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Darren wants your view on YardArts Development

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones is seeking local residents views on the proposed YardArts development on Penpole Lane in Shirehampton.

Darren said:

“ Many local residents have contacted me about the proposed Yard Arts circus development on the edge of Kings Weston Estate on Penpole Lane (on land privately owned next to the small warehouse currently in place). I met with Yard Arts, local residents and the land owner on Saturday 28th April to hear each side of the story.

Yard Arts hope to install a circus tent, a coffee shop and various wooden cabins (much like a German Christmas Market) to put on creative and artistic performances for local residents. In addition, they want to provide a space for temporary housing for the artists who will perform to live in. It is not yet clear whether this temporary housing will be log cabins, metal trailers or caravans.

The landowner is keen to use the space next to the warehouse. He has failed to get planning permission on a number of occasions for other uses, and has therefore offered this space on an up to 10 year lease to Yard Arts.

Some local residents (including the Kingsweston Action Group, the cricket club and the football club) are against the proposals and support the current position in Bristol City Council planning policy that the area should remain only as a park / green space and not have further development on it.

I have made it clear that I will only support the Yard Arts development if it has the consent of local residents. I therefore need to hear your views.

Please can you let me know whether you support this idea, by completing my survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YardArts or by writing to my office. In that survey, you can also let me know if you would like to come to a public meeting to hear from Yard Arts, the land owner and Bristol City Council as well.

Please can you respond ASAP, as some have suggested that the development could start sooner rather than later”.

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Darren thanks Bristol Firefighters

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his continued support to Firefighters on the second annual Firefighters’ Memorial Day.

Darren said:

“ Tomorrow (4th May) is Firefighter’s Memorial Day – at midday across the UK fire stations will fall silent for one minute to honour the memory of 2,524 firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Many other thousands will have been seriously injured performing their duty.

This memorial day, in its second year, is a hugely important tribute to some of our most-valued public servants. I will be attending my weekly surgery tomorrow morning but all firefighters will be in my thoughts. I would also like to thank all of the firefighters across Bristol for their courage, conviction and sense of care to others – each one should be proud of their work and the help they give others in often the most demanding, dangerous and stressful of circumstances”.

You can read more about Firefighters Memorial Day here.

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Darren calls for plastic waste legislation

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has called for additional legalisation to reduce plastic pollution and protect the environment following yesterday’s (26/4/18) announcement of a Plastic Pact between businesses and government. Darren has already backed the Plastic Free Parliament campaign, called for a reduction in supermarket waste and supported the creation of a protected Blue Belt Marine reserve.

Darren said:

“It’s great news that 40 big businesses have pledged to cut their plastic waste over the next 7 years – but the duty to protect our environment from plastic can’t solely rely on businesses goodwill.

The government must urgently legislate to cut plastic pollution and protect our environment. Businesses must also pledge to reduce their plastic waste as soon as they can – rather than aim to do so by an arbitrary deadline”.

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Darren to host Modern Slavery event in Bristol

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his continued support to the victims of modern slavery as a new bill makes its way to the House of Commons.

Darren said:

“ There are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK, however many experts agree that’s a huge underestimate. I’ve been championing their rights since becoming Bristol North West’s MP. I’ll continue to do that by supporting Lord McColl’s Private Members Bill when it comes through the House of Commons.

Victims need support over a longer period of time (than the current 45 days stipulated by government) to recover and be able to take the opportunities that programmes such as Co-op’s Bright Future provides. Only with support will victims regain control of their lives through paid employment.

I often meet victims at my surgeries – so this is an issue I take extremely seriously. I’m also fighting unethical working practises wherever I see them including tipping etiquette in restaurants, changes to Asda employee’s terms and conditions and the hostile takeover of GKN amongst others.

I’ll be hosting an event in June to continue to raise awareness of these matters and support local businesses to work with partners across Bristol, and further afield, to stamp out modern slavery in our city”.

You can read more about the Co-op and Global Citizen campaign here.

Darren launches Tip Review campaign

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.

He is now setting up a website where people can leave reviews of the tipping practices where they work, which customers can use to choose where they eat. He’s looking for volunteers to help him make this a reality.

He said:

I’m launching a new campaign called Tip Review – where waiting staff review their own restaurants tipping policies, so customers can decide whether to dine and tip. But I need your help! Can you help with our website or join our steering committee?

Read more about this campaign here: https://www.bristol247.com/…/bristol-north-west-mp-launche…/

If you do want to get involved, please send an email setting out how you can help to darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk

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Darren backs calls for Military Cross

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a cross-party letter to call for Walter Tull to posthumously receive the Military Cross.

“ I am delighted to have supported David Lammy’s call for Walter Tull to be posthumously awarded the Military Cross – an honour he was recommended to receive during his service. Walter was the first black officer in the British Army and served his country with distinction during the First World War. Prejudice was likely to be an overriding factor as to why he didn’t get the accolade he deserved. Yesterday (25th March) marked the centenary of Walter’s death – this trailblazer and pioneer must be remembered”.

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Darren nominates local NHS Heroes for national awards

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has submitted a number of nominations to the NHS 70 Parliamentary Awards. In July 2018 the NHS will celebrate its 70th birthday. As a key part of the celebrations to mark this milestone, NHS England and NHS Improvement have established the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards.

