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Darren visits Honda to discuss Brexit and Skills

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones visited Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd site in Swindon on Thursday 15 February 2018 as part of the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship. This visit is part of an educational programme furthering his knowledge on technology, innovation and skills.

Darren Jones MP was able to gain insight the opportunities and challenges Honda faces in Europe given the current economic and political climate. The visit also enabled him to gain a better understanding of the employment and skills challenges with manufacturers both foreign based in the UK and UK based exporters, which supports his role as a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee.

The Swindon plant is Honda’s flagship production facility in Europe, currently employing a workforce of around 4,000 and in 2017 took on 600 new people as a result of a recent £200mn investment. The visit highlighted why Swindon was chosen as the location for their UK site as well as providing insight into Honda UK’s second apprenticeship programme; the Toolmaking Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme which develops Tool and Die Maintenance Technicians that are responsible for maintaining the specialist tooling that is in use throughout our site.

During the visit, Darren met with Patrick Keating, European Public Affairs Manager, who talked about the history of Honda and the day-to-day operations at the factory. Darren was also given a tour of the fully integrated car manufacturing facility – from casting and engine assembly through to welding and final assembly.

Darren said:

“I found the visit extremely useful. It really helped my understanding of the challenges and opportunities Honda face and I was very grateful for everyone giving up their time. The factory is an excellent site and you can really see how recent investment has boosted the operations here. I would like to thank the IPT for organising this visit and look forward to my other visits.”

Louise Hanson, Business Operations Division manager, Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd added:

Our Swindon factory is a key part of Honda’s highly integrated European regional operations. We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss our business and the future of Honda of the UK Manufacturing with Darren Jones. It is also great to support the work the Industry and Parliament Trust does in order to bridge the gap between industry and Parliament.”

 

 

 

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Darren visits Foodbank

Darren Jones MP has visited the team at North Bristol Foodbank. After dropping-in to the Foodbank’s Christmas donation drive at Tesco in Horfield in December 2017, Darren wanted to meet the hard working volunteers, trustees and manager who welcome people to the service and package up the donations.

The Foodbank was set-up in 2012 and offered 3,740 emergency three-day food parcels in the last year.

Darren Jones MP said:

” I was really keen to meet the people who make the Foodbank possible, many are volunteers and they work extremely hard alongside the small number of paid staff and trustees. Childcare voucher changes and Universal Credit are likely to result in even more demand for their services. I urge anyone who can to donate and support their Foodbank.”

You can find out more about the Foodbank, including how to donate and access food parcels here.

 

 

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Darren calls for reinstatement of 76 bus to Henbury School – sign the petition now:

Darren Jones MP has called for the reinstatement of the number 76 bus to Henbury School following changes to the First Bus route in January 2018.  Darren has written to the Managing Director of First Bus, along with Bristol North West councillors Gill Kirk (Lockleaze) and Helen Godwin (Southmead). Pupils at the school come from across Bristol North West.

Darren Jones MP said:

” A number of pupils, parents and local residents have been affected by the changes to the 76 route through Henbury – bus services are a vital community resource and changes need to be fully considered before they are made. It is totally reasonable for large, urban schools to want a bus stop near-by – not having one is only likely lead to more parents dropping their kids off which creates congestion, parking issues and air pollution. I’ll be meeting with First Bus in early March to discuss these changes alongside the recent fare rises and their practise of charging varying fares based on payment method.”

A petition has been launched to call for the reinstatement of the 76 to Henbury School – you can sign it here.

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Darren welcomes plans to scrap privatisation of Southmead NHS staff

Darren Jones MP has welcomed the announcement from North Bristol NHS Trust to reconsider plans to transfer some  staff to a private management company.  The Trust had been assessing the feasibility of moving support staff management of positions, including cleaners, maintenance workers and caterers, to a private company. Under these plans, affected staff would have no longer been directly employed by the NHS and could have faced negative impact on their key terms and conditions such as pension, leave and sick pay.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I have been receiving regular updates from unions and campaign groups such as Protect Our NHS on this matter. I was incredibly concerned to hear about the initial plans. I’m pleased to hear that North Bristol NHS Trust has reconsidered their plans. Workers rights must be protected, as should the status of the NHS as a public institution.”

Darren has previously spoken of his concerns about the infiltration of private companies (including Carillion) into the NHS and the need to put public service before private profit. Darren backed moves for Carillion’s work to be taken ‘back in-house’ to the NHS.

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Darren backs Plastic Free Parliament

 

Darren Jones MP is proudly supporting a Plastic Free Parliament. Plastic Free Parliament is Surfers Against Sewage’s latest campaign to highlight and tackle avoidable plastics.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’ll be reducing my plastic consumption wherever possible and I back the use of reusable bottles, plates , cutlery and mugs on the parliamentary estate. Shockingly over 2million single-use plastic items were used on the estate in 2017!”

 

You can find out more at Plastic Free Parliament.

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Darren calls for district heating and end to fuel poverty

During Citizens Advice Big Energy Saving Week 2018, Darren Jones MP called on Bristol City Council and partners to investigate the potential of district heating in Bristol North West following a roundtable event.

