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£50m North Bristol Transport Fund

Bristol MP calls for new £50m North Bristol Transport Fund

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones is calling on the Metro Mayor for the West of England Tim Bowles to commit at least £50m to a new Transport Fund for North Bristol. His campaign follows confirmation from Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees that the Bristol Arena could move from Temple Quay to the Brabazon Hangar in North Bristol.

Commenting, Darren said:

“We’re in desperate need of transport funding in North Bristol but we’re going to have to wait years for any new money from national Government. With so many new houses and now the potential for the Bristol Arena in North Bristol we must bring that funding forward now.”

“That’s why I’m calling on the Metro Mayor to fund a North Bristol Transport Fund with at least £50 million of new funding. If Bristol City Council decides to move the Bristol Arena to North Bristol, which is likely to attract private sector funding, then public sector funds should be diverted to vital transport upgrades instead. This must happen before massive developments in North Bristol open to the public.”

Darren has launched a public petition to back his campaign, which can be signed at www.darren-jones.co.uk/arena or by clicking here

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Darren backs Alzheimer’s Society and becomes ‘Dementia Friend’

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his support to the Alzheimer’s Society by signing-up to become a Dementia Friend.

Darren Jones MP said:

” I am proud to have become a Dementia Friend. Dementia Friends are a crucial initiative of the Alzheimer’s Society and they’re aiming for 4 million friends by 2020.

I’ve seen and heard first-hand at constituent surgeries, as well as last Autumn’s Bristol Memory Walk, the crucial work the society do and the value it has to those individuals and families experiencing dementia.

I’ve pledged to raise awareness of the great work the society does, attend their events where possible and to keep a close eye on government and push for more support to those experiencing dementia”.

You can find out more about Dementia Friends and sign-up to become a friend online.

 

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Gender Pay Gap

Darren Jones MP names and shames Bristol employers who pay men more than women.

In January 2018, the Government published information about the gender pay gap: the difference that men are paid to women.

Labour passed the Equalities Act in Government which made it clear: men and women should get equal pay for equal work. Yet many organisations are failing to do that, with conscious or unconscious bias in appointments, promotions and pay between men and women. This is unacceptable and must stop.

Today, Darren Jones MP has written to organisations on the list of published offenders that employ people in Bristol to call them out, and ask what they’re doing to fix the problem. This is part of wider work being done by Darren to eradicate modern slavery and unethical work from Bristol. The  list includes prominent Bristol employers such as the BBC, day nursery Mama Bears, Rolls Royce and Wessex Bus.

Darren said:

There is no excuse for employers who pay men more than women for the same work. And to respond saying that women aren’t in senior positions misses the point entirely. For whatever reason, women continue to get paid less than men for doing exactly the same job. It’s time to call that out publically and I encourage women to raise it with their employers, and to ask what is being done to fix the problem. They have my full support in doing so.

Here is the list of organisations thought to employ people in Bristol, who pay men more than women:

  • Accenture (16.7% gap)
  • Arup (17.4% gap)
  • Baker Tilly (14.8% gap)
  • BBC (10.7% gap)
  • BDO (18.3% gap)
  • Capgemini (19.4% gap)
  • Clydesdale Bank (37% gap)
  • CMS Cameron McKenna (17.3% gap)
  • Coral Racing (14% gap)
  • Crown Prosecution Services / CPS (10.6% gap)
  • Deloitte (17% gap)
  • Ernst and Young (19.7% gap)
  • Europa Worldwide Logistics (19% gap)
  • First Wessex (15.1% gap)
  • Fujitsu (16.7% gap)
  • Hayley Group (18.6% gap)
  • HSE (22.9% gap)
  • Ladbrokes (15% gap)
  • Land Registry (33.3% gap)
  • Mama Bears (27.5% gap)
  • Ministry of Defence (12.5% gap)
  • NHS Digital (16.1% gap)
  • Rolls-Royce (6.3-11.1% gap)
  • Shell UK (18-31.5% gap)
  • The Coop Bank (30.3% gap)
  • TSB Bank (31% gap)

This list is based on national figures, excludes a 10% +/- range (not that a pay gap of less than 10% is an excuse!) and where there are various subsidiaries a range has been included.

