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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”.

 

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Darren says save £ by switching suppliers

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has called on constituents to consider saving money by switching energy suppliers.  New figures released from the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG) reveal that 17% in Bristol North West have switched electricity supplier and potentially saved hundreds of pounds during the last year, equating to 7,757 people per year.

The Energy Switch Guarantee is a commitment by energy suppliers – from the largest to some of the newest in the market – to make switching simple, speedy and safe and will soon cover 90 percent of the market.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Over 17% in Bristol North West have taken advantage of the big savings that are on offer but it would be great to see more join them. Customers can save hundreds of pounds -especially if they have been with the same supplier for years.

“This winter I encourage everyone in Bristol North West to take a few minutes to find out if they can be on a better energy deal. If you haven’t switched before you might think it is a bit daunting but as I found out, it’s really simple. And with the Energy Switch Guarantee in place customers can be reassured that switching will be simple, speedy and safe so make sure your supplier has signed up.”

Tina Tietjen, Independent Chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, said:

“Over 4.5 million customers have switched energy supplier so far this year and while some areas of the country – like Yorkshire in particular – are taking advantage of the potential savings on offer, others are missing out. It only takes a few minutes to find out if you’re on the best deal. Either get in touch with your supplier or look online to make sure you are on the best deal for you. There are huge savings to be made and the Energy Switch Guarantee provides customers with extra reassurance that the process will be simple, speedy and safe.”

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Bristol MPs call for pension fund to go fossil free

On the eve of an international summit on climate finance, Darren Jones, Kerry McCarthy, Thangam Debbonaire  and Karin Smith join over 100 MPs to call on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to drop investments in oil, coal and gas companies.

The four Bristol Labour MPs are among a cross-party group of over 100 MPs (1) who demand that their £612 million MPs’ Pension Fund removes its substantial holdings from fossil fuel companies to reflect their concerns about climate change. The fund currently holds a £5.6 million stake in BP and £4.9 million in Shell.

 

This week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell became the 99th and 100th MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge (2). This milestone comes as 50 heads of state, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, arrive in Paris for an international summit on climate change and finance.

MPs are responding to a rising call for divestment, with over 800 organisations and investors worth over $5 trillion having already committed to divest from fossil fuels (3).

In a joint statement, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, and the other MPs said:

“Two years on from the Paris agreement, and with the devastating impacts of climate change already apparent, there is no room for continued investment in companies whose business is incompatible with our climate obligations. It is vital that MPs show leadership on positive solutions to tackle climate change which benefit society and our constituents. We are therefore proud to support the call for our pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.”

Patrick Killoran  from the Divest Parliament campaign said:

‘ I’m deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change here and around the world. It’s great to see MPs listening to their constituents and showing political leadership on climate action.

Investing in companies such as BP and Shell, who continue to dig for more fossil fuels and lobby against climate policy to line executives’ pockets, is dangerous and wrong.

I hope more MPs will join those committing to Divest Parliament today, and prioritise concrete action to build a clean, fair energy system for all.”

Two years ago this week, the UK government joined nearly 200 nations in signing the Paris Agreement on climate change. To meet the commitment to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C, with the aspirational target of 1.5°C, scientists have warned the vast majority of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.

Yet, the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) continues to invest millions of pounds of MPs’ savings in fossil fuel companies. Both BP and Shell are among the fund’s top 20 holdings – along with mining firm Rio Tinto, British American Tobacco and Amazon -which were made available for the first time in March 2017. The pension fund has to date been unwilling to make public the full list of its investments.

With the value of fossil fuel companies’ stock based on their entire fossil fuel reserves–not just the small percentage that can safely be burned–these investments are not only environmentally destructive, but represent a significant financial risk. Meanwhile, the industry continues to funnel billions every year to find and develop yet more fossil fuel reserves. Both BP and Shell have been involved in lobbying against climate solutions, and BP was identified at the top of a list of firms obstructing climate action in Europe (4).

The 100 pledges follow the efforts of thousands of citizens across the UK, who have written to and met with MPs from the across the political spectrum, urging them to demonstrate their commitment to protecting our society and shared environment from the risks associated with burning and investing in fossil fuels.

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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 (2nd 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 – over 2522kgs of donations were collected in three days. Whilst at the store, I met some of the Foodbank management and trustee team 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/