that the UK has backed the proposal, I am nonetheless disappointed that the Government has not been engaging more pro-actively with member states and using the full extent of its diplomatic tools to persuade countries that have not yet publicly backed the proposal.

As you may be aware, only around 3.9% of the world’s oceans are designated for protection, despite a global commitment to achieve 10% by 2020. As such, it is ever more crucial that the UK continues to lead the world in marine conservation and that we do all we can to ensure the protection and sustainability of our oceans.

I have long supported measures to protect our marine environment and to protect and enhance the marine environment of the UK and our overseas territories. I also support proposals to deliver an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK to ensure that the benefits of marine conservation are felt domestically too”.

 

 

 

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Darren continues to call on government to back new social housing

On 31st July, Darren signed a letter calling on the Government to urgently release their much-delayed Social Housing Green Paper before the housing crisis continued to spiral out of control.

Following pressure and since that date, the government has released the Green Paper, but it is lacking in detail and funding of how social housing demand will meet supply. Darren has therefore signed another cross-party letter calling on the government to act.

Darren said:

“I am pleased the government have finally got on, bowed to pressure and released this much-promised Green Paper but to be frank it is hugely lacking in any great detail (and funding!) on how to resolve the nation’s housing crisis. This is because it is quite clear, the main way to resolve the years of under-investment in, and priority given to, council and social housing is to build more of it and quickly!

Whole swathes of working Britain can’t afford their rent let alone think about buying a home for their family. Everyone should be entitled to a safe, secure and warm home – in today’s austerity Britain this is feeling far too much like a luxury not a human right.

Whilst Bristol City Council is working hard to buck the trend and build housing at an affordable rent, I once again urge the government to invest in council and social housing and give councils and housing associations the full support and funding they need to ensure those in unsecure housing, in hostels and temporary accommodation,  struggling with high rent, sofa surfing and rough sleeping have the possibility of a home in the future. Not to do so is a neglect of their duty”.

You can follow Darren’s work on housing here.

Darren shares his views on the ongoing crisis in Western Sahara

The Moroccan monarchy has occupied Western Sahara since the 1970s. Many original inhabitants of this area and their descendants have long been seeking self-determination.

There is widespread concern that Morocco is committing human rights abuses here, and economically exploiting the region. Furthermore, there has not been a referendum on the self-determination of the region during Moroccan rule.

Darren said this about the situation:

It is apparent that human rights violations are taking place regularly in the Western Sahara region, with – for example – many in Western Sahara serving long prison terms after unfair trials for politically motivated offences. I therefore believe urgent and large-scale action against this would be in order, including via the UN. Furthermore, it is clear to me that trade deals are not being made with regard to fair distribution of the Western Sahara’s resources, in particular the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement. This should end, with foreign countries refusing to enter these trade deals.

Finally, each group of people has the right to self-determination, including those in Western Sahara. That said, Moroccan settlers now constitute a majority in the Western Sahara . With the difficulties this presents, I encourage peaceful dialogue between all sides, in order to determine any independence referendum’s terms. If a resolution is not possible here, then autonomous region status within Morocco is an alternative which is worth exploring.

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Darren continues to fight for Cystic Fibrosis patients

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to fight for access to Orkambi for the 10,400 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK.

Darren has co-signed another letter to Vertex Pharmaceuticals (the first was sent on 28th June 2018) – this letter asks the company to urgently sit down with, and resolve, the negotiations with NHS England so those with cystic fibrosis can have access to this revolutionary drug.

Darren said:

“Cystic Fibrosis is a cruel and life-shortening condition – it is unacceptable this drug has been licensed for over three years yet it is still not available for the people that sorely need it. Median life expectancy for someone with CF is just 47 – in the context of that stark figure three years is far too long and time is being wasted. People with Cystic Fibrosis should not have to keep waiting for this treatment to be available.

NHS England and Vertex need to sit down as a matter of the strongest urgency and sort this out and the government should be facilitating that discussion. These delays are causing unnecessary suffering to my constituents and thousands across the country”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Bristol North West pubs ‘go to Parliament’

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has nominated two local pubs for the ‘Parliamentary Pub of the Year’ competition.

The competition is in its first year and will give 650 MPs the opportunity to nominate a pub to be recognised as the Parliamentary Pub of the Year. The main criteria for nomination is a pub that’s great at what they do – that can be for the range of beer or food, dedication to serving the local community, live music or local sports teams.

After asking constituents for their suggestions, Darren nominated the Eastfield Inn in Henleaze and the Lamplighters in Shirehampton.

