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Darren says ‘dont risk it’ – report scams!

June is Citizens Advice’s annual Scams Awareness Month. This year’s theme is ‘don’t risk it’ – if you’re unsure about the deal you are being sold then it may be too good to be true. Citizens Advice research has found that a staggering 72% of people have been targeted by scammers in the last 2 years and even more worryingly, nearly 40% of people had been targeted 5 or more times. These are often the most vulnerable in our communities.

Almost half of people surveyed had taken no action to protect themselves against scams.

You can find out more information on common scams and how to report them here.

Darren said:

” I want to help make sure my constituents don’t fall victim to scammers – victims of scams often don’t come forward, making it difficult to know the true impact that scams have in our local communities. It also makes it hard to bring scammers to justice. That’s why I am supporting Scams Awareness Month and encouraging residents of Bristol North West to report dodgy traders to Citizens Advice and Trading Standards”.

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Darren visits Foodbank

Darren Jones MP has visited the team at North Bristol Foodbank. After dropping-in to the Foodbank’s Christmas donation drive at Tesco in Horfield in December 2017, Darren wanted to meet the hard working volunteers, trustees and manager who welcome people to the service and package up the donations.

The Foodbank was set-up in 2012 and offered 3,740 emergency three-day food parcels in the last year.

Darren Jones MP said:

” I was really keen to meet the people who make the Foodbank possible, many are volunteers and they work extremely hard alongside the small number of paid staff and trustees. Childcare voucher changes and Universal Credit are likely to result in even more demand for their services. I urge anyone who can to donate and support their Foodbank.”

You can find out more about the Foodbank, including how to donate and access food parcels here.

 

 

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Darren calls for district heating and end to fuel poverty

During Citizens Advice Big Energy Saving Week 2018, Darren Jones MP called on Bristol City Council and partners to investigate the potential of district heating in Bristol North West following a roundtable event.

The roundtable (on 26th January), organised by the MP, connected the council, with Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Energy, energy specialists from the Association of Decentralised Energy as well as energy planning and design experts from ARUP and Bond Dickinson alongside Viridor, who are currently building the new Energy Recovery Centre in Avonmouth.

Darren Jones MP said:

“During Big Energy Savings Week 2018, I have worked to bring a range of experts together to discuss how we can bring the benefits of district heating to Bristol North West. District heating is the collection of power plants’ waste heat for the heating of homes and businesses. This is a way of heating Bristol homes which is far cheaper and more CO2 efficient than fossil fuels. It is also sustainable, because it uses energy being created anyway – and it saves people money on their bills!

As well as pushing for investigation into the potential of district heating, I am continuing to back National Energy Action’s (NEA) Warm Homes Campaign to fight fuel poverty. It’s an important issue that we simply cannot ignore. Living in a cold home can lead to ill health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. I am continuing to encourage constituents to save money by switching energy suppliers –17% in Bristol North West have taken advantage of the big savings that are on offer but it would be great to see more people save by switching. Customers can save hundreds of pounds – especially if they have been with the same supplier for years.

Independent, local groups such as C.H.E.E.S.E also offer thermal imaging surveys which identify where heat is being lost in the home and suggest remedies to reduce bills. Free surveys are available to households on lower incomes so everyone can benefit from their advice.

I am keen to secure cheaper energy bills for my constituents, whether that’s through district heating projects or in the short-term encouraging switching to a better energy deal. More needs to be done nationally to tackle fuel poverty, but I look forward to working alongside the council to help build the case for district heating in Bristol North West”.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations for NEA commented:

“Between 2016-2017 Excess Winter Deaths (EWD) figures have gone up in England and Wales, and are 39.5% higher than last year (up by almost 10,000 from 24,580). Although fuel poverty and EWD can’t be shown to be definitively connected, over one-third excess winter deaths in this period were caused by respiratory diseases, which are known to be severely exacerbated by the cold.”

To learn more about the NEA and their Warm Homes Campaign visit www.nea.org.uk.

You can find out more about C.H.E.E.S.E here:  https://cheeseproject.co.uk/home-surveys 

 

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Darren speaks in the House of Commons about Debt Relief Schemes

Watch the full speech here:

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Save Money this Big Energy Saving Week

Darren Jones MP is backing Big Energy Saving Week.

Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills. It is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Many people stay on the same tariff or with the same supplier for years without realising they could be getting a better deal elsewhere. They could be saving around £300 a year, particularly if they have never switched before.  Switching is also easier than many people think and can be done in a day. You can use the independent  Citizens Advice Energy Price Comparison Tool to see if you can save”.

To find out more about Big Energy Saving Week and get money-saving tips click here.

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Darren backs ‘The Year of Engineering’

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his support to a national campaign to get more young people (and those from a diverse range of backgrounds) into engineering, in an effort to tackle a major skills gap.

The Year of Engineering, which launched on Monday 15th January, will see government work with hundreds of industry partners to raise the profile of engineering among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers. This will include offering at least a million direct experiences of engineering to young people from all backgrounds – from behind the scenes tours and family days out, to school visits and the chance to meet engineering role models.

Darren Jones MP said:

” The UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is currently 91% male and 94% white! I am pleased to support any campaign that encourages young people in my constituency to aim high and fulfil their potential”.

 

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Darren supports workers rights

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his support to the Unpaid Work Trials (Prohibition) Bill being heard in Parliament in the New Year. This Private Members Bill will end the practise of exploitative, unpaid trial shifts, guarantee fair and proper pay for working hours completed and ensure that trial workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Those trialling a new job by undertaking a shift or two deserve to be paid for their time. It is unacceptable that some companies are using high numbers of trial shifts to get work completed without having to pay staff. This is another form of exploitation and an unethical practise – it must be stopped”.

 

 

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Stay Safe Online – Stop and Think

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has warned constituents to be on the look-out for fake or malicious emails, calls or letters from fraudsters over the Christmas and New Year period.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Christmas and the January sales are two of the busiest times of the year for online shopping. Unfortunately it is also a busy time for fraudsters. Financial fraud losses totalled £768.8 million in 2016!

Take Five, a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK, urges you to pause and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

There’s some great advice available at the Take Five website“.

 

 

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Darren calls for free schools meals to be protected

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, to call for the government to reconsider implementing a threshold for universal credit claimants entitlement to free schools meals for their children.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Universal Credit is coming to Bristol North West in September 2018. The Government is currently consulting on eligibility for free school meals under Universal Credit, and is proposing the introduction of an earning threshold of £7,400 to determine eligibility.

Up to now, the Government has allowed all claimants on Universal Credit to receive free school meals. Introducing this proposed earnings threshold represents a huge step backwards. The Children’s Society have estimated that this would lead to over one million children in poverty, and over 5000 in Bristol, missing out on free school meals. I’ve written to Justine Greening to raise my concerns about this”.

 

 

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Darren supports Breathing Space Debt Campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, to back the Children’s Society’s Breathing Space campaign.

The Government has now brought forward a call for evidence on the introduction of a Breathing Space scheme for families in debt.  The Children’s Society and others have been calling for this vital protection for families for a number of years and worked on a Private Members Bill last year to introduce a Breathing Space.  On 14th December, along with a large number of other charities and partners, the Children’s Society launched their latest report on this issue showing the life events that can lead to families falling into debt.  Darren has reviewed the report and written to the Treasury to raise his concerns.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I am delighted to be supporting the Children’s Society’s vitally important campaign.  It is estimated that there are 5437 children living in 3134 families in problem debt in Bristol North West. More needs to be done to help these families”.