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Darren demands proper funding of Bristol schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“Today (30th Nov) is #FundingFriday – where members of the National Education Union (NEU) will be calling on the government to fund education and our young people’s futures properly. Not those ‘little extras’ that the chancellor patronisingly referred to in the Autumn Budget but the must-haves like staff, safe and warm buildings and learning equipment!

I’ll be visiting Oasis Academy Long Cross today to meet with students, staff and governors to talk about how cuts are affecting them and see first-hand how hard staff are working to compensate for the lack of government support. I regularly visit schools across Bristol North West so I understand the huge pressure leaders are under to make cuts and how many teaching staff are considering leaving the profession as the stress is unbearable.

Members of the NEU – the leaders, teachers and support staff in our local schools – are saying enough is enough – I agree! I am proud to show my support today – and every day – for the campaign to end short-sighted and cruel school cuts“.

You can support the NEU’s campaign here: https://neu.org.uk/handsupsupporters

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren opens The Hive at Claremont School

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP recently visited Claremont School in Henleaze to open their new post-16 centre ‘The Hive’.

Darren said after the visit:

” A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of opening the new post-16 centre ‘The Hive’ at Claremont School in Henleaze.

The building work at the Special Educational Needs School started back in May and included extending and converting pre-existing structures, with the final work finished in September 2018.

The benefit of moving post-16 students to this site is extensive. It’s of vital importance, older students have access to community learning with activities such as visiting the shops on the High Street, visiting supermarkets and cafes in Henleaze, getting the bus to the Mall and city centre, as well as trips to the community café and allotments at Golden Hill.

I was told it was difficult for young people and school staff to access community learning from the Redland site. However, with local amenities just minutes away from the site in Henleaze this was felt to be an ideal position for The Hive.

I wish the new centre, its students and school staff every success. It is absolutely vital every young person has first class support and education and can learn in a safe and supported environment”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

(Photo Credit: Sue Thomas – Henleaze and Westbury Voice)

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Darren shares council and government response on HGVs and trucks using minor local roads

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, shared his concerns about the on-going problems of lorries and trucks getting stuck under/damaging the iron bridge in Shirehampton (see below picture of incident on 25 10 18) and causing traffic chaos on minor roads whilst they find their way back to the main roads with the council. Darren has now received a reply from the council and news on repairs to the Iron Bridge.

The council said:

“There is already a 7.5 tonne weight limit in place along Kings Weston Lane both on the section from Long Cross to Kings Weston Road (where one of the photographs has been taken) and from Long Cross to Campbell Farm Drive.  Therefore, heavy vehicles above 7.5 tonnes should not be using Kings Weston Lane to gain access to Avonmouth.  There is also a height restriction on the Iron Bridge in the other photograph.  These restrictions do not apply to Long Cross so vehicles could legitimately use Long Cross and Kings Weston Avenue to travel from Henbury to Avonmouth. 

The main difficulty is that these restrictions require enforcement from Avon and Somerset Police, and as these restrictions have to allow for access (the weight limits are for environmental purposes and not because of any weak structures) then they would have to prove that a vehicle has deliberately driven straight through them from one end to the other without stopping and with no intention of accessing any property contained within the restriction.  The Police find it extremely difficult to enforce any such restriction because they need to see it take place, follow the vehicle through and prove that they were not trying to access somewhere along route. So whilst we have the legal orders in place to be able to stop heavy vehicles from using this road, in practice it is very difficult for the Police to stop this from happening”.

In response to the above incident, and concerns about large vehicles being told to use the wrong roads by Sat-Navs, Darren asked the Government the following Parliamentary Question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department holds discussions with Satnav companies on the suitability of roads for certain vehicles due weight and height restrictions?

The Secretary of State replied:

The Department has had no such recent discussions.

The Department is aware that manufacturers produce special satnav devices for lorries, in order to provide them with routing information appropriate to their vehicle.

The Government has invested £3 million to help create a digital road map, with one aim being to ensure traffic keeps moving efficiently and safely on suitable routes. It includes information such as road widths, which could be used in satnavs to improve the quality and accuracy of routing advice. The map is available online at: www.os.uk/highways.

