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Darren tours HMP Bristol and shares funding concerns

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met the Governor of HMP Bristol, Steve Cross and toured the prison formerly known as HMP Horfield. HMP Bristol is in the constituency of Bristol West but prisoners from across the area are sent here to serve their sentences and many staff live in Bristol North West.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and would like to thank Steve, his team and some of the prisoners for meeting me. Prison services are under an incredible amount of pressure and HMP Bristol have faced, and continues to face, many high profile challenges. The facility itself is ageing and suffering from a lack of investment. Staffing numbers have been low whilst remaining staff have faced record levels of violence and the rising use of former legal highs such as Spice as well as more traditional drugs. I was therefore really pleased to hear that staff numbers have risen, investment is being made to the oldest parts of the prison, there’s a focus on education and skills training and use of drugs is declining. Given my role on the Science and Tech Committee, I was particularly keen to hear about the use of experimental technology to block the use of drones (which drop drugs) over the prison.

Whilst there has been improvements in other areas,  I was concerned to hear about the lack of support available to prisoners with acute mental health needs.  As beds in secure mental health units are in such demand prisoners often find it very difficult to access the right level of care and therefore remain in prison for lengthy periods. This is especially worrying given the 5 self-inflicted deaths at HMP Bristol during 2016 – the highest number on records since 1978.

The situation in this, and other, prisons  needs more focus from government. HMP Bristol staff are doing what they can within the resources they have –  government funding is sorely needed to improve the whole facility, provide swift access to adequate mental health support and ensure those employed as Prison Officers are paid fairly for the increasingly challenging job that they do. The government must listen to HMP staff and governors as well, as the prisoners and their families, and act on their concerns”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren holds debate on waiters and waitresses’ tips

Darren has recently been campaigning on the issue of what happens to tips left at restaurants, following Bristol activists and the Bristol Post raising the issue in relation to Aqua Italia. There, as well as at Turtle Bay, workers were made to pay a percentage of their table orders to restaurants, in case they received tips. This sometimes meant workers were forced to got to a cash-point to pay their employer, as they hadn’t made enough in tips.

You can watch Darren’s full speech in the debate below:

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Darren seeks views on “regulated corridor” in Avonmouth

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has supported new laws in Westminster that will give local councils powers to take stronger actions against offending companies. Darren is seeking the views of Avonmouth residents on his work, with the council, to introduce a “regulated corridor” in Avonmouth.

Darren said:

“I’ve been working with council colleagues on a “regulated corridor” between residential and industrial areas of Avonmouth. This would mean stricter planning obligations and higher scrutiny for new businesses setting up in the corridor. I was hoping to start delivering a leaflet and survey to Avonmouth residents this weekend but the snow has got in the way. Leaflets will go out soon but you can view the letter below and complete the survey online now“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren supports Asda worker’s pension campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the CEO of Asda, Roger Burnley, highlighting his concerns about proposed changes to non-salaried employees death in service and pension benefits.

Darren was made aware of the changes following contact from GMB union reps in his constituency. Many constituents in Bristol North West, who work at the Avonmouth depot as well as the large Asda Walmart at Cribbs Causeway, could be affected if the plans are implemented.

Darren said:

“ Workers rights and their terms and conditions must be protected – watering them down over time is not acceptable. I’ve made Asda’s CEO aware of my concerns about the changes they are planning to make. I hope they will re-think, engage with unions and maintain above legal minimum pension contributions for their hard working employees”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren meets Environment Agency

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met the Environment Agency on 19th February to talk about reducing flood risk, harbouring tidal energy and regulating industry in Bristol North West.

Darren met the team at Kings Weston House which offers a vantage point across the west of the constituency, an area which will benefit from the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area Ecology Mitigation and Flood Defence project. This project will deliver new flood defences along 17 kilometres of coastline and new wetland habitat at Hallen Marsh and Northwick.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and would like to thank the EA for meeting me. It was useful to meet at Kings Weston to allow the EA to talk through the projects which will benefit the parts of the constituency visible from the viewpoint. I was also pleased to take a tour to an EA-maintained structure and hear how these structure are used”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren joins North Bristol Beat Team for Friday night ride-along

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones joined the North Bristol Beat Team for a ride-along on February 17th.

Darren joined the officers from Avon and Somerset Police to see their typical Friday night and discuss how funding cuts have impacted the local police force.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and would like to thank the beat team for taking me out. The police do a fantastic job in really difficult circumstances. The never-ending cuts to local police budgets have had an impact on the service the police can deliver on the ground and I know my constituents are concerned about crime and ASB levels – that’s why I’ve written to the minister explaining the force is at a tipping point and needs more funding. I’ll keep championing proper police funding and the scrapping of the public sector pay cap so we ensure we pay our public servants properly for the incredible work they do – and they stay in the job.”

You can complete Darren’s Crime and ASB survey here.

 

 

 

 

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Darren visits GKN workers at Western Approach

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones visited GKN Aerospace and met with union reps and staff at the company’s Western Approach depot near Avonmouth on February 15th.

GKN is a UK engineering firm with 6,000 UK employees across 14 sites. Two of these locations are in North Bristol and employ upwards of 2,000 people. And as a major supply chain business to other advanced manufacturing companies in the aerospace industry (such as Airbus), GKN plays a vital role in one of our most important industries in the UK and, in the South West, as its number one sectoral employer. The Western Approach site is the home of the A350 and A400M Wing Spars.

Darren was especially keen to meet staff and union reps as Melrose has started a hostile takeover bid of GKN. Melrose has the stated aim of taking over, turning around and then selling off companies in a short amount of time. This hostile takeover bid has been unanimously rejected by the GKN board and by Unite the Union on behalf of the workforce. Darren has written to Business Secretary, Greg Clarke, to ask the government to intervene on ground of national interest and security.

You can find out more about the hostile takeover bid and how to show your support for workers here.

Pictured below, with Darren, is Western Approach Process Team Leader Jason Gabriel. Jason followed in his father’s footsteps by working at GKN. Jason started at the Filton site as a temp and obtained a permanent job whilst undertaking further training as a skilled fitter, he has since progressed to Team Leader.

Darren said:

“ I found the visit extremely useful and am proud to be backing the workforce at GKN. I was particularly pleased to meet Jason, and his colleagues, and see first-hand the development opportunities available to local people through employment at GKN. The staff and unions are fighting to protect a proud part of Bristol’s heritage, thousands of jobs and the potentially devastating impact on the local supply chain. I stand shoulder to shoulder with them and will continue to support and champion their cause”

 

 

 

 

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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.