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Darren slams cuts facing 100% of local schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“I’ve just received (25th October 2019) a briefing from the National Education Union which confirms Department of Education funding for local schools from 1st April 2020. Despite the government pretending otherwise, 100% of our schools will have less budget than they did in 2015!

I’ve visited nearly every school in my constituency over the last two years and I hear the same concerns at each one – we’re pushing overworked teachers out of the profession and forcing our kids to face larger class sizes with less staff available to help and less money for books, equipment and technology. This crisis is felt even more acutely with children who have special educational needs, young people with mental health needs and is also illustrated in the reduction of creative subjects being taught. Yet this Government continues to underfund and under-deliver on their responsibility to schools – all the whilst pretending austerity is over – and the nation’s children and young people.

Between 2015 and April 2020, our schools in Bristol North West will have faced a shortfall of £49,308 million. That’s – on average – £704 less per pupil than in April 2015. This is totally unacceptable and puts our kid’s futures at risk – education can’t and shouldn’t be done on the cheap!

Having just recently supported campaigns for improved nursery and sixth-form funding, I assure my constituents I’ll continue to do everything I can to achieve fair funding for our schools”.

Here are some examples of what these devastating cuts mean for our kid’s schools:

  1. Glenfrome Primary school, has been cut by an average £626 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.4 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 4 teachers. Funding is below average.
  2. Fairfield High School, Bristol has been cut by an average £855 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 26.6 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 17 teachers.
  3. Fonthill primary School has been cut by an average of £738 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 26.9 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  4. Stoke Park Primary School has been cut by an average of £520 per pupil since 2015, which has badly affected the school. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.7 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.3 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  5. Sea Mills Primary School has been cut by an average of £654 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.8 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.

You can support the NEU’s campaign and find out about cuts to your local school here.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren calls on Barclays to reverse Post Office decision

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Darren warns against dangers of no deal

The Government have been forced by Parliament to publish their central planning assumptions document for a n0-deal Brexit — it includes “lorries facing waits of between 1.5 days and 2.5 days to cross the border,” disruption to medical supplies and shortages of certain kinds of food, and isn’t even the worst-case scenario. The human cost of no deal is enormous, and no responsible government would be pushing ahead with this kind of reckless strategy. We know the dangers, and I’m determined to stop them taking Britain over the precipice.

You can read the original ‘Yellowhammer’ document at the link here

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Darren seeks to reverse job losses at South West Forensics

Our forensics teams need more resources, not less ⁠— that was the finding of a recent House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report, and that was Darren’s message in a recent letter to Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens, questioning the recent decision to cut jobs at South West Forensics.

 

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Video: Darren comments on threat of no deal

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, commented on the government’s continued move towards a no deal Brexit following concerns from the former Chancellor Phillip Hammond.

Darren said:

” I agree with the former Chancellor when he says Boris (and Dominic!) are sabotaging any negotiations with the EU to further a hardline ideology. Crucially, this reckless ‘do or die’ ideology doesn’t have the support of Parliament and wasn’t on the ballot in 2016. As recently as March this year, Gove admitted that most leave voters hadn’t backed Brexit with a no deal in mind. Raab repeatedly said at the time no deal wasn’t an option.

No deal is a disaster for the country and for my constituency – with circa 1400 jobs predicted to be lost. As I said again on Sunday Politics back in July, the only way to resolve this is to go back to the British people and ask – now there is detail of what’s realistically on offer and the consequences – how they want to proceed, and then get on with it.

Boris has made several spending pledges since becoming PM, I’m keen to understand where all this ‘new’ money is coming from. Quite rightly, Labour has been asked these questions when they’ve made pledges – yet time and again there’s no detail from Boris (and much of the money seems to be recycled from existing budgets).

At some point, whoever is in government will need to face the reality that any form of Brexit will make the UK poorer and a no deal will be catastrophic for our country’s prosperity – false promises and empty spending pledges won’t be enough to save this country from job losses and an increasingly-likely recession.

Boris needs to stop channeling his time in the playground at Eton and remember he has the country’s future in his hands”.

 

 

 

 

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Darren comments on drop in GDP

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, comments on the drop in UK GDP announced on 9th August 2019.

Darren said:

“Boris has no mandate from Parliament or the British public to crash out with a chaotic no deal Brexit, but if he does, we’ll be seeing a whole lot more headlines about economic contraction as we slide closer to recession.

Let’s not pretend otherwise – stats like this ultimately equal job losses and a drop in our prosperity. If we leave with no deal, food prices will rise sharply, the pound will slump (even further that it has) and we will see formerly strong businesses go bust – sadly some of them will be here in Bristol. There will be significant knock-on impacts in whole supply chains and the service and retail industry.