The roundtable (on 26th January), organised by the MP, connected the council, with Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Energy, energy specialists from the Association of Decentralised Energy as well as energy planning and design experts from ARUP and Bond Dickinson alongside Viridor, who are currently building the new Energy Recovery Centre in Avonmouth.

Darren Jones MP said:

“During Big Energy Savings Week 2018, I have worked to bring a range of experts together to discuss how we can bring the benefits of district heating to Bristol North West. District heating is the collection of power plants’ waste heat for the heating of homes and businesses. This is a way of heating Bristol homes which is far cheaper and more CO2 efficient than fossil fuels. It is also sustainable, because it uses energy being created anyway – and it saves people money on their bills!

As well as pushing for investigation into the potential of district heating, I am continuing to back National Energy Action’s (NEA) Warm Homes Campaign to fight fuel poverty. It’s an important issue that we simply cannot ignore. Living in a cold home can lead to ill health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. I am continuing to encourage constituents to save money by switching energy suppliers –17% in Bristol North West have taken advantage of the big savings that are on offer but it would be great to see more people save by switching. Customers can save hundreds of pounds – especially if they have been with the same supplier for years.

Independent, local groups such as C.H.E.E.S.E also offer thermal imaging surveys which identify where heat is being lost in the home and suggest remedies to reduce bills. Free surveys are available to households on lower incomes so everyone can benefit from their advice.

I am keen to secure cheaper energy bills for my constituents, whether that’s through district heating projects or in the short-term encouraging switching to a better energy deal. More needs to be done nationally to tackle fuel poverty, but I look forward to working alongside the council to help build the case for district heating in Bristol North West”.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations for NEA commented:

“Between 2016-2017 Excess Winter Deaths (EWD) figures have gone up in England and Wales, and are 39.5% higher than last year (up by almost 10,000 from 24,580). Although fuel poverty and EWD can’t be shown to be definitively connected, over one-third excess winter deaths in this period were caused by respiratory diseases, which are known to be severely exacerbated by the cold.”

To learn more about the NEA and their Warm Homes Campaign visit www.nea.org.uk.

You can find out more about C.H.E.E.S.E here:  https://cheeseproject.co.uk/home-surveys 

 

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Darren supports Time to Talk campaign

Darren Jones MP will be showing his support for the national Time to Talk mental health campaign by attending a ‘Tea and Talk’ event at Henbury Library on 2nd February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I will be supporting the annual Time to Talk campaign by joining a ‘Tea and Talk’ event taking place Henbury Library on Friday 2nd February.  Too often, it’s left to people with mental health problems to talk about mental health. It’s treated as a taboo subject – something to only be spoken about in quiet corners. Mental health affects us all, and everyone should feel able to talk about it.

Time to Talk helps us spread the word that wherever you are, any place can be the right space to talk about mental health! Too many people with mental health problems are still made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place. I’d encourage employers, schools and community groups to all get involved – together we can tackle the stigma of mental health”.

You can find out more about local events and the Time to Talk campaign here.

 

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Darren backs Bill to help make rented homes safer in Bristol

Darren Jones MP showed his support for renters in Bristol on Friday 19 January 2018, when he attended the Second Reading of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill.

The Bill, which was been brought forward by MP Karen Buck, gives renters in Bristol, and across the country, the right to take their landlord to court over unsafe and poor housing conditions.

More than 99,000 homes in the South West have a hazard in their rented home which poses a “serious and immediate risk to health and safety”, according to the recent official statistics. This is the equivalent of 1 in 8 rented homes in the South West.

The ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill has cross-party support and has been backed by the government. It has also been supported by organisations across the housing sector, including Shelter, the Residential Landlords Association, the National Landlord Association and the National Housing Federation.

Darren Jones MP was one of many MPs on hand to see the Bill safely through its Second Reading on Friday 19th January. The Bill will now progress and be scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m proud to support the ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill, which will empower renters in Bristol and give them a meaningful tool for getting poor and unsafe renting conditions dealt with”.

 

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Save Money this Big Energy Saving Week

Darren Jones MP is backing Big Energy Saving Week.

Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills. It is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Many people stay on the same tariff or with the same supplier for years without realising they could be getting a better deal elsewhere. They could be saving around £300 a year, particularly if they have never switched before.  Switching is also easier than many people think and can be done in a day. You can use the independent  Citizens Advice Energy Price Comparison Tool to see if you can save”.

To find out more about Big Energy Saving Week and get money-saving tips click here.

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Darren backs campaign to cut supermarket plastic waste

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed up to support a campaign to push supermarkets to reduce use of unnecessary plastic.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’ve proudly supported a campaign led by Catherine West MP to tackle the use of excessive plastic packaging.

I was a co-signee on a letter sent to all the major supermarkets  including Tesco CEO David Lewis.

I’m hoping with a bit of pressure from MP’s more supermarkets and retail outlets will follow Iceland’s lead and commit to reducing unnecessary and damaging plastic waste”.