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Darren highlights privacy concerns with NHSX’s Contact Tracing App

On Monday, April 27th, Darren questioned the CEO of NHSX, Matthew Gould, about privacy safeguarding and the use of Facial Recognition Technology. NHSX a government agency responsible for technology transformation, data and innovation in the National Health Service. NHSX has been tasked with developing a contact tracing app that could be used to ease national Coronavirus lockdown measures.

You can watch Darren’s questions here:

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Darren takes on trade diplomacy responsibilities at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

CPA, trade, diplomacy, malaysia, commonwealth

Since my election I have worked with the Commonwealth on its human trafficking project, working with Commonwealth nations to harmonise legislation across the world to more effectively deal with the trade in human slaves and the illegal trafficking of workers against their will.

This year, I extended my work with the Commonwealth to include trade diplomacy, an important issue in post-Brexit Britain. In this role, I was invited to join a small trade delegation to Malaysia and Singapore during recess last week. We met with British companies and ex-pats, our High Commissions and trade commissioners as well as parliamentarians, ministers and trade groups in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Of particular interest to me, is the potential for UK technology exports and the legislation Singapore has put in place to deal with fake news. Defence procurement was also included, important to defence manufacturing businesses in North Bristol.

I also had the privilege to lay a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore on the grave of an airman from Bristol, who died as part of the Japanese invasion during WWII.

Whilst in Kuala Lumper, I also met with YTL, which owns Wessex Water and is developing the Filton Airfield (including the proposed Bristol Arena, which sits within my constituency). In line with the extensive feedback I’ve received from constituents, I raised local residents’ concerns about transport infrastructure around the proposed Arena and the need to invest to reduce the risk of gridlock on our roads when events take place. I was told of YTLs investment into road, rail, bus and cycle infrastructure and about the ongoing negotiations with both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Britain’s education system is a vital part of our relationship with allies across the world, and I heard many positive stories of scholars from both Malaysia and Singapore who have studied in the UK including Bristol.

When published, you will be able read the formal CPA delegation report here.

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Darren’s quizzed by Scouts

Darren Jones MP was recently quizzed by the 18th Scout Group ‘Spitfire Explorers’ as part of their work to achieve their media badge. Darren met the group and was asked a series of questions by the scouts.

Darren said:

” It was fantastic to join the Spitfire Explorer Scouts – they put me through my paces and hopefully I have even persuaded some of them to run for public office or interview politicians in the years to come. UK Scouting is doing great work in Bristol and that must be celebrated”.

 

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Darren welcomes Google and Parent Zone to Stoke Park Primary

Darren Jones MP recently welcomed Google and Parent Zone to Stoke Park Primary to lead an assembly on internet safety.

Darren said:

” It was fantastic to join teachers, students, Parent Zone and Google UK at Stoke Park Primary for a recent ‘Be Internet Legends’ assembly.

The assembly included tips for students and their parents on how they can stay safe online whilst being confident using the technology we now rely on.

It’s so important that we teach children in Bristol to thrive in the digital age and I am pleased that Google and Parent Zone are leading the way on this important issue”.

 

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Watch: Darren hails Science Committee blueprint for clean growth

Tackling climate change means every element of Government and the wider economy pulling in the same direction: this was the key finding from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee’s recent ‘Clean Growth’ report, which lays out a roadmap for decarbonising our economy on or ahead of the Government’s 2050 net-zero target. Darren had the privilege of leading the Committee’s work, and spoke in the Commons debate on the report’s findings this morning:

 

 

 

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Library Drop-in Event Information

In March 2019, Darren attended a Library Ideas conversation event to discuss and look at innovative ways to continue running the service after all of the city’s libraries were saved from closure by Bristol City Council in 2018 – which you can read more about here.

Following the Library Ideas conversations, throughout September there will be a series of Library drop-in events open to all that are being held in libraries across Bristol North West to help get an idea of people’s ideas and priorities for the future of libraries.

Please find the dates and the Facebook event links below;

  • Henbury Library: Wednesday 4th September 2019, 2pm – 7pm (Facebook event here)
  • Lockleaze Library: Thursday 5th September 2019, 11am – 4pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Avonmouth Library: Friday 6th September 2019, 1pm – 5pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Southmead Library: Tuesday 10th September 2019, 11am – 5pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Horfield Library: Monday 23rd September 2019, 11am – 5pm – (Facebook event here)

 

 

 

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Darren demands better funding for Bristol’s Colleges and Sixth Forms

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has signed a cross-party letter calling on the Chancellor to invest in Further Education (FE) post-16 Colleges and Sixth Forms ahead of the forthcoming spending review, which will be held in September 2019.

Darren said:

“Whilst Brexit is dominating headlines – the country’s education system continues to feel the strain because of massive funding cuts. Whilst education across the board has faced extensive cuts – FE has faced the biggest squeeze and this has led to vital student support services such as mental health provision and employability skills being cut, foreign language courses dropped, and STEM subjects ditched across the country.

This is no way to invest in the future of this country, and nor will it help keep the UK’s workforce’s skills on a par with other nations. At a time when we’re facing job losses because of automation and Brexit, require tech. and innovation to help resolve some of the biggest challenges the planet faces and the fourth industrial revolution – we should be investing in wide-ranging skills and ensuring student’s extra-curricular support needs are met.

That’s why I’ve signed a cross-party letter calling on the Chancellor to boost FE funding in his forthcoming spending review – having said that he should also be investing in nursery, primary and secondary education too. The pressure schools and FE providers in Bristol are under is simply unacceptable. As I’ve said time and again – education can’t be done on the cheap. We must raise the rate“.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

Edit: 03/09/19:

After a funding announcement made by the government, in advance of the Chancellor’s spending review on 4th September, Darren said:

“On Saturday 31st August, the government announced that it would increase FE funding in tomorrow’s spending round, but the increase is likely to be around £200 per student – well short of the £760 per student boost that I, the Raise the Rate campaign and Parliament’s cross-party Education Select Committee is calling for.

Two cuts to sixth form funding were made after 2010, and the funding rate has been frozen at £4,000 since 2013. A recent survey for the campaign found that funding pressures had led 51% of schools and colleges across England to cut courses in languages and 78% to reduce student support services or extra-curricular activities. Over three quarters (76%) of schools and colleges reported that the funding they are due to receive this year will not be sufficient to provide the support required by disadvantaged students. £200 extra per pupil is very welcome, but lets not kid ourselves this will resolve the cuts FE has had to make to the variety of lessons, student support or extra curricular activities”.

 

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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”.