, , , , ,

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.

 

, , ,

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/”.

 

, , , , ,

Darren welcomes ban on lettings fees

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West,  has welcomed the forthcoming ban on letting fees and the announcement that Bristol City Council will host a national enforcement team.

Darren said:

” I am pleased to hear Bristol City Council has been chosen to host a new nationally-focused team which will provide greater protection for renters across England from letting agents who charge illegal tenant fees. Tenant fees in the private sector are banned in England from 1 June 2019. I fully supported this bill.

The new enforcement team – being led by National Trading Standards – will be responsible for regulating the private rental sector in England, protecting tenants and safeguarding compliant letting agents.

The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team will act as the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Tenant Fees Act 2019. Letting agency regulation (covering England) will be led by Bristol City Council and estate agency enforcement (across the UK) will continue to be operated from Powys County Council.

This team will place Bristol City Council at the heart of influencing government policy to help enhance consumer protection“.

You can follow Darren’s work on housing here.

 

 

 

, , , , ,

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:

, , , , ,

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”.

 

, ,

Darren calls for experiences of unfair tipping

Darren is supporting a campaign to end unfair tipping practices, which is looking for your stories of unfair tipping. On Facebook, Darren said:

Together with More United, a cross-party campaigns group, Peter Aldousand Stephen Lloyd MP I’m running a campaign on unfair tipping. In the past, we’ve seen employers take up to 100% of tips, and even charge employees more money than the tips they received. It’s time we put a stop to these practices.

Share your experiences of this here:https://moreunited.typeform.com/to/wOit2u

We look forward to hearing from you; get in touch at darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk if you have any questions about this, or indeed about any other area of Darren’s work.

, , ,

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.

, , , ,

Darren questions government changes to low-emission car incentives.

Darren Jones MP has continued to question the government’s recent decision to remove some financial incentives to purchase plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

Darren Jones MP said:

Back in October, I slammed the government’s decision to reduce, and in some cases remove, the financial incentives to purchase ultra-low emission vehicles.

This seemed reckless and short-sighted at a time when governments across the world know they must act to reduce emissions and the health and environmental impacts of air pollution.

In follow-up, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he “made an assessment of the potential effect of reducing incentives for plug-in hybrid and electric cars on the number of purchases of those vehicles before taking the decision to reduce those incentives“.

In response, I was advised – “since 2011, the plug-in car grant has provided a discount to the price of over 170,000 cars, and disbursed over £0.7 billion to support the early market for ultra low emission vehicles. Based on internal assessments made before the change to grant rates in October 2018, we expect sales of ultra low emission cars to continue at similar levels in 2019 to those seen in 2018″.

I then asked if the government would publish the data that assessment was based on. I was told “The Government’s internal assessment relies, in part, on commercially sensitive data from manufacturers and cannot be published for that reason”.

I disagree with this conclusion and I would not be at all surprised to see the number of ultra low-emission cars being purchased significantly reduce. I am very clear – the government must support initiatives that aim to reduce emissions wherever possible – not to do so is a dereliction of their environmental responsibilities”.

You can follow Darren’s work on climate change, animal welfare and the environmental protection here.