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MP backs Meningitis Now Campaign

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has signed up to promote meningitis awareness and vaccination take-up with GPs, following a Parliamentary reception organised last week by charity Meningitis Now.

The charity is campaigning to increase the take-up of the lifesaving Men ACWY vaccine, which is available free to school leavers aged 17 to 18 and first-time university students up to the age of 25. Take-up is currently around 33% and 1.5million young people are at risk.

Darren said:

“ The low uptake of the Men ACWY vaccine is very worrying, especially as we move towards the peak season for bacterial meningitis. I’ll be writing to local GP practices to urge them to do more to promote awareness and encourage young people to have the vaccination.

It is vitally important that students protect themselves with the Men ACWY vaccine and learn the signs and symptoms of the disease. It only takes a few minutes and it could save theirs or their friend’s life.

You can find out more about the symptoms and signs to look out for here“.

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MP responds to Council’s Library Consultation News

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has responded to the news that Bristol City Council has delayed a decision on library closures across Bristol until further research has been undertaken.

Darren said:

“I am pleased the council will be taking more time to review the best way forward for Bristol’s libraries.

Following the Libraries Conference I hosted in September, I wrote to the Mayor with feedback from groups representing Bristol North West libraries. We advocated for further time and research before any irreversible decisions were made. I am delighted further time has now been given to support a longer-term strategy.

The council are under enormous financial pressure to make savings however, libraries play such a vital role in our communities we must look to safeguard them for future generations”.

 

 

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MP backs Universal Credit Reform Ahead of Budget

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones is encouraging the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, to make changes to Universal Credit in advance of tomorrow’s budget (22nd November).

Darren said:

“Universal Credit, as it stands, is a cruel and shambolic system forcing many into debt – it is coming to Bristol North West next year. The Child Poverty Action Group have advised in their new report ‘The Austerity Generation’ that working families stand to lose £930 a year on average from cuts in the tax credit system and £420 a year from cuts to Universal Credit – these are losses across the population, so the losses for tax credit and UC recipients would be much higher.

Families containing someone with a disability will be £300 a year worse off due to Universal Credit cuts; families containing someone with a severe disability will be £530 a year worse off.

I fully support the changes my colleague Debbie Abrahams has urged the Chancellor to adopt ahead of tomorrow’s budget. Austerity politics needs to get real before the country is unable to recover from the sustained impact on our most vulnerable”.

Amongst the changes backed by Darren include a significant reduction in the waiting period before claimants are awarded benefit, reconsideration of the payment of fortnightly benefits (rather than monthly), easier housing payments direct to landlords and  income level measurement for the self-employed.

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MP hosts Pub Politics in Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones hosted his second ‘Pub Politics’ at The White Lion in Westbury-on-Trym on Friday 10th November.

Darren heard from constituents who shared their views on policy issues including Brexit and more local issues such as concerns about crime and cuts to public services.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to talk to a variety of constituents at my second pub politics, after the first was held in Horfield in September (picture below). This get-together was well attended and informal so people feel comfortable having a chat about both national and local issues. Due to Christmas and New Year festivities, the next Pub Politics will be held in mid-January. I also host Cafe Politics sessions for those who prefer to chat over a coffee in a more family-friendly environment, the next will be held on the morning of 2nd December in Avonmouth with venue information to follow soon.”

All of Darren’s events are promoted on this website and Darren’s Facebook page. Key events are also featured in the monthly e-newsletters which you can sign-up to here.

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MP to attend Southmead Community Meeting

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, has confirmed he will be attending a community meeting to discuss crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in the Southmead area. The meeting has been organised by Southmead Councillor, Helen Godwin, and will see representation from local councillors, senior representatives from Avon and Somerset Police as well as Darren and the local beat team.

The meeting will take place on Friday 17th November from 6.30 to 8pm at the URC on Wigton Crescent.

All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Darren first called on Police to hold a meeting in Southmead following high levels of ASB this summer. Darren also highlighted his broader concerns about local policing levels and the impact of further Government cuts to Police funding by writing to Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing in late September. In this letter, Darren called on Government to protect police funding and  heed the warnings issued by Avon and Somerset Police.