No deal means playing Russian roulette with the UK – any MP who is happy to do that, is clearly putting ideology before their constituents, the very future of our United Kingdom and the country’s economic prosperity”.

 

 

 

 

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Success at getting fair redundancy payments for Avlon staff

Back in March 2019, Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, first wrote to the Government sharing his concerns about Avara’s Avlon site, and their 270 staff. The Avlon site is situated just outside Darren’s constituency. A number of constituents and their family members were employed at the site.

Avara Avlon Pharmaceutical Services Ltd, the company who now own the site, had become insolvent. Since that time it become clear, despite assurances when the company was sold 3 years ago by AstraZeneca, that staff would get above-statutory redundancy payments, which they had been contractually entitled to with AstraZeneca, only statutory redundancy payments were offered by Avara.

Darren has since written to the relevant government department (BEIS) and AstraZeneca, met with Unite union reps and former employees and raised this matter in Parliament on 11th July. Darren also applied for an Adjournment Debate with the Minister of 4 occasions (each attempt was unsuccessful) and worked with The Times to raise awareness of this gross unfairness. The Times have since ran several pieces on this matter this week.

Following these efforts, and those of former employees and Unite, Darren received for following statement from former owner, AstraZeneca:

Statement from AstraZeneca (17th July 2019):

We have decided to set aside funding of up to £12m, to be administered independently, to make sure our former employees at the Avlon site receive full severance should the ongoing administration of the site not generate enough funds to cover redundancy costs.

AstraZeneca remained closely involved in helping secure a future for the Avlon site following the sale to Avara, which was made in good faith in 2016. We have been engaged with the receivers since the company fell into administration. Last week, the deadline for bids for the site was reached and, since then, it has become apparent that there may not be sufficient funds to meet the redundancy costs of our former employees. 

Our success relies on the commitment and talent of our employees and our many partners in the UK and around the world who share our passion for science and for making a difference to the lives of patients.

Darren said:

“I’m delighted that after months of hard work from workers and unions, and my interventions with Astra Zeneca and the government, that workers are being paid the redundancy packages they deserve.

Whilst it should not have taken this level of intervention before employees got what they had been promised, I thank Astra Zeneca for listening, responding and making the right call.”

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Darren comments on Henleaze bank closure

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has expressed his concern about Lloyds’ decision to close the Henleaze branch from 1st October 2019.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’ve just been made aware that the Lloyds Bank branch in Henleaze will be closing on 1st October. Whilst I understand the nearest Post Office is a short walk away, I know it’s a small branch and often very busy. Equally, the nearest Lloyds Bank branch will be at least a 15/20 minute walk or 10 minute walk and bus ride away.

This is far from ideal and will make offline banking very challenging for the customers, many of whom are elderly or have mobility issues, who rely on their local bank.

Lloyds have told me that the counters at Henleaze are 5% quieter than they were a year ago and roughly 308 customers use the branch on a regular monthly basis. Whilst it is inevitable, that as people move online, less people use their local bank, we need to ensure those that can’t bank online or don’t feel able to are supported and have access to local services.

I will be meeting with the team from Lloyds to discuss their decision asap.”

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Darren slams TV Licence decision

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has commented on the BBC Trust’s decision to align free TV licences for the over-75’s to Pension Credit from May next year.

Darren said:

” As we approach Loneliness Awareness Week, it’s clear older people in Bristol, and across Britain, face a loneliness epidemic, and millions rely on TV for companionship, news and connectivity. The Government’s decision to defund the BBC, and force them to scrap free licences for over-75s, was miserly, short-sighted and wrong. It is a clear breach of the last Conservative manifesto, and the 5,100 households in Bristol North West who stand to lose out will rightly feel betrayed. I share their anger.

Uptake for Pension Credit is also woefully low, and frankly the Government aren’t doing anything to ensure vulnerable pensioners get what they’re due now – I sincerely hope they plan to raise awareness of how to claim Pension Credit before any changes take place”.

You can find out more about the TV Licence changes and how to claim Pension Credit here.

Darren has written to the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to express his dismay at the betrayal over TV licences, on behalf of the thousands in Bristol North West who are projected to lose out.

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Darren visits Credit Union

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has joined Bristol Credit Union and visited the team in Bristol.

Darren said:

” Great to hear about the fantastic work of Bristol Credit Union today.

Bristol Credit Union (or BCU) is a not-for-profit co-operative, helping local people save and borrow at fair rates. When you save or borrow with Bristol Credit Union, more of your money stays local, giving our city’s economy a boost.

Bristol Credit Union has been serving members and communities in the West of England since 1999 and has grown strongly during that time with over 12,600 members – and I am now one.

Find out more here: www.bristolcreditunion.org/”.