Routing guidance provided by satnavs should only ever be considered as advisory. It is for individual device owners to ensure that they use their satnavs responsibly and with a proper understanding of their limitations. It is for individuals to determine the best route for their journey.

Darren also commented on news regarding the Iron Bridge:
“A process and timetable for re-opening the Iron Bridge has now been shared by local councillor, Don Alexander, who has been working hard to push this up the council’s agenda. I am pleased to see plans set-out that will ensure the bridge re-opens for pedestrian use. Whilst I know some constituents have expressed concerns about the possible raising of the bridge, these plans will be independently scrutinised by Historic England and via the council’s usual planning process. I strongly encourage anyone with concerns or comments about the proposed bridge reinstatement to submit these at the appropriate time”.

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.

 

 

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Darren updates on L-Dub Community Bike Project

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has been following up on concerns about the future of the L-Dub Community Bike Project following local press reports and enquiries from constituents.

Darren said:

“Following my meeting with Scotty on Saturday 24th, as promised, I have written to the Mayor about the L-Dub Community Bike Project. I’ve asked for urgent reconsideration so that Mr Scott can continue with this much-loved community project. I’ll share the response as soon as I have it”.

 

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Darren gets response on Migrant Impact Fund

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, wrote to the Chancellor in advance of the Autumn Budget calling for the  Migrant Impact Fund to be restored.

Darren has now received a response:

Darren Jones MP said:

“The £50m Migrant Impact Fund (although it now appears only £35million was awarded) was set-up several years ago in response to legitimate concerns that public services needed central funding to help support any unexpected pressure on local services such as housing, schools and hospitals. This was – and still is – common sense and the fund should have never been replaced with the much less effective Controlling Migration Fund which does not fund things such as additional pressures on healthcare. This change was ill-thought out so I am disappointed this response has repeated the same old explanations without actually considering the points my letter raised – namely, that this backwards step applies pressure to healthcare services who can ill afford it, only helps to fans the flames of prejudice. I continue to call for the Migrant Impact Fund to be restored”.

 

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Darren calls for parity for children’s mental health funding

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has commented on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services following release of a major new report from the Children’s Commissioner for England.

The report includes a detailed break-down of spending, waiting times and the number of children turned away for each area of England. This has enabled Darren to take a detailed look at provision in Bristol. Bristol CCG’s results show that between April 2017 and March 2018:

• 41% of children who are referred to NHS CAMHS services are not accepted for treatment. The Commissioner does not know what, if any, alternative support is available to these children.

• Of those who are accepted, 47% are seen within 4 weeks – this compares to 80% across England. 19% have to wait more than 6 weeks.

• Children’s mental health accounts for less than 1% of local NHS spending (0.99% locally). Per capita, adult mental health services are funded at three times the rate of children’s services. Bringing about parity of spending (per head) requires an additional £1.7bn to be invested in children’s mental health services nationally.

In response the Children’s Commissioner calls for the three commitments from NHS England to be included within the forthcoming NHS 10-yr Plan, I support:

1) A spending benchmark that brings parity between child and adult mental health, achieved within five years.

2) A large expansion of community mental health treatment to ensure that by 2023 the NHS is in a position to ensure no child who needs help is turned away. This should be combined with a clear four-week waiting times target.

3) A comprehensive plan for the NHS and local partners to provide lower-level children’s mental health services, to ensure easy access before conditions deteriorate. This should include an NHS-funded counsellor in every school.

Darren said:

“I will be meeting the CCG in the New Year and plan to raise these mattes for further discussion. I believe we can – and must – do better to ensure our young people get the support they need and deserve – the first step would be giving parity of funding per person to children and adolescent services as they do to adult mental health service. 41% of those referred for treatment do not receive it – that is genuinely concerning and must be fully investigated”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren shares concerns about 3 and 4 bus routes

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has shared updates on First Bus services that run from Cribbs through Henbury, Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle and Stoke Bishop to the city centre.