And here is the letter Darren has sent to each of them:

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Darren supports workers rights

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his support to the Unpaid Work Trials (Prohibition) Bill being heard in Parliament in the New Year. This Private Members Bill will end the practise of exploitative, unpaid trial shifts, guarantee fair and proper pay for working hours completed and ensure that trial workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Those trialling a new job by undertaking a shift or two deserve to be paid for their time. It is unacceptable that some companies are using high numbers of trial shifts to get work completed without having to pay staff. This is another form of exploitation and an unethical practise – it must be stopped”.

 

 

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Stay Safe Online – Stop and Think

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has warned constituents to be on the look-out for fake or malicious emails, calls or letters from fraudsters over the Christmas and New Year period.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Christmas and the January sales are two of the busiest times of the year for online shopping. Unfortunately it is also a busy time for fraudsters. Financial fraud losses totalled £768.8 million in 2016!

Take Five, a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK, urges you to pause and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

There’s some great advice available at the Take Five website“.

 

 

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Darren calls for free schools meals to be protected

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, to call for the government to reconsider implementing a threshold for universal credit claimants entitlement to free schools meals for their children.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Universal Credit is coming to Bristol North West in September 2018. The Government is currently consulting on eligibility for free school meals under Universal Credit, and is proposing the introduction of an earning threshold of £7,400 to determine eligibility.

Up to now, the Government has allowed all claimants on Universal Credit to receive free school meals. Introducing this proposed earnings threshold represents a huge step backwards. The Children’s Society have estimated that this would lead to over one million children in poverty, and over 5000 in Bristol, missing out on free school meals. I’ve written to Justine Greening to raise my concerns about this”.

 

 

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Darren backs the Blue Belt

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed up to support Great British Ocean’s Back the Blue Belt campaign.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I am delighted to be supporting this vitally important campaign. With the fifth largest marine estate in the world, the UK and its Overseas Territories are custodian to the largest coral atoll on earth, globally significant populations of albatross, whales and turtles, and as many as a quarter of the penguins on the planet.

Through the actions of successive governments, the UK has demonstrated global leadership in ocean conservation. I call on the UK to reaffirm this leadership by working with the governments of the Overseas Territories to deliver on Blue Belt pledges”.

What is the Blue Belt?

(info taken from Great British Oceans).

The Blue Belt will be a series of large protected areas of ocean around 7 of the 14 British Overseas Territories, all of which are under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

The Blue Belt consists of Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha.

The surrounding areas of ocean are vast marine estates that contain breeding grounds for a quarter of the world’s penguins, a third of the world’s albatrosses, endangered turtles, and the world’s largest coral atoll. Together, these Territories will create 4 million square kilometres of ocean – an area larger than India.

Marine Protected Areas like these have been found to be a productive, cost-effective and viable way to preserve the ocean’s wildlife. They protect vital ecological processes for both local communities and the planet as a whole.

The proposal is for Overseas Territory Governments to get the support they need to create a Blue Belt. Combined with UK waters, this could become the largest network of marine reserves in the world.

 

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Darren supports Breathing Space Debt Campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, to back the Children’s Society’s Breathing Space campaign.

The Government has now brought forward a call for evidence on the introduction of a Breathing Space scheme for families in debt.  The Children’s Society and others have been calling for this vital protection for families for a number of years and worked on a Private Members Bill last year to introduce a Breathing Space.  On 14th December, along with a large number of other charities and partners, the Children’s Society launched their latest report on this issue showing the life events that can lead to families falling into debt.  Darren has reviewed the report and written to the Treasury to raise his concerns.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I am delighted to be supporting the Children’s Society’s vitally important campaign.  It is estimated that there are 5437 children living in 3134 families in problem debt in Bristol North West. More needs to be done to help these families”.