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Darren meets residents in Lockleaze

Darren Jones and the team campaign all year round, not just at election time. This weekend, along with Lockleaze Councillors Gill Kirk and Estella Tincknell, Darren headed out to knock on doors and chat to constituents.
Read more

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MP visits Henbury charity supporting people with disabilities

SeeAbility, a national charity that works with people with learning disabilities and autism many of whom will have sight loss, invited Bristol North West’s new MP, Darren Jones, to visit its Bristol Support Service on Saturday 4th November.

Darren heard from people who use the service how living with sight loss and other disabilities affects their day-to-day lives, and from support staff about their support for people to build up their confidence and independence so they can actively participate in the community.

SeeAbililty offers specialist support on a round the clock basis and its Bristol Support Service has been operating for six years. The charity is one of the oldest disability charities in the UK and has pioneered specialist support for over 200 years.

Darren also learnt more about the work the charity does nationally to improve access to sight tests for people with learning disabilities, who are ten times more likely to have problems with their eyesight but may not be able to tell anyone they have a problem with their vision or easily access a sight test.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to talk to people who live at the service, and learn more from about the way they have fought to overcome barriers in their way in order to live more independent lives.

And the message about the importance of regular sight tests for people with learning disabilities is one I can take back and highlight in parliament.”

Mason Carr, the registered manager of the service said:

“The people we support overcome huge barriers to achieve exciting new things every day: some big, some small, all extraordinary.

We are very keen to hear from anyone in and around the community who might want to work with us, as we have vacancies for a range of rewarding and exciting roles and we offer full training.

There are many opportunities to learn new skills and really make a difference to people’s lives.

We are a really close team and proud of what we help people with disabilities achieve and we hope Darren’s visit will encourage people to find out more about our charity.”

 

 

 

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Darren has flu jab and says stay well this winter!

It’s been another busy weekend in the constituency for Bristol North West MP Darren Jones. As his first appointment on Saturday, Darren met with the team at Kellaway Pharmacy in Westbury Park. Darren chatted to staff and customers about their views on healthcare and also had his annual flu jab.
Read more

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Darren speaks about modern slavery, including modern slavery in Bristol

Watch the full speech here:

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Darren asks the Home Office about the Emergency Services Network

The Emergency Services Network is the special telecoms network on which Emergency Services communicate. Its update’s roll out is being delayed, resulting in cost to the public purse because of the extra cost of continuing to use the old system.

Darren asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions have taken place between key stakeholders in and suppliers for the roll-out of the EmergencyService Network on changes to the timetable for the implementation of that roll-out; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State at the Home Department, replied:

The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) will provide the dedicated teams who work so hard protecting the public and saving lives with the most advanced communications system of its kind anywhere in the world. ESN will be a more capable, more flexible and more affordable communications network than the existing Airwave mobile radio system used by the three emergency services in England, Scotland and Wales. While still delivering mission critical voice communication, it will also provide broadband data services.

The timelines for ESN are ambitious and this is because we want to give the emergency services the benefits of the latest technology as soon as practicable. However the Government is clear that public safety is our priority and the emergency services will only transition when they are content with the new ESN service, as the existing Airwave system will continue until transition on to the ESN is completed.

A formal arrangement has been agreed between the Programme’s sponsors (including the Home Office) of the police, fire and rescue, ambulance services of Great Britain, for how any Airwave extension costs beyond the planned National Shutdown Date (31 December 2019) should be shared between themselves.

We are working closely with our key stakeholders and suppliers on a revised plan for delivering ESN. We will have greater clarity on timescales at the end of the year.

Darren also asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions have taken place between key stakeholders in and suppliers for the roll-out of the EmergencyService Network on changes to the timetable for the implementation of that roll-out; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State at the Home Department, replied:

The costs of upgrading to the Emergency Services Network and the costs to extend Airwave contracts for the emergency services are available in the public domain at:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Upgrading-emergency-service-communications-the-Emergency-services-Network.pdf and

https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b15926/Minutes%20-%20Appendix%201%20-%20Transcript%20of%20Item%205%20Tuesday%2018-Jul-2017%2010.00%20GLA%20Oversight%20Committee.pdf?T=9

Any delay in rollout impacts the date by when the savings from ESN will start to be realised. These savings will represent 50% of the cost of Airwave. The cost of delay is therefore the opportunity cost of not being able to realise the cost savings of ESN sooner.

Up to the end of 2016/17, the Programme has already delivered £77m of cash releasing benefits on existing Airwave contracts. These are benefits that would not have been obtained under the previous contractual agreements.