The purpose of the awards is to celebrate 70 years of the NHS, identify and highlight innovative and high-quality care across every constituency in England, and thank staff for their dedication, hard work and commitment by recognising and honouring their achievements

Darren said:

“ I am incredibly proud of the work all of our NHS staff do in Bristol North West and across the city, it was difficult to narrow down some of the submissions I received but I’m delighted to have been able to make nominations in a wide range of categories. Whilst the national competition is bound to be a tight race, I’ve got my fingers crossed that at least some of our fantastic NHS services in Bristol make the final stage”.

 

Darren submitted the following nominations (click the links for more info about each nomination):

 

The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award Southmead Hospital’s Emergency Dept
The Excellence in Cancer Care Award North Bristol NHS Trust Colorectal Cancer Team
The Care and Compassion Award Southmead Hospital’s End of Life Care Team
The Person-Centred Care Champion Award North Bristol Trust Hospital@Night Team
The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award InterAct Stroke Support @ Southmead Hospital

 

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Darren supports Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s campaign for Orkambi

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has shared his views on access to Orkambi for constituents with Cystic Fibrosis.

Darren said:

“ I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and I appreciate the strength of support for making Orkambi available on the NHS, this is demonstrated by an online petition signed by  113,000 people.

In July 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded in its final guidance that Orkambi “could not be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources” and subsequently did not recommend the drug for use on the NHS. I share the disappointment that will have been felt by many at this decision.

I understand that access to the drug Orkambi can extend the lives of 50% of the 10,400 people in the UK who currently live with CF, with this drug already available in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Greece and the United States.

The Government has welcomed dialogue between the pharmaceutical company, Vertex, and NHS England to agree a deal that would make Orkambi available to NHS patients. I know that the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has been working hard in pushing Vertex to put forward a substantive proposal to NHS England.

Parliament will hold a debate on access to Orkambi for people with CF on 19 March 2018. I will follow the debate closely and keep in mind the points my constituents have raised. In the meantime, I believe it is the responsibility of Ministers to facilitate the end of the deadlock between Vertex and NHS England so that people can access this vital drug and see their lives transformed.

At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that pledged to tackle the growing problem of rationing of services and medicines across England. The manifesto also committed to ensuring that all NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments, and to insist on value-for-money agreements with pharmaceutical companies”.

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Darren meets First Bus and presses for changes to route 76

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met the Managing Director of First bus, James Freeman, on 9th March 2018 and pressed for changes to the 76 bus route. The route no longer stops at Henbury School and has also affected residents travelling to Southmead Hospital and Henbury’s local vets.

Darren also shared his concerns about the impact of rising fares, the two-tiered fare system recently introduced and the poor service of route 2 through Henleaze.

Darren said:

“ James was aware of my concerns about the changes made to the 76 route. I wrote to him in advance of Friday’s meeting to push for at least some of the original route to be reinstated and drop-off and pick-ups at Henbury School. Along with local councillors, I also launched a petition which has been signed by over 545 local residents. I am delighted to hear First will be reassessing the changes they made.

I’m also aware from Henleaze constituents that route 2 is also a cause for concern with many services cancelled or erratic in arrival time. I made James aware of those issues and asked that he investigate.

I also shared my thoughts on the two-tiered payment policies First have recently introduced – these require customers to pay 50p extra for day passes if payment is not made via an app. Many people are not able to use app-based systems – these people are likely to be some of Bristol North West’s (and the cities) most vulnerable residents – the very people often least able to pay the extra charge.

I am clear that for people to be encouraged out of cars and onto public transport the service must be accessible, affordable and reliable”.

 

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Darren calls for increased schools funding and continued free school meals

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed calls – ahead of today’s spring budget – for the government to rethink schools funding and changes to free school meals under Universal Credit.

New research by the school cuts coalition of unions (NEU, NAHT, ASCL, UNISON, GMB Union and Unite the union) shows that class sizes are rising in most schools in Bristol North West as a result of the Government’s cuts to education.

There is a particular problem in secondary schools because of a shortfall of £500m a year to funding for 11 – 16-year olds between 2015/16 and 2019/20, plus the deep cuts to sixth form funding (over 17% per pupil since 2010).

62% of secondary schools in England have increased the size of their classes in the last two years (2014/15 to 2016/17). In Bristol North West, secondary schools have an average of 1.2 more students in every class. The average income per pupil in Bristol North West’s secondary schools has also dropped from £5995 in 2015/16 to a forecast of £5247 in 2019/20.

Bristol North West’s primary schools are also not immune with average class sizes having risen by 0.6 pupils per class, this comes alongside 46% of primary schools seeing the pupil to teacher ratio decreasing, leaving pupils with less support.

Darren said:

“ These figures show that the Government is failing in its stated aim to even out the differences in education – 100% of secondary schools in Bristol North West have seen a decrease in the Teaching Assistant to pupil ratio, with 50% also seeing a drop-in pupil to Teacher ratio. 31% of secondary school students also currently access Free Schools Meals, which are at risk because of changes to Universal Credit – we can’t stand back and let these cuts happen – the impact they will have on our children and their families will last a lifetime. Children and young people only get one chance at school and college and we know that education cuts never heal.

As a country we should be investing in this, and future, generations of young people. I am continuing to call on the Government to urgently address the funding crisis, protect free school meals and not continue to ignore these very real problems. I will be writing to each Bristol North West school to ask how the lack of funding will continue to impact their staff and pupils – the government must understand once and for all that good quality education is a price worth paying”.