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Darren demands action on state nursery schools funding

Darren sent a previous letter to the Government on this issue. This received a reply to which Bristol’s Head of Children’s Services
said ‘many nursery schools will not be able to wait’ as suggested by the Government. This prompted Darren wrote to the Government to demand action.
No photo description available.

 

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Darren supports cardiac screening for young people

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken about his support for charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young.

Darren said:

“12 young people between the age of 14 and 35 tragically die every week in the UK from undiagnosed cardiac conditions – 80% of these deaths occur with no symptoms. Furthermore, screening has been shown to lead to an 89% reduction in sudden cardiac deaths.The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) offers free screening across the country but also works to improve the UK healthcare policy guidelines and recommendations surrounding young sudden cardiac deaths.

I pledge to support CRY to help improve the healthcare policies in place for diagnosing and treating young people”.
Find out more about how you can get involved and for support here: https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/

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Darren calls for constituents to support library consultation

Get involved! Dates for your diary:

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure last year but, given the continued decline in government funding, they need our help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future.

The council are hosting 4 events in Bristol North West to cover the libraries in our patch:

* Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road to talk about Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield and Lockleaze libraries on: Wednesday 6 March 10 am to 12 pm or
Saturday 9 March 10 am to 12 pm.

* Shirehampton Public Hall,
Station Road to talk about Henbury, Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills libraries on Monday 11 March 7pm to 9pm or Wednesday 13 March 10am to 12pm.

Spaces at these events must be booked in advance online. Reserve a space and find out more about the ideas gathering on:

www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

 

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Universal Credit Two-Child Benefit Cap lifted after MP campaign

Following sustained pressure from MPs including Darren Jones, charitable organisations and advice agencies, the two-child benefit cap for families claiming Universal Credit has been removed. It was due to be enforced retrospectively from February 2019 for parents whose third (or more) child was born before Universal Credit was rolled out in 2017.

Darren Jones MP had previously signed a cross-party letter led by colleague Rushanara Ali, calling on the Prime Minister, Chancellor and then DWP Secretary Esther McVey to scrap the cruel two-child limit on some benefit entitlements. See the letter here: Universal Credit – Letter

Darren Jones MP said:

“I campaigned last year for the cruel two-child benefit cap (which was about to be applied retrospectively to families claiming Universal Credit (UC) with 3 or more kids prior to 2017) to be quashed.  I also campaigned for the transfer of existing claimants (of so-called Legacy Benefits) onto UC to be stopped as government admitted some claimants would be worse-off purely because of the move onto UC.

I am therefore delighted to hear the new Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd has bowed to sustained pressure and ditched plans to extend the two-child benefit cap for UC claimants (from February 2019) as planned. This cap would have affected around 15,000 families, some of which will be here in Bristol North West. This cap would have pushed many vulnerable families into further financial hardship and children born before UC existed into poverty.

Amber Rudd has also confirmed she will delay asking MPs to vote on the transfer of people onto UC and will use this time to re-assess waiting times and the roll-out.

Whilst people must consider their financial situation when planning their family, alongside many other considerations, any retrospective capping of benefits is blatantly unfair and punishes children already born.

I will continue to call upon the government to review their wider two-child benefit cap and make sure no-one is poorer because of admin changes in how their benefits are paid”.

 

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Darren calls for investment in social care

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken our about the need for dramatic investment in social care funding following the release of the Coram Family and Childcare Older People’s Care Survey 2018. This is the third annual survey mapping the cost and availability of older people’s care across the UK.

Darren said:

“Anyone who needs social care or tries to put care in place for an older relative knows the current system is not fit for purpose. The government continues to dodge any real assessment of the social care crisis facing the UK’s ageing population, doesn’t fund council’s properly so they can adequately meet rising demand and has not ensured parity of importance between health and social care services.

I have met many constituents who have struggled to source adequate care and find the bureaucracy of the system significantly adds to levels of anxiety and stress. The Local Government Association is right to say the government just kick this issue ‘into the long grass’. I will continue to call on the government to fund council’s properly so they can meet the demand for social care services“.

The key findings of the survey in relation to the availability of older people’s care were:

•There is not enough care available for older people, with only one in five local authorities (20 per cent) reporting enough care in their area to meet demand.

•Over 4.3 million people aged 75 and over live in areas where there is not enough social care to meet demand.

•Some 34 per cent of local authorities expect the situation to get worse in the next year, while only 1 per cent expect it to get better. Bristol City Council has only recently flagged up how catastrophic a no-deal Brexit could be for social care across the city.

Key findings on the price of care were:

•The average weekly price paid by local authorities for all residential care types in the UK is £585. This represents a 5 per cent price rise since last year.

•UK averages show that individuals paying for their own care face prices which are 13 per cent more expensive than what the local authority pays for the same care. It takes less than 17 months for someone funding their own care to spend over £20,000.

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Darren asks the Government about childcare provision

Free childcare has the potential to boost parents’ flexibility. Darren asked the Government about introducing free childcare provision for all two year olds and younger children.

