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Darren welcomes council progress on Library innovation

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure in 2018 but, given the continued decline in government funding, earlier this year they asked for resident’s help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future. Along with constituents, Darren attended an event in Southmead in early March 2019 to talk about ideas to support Bristol North West’s libraries.

Darren said:

“Back in March, I joined one of the library consultation events held in Bristol North West. Bristol City Council have now published over 1200 ideas and suggestions from that consultation.

16 ‘Friends of’ library groups have also been set-up, if you’d like to join an existing group or start a group for your local library, find out more via this link.

Some of the ideas have already come to fruition, including extended self-service opening at Westbury Library on Sunday afternoons.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the library service, you can find out more here. They have roles that help with story times, IT or events.

A new Library Strategy will be going before City Councillors later this year. I’ll share further news once I have it”.

 

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Darren comments on prorogation of Parliament

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, commented on the government’s attempt to prorogue Parliament in September and October 2019.

Darren said:

“Whether you voted leave or remain in 2016, the actions of our Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament should be a red warning light.

Suspending Parliament for weeks in the midst of the biggest crisis facing our country in many decades, and after a summer recess that should have been cut short weeks ago, screams cowardice and a slide towards autocracy.

That this man and his cadre of advisers also think they can insult our intelligence by pretending this isn’t about attempting to avoid Parliament to force-through a no-deal just adds insult to injury. However you voted in 2016 or whichever party you support, we need a Prime Minister who acts with integrity and who is prepared to face Parliament as every other Prime Minister has – if he can’t work within the rules, he simply has no place in British politics.

I will continue to do everything in my power to fight this utterly deplorable decision and a no-deal Brexit”.

Follow Darren’s work on Brexit here.

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Darren visits new council housing in Henbury

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has welcomed news that 32 new council houses have been completed in Henbury.

Darren said:

“Yesterday (21st August), after reports that 210,000 children in England are now homeless, I continued to call for a national programme of new council housing. I said Bristol City Council was bucking the trend by building 145 new council houses by October 2019 – and today we see completion of 32 of those new council houses here in Henbury.

Richeson Close will provide 32 new homes including one, two, three and four bed properties – and over 60% of tenants have already moved in.

It is with thanks to Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cabinet Member for Housing Paul Smith, for making these plans become a reality. New homes will also be coming to Lawrence Weston, Southmead and Lockleaze, I look forward to seeing those projects progress and families enjoying their new homes.

Whilst Bristol City Council is bucking the trend by building new council housing and working with Housing Associations to build social rent and shared ownership properties, they need more support from government. This isn’t a local issue – that’s why I called for a national building programme for new council housing in Parliament earlier this year.

Many families simply can’t afford the city’s private rents and many don’t offer long-term security. I grew up in council housing in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton, so I know council and social housing offer families a long-term home.

I’ve also said the reckless and short-sighted loss of £1bn from homeless services budgets must be reinstated. The government should be ashamed it has continuously cut vital funding to local councils and organisations who can help homeless back into housing, employment/training and access vital physical and mental health and welfare support. Reinstating homeless budgets cut by Tory governments could help tens of thousands of people – including families”.

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Darren comments on rising child homelessness

Upon publication of today’s (21st August 2019) report from the Children’s Commissioner into the homeless crisis facing 210,000 children in England, MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to call on the government to roll-out wide-ranging housing and homelessness reforms.

Darren said:

“Today’s heartbreaking report detailing the 210,000 children classed as homeless in England should come as no surprise to any MP. If it has – they haven’t been doing their job.

Every week, my office and I support constituents facing homelessness, sofa surfing or a move into temporary accommodation. This uncertainty often follows families being evicted from private rented accommodation or sudden breakdown of the family unit.

Whilst Bristol City Council is bucking the national trend by building new council housing and working with Housing Associations to build social rent and shared ownership properties, they need more support from government. This isn’t a local issue – that’s why I’ve called for a national building programme for new council housing in Parliament.

Many families can’t afford private rents and they don’t offer long-term security. I grew up in council housing in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton and value the security it offered my family.

I’ve also said the reckless and short-sighted loss of £1bn from homeless services budgets must be reinstated. The government should be ashamed it has continuously cut vital funding to local councils and organisations who can help homeless back into housing, employment/training and access vital physical and mental health and welfare support. Reinstating homeless budgets cut by Tory governments could help tens of thousands of people – including families.

I will also continue to support key legislation to protect tenants, and implore the government to get on with banning Section 21 evictions, as they first promised back in April”.

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Darren welcomes call for climate action

The climate crisis demands urgent action across Government — and we’re not doing nearly enough. That’s the central message in today’s Clean Growth report from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee, on which Darren sits. The science leaves no doubt that our economies must be decarbonised at speed, and the report concludes an exhaustive enquiry into how the UK can do its bit, by meeting and exceeding the Government’s stated target of net-zero emissions by 2050. And as it makes clear, the policy reality often falls a long way short of what’s required, and of what even the Tories have promised. We’ve seen renewable energy subsidies pared down and held back, investment opportunities missed, and a zero-carbon homes strategy shelved altogether. This kind of short-term thinking leaves us sleepwalking into catastrophe, but the Committee’s recommendations — for instance on decarbonising heat, making our existing and future housing stock more energy-efficient, moving away from petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, facilitating investment in mature renewable technologies like onshore wind and solar, better regulating the energy market, and pursuing carbon capture — should form a blueprint for consensus around what we can and should do right now. The cross-party political will exists to take action in the limited time we have, and the costs of failure are too high to contemplate.

 

The report can be read in full at the link here.

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MP investigates sewage smell in Avonmouth area

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones received a number of complaints about a strong sewage smell in the Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton area in early August. These complaints were also shared with the council and Environment Agency.

Darren wrote to the operators of the nearby sewage treatment works – Wessex Water – to ask if the issues were coming from their site, and if so, what actions were being taken to mitigate this problem in future. The smell appeared to have flared up during a period of particularly warm weather.

Darren has now received a reply from Wessex Water:

 

 

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Darren welcomes Gainsborough Pub progress

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has welcomed news that Bristol City Council are progressing plans to purchase, demolish and regenerate the former Gainsborough pub in Lockleaze. The pub has been empty since 2010 and was recently significantly damaged in a fire. The council will make a decision on the recommendation to progress the project on 3rd September 2019.

Darren said:

“It is very welcome news the council are proposing to have the old Gainsborough pub – which is privately owned – redeveloped in Lockleaze. I hope negotiations with the owner, or the compulsory purchase of the site if that’s necessary, can unlock further investment as – particularly after the June fire – the pub really is an eyesore now. Residents have shared their concerns with me, so I am pleased to see the council have heeded those concerns and are doing what they can to get things moving.

The regeneration of Gainsborough Square has been fantastic for the local area, so we now need to see this final piece of the puzzle come together.”

 

 

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Darren backs Westbury defib campaign

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, is backing a resident’s campaign for a new defibrillator in Westbury on Trym village.

The village previously had a defibrillator at a local pub but because of changes in ownership, that’s been moved to Kings Weston House. It is hoped a life-saving defibrillator will be placed at The White Lion pub, but residents are taking no chances by fundraising to ensure a new home is found for a defibrillator.

Darren also is also aware of fundraising being undertaken by the local church and hopes both groups can combine their efforts to secure this much-needed piece of equipment.

You can find out more about the fundraising efforts and donate here.

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MP writes to Avonmouth, Shire and Lawrence Weston residents

6000 letters from Darren Jones MP will be delivered to residents across Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton and parts of Sea Mills and Coombe Dingle. The letter updates constituents on Darren’s work in the area including tackling flies as well as his North Bristol Transport Plan and Brexit. A significant number of constituents in the area have contacted Darren with concerns about increasing numbers of flies, noise, dust and fly tipping.

Darren Jones MP said:

“In the course of supporting local residents and understanding the concerns raised with me, I have previously met on-site with many Avonmouth-based businesses (including those that process refuse-derived fuel), Bristol City Council, Environment Agency, Wessex Water, SIMs Metal and the Port. I have recently met with the Environment Agency again, to discuss the on-going fly outbreaks which have affected the Avonmouth area during periods of warm weather as well as the recent fire, and on-going noise and dust, at SIMs Metal. I’m therefore pleased that SIMs have just advised the EA they hope to complete key improvement works, including better acoustic attenuation by Christmas. Additionally, if their permit for a new shredder is approved, these works should be completed in early 2020 and will significantly reduce noise and dust from the site.

To keep up discussion with residents, I have held a number of street stalls in the ward, with my office also attending  several ward meetings to hear the concerns of residents in the area. I wholly understand and share resident’s frustrations at this situation.

My letter also details updates on Brexit and my work to improve public transport and tackle climate change through my North Bristol Transport Plan. You can read more about my work on transport here“.

 

 

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Video: Darren comments on threat of no deal

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, commented on the government’s continued move towards a no deal Brexit following concerns from the former Chancellor Phillip Hammond.

Darren said:

” I agree with the former Chancellor when he says Boris (and Dominic!) are sabotaging any negotiations with the EU to further a hardline ideology. Crucially, this reckless ‘do or die’ ideology doesn’t have the support of Parliament and wasn’t on the ballot in 2016. As recently as March this year, Gove admitted that most leave voters hadn’t backed Brexit with a no deal in mind. Raab repeatedly said at the time no deal wasn’t an option.

No deal is a disaster for the country and for my constituency – with circa 1400 jobs predicted to be lost. As I said again on Sunday Politics back in July, the only way to resolve this is to go back to the British people and ask – now there is detail of what’s realistically on offer and the consequences – how they want to proceed, and then get on with it.

Boris has made several spending pledges since becoming PM, I’m keen to understand where all this ‘new’ money is coming from. Quite rightly, Labour has been asked these questions when they’ve made pledges – yet time and again there’s no detail from Boris (and much of the money seems to be recycled from existing budgets).

At some point, whoever is in government will need to face the reality that any form of Brexit will make the UK poorer and a no deal will be catastrophic for our country’s prosperity – false promises and empty spending pledges won’t be enough to save this country from job losses and an increasingly-likely recession.

Boris needs to stop channeling his time in the playground at Eton and remember he has the country’s future in his hands”.