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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 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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MP visits Henbury charity supporting people with disabilities

SeeAbility, a national charity that works with people with learning disabilities and autism many of whom will have sight loss, invited Bristol North West’s new MP, Darren Jones, to visit its Bristol Support Service on Saturday 4th November.

Darren heard from people who use the service how living with sight loss and other disabilities affects their day-to-day lives, and from support staff about their support for people to build up their confidence and independence so they can actively participate in the community.

SeeAbililty offers specialist support on a round the clock basis and its Bristol Support Service has been operating for six years. The charity is one of the oldest disability charities in the UK and has pioneered specialist support for over 200 years.

Darren also learnt more about the work the charity does nationally to improve access to sight tests for people with learning disabilities, who are ten times more likely to have problems with their eyesight but may not be able to tell anyone they have a problem with their vision or easily access a sight test.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to talk to people who live at the service, and learn more from about the way they have fought to overcome barriers in their way in order to live more independent lives.

And the message about the importance of regular sight tests for people with learning disabilities is one I can take back and highlight in parliament.”

Mason Carr, the registered manager of the service said:

“The people we support overcome huge barriers to achieve exciting new things every day: some big, some small, all extraordinary.

We are very keen to hear from anyone in and around the community who might want to work with us, as we have vacancies for a range of rewarding and exciting roles and we offer full training.

There are many opportunities to learn new skills and really make a difference to people’s lives.

We are a really close team and proud of what we help people with disabilities achieve and we hope Darren’s visit will encourage people to find out more about our charity.”

 

 

 

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Darren speaks to LabourTube about Brexit, the NHS, how Labour can win back the working class and tech issues

Watch the full interview here:

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Darren has flu jab and says stay well this winter!

It’s been another busy weekend in the constituency for Bristol North West MP Darren Jones. As his first appointment on Saturday, Darren met with the team at Kellaway Pharmacy in Westbury Park. Darren chatted to staff and customers about their views on healthcare and also had his annual flu jab.
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Darren speaks about modern slavery, including modern slavery in Bristol

Watch the full speech here:

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Darren writes to the Prime Minister to call for Bristol libraries to be kept open

Darren wrote on Facebook:

I’m lucky to have such politically engaged constituents, including an eight year old pupil from Henleaze who asked me to send her petition (of over 150 friends campaigning against library closures) to the Prime Minister.

I obviously fully support this call, and have written to the PM with the petition. Number 10 has responded to say she’ll get a reply shortly.

You can read the full letter here: https://www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp/photos/a.503288533036971.119025.235030423196118/1728702940495518/?type=3&theater

 

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Darren receives response from HMRC on childcare vouchers fiasco

Darren has received a response from HMRC after he raised concerns about problems parents were having applying to governments’ new 30-hours free childcare. With the website crashing and problems with HMRC’s own phone line, parents were finding it difficult to apply before the 31st August deadline. Darren challenged this with HMRC direct.

The response from John Harrison, Chief Executive of HMRC told Darren “where parents have experienced persistent technical difficulties and the 31st deadline, we provided them with a 30 hours free childcare code manually. We continued to issue these codes into early September so that those parents who applied before 31st August, but were unable to speak to us before the deadline, could get a code”.

In response to the letter Darren said:

“Whilst it is good news that parents who were not issued a code by 31st August, because of faults with the HMRC website, can use codes sent to them in September, I still have widespread concerns about the government’s flagship childcare scheme.  Parents are struggling to make the 30 hours per week childcare (over 38 weeks of the year) support their year-round, and often full time, employment. It has also been widely publicised that the cost of childcare is rising far above increases in earnings. To strengthen our economy, we need a childcare system that supports working families, I will continue to raise these issues with government. Just today a new study by Admiral Loans has found Bristol parents are hit the hardest of any city when childcare costs are considered against average earnings –  costs account for a staggering 55% of average earnings – this is unacceptable and certainly not a sustainable situation for working families”.

 

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Darren asks the Government how they are planning for Interest Rate rises

Any increase in mortgage rates will affect the housing costs of millions.

Darren asked the Treasury:

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of an increase in the bank rate on the number of households subject to eviction?

Stephen Barclay MP, Economic Secretary to The Treasury

 

As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Treasury’s practice to provide details of these discussions.

The Financial Conduct Authority has put in place regulations protecting borrowers, including a requirement that lenders should deal fairly with customers in payment difficulties. Lenders are also required to conduct an interest-rate ‘stress-test’ on all new mortgages. The insures against the risk of a significant increase in the number of indebted households in the case of an interest rates rise.

This would affect the housing costs of thousands of Bristol households. That’s why we need to know what the government are doing about this, and why it’s so frustrating that they won’t tell me when I asked.

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Darren speaks out about job losses to driverless cars in Bristol

Watch the full speech here: