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Darren backs a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea

A number of constituents have contacted Darren to ask his views on the proposal for a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea.

Darren said:

“The Government must ensure the UK advocates strongly for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. Such a protected area would help safeguard one of the last pristine regions in Antarctica and ensure the conservation of vital ecosystems settled in these waters and the surrounding coast.

While I am glad to see that the UK has backed the proposal, I am nonetheless disappointed that the Government has not been engaging more pro-actively with member states and using the full extent of its diplomatic tools to persuade countries that have not yet publicly backed the proposal.

As you may be aware, only around 3.9% of the world’s oceans are designated for protection, despite a global commitment to achieve 10% by 2020. As such, it is ever more crucial that the UK continues to lead the world in marine conservation and that we do all we can to ensure the protection and sustainability of our oceans.

I have long supported measures to protect our marine environment and to protect and enhance the marine environment of the UK and our overseas territories. I also support proposals to deliver an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK to ensure that the benefits of marine conservation are felt domestically too”.

 

 

 

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Darren continues to call on government to back new social housing

On 31st July, Darren signed a letter calling on the Government to urgently release their much-delayed Social Housing Green Paper before the housing crisis continued to spiral out of control.

Following pressure and since that date, the government has released the Green Paper, but it is lacking in detail and funding of how social housing demand will meet supply. Darren has therefore signed another cross-party letter calling on the government to act.

Darren said:

“I am pleased the government have finally got on, bowed to pressure and released this much-promised Green Paper but to be frank it is hugely lacking in any great detail (and funding!) on how to resolve the nation’s housing crisis. This is because it is quite clear, the main way to resolve the years of under-investment in, and priority given to, council and social housing is to build more of it and quickly!

Whole swathes of working Britain can’t afford their rent let alone think about buying a home for their family. Everyone should be entitled to a safe, secure and warm home – in today’s austerity Britain this is feeling far too much like a luxury not a human right.

Whilst Bristol City Council is working hard to buck the trend and build housing at an affordable rent, I once again urge the government to invest in council and social housing and give councils and housing associations the full support and funding they need to ensure those in unsecure housing, in hostels and temporary accommodation,  struggling with high rent, sofa surfing and rough sleeping have the possibility of a home in the future. Not to do so is a neglect of their duty”.

You can follow Darren’s work on housing here.

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Darren continues to fight for Cystic Fibrosis patients

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to fight for access to Orkambi for the 10,400 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK.

Darren has co-signed another letter to Vertex Pharmaceuticals (the first was sent on 28th June 2018) – this letter asks the company to urgently sit down with, and resolve, the negotiations with NHS England so those with cystic fibrosis can have access to this revolutionary drug.

Darren said:

“Cystic Fibrosis is a cruel and life-shortening condition – it is unacceptable this drug has been licensed for over three years yet it is still not available for the people that sorely need it. Median life expectancy for someone with CF is just 47 – in the context of that stark figure three years is far too long and time is being wasted. People with Cystic Fibrosis should not have to keep waiting for this treatment to be available.

NHS England and Vertex need to sit down as a matter of the strongest urgency and sort this out and the government should be facilitating that discussion. These delays are causing unnecessary suffering to my constituents and thousands across the country”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Darren raises concern at news of 16,000 extra cars on Bristol roads

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to call for large-scale improvements to transport infrastructure in North Bristol following the release of information from Department of Transport that indicates Bristol can expect 16,000 additional car journeys every day following the removal of Severn Bridge Tolls.

Ahead of the Gridlock Conference Darren chaired in July, Darren had previously launched a petition calling on the region’s metro mayor, Tim Bowles, to commit at least £50m to a new transport fund for north Bristol and voiced his concerns about congestion with members of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). At the July conference, attendees discussed the gridlock hot stops across the North Bristol corridor and how they may be impacted by further developments such as the proposed expansion of Cribbs Causeway, new housing developments at Filton Airfield, the potential arena at Filton alongside the lifting of Severn Bridge Tolls. Attendees debated how a Transport Fund for North Bristol could be spent to support solutions to the congestion faced by drivers, encourage more sustainable travel and boost the area’s limited rail, bus and cycle networks.

Darren said:

“Since the announcement to reduce, and then remove, Severn Bridge Tolls, I have raised the issue of gridlock and air pollution with government time and again. I have also tried to engage with our Regional Mayor to tackle local transport.

Now we know – 16,000 extra cars are expected on our roads every single day – that’s 6 million a year – and with no thought for advance mitigation. It is no good for those responsible to say they are ‘looking into how to invest in our roads’. It also no good to just keep focusing on roads and cars!

I once again call on the Region’s Mayor, Tim Bowles, to invest in a North Bristol Transport Fund and protect the area from total gridlock by investing in road, rail, bus, pedestrian and cycling improvements.

I encourage those concerned about further traffic chaos to sign my petition calling for at least a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund: http://darren-jones.co.uk/transport-fund/.”

Local residents can sign up to support Darren’s call for a £50m North Bristol Transport Fund for road, rail, bus, cycling and walking improvements by signing his petition here.