Darren said:

“I couldn’t narrow down my choice to just one pub – so I have nominated two! Both of these pubs serve as vital community spaces for Bristol North West residents – they are also praised for their fantastic food and family-friendly facilities.

I am a keen supporter of  Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and their Good Beer Guide – which both of these pubs now feature in. The pub sector provides £13 billion in tax revenues and 900,000 jobs. In addition, 30 million adults visit the pub every month.

Pubs are at the heart of the UK’s communities but far too many are closing leaving those areas without a public place where people can socialise. MPs should do what they can to support local pubs – that’s why I regularly host ‘pub politics’ sessions across the constituency and wanted to submit nominations for this great new award. I have my fingers crossed that one of our pubs will succeed and be crowned ‘Parliamentary Pub of the Year – they certainly deserve to be”.

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Darren raises concern at news of 16,000 extra cars on Bristol roads

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to call for large-scale improvements to transport infrastructure in North Bristol following the release of information from Department of Transport that indicates Bristol can expect 16,000 additional car journeys every day following the removal of Severn Bridge Tolls.

Ahead of the Gridlock Conference Darren chaired in July, Darren had previously launched a petition calling on the region’s metro mayor, Tim Bowles, to commit at least £50m to a new transport fund for north Bristol and voiced his concerns about congestion with members of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). At the July conference, attendees discussed the gridlock hot stops across the North Bristol corridor and how they may be impacted by further developments such as the proposed expansion of Cribbs Causeway, new housing developments at Filton Airfield, the potential arena at Filton alongside the lifting of Severn Bridge Tolls. Attendees debated how a Transport Fund for North Bristol could be spent to support solutions to the congestion faced by drivers, encourage more sustainable travel and boost the area’s limited rail, bus and cycle networks.

Darren said:

“Since the announcement to reduce, and then remove, Severn Bridge Tolls, I have raised the issue of gridlock and air pollution with government time and again. I have also tried to engage with our Regional Mayor to tackle local transport.

Now we know – 16,000 extra cars are expected on our roads every single day – that’s 6 million a year – and with no thought for advance mitigation. It is no good for those responsible to say they are ‘looking into how to invest in our roads’. It also no good to just keep focusing on roads and cars!

I once again call on the Region’s Mayor, Tim Bowles, to invest in a North Bristol Transport Fund and protect the area from total gridlock by investing in road, rail, bus, pedestrian and cycling improvements.

I encourage those concerned about further traffic chaos to sign my petition calling for at least a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund: http://darren-jones.co.uk/transport-fund/.”

Local residents can sign up to support Darren’s call for a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund for road, rail, bus, cycling and walking improvements by signing his petition here.

Follow Darren’s work on transport here.

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Darren comments on Rough Sleeping Strategy

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones shared his views following the release of the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy on 13 8 18.

Darren said:

” It’s all too little, too late and as anyone who visits our city centre knows it unfortunately won’t slow down the increasing numbers of people driven onto the streets by the government’s austerity politics and cuts to the support available to the most vulnerable. I anticipate Universal Credit, now rolling out across Bristol, will only make matters worse.

The government need to urgently assess the impact their cuts are having across the whole public, voluntary and charitable sphere and stop this political experiment – it isn’t working! This strategy fails to address the root causes of rough sleeping – the starting point for this, and the Social Housing Green Paper, should have been a significant increase in the number of social properties built alongside dramatically improved access to mental health care, employment support and training, security for private renters and substance misuse services“.

 

 

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Westbury Post Office’s temporary closure

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Post Office seeking an update following the closure of the Westbury branch and the appearance of unofficial posters declaring a campaign ‘to save the Post Office’ on Monday 14th August.

Darren said:

“I’m aware that Westbury Post Office is closed again today (13th August) and unofficial posters have appeared asking users to email a Post Office employee ‘to save the Post Office’ from permanent closure. Obviously this has caused significant concern, I have sought an update from the Post Office and share that update below. I hope this reassures residents and Post Office users of the intention to re-open the branch asap. I will be keeping a close eye on this to ensure it happens”.

The Post Office said:

“We can be very clear with customers and constituents that we are committed to seeing Post Office services retained in Westbury. We have absolutely no plans to close the branch.

I am sorry to hear that posters are understandably causing concerns for our customers. I will share that development with my colleagues and ask them to arrange for a formal notice to be displayed at the branch which apologises for the interruption to service and reminds customers of where alternative Post Office service can be accessed.

My colleagues in the field and contracts team are doing all they can to get the branch reopened as soon as possible”.