Darren said:

“I’ve been made aware of a number of on-going problems affecting the number 3 and 4 First bus routes. I shared those concerns with First and have been advised:

Having reviewed the recent performance of the service, it is evident that it has been affected by driver shortage, traffic congestion and vehicle breakdown. To address the shortage of drivers we have recruited additional staff to plug the gaps which should be demonstrating improvements from this week.

The congestion is a more difficult problem to solve, especially on the run up to Christmas. However, I have identified common sections of the route that get delayed regularly and fed this information into the commercial team that develop the timetables. They have taken this information and will take it into consideration when providing new timetables for January.

With respect to the vehicle breakdowns, our Engineering team have put an action plan in place to improve the reliability of the current crop of vehicles.

There are no immediate plans to replace the vehicles, but given the Engineering plans, I expect these to be just as reliable as a new vehicle.

Finally, please accept my apologies for the difficulty in raising concerns with First. The team that handles complaints has a new leader and location which is aimed at simplifying the process and improving response times. This is relatively new, but is already having an impact.

Hopefully bus riders on the 3 and 4 should see an improvement soon. If not, get in touch with me by emailing darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk”!

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.

 

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Darren backs second reading of Modern Slavery Bill

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has signed a cross-party letter sent to The Times supporting the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill:

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Dear Sir,

We welcome the Government’s plans to improve support for victims of modern slavery. But their limited proposals are inadequate.

This problem would be addressed directly by the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, scheduled for Second Reading today (23rd November) in the House of Commons.

The Bill would provide a guaranteed period of 12 months support after someone is confirmed as a victim and, for those who need it, the right to remain in the UK during that year so they can receive the help they need.

Long term support is crucial. Support prevents re-trafficking and allows victims time to rebuild their lives. It also gives them stability enabling them to give evidence against their traffickers, greatly increasing the chance of convictions.

We have a golden opportunity to create a truly world class system of victim support. We urge the Government to give its full support to the Bill before it runs out of time.

Yours sincerely,

Lord McColl of Dulwich CBE; Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP; Kevin Hyland OBE; Baroness Redfern; Lord Kennedy of Southwark; Lord Hogan-Howe QPM; Lord Elton TD; Kate Green MP; Barry Sheerman MP; Baroness Newlove; Jon Cruddas MP; Baroness Kennedy of Cradley; Baroness Thornton; Rt. Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE; Carolyn Harris MP; Catherine West MP; Baroness Howe of Idlicote CBE; Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP; Jonathan Edwards MP; Kelvin Hopkins MP; Marie Rimmer MP; Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP; Baroness Stroud; Ben Lake MP; Helen Hayes MP; Ruth George MP; Vernon Coaker MP; Caroline Lucas MP; Heidi Allen MP; Lord Hylton; Kerry McCarthy MP; Helen Goodman MP; Sarah Champion MP; Jess Phillips MP; Baroness Sheehan; Ann Coffey MP; Baroness Hamwee; Gareth Snell MP; Daniel Zeichner MP; Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC; Bishop Alastair Redfern; Anne Marie Morris MP; Jim McMahon MP; Darren Jones MP; Tim Farron MP; Lord Dubs; Kate Osamor MP; Diana Johnson MP; Baroness Cox; Rt Hon David Lammy MP; Fiona Bruce MP; Lord Alton of Liverpool (Trustee, Arise Foundation); Jim Cunningham MP; Alex Norris MP; Siobhain McDonagh MP; Stuart McDonald MP; Lord Skinkwin; Charlie Elphicke MP; Andrew Selous MP; Gillian Keegan MP;

Darren said:

“I have championed the rights of victims of modern slavery and trafficking since my election in June 2017. This has included raising the rights of victims at a debate in Westminster Hall, calling for new anti Modern Slavery measures to be trialled in Bristol and hosting a Business Forum to raise awareness of modern slavery in supply chains. I have made it my mission to highlight modern slavery, support victims and drive this horrific crime out of Bristol – I therefore fully support the second reading of the Modern Slavery Bill”.

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Darren writes to council following Southmead walk around.

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, recently took part in a litter pick and estate inspection with local councillors Helen Godwin and Brenda Massey in the Twenty Acres area of Southmead. Following that meeting, as promised, Darren has written to the council’s head of service sharing his concerns.