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Darren’s column in Henbury and Brentry News

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones,  has published his latest column in Henbury and Brentry News. The column covers Darren’s work on:

 

 

 

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Darren praises Bristol Charity and calls for action on Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Darren spoke on the need for interventions to help prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences. He also praised the work of the Southmead Project in this area.

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Darren backs International Women’s Day

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, supported International Women’s Day 2019 on 8th March by attending a Q and A panel organised by KMPG and attended by over a hundred women from across the city. After the event, Darren also met the mayor to view the council’s new (and free to visit!) exhibition of portraits of women from across the city.

Darren said:

“It was g‪reat to join KPMG in Bristol yesterday with Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Deputy Mayor and community champion Councillor Asher Craig to discuss #balanceforbetter on #IWD2019 yesterday. My hobby horses of free childcare, smashing the mummy track, business culture change and productivity through equality came up. The new exhibition of portraits of Bristolian Women from across our fantastic city was also great to see”.

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Darren attends Library consultation in Southmead

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure in 2018 but, given the continued decline in government funding, they have asked for our help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future. Along with constituents, Darren attended an event at the Greenway Centre in early March to talk about ideas to support Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield and Lockleaze libraries.

Darren said:

“There were lots of great ideas about modernising our libraries across Bristol North West at the Greenway Centre with Bristol City Council. There are so many exciting opportunities for creating digital, community hubs as a central point of information, gathering and books! I am pleased to see the council thinking ‘outside the box’ and will do what I can to support this process”.

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You can find out more about the ideas gathering on: www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

 

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Darren comments on Childcare Survey and backs childcare improvements.

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones, has commented on the release of the2019 Childcare Survey from Coram Family and Childcare. This follows Darren’s recent Westminster Hall debate where he called for fully-funded state childcare.

Darren said:

“I know families are struggling – that’s one of the reasons I recently called for fully-funded state childcare. Yesterday (28th February 2019), Coram Family and Childcare released their Childcare Survey 2019.

The headline results show: 
• The average price for 25 hours per week of nursery childcare for a child under two is £127, a rise of 3 per cent since 2018.
• In 94 per cent of local authorities, the maximum limit per child under Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit of £175 per week does not cover the average cost of full time childcare for a child under two.
• 57% of local authorities in England have enough childcare for parents working full time.
• Less than one in four local authorities have enough childcare available for children needing after school care, parents working outside normal office hours, or disabled children.

I support calls for the government to reform the childcare system, to make it simpler for parents, encourage improvements in quality and make sure parents aren’t forced to give up work or drastically reduce their hours (unless they want to) because of the price of childcare – if we want true gender equality in the workplace and to ensure all kids get the best start in life, we must improve childcare provision.

In the short-term Coram are also asking that the government:
• Increase the maximum amount of childcare costs that are supported by Universal Credit in order to make sure parents are better off for every extra hour worked, and switch to upfront payments so that parents can afford to move into work.
• Provide start up grants and responsive funding for childcare providers to increase the availability of childcare places.
• Extend the 30 hours entitlement to parents undertaking training to make sure childcare costs do not prevent parents from developing the skills and employability that drives social mobility.

I fully support these steps but in the longer-term, I still believe childcare should be state-funded”.

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Council replies following Southmead walk around.

In November 2018, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West,  took part in a litter pick and estate inspection with local councillors Helen Godwin and Brenda Massey in the Twenty Acres area of Southmead. Following that meeting, as promised, Darren shared his concerns with the council’s head of service.

Darren has now received a reply from Bristol City Council:

Upon receipt of the response, Darren said:

“You may recall back in November, I attended an estate walk around and litter pick with local councillors on Twenty Acres in Southmead. I shared a number of concerns about how the estate was being maintained by the council shortly after my visit. It was clear many members of the Twenty Acres community feel unheard and forgotten. I have now received a reply from the council. I do urge local residents to report their concerns to the council and be sure to let Councillor Helen Godwin and Brenda Massey know the challenges you’re facing – they work hard for the local community and we all want to ensure resident’s voices are heard.”

 

 

 

 

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Darren calls for fully state funded childcare

Darren hosted a Westminster Hall debate so that Parliament could consider the costs and benefits of childcare which is free to parents and paid for by the state. In it he spoke for this policy.

You can watch Darren’s speech at the start of the debate and the rest of the debate afterwards here:

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Darren supports Time to Talk campaign

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, showed his support for the national Time to Talk mental health campaign on Time to Talk Day on 7th February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Today is Time to Talk Day, a chance for us all to think about how we can start honest conversations about mental health.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, so I’ll be reflecting on how I can be more open about mental health, talk to others and break down stigma. Time to Change is a growing social movement run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. They’re working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Since they’ve been running they’ve reached millions of people and changed attitudes and behaviour. But there’s still more to be done – that’s why I will continue to call for more accessible, high-quality and responsive mental health care and support wherever I can”.

You can find out more about local events and the Time to Talk campaign here.

 

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Darren backs Safer Internet Day

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, showed his support for the global Safer Internet Day campaign on 5th February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Today is Safer Internet Day. The aim of Safer Internet Day is to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively – a subject that many of you will know is very close to my heart. With debate about the role of digital technology and social media never far from the headlines, Safer Internet Day is a great chance to bring together communities, educators, companies and governments to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people across the UK.

Debate on social media and online can often get strained and less than pleasant, especially given the divisions across society at present. I urge people to consider that technology can be beneficial if we keep our dialogue kind – there is another person the other side of that screen. Anyone who feels threatened or harassed online should report their concerns to the social media platform or website immediately”.

There are plenty of resources available for schools and parents.

    

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Darren takes on Fizz Free February

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has pledged to give up fizzy drinks for 28 days to raise awareness of Fizz Free February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m joining Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, and Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, in giving up fizzy drinks for February. Will you join me? You can pledge to go Fizz Free here.

I’m giving up all things fizzy to help highlight the negative effects of consuming sugary drinks. The thinking is that if we can give up fizzy drinks for 28 days, it’ll help us cut down throughout the year.

#FizzFreeFebruary is part Tom Watson’s, Southwark Council’s and Sugar Smart‘s campaign to help tackle the UK’s obesity crisis – cutting out fizzy drinks is an easy way to reduce sugar intake, save money and keep your teeth!

It’s frightening to hear that, fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, and they provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake.

Following a 2018 inquiry by the Science and Tech Committee, that I’m a member of, I’ve also been calling on the government to ban the sale of sugary, caffeine-filled energy drinks to under 16’s.

In Bristol, 56% of adults and 34% of children in year six are overweight or obese and 23% of children aged five have at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth. As ever Bristol is leading the way in tackling this matter head-on, Bristol was one of the first places to become a Sugar Smart City in 2017 and our Mayor is backing Fizz Free Feb. It has been particularly great to hear that a number of businesses in Southmead have been leading the way by promoting free water refills and reducing the number of fizzy drinks sold.

However, there’s much more to do and a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s will only help raise awareness of the dangers of consuming these drinks on a regular basis” .

Why go Fizz Free?

•you can save £438 a year if you stopped drinking one bottle of soft drink, per day, for a year
•drinking just one 330ml can of fizzy drink a day could add up to over a stone weight gain per year
•tooth decay is the leading cause for hospitalisation among five to nine year olds in the UK