Darren Jones,Labour, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of (a) the cost to the public purse of increasing free childcare provision to all two year old and younger children, and (b) the economic effect of increasing free childcare provision.

Nadhim Zahawi, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government has no plans to extend the early learning for two-year-olds programme. However, the government does have a range of offers available to support parents with care for children under the age of 12 (or children with disabilities until the age of 17). The government is already supporting working parents of two-year-olds with middle or higher incomes. We have also introduced Tax-Free Childcare, which will be available to around 1.5 million households to help pay for childcare costs. Parents can also claim up to 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit.

In September 2017, the government introduced 30 hours free childcare for working parents, which gave parents who qualified an additional 15 hours a week of free childcare.

In September 2018, the department published an independent year one evaluation of 30 hours[1]. The evaluation showed that 30 hours is making a real difference to family finances with the majority of parents reporting that they had more money to spend (78%).

Over a quarter of mothers said, they had increased their hours and more than one in ten (15%) stated they would not be working without the extended hours. These effects were stronger for lower income families.

The study also showed that over half (51%) of providers increased staff hours or number of staff to deliver extended hours.

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/629460/Evaluation_of_early_implementation_of_30_hours_free_childcare_.pdf

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Darren publishes latest column in The Shire

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has shared his latest column in The Shire, Shirehampton’s local community newspaper.

Darren said:

“Thanks to The Shire for publishing my latest column. Since the time of writing, I have updated residents on restrictions using minor routes, including under the Iron Bridge, as well as why sat navs don’t tell drivers to avoid the route: http://darren-jones.co.uk/trucks-shirehampton-2/“.

 

 

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Darren meets Stoke Bishop residents regarding Stoke Lodge

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones met hundreds of concerned residents at Stoke Lodge on Saturday 8th December.

Darren has already shared his concerns with Bristol City Council following recent news reports that a fence at Stoke Lodge will not require the council’s consent and that the school plans to progress these works imminently. The council responded to Darren, local councillors and the We Love Stoke Lodge community group concerns on Friday 7th December, maintaining the new position that a fence did not require planning consent as it is considered permitted development.

Darren has been working closely with key community leaders and local councillors on this matter for some time having previously written to residents, the council and Cotham School about Stoke Lodge alongside chairing several meetings (designed to broker a compromise so both the community and the school can use the site) over the summer.

Darren has also previously met local residents, and separately with staff from Cotham School, to discuss the school’s use of Stoke Lodge green space which (the school propose) would include the erection of a fence, alongside a new changing room/ pavilion building (this application was rejected by the local authority and as yet has not been appealed or a new submission submitted).

Darren said prior to the meeting:

“I’ll be meeting residents at Stoke Lodge on Saturday morning to discuss any updates following last week’s surprise media reports planning consent may not be required for any perimeter fence. Clearly this news was hugely concerning to the many residents and visitors who enjoy this important green space – which includes Bristol’s Tree of the Year. This green space is the only one in walking distance to many local residents.

We’ll also be discussing next steps so we can work to ensure the site can once again be used by the local community and school.

Stoke Bishop has one of the lowest crime and ASB levels in the city, with a close-knit and supportive community and it does not appear the school encountered any reportable near misses or incidents when the school previously used this site unfenced – it is therefore imperative risks are not overstated and the community and school work together to ensure this space is used in harmony for decades to come. I know community reps remain keen to continue engaging with the school and have suggested multiple alternative options. The multiple meetings I have chaired – where all parties were invited – were designed to reach a compromise.

I am obviously concerned to hear the council have continued to advise (including in the most correspondence dated 7th December) that planning consent will not be required for the fence as it is within permitted development rights.

I’ll continue to support residents, and help work towards a compromise, at every opportunity“.

 

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MP visits annual Foodbank collection in Horfield

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones dropped-in to support volunteers and those donating at last weekend’s (1st December) annual Foodbank #everycancounts collection.

Darren said:

“I stopped by North Bristol Foodbank’s annual collection in Tesco on Golden Hill in Horfield and it was heart-warming to see the generosity of shoppers and volunteers. Whilst at the store, I met the Foodbank manager as well as new and experienced volunteers to find out more about the Foodbank’s work. Whilst I would prefer we lived in a country that did not require foodbanks, sadly more and more people are reliant upon them each year so it is good to see so many people supporting those in need”.

To find out more about North Bristol Foodbank please visit: https://northbristol.foodbank.org.uk/ 

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Darren attends Shire Santa Dash

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West joined over 500 Santa’s at this year’s annual Shirehampton Santa Dash.

Darren said:

” Huge congrats to Shire Christmas Illuminations for another Shire Santa Dash at the PBA Sports And Social Club. It was great to kick-off the races with Eddie the Eagle and to hand out medals. It is fantastic all proceeds all going to support costs of the Christmas lights in Shire village. This is a true community event and I wish it every success”.