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Darren says ‘Stay well this winter’

Winter brings with it a number of challenges for all of us, but particularly the increased risk of illness as temperatures drop.

Getting the flu can be bad enough for even the fittest of us, but for older people and those with long-term conditions in particular it can cause serious health problems. The Chief Medical Officer warned this week that flu and complications associated with it – such as pneumonia – cause 8,000 deaths on average a year in England – around 6,000 of which are people with existing heart and lung conditions. This is not to mention the hundreds of A&E trips to Southmead Hospital, GP appointments and emergency admissions that our local NHS sees every year over winter – official figures show that flu and pneumonia account for 2.9m bed days in English hospitals.

The strain, and therefore strength, of flu changes every year, so even if you’ve had vaccinations in previous years these won’t offer protection. And if the experience in Australia and New Zealand is anything to go by, this winter could see a much stronger strain than in recent years.
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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 visits Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, made an educational visit to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC) today (28th September) to gain a wider insight into paediatric palliative care.

Darren met with the palliative care and bereavement support team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to talk about the team’s key roles at the hospital and the delivery of palliative care locally and regionally.

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Labour MP Calls for Long-Term Library Solution

To ensure a representative submission to Bristol City Council, Bristol North West’s Labour MP, Darren Jones, held a Libraries Conference on 2nd September to bring together local councillors, campaign groups and representative of the area’s nine Libraries.
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Labour MP wants assurance on 30hrs Childcare Policy in Bristol

With the new government-funded 30 hours a week childcare scheme having gone live on 1st September, Darren Jones MP has written to Government asking for clarity on the policy’s implementation in his constituency.
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Darren Jones MP calls for community meeting on local ASB

Bristol North West Member of Parliament, Darren Jones, has today (31st August) met with Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens and Andy Bennett, Bristol Commander and discussed concerns regarding ASB in the Southmead area.
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Austerity and Public Services

I have been encouraged by how many constituents are actively engaged in the Bristol City Council Your Neighbourhood Consultation . Local events have been well attended with passionate views shared on the need to provide services that support residents across the city. The council needs to save £4.7million over the next three years, due to severe and ongoing cuts from central Government and the council’s legal requirement to set a balanced budget. The current proposals, which asked for views on libraries, school crossings, public toilets, Community Links and Neighbourhood Partnerships is of real concern to all of us. We all know the huge benefits that community facilities have, libraries in particular, in giving children and families access to learning and providing safe and free spaces for people of all ages to use and enjoy. I am also aware of the rising threat of social isolation and the role libraries have in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. At the time of writing, I’m organising a libraries conference for representatives from each library in the area, alongside local campaign groups, to contribute to my own submission to the consultation. I am keen that as a group we work together to get the best deal for communities right across Bristol North West.

But it’s not just council services under threat. Southmead hospital, GP surgeries, children’s centres, schools, community and advice centres and so many more are crippling under the stress of Government cuts to public services. I’m busy meeting as many people and organisations as I can to see first-hand what this means to local people, and I’ll be raising this loudly in Parliament after Recess.

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Labour MP calls for local views on Childcare

With the imminent introduction of a major new government-funded childcare scheme, many parents have struggled to register on the Childcare Choices website. Darren Jones MP is launching a survey for Bristol North West’s parents and childcare providers to share their views and experiences on the scheme, and more generally on local childcare provision. With council children’s service budgets also facing unprecedented pressure, due to government funding cuts, Darren is also keen to hear from those working in this sector.

The new childcare schemes include tax-free childcare, launched in July, as well as 30 hours’ free term time childcare for all three- and four-year-olds, which launches in September.

Alongside the online technical issues, concerns have been raised about the need for parents to earn (on average) £120 per week, that free childcare is term time only and that childcare must be blocked booked. The policy has been criticised as being difficult to navigate for the many parents employed full time, year-round and especially for parents on flexible or zero hours contracts.

Childcare providers have also highlighted their concerns that the funding received from government does not realistically cover the costs of childcare and they are having to recoup costs in other ways or face closure.

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Darren Jones MP Meets New Regional Mayor

The newest of Bristol’s Members of Parliament, Darren Jones, has yesterday (7th August) met with the first West of England Combined Authority Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles.

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