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Darren calls for Living Wage at Sports Clubs

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has backed the campaign to call on Rugby Clubs to pay their staff the living wage. Shockingly, 6 in 10 football clubs don’t – this is despite an average turnover of £233 million.

Darren said:

“Everyone working should get paid the per hour living wage. It’s concerning and unacceptable that a number of very well-off football and other sports clubs don’t pay their staff the living wage – despite making billions of profit between them. This must change and I am proud to support that campaign by signing this letter in advance of the Six Nations”.

 

 

 

 

Darren speaks in WASPI women debate

Darren spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the plight of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women, who had their state pension ages changed without their being aware:

You can watch the full debate here:

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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 welcomes FCA overdraft ruling

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has welcomed news (announced on 18th December 2018) that the Financial Conduct Authority will stop banks charging higher prices for unarranged overdraft fees – an issue Darren campaigned on earlier this year.

Darren said:

“Back in May, I joined with consumer champion Which? and over 80 fellow parliamentarians in signing a letter calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to bring an end to excessive overdraft charges.

Today the FCA announced that banks will no longer be able to charge higher prices for people who go over their arranged overdraft limit, in radical new proposals set down by the UK’s financial watchdog.

I welcome today’s strong action from the regulator as more than 50% of banks’ unarranged overdraft fees came from just 1.5% of customers in 2016, in some cases unarranged overdraft fees can be more than ten times as high as fees for payday loans and people living in deprived areas are more likely to be impacted by these fees”.

Under the new proposals, the FCA plans to:

•Stop firms from charging higher prices when customers use an unarranged overdraft – around 30% of overdrafts are unarranged.

•Simplify overdraft pricing so that arranged overdrafts are priced using a single interest rate on each account.

•Standardising the presentation of arranged overdraft prices so that they are easier to compare and requiring a representative annual percentage rate (APR) in certain advertising for arranged overdrafts.

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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 demands stop to Universal Credit roll-out

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a letter, alongside all South West Labour MPs, calling on Amber Rudd the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and for immediate measure to be put in place to reverse the hardships it has caused.

This follow’s Darren’s extensive work on Universal Credit:

Darren first called for a delay to the roll out to new benefit claimants in October 2017. Universal Credit was, at that time, due to be rolled-out from Horfield and Shirehampton Job Centres in May 2018 (this was delayed until September 2018 with some additional funding in place).

Darren also backed large-scale changes to the full migration of existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit in advance of the 2017 Autumn Budget and in advance of the 2018 Autumn Budget, he called on the Chancellor to keep the government’s promise to ensure no benefit claimant would suffer hardship, or less income, under Universal Credit.

Darren also wrote to then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, calling for an end to the ‘two-child policy’ on benefits in October 2018 and – ahead of the 2018 Spring Budget – for free schools to be protected under the Universal Credit roll-out.

Darren said:

“Universal Credit, as it stands, is a cruel and shambolic system forcing many into debt. Claims often take weeks and weeks to resolve! I am clear that it should not take people to lose their homes, resort to food banks or go to unscrupulous lenders to survive for the government to act – especially when charities, MPs and advice organisations have been shouting warnings about financial hardship and waiting times for well over a year. I call upon the Secretary of State to listen to concerns and stop the roll-out of Universal Credit”.

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Darren gets response on Migrant Impact Fund

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, wrote to the Chancellor in advance of the Autumn Budget calling for the  Migrant Impact Fund to be restored.

Darren has now received a response:

Darren Jones MP said:

“The £50m Migrant Impact Fund (although it now appears only £35million was awarded) was set-up several years ago in response to legitimate concerns that public services needed central funding to help support any unexpected pressure on local services such as housing, schools and hospitals. This was – and still is – common sense and the fund should have never been replaced with the much less effective Controlling Migration Fund which does not fund things such as additional pressures on healthcare. This change was ill-thought out so I am disappointed this response has repeated the same old explanations without actually considering the points my letter raised – namely, that this backwards step applies pressure to healthcare services who can ill afford it, only helps to fans the flames of prejudice. I continue to call for the Migrant Impact Fund to be restored”.