 

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Darren says save £ by switching suppliers

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has called on constituents to consider saving money by switching energy suppliers.  New figures released from the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG) reveal that 17% in Bristol North West have switched electricity supplier and potentially saved hundreds of pounds during the last year, equating to 7,757 people per year.

The Energy Switch Guarantee is a commitment by energy suppliers – from the largest to some of the newest in the market – to make switching simple, speedy and safe and will soon cover 90 percent of the market.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Over 17% in Bristol North West have taken advantage of the big savings that are on offer but it would be great to see more join them. Customers can save hundreds of pounds -especially if they have been with the same supplier for years.

“This winter I encourage everyone in Bristol North West to take a few minutes to find out if they can be on a better energy deal. If you haven’t switched before you might think it is a bit daunting but as I found out, it’s really simple. And with the Energy Switch Guarantee in place customers can be reassured that switching will be simple, speedy and safe so make sure your supplier has signed up.”

Tina Tietjen, Independent Chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, said:

“Over 4.5 million customers have switched energy supplier so far this year and while some areas of the country – like Yorkshire in particular – are taking advantage of the potential savings on offer, others are missing out. It only takes a few minutes to find out if you’re on the best deal. Either get in touch with your supplier or look online to make sure you are on the best deal for you. There are huge savings to be made and the Energy Switch Guarantee provides customers with extra reassurance that the process will be simple, speedy and safe.”

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Bristol MPs call for pension fund to go fossil free

On the eve of an international summit on climate finance, Darren Jones, Kerry McCarthy, Thangam Debbonaire  and Karin Smith join over 100 MPs to call on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to drop investments in oil, coal and gas companies.

The four Bristol Labour MPs are among a cross-party group of over 100 MPs (1) who demand that their £612 million MPs’ Pension Fund removes its substantial holdings from fossil fuel companies to reflect their concerns about climate change. The fund currently holds a £5.6 million stake in BP and £4.9 million in Shell.

 

This week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell became the 99th and 100th MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge (2). This milestone comes as 50 heads of state, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, arrive in Paris for an international summit on climate change and finance.

MPs are responding to a rising call for divestment, with over 800 organisations and investors worth over $5 trillion having already committed to divest from fossil fuels (3).

In a joint statement, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, and the other MPs said:

“Two years on from the Paris agreement, and with the devastating impacts of climate change already apparent, there is no room for continued investment in companies whose business is incompatible with our climate obligations. It is vital that MPs show leadership on positive solutions to tackle climate change which benefit society and our constituents. We are therefore proud to support the call for our pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.”

Patrick Killoran  from the Divest Parliament campaign said:

‘ I’m deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change here and around the world. It’s great to see MPs listening to their constituents and showing political leadership on climate action.

Investing in companies such as BP and Shell, who continue to dig for more fossil fuels and lobby against climate policy to line executives’ pockets, is dangerous and wrong.

I hope more MPs will join those committing to Divest Parliament today, and prioritise concrete action to build a clean, fair energy system for all.”

Two years ago this week, the UK government joined nearly 200 nations in signing the Paris Agreement on climate change. To meet the commitment to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C, with the aspirational target of 1.5°C, scientists have warned the vast majority of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.

Yet, the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) continues to invest millions of pounds of MPs’ savings in fossil fuel companies. Both BP and Shell are among the fund’s top 20 holdings – along with mining firm Rio Tinto, British American Tobacco and Amazon -which were made available for the first time in March 2017. The pension fund has to date been unwilling to make public the full list of its investments.

With the value of fossil fuel companies’ stock based on their entire fossil fuel reserves–not just the small percentage that can safely be burned–these investments are not only environmentally destructive, but represent a significant financial risk. Meanwhile, the industry continues to funnel billions every year to find and develop yet more fossil fuel reserves. Both BP and Shell have been involved in lobbying against climate solutions, and BP was identified at the top of a list of firms obstructing climate action in Europe (4).

The 100 pledges follow the efforts of thousands of citizens across the UK, who have written to and met with MPs from the across the political spectrum, urging them to demonstrate their commitment to protecting our society and shared environment from the risks associated with burning and investing in fossil fuels.