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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.
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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.
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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.

 

 

 

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Darren continues to raise concerns about Universal Credit roll-out

Following receipt of an MP Briefing from Citizens Advice, Bristol North West MP Darren Jones has continued to push for a delay to the roll-out of Universal Credit, which is due in Horfield and Shirehampton in May 2018.

Citizens Advice has released unparalleled evidence on the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) – they have helped people with over 100,000 UC issues since it was introduced and have seen the equivalent of 12% of new Universal Credit claimants every month.

The Citizens Advice briefing that highlighted:

– Universal Credit isn’t working for too many people.

– The 6 week wait risks pushing people into debt. Over half of the people we’ve helped who receive UC were forced to borrow money while waiting for their first
payment.

– 1 in 5 claimants wait longer than 6 weeks . Support isn’t available for new claimants having problems with evidence verification and the claimant commitment.

– Advance Payments help but are only partially propping up a flawed system. They provide people with only 50% of a payment, which covers 2 weeks, and most people wait 6 or more weeks.

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Darren challenges the Department of Education on childcare

Darren asked the Secretary of State for Education:

Whether the Government has made an estimate of the number of work hours for which people cannot work on account of free childcare not being available for a full week of 37.5 hours and during school holidays?

Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State For Children and Families, answered with the following:

We are increasing support to working parents by doubling the free childcare entitlement from 15 to 30 hours per week from September 2017. The introduction of 30 hours’ free childcare aims to make childcare more affordable and to enable parents to work, or to work more if they choose to do so.

The department knows that parents’ working patterns vary significantly and we are working closely with local authorities and providers to ensure that the 30 hours’ free childcare entitlement delivers high quality and flexible childcare that meets parents’ needs.

Our statutory guidance makes clear that parents can stretch their entitlement over more than 38 weeks of the year, enabling them to take it up during the term time and the school holidays.

By failing to specify whether or not they have estimated the amount of work hours lost due to their childcare policy when specifically asked if they have, the government raises the suspicion that they have not.

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Darren Jones MP Calls for End to Gridlock

On Wednesday 27th September, Bristol North West’s MP submitted a formal response to Tim Bowles, Combined Authority Mayor for West of England. This was in relation to the West of England Strategy Discussion paper.
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Darren Jones supports Breast Cancer Now’s call to Wear It Pink

Darren Jones MP for Bristol North West, has dressed in pink to lend his support to Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, which will see thousands of people across the UK adding a splash of pink to their outfits on Friday 20 October and raise vital funds for breast cancer research.

Darren is encouraging his constituents in Bristol North West to join him, and sign up to take part in the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser. The event, which takes place during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is in its 16th year and has raised over £30 million to date for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research.

Darren, joined by fellow parliamentarians in Westminster earlier this month, showed his support for the thousands of women and men affected by breast cancer each year, encouraging people across the UK to take part on wear it pink day.
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