 

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Darren congratulates National Express on Living Wage Accreditation

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, met with National Express last week (2nd November) following their accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week (5th to 9th November).

National Express will be rolling out the real Living Wage rates across all of their UK businesses, including staff based at Bristol Coach Station in Marlborough Street. It makes National Express the largest private sector employer in UK public transport to be officially recognised by the Foundation. The move will benefit more than 240 employees, most of whom work in the UK Coach business. The voluntary rise was put in place in January 2018 and has increased pay for roles including customer service advisors, drivers, apprentice engineers and cleaners to at least £8.75 an hour (£10.20 in London), higher than the statutory Living Wage of £7.38 for under 25s and £7.83 for over 25s.

As well as pledging to pay its UK staff the real Living Wage, National Express has ensured all agency and contracted staff are included in this increase and is working with its partner operators to ensure their employees are also paid the real Living Wage by 2020.

Darren said:

” This is a huge step in the right direction and one which National Express should be rightly proud of. Since being elected as MP for Bristol North West in June last year, I have made it a top priority to campaign for fair terms and conditions for employees and that employees are paid a wage they can live on. It is therefore fantastic to see National Express becoming the largest private sector employer to offer all staff the higher real living wage.

I also welcome their commitment to ensuring this is adopted by other companies it works with – too many companies don’t properly investigate unethical working practises within their supply chain so National Express are throwing down a challenge to other businesses to up their game. I hope to see an end to unethical working practises in Bristol, and beyond – this accreditation supports those endeavours”.

 

 

 

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Darren joins Unison’s call for boost in council funding

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has signed a cross-party letter,  coordinated by trade union Unison calling on the Chancellor to boost funding for councils in England.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Our council are facing unprecedented cuts during a time of rapidly rising demand for adult social care services, child safeguarding referrals and support for children with Special Educational Needs. We all know people feel upset when they see local services closing but in reality councils can only do so much with the shrinking money and staff they have available. Since 2010, 220,000 local government staff have been made redundant and more posts have been removed or left unfilled and there’s been a 49% drop in funding. We are fortunate thanks to our Labour council’s efforts that libraries were saved from closure and they have protected as many services for the vulnerable as possible but with adequate funding they could achieve far more.

We now have even loyal Conservative council leaders calling for the broken funding system to be urgently reviewed before people suffer  – change is urgently needed and can be delayed no longer. I hope to see a significant boost to council funding in the Chancellor’s Budget on Monday (29th October) anything else will only lead to greater suffering in our communities”.

 

 

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Darren calls for end to two-child limit policy on Benefits

Darren Jones MP has signed a cross-party letter led by colleague Rushanara Ali, calling on the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Esther McVey to scrap the cruel two-child limit on some benefit entitlements.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Whilst the government claim this policy is to encourage future ‘responsible parenting’, in many cases it has been applied retrospectively to families who already have 2+ children! Since coming into effect last April, the two-child limit policy has affected an estimated 400,000 children and will eventually affect around 3 million children once the transitional protection runs out – including 5000 in Bristol North West. Each of these families will be £4,000 a year worse off, on average, than in the absence of the policy.

I want to stop the policy being extended to all new Universal Credit claimants from February next year.

In the letter signed by over 100 MP’s we say:

“The two-child limit makes it harder for working families with more than two children to work their way out of poverty, however hard they try to improve their situation. Furthermore, many non-working families will no longer be able to escape the impact of the benefit cap by moving into employment, because they would instead be caught by the two-child limit.”

“The complex rules for applying the two-child limit, including the lengthening list of exemptions, undermine the aim of making the benefits system simpler to understand and easier to administer“.

See the letter here: Universal Credit – Letter