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Darren takes on Fizz Free February

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has pledged to give up fizzy drinks for 28 days to raise awareness of Fizz Free February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m joining Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, and Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, in giving up fizzy drinks for February. Will you join me? You can pledge to go Fizz Free here.

I’m giving up all things fizzy to help highlight the negative effects of consuming sugary drinks. The thinking is that if we can give up fizzy drinks for 28 days, it’ll help us cut down throughout the year.

#FizzFreeFebruary is part Tom Watson’s, Southwark Council’s and Sugar Smart‘s campaign to help tackle the UK’s obesity crisis – cutting out fizzy drinks is an easy way to reduce sugar intake, save money and keep your teeth!

It’s frightening to hear that, fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, and they provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake.

Following a 2018 inquiry by the Science and Tech Committee, that I’m a member of, I’ve also been calling on the government to ban the sale of sugary, caffeine-filled energy drinks to under 16’s.

In Bristol, 56% of adults and 34% of children in year six are overweight or obese and 23% of children aged five have at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth. As ever Bristol is leading the way in tackling this matter head-on, Bristol was one of the first places to become a Sugar Smart City in 2017 and our Mayor is backing Fizz Free Feb. It has been particularly great to hear that a number of businesses in Southmead have been leading the way by promoting free water refills and reducing the number of fizzy drinks sold.

However, there’s much more to do and a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s will only help raise awareness of the dangers of consuming these drinks on a regular basis” .

Why go Fizz Free?

•you can save £438 a year if you stopped drinking one bottle of soft drink, per day, for a year
•drinking just one 330ml can of fizzy drink a day could add up to over a stone weight gain per year
•tooth decay is the leading cause for hospitalisation among five to nine year olds in the UK

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Darren highlights financial plight of nursery schools

In a debate on Maintained Nursery Schools in the House of Commons, Darren highlighted both the funding pressures they are under and the positive impacts they can have, concluding that there is a need to fund Maintained Nursery Schools.

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Policy Pods Episode 3: Rising Crime and Falling Police Numbers

In this episode of the podcast – which aims to answer Bristol North West residents’ policy questions – Darren investigates whether falling police numbers are causing a rise in crime.

Thanks to the constituent who suggested this at a recent Cafe Politics.

You can listen to the podcast on Soundcloud or on iTunes.

If you have a question you’d like answered on the podcast, please send them to darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk with ‘Policy Pods’ in the subject header, including your postcode in the email so we can verify that you’re a constituent.

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MP visits Acorns and Oaks in Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones recently visited an Acorns and Oaks session at a nursing home in Westbury-on-Trym.

In many care homes, elderly residents receive very few visitors from week to week; many suffer from loneliness and depression. And many young children are growing up without grandparents nearby: Links between the generations are being lost, and these playgroups are helping to reconnect them.

Thanks to Acorns ‘n’ Oaks, over 200 volunteer parents and children from Bristol and beyond have chosen a playgroup with a difference. Hosted by care homes for the elderly, the children brighten people’s days, just by being themselves.

In one year the project has grown from a single group, to 25 registered groups with an ever-increasing waiting list. You can find out more and support the group at www.acornsnoaks.org.uk

Darren said following his visit:

“I had a great time with Acorns and Oaks which brings kids into older peoples homes for inter-generational play. It was also lovely to attend a constituency event that I was able to take my daughter to. Thanks to the team at Acorns and Oaks for working so hard – they are a very inspirational team, and I wish them every success”.‬

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Darren hosts surgery for local carers

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, hosted a Carers-themed surgery with Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire in Southmead on Friday 18th January.

” In the course of my work as Bristol North West’s MP, I have met many carers, including those at Henleaze-based Singing for the Brain and at other surgeries. I’m well aware of the challenges carers face and the dire need for more support for them, that’s why I backed the Carers Support Centre ‘carers need care too’ campaign and hosted this themed surgery.

I look forward to meeting more local carers and doing what I can to help and support them. I’ve agreed to host at least one carers-themed surgery a year but in the meantime, if you need support, please email my office at darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk (be sure to include your full address and postcode) and we’ll see how we can help you”.

 

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Darren speaks in ME Parliamentary debate

Darren spoke in the house about the difficulties many patients of ME face, including highlighting the concerns of constituents who are affected, and the importance of finding what the right treatment is for this illness.

 

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Darren speaks to BBC Radio Bristol about Transport Plan launch

This morning, Darren spoke to BBC Radio Bristol about the launch of his North Bristol Transport Plan. The plan is a result of Darren’s consultations with constituents on transport at surgeries, over letters and email, and via a Transport Survey. It includes plans for three new transport hubs, new non-stop bus and cycle lanes, and restricted access to the Bristol YTL Arena/new housing.

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Darren questions government over efficacy of Rail Ombudsman

Darren Jones MP has question the government over the efficacy of the new Rail Ombudsman following a number of requests for support from constituents.

Darren Jones MP said:

” My office often supports constituents who have struggled to get legitimate refunds from third party rail retailers such as Trainline, the ticket booking company.

Following a recent case where Trainline attempted to evade my office’s enquiries for months, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the remit of the new Rail Ombudsman to include oversight of train ticket selling platforms which are not operated directly by train operating companies.

I was told:

‘The Rail Ombudsman is a voluntary scheme established by the franchised GB rail companies who are its members. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is currently consulting on making membership of the Rail Ombudsman scheme mandatory for all the rail companies to which it issues licences.

Online train ticket selling platforms provided by members of the Rail Ombudsman scheme are already within the remit of the Ombudsman. However, online Third Party Retailers (such as the Trainline), which are not directly affiliated to Ombudsman scheme members, are not required to hold licences from the ORR and are not therefore within consideration for mandatory membership.

Nevertheless, the Rail Delivery Group is currently in discussions with Third Party Retailers and their professional body (the Third Party Rail Retailers Association) to explore the possibility of them joining the Rail Ombudsman scheme in due course’.

Third party retailers, such as Trainline, must be subject to investigation by, and the rulings of, the Rail Ombudsman. Given they sell hundreds of thousands of tickets each year, not to include retailers such as Trainline, seems to suggest a toothless regulator for millions of rail users.”

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Darren asks for £1bn for nurse training

Cuts to nursing bursaries are resulting in negative outcomes for student nurses and patients who rely on there being sufficient staffing. Darren wrote to the Health Secretary to ask him to fund nurse training properly.
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Darren demands action on state nursery schools funding

Darren sent a previous letter to the Government on this issue. This received a reply to which Bristol’s Head of Children’s Services
said ‘many nursery schools will not be able to wait’ as suggested by the Government. This prompted Darren wrote to the Government to demand action.
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