Follow Darren’s work on transport here.

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Darren comments on Rough Sleeping Strategy

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones shared his views following the release of the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy on 13 8 18.

Darren said:

” It’s all too little, too late and as anyone who visits our city centre knows it unfortunately won’t slow down the increasing numbers of people driven onto the streets by the government’s austerity politics and cuts to the support available to the most vulnerable. I anticipate Universal Credit, now rolling out across Bristol, will only make matters worse.

The government need to urgently assess the impact their cuts are having across the whole public, voluntary and charitable sphere and stop this political experiment – it isn’t working! This strategy fails to address the root causes of rough sleeping – the starting point for this, and the Social Housing Green Paper, should have been a significant increase in the number of social properties built alongside dramatically improved access to mental health care, employment support and training, security for private renters and substance misuse services“.

 

 

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Darren signs letter calling for Social Housing green paper to be published

1.16 million households are on Social Housing waiting lists, but the Government have delayed their publication of a Social Housing green paper. With private rentals increasingly expensive this is urgently needed.

Darren signed a letter calling on the Government to provide details of when this will be published. He was one of 35 strong, cross-party group of MPs, showing the strength of feeling about this issue.

 

 

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Darren calls for Lyme Disease research and GP training

Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease and can be caught all over the UK including in urban parks and back gardens. Official estimates suggest around 3,000 cases a year, but this is thought to be much higher. Awareness amongst both the general public and medical professionals is low.

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose. Tick bites are normally painless and very small they are easily missed. Left undiagnosed or under treated or if treatment fails, Lyme disease can be debilitating and have a devastating impact, leaving people chronically ill and disabled with little prospect of recovery.

You can find out more about Lyme Disease from NHS here.

Darren said:

” A member of my team has recently contracted Lyme Disease so I know how debilitating and serious it can be. It is really important people check for ticks and if you have symptoms or bite marks they seek immediate medical advice. The government must invest in research into Lyme Disease and  immediate training of GPs. It is ridiculous that Public Health England have created a ‘Be Tick aware’ toolkit but because of internal politics around raising awareness this has not been rolled out”.

 

 

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Darren calls for Public Inquiry into Brexit Referendum

Following the findings of the Electoral Commission’s review of Vote Leave spending and the fine levied to Facebook by the ICO in relation to data harvesting in advance of the referendum, Darren wrote to all MPs calling for their support in demanding an independent judge-led inquiry into the referendum. Darren first called for a public inquiry during PMQ’s on Wednesday 11th July.

Darren said:

” I have written to colleagues in Parliament today(17th July), to seek their support in calling for a public inquiry into the Brexit Referendum. If illegality can take place in our democracy, we must bring forward reforms. Please write to your MP to ask for their support. You can check who your MP is here“. ‬

 

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MP chairs YardArts meeting – notes now available.

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones  hosted a public meeting with around 50 local residents regarding the proposed YardArts development on Penpole Lane in Shirehampton on 29th June – thank you to everyone who attended. The notes of this meeting are available to view/print below.

Darren said:

“Following my recent survey, over 450 local residents  contacted me to share their views about the proposed YardArts site on Penpole Lane. The majority were against the plans, or at least what we knew of them at the time of writing, and wanted to find out more. I therefore arranged a public meeting on Friday 29th June at the Shirehampton Methodist Church along with YardArts and the landowner of the Karakal site. There was an update received on plans from both parties as well as a useful Question and Answer session. Those able to attend said they found the opportunity useful to hear directly from both parties what they hope to do with the site.

A planning application will be going live from YardArts very soon – please make sure you submit any comments/concerns you have direct to the council so they can take them into consideration. Once the application is live you can do that via this link“.

Meetings notes available here: YardArts Notes 29 6 18

 

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Darren backs local shops – nominate your high street now!

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones MP has backed local high streets and urged the government to do more to protect local jobs and the heart of our local communities.

Darren said:

” We know our high streets and shopping parades are struggling – shops are closing across the country and I see the impact of vacant stores here in Bristol North West. Almost 70,000 retail jobs, including shop-floor roles, are set to be axed this year in Britain – according to a new report released by retail magnate Bill Grimsey. His review suggests high streets are facing “their greatest challenge in history”.

Just yesterday, a resident of Westbury-on-Trym shared their concerns about a vacant premise becoming a target for petty vandalism and the number of stores now empty in the village. I’ll be meeting with a representative from Westbury Business Association next week to discuss what I can do to help champion all of our high streets.

The government must urgently re-assess the support they are giving to small, family run shops, as well as the medium and larger chains who are not immune to these pressures, and the rates they charge them – high streets are the lifeblood of our communities.

I’m also working hard to bring infrastructure investment to Bristol North West – we know congestion, and irregular or unreliable bus, rail and cycle routes can put people off visiting a high street and only encourages them to visit out-of-town retailers and shop online. Our transport network must support local high streets and encourage use of public transport.

I am also urging residents to do their bit – shop locally, support locally-run businesses and nominate their high street for the Visa Great British High Street competition“.

#MyHighStreet