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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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MP welcomes news of Channel 4 Creative Hub

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has welcomed news that Channel 4 will be locating a Creative Hub in Bristol.

Darren Jones MP said:

“It is fantastic to hear Bristol will be the home of Channel 4’s Creative Hub! This is testament to the hard work of the bid team led by Mayor Marvin Rees at Bristol City Council and the city’s ability to lead the way in innovation, tech and creative industries.

Channel 4 will help to build on the city’s thriving television production sector, which has world-renowned factual producers and also has strengths in areas such as animation and digital production.

Locating in Bristol will also enable Channel 4 to work closely in partnership with Cardiff and its production sector – with the opportunity to further accelerate the growth of the creative cluster around South West England and South Wales – and also connect with indies across the West of England.

Bristol also impressed by putting forward exciting proposals to establish new social mobility initiatives to work with diverse communities across the city and bring through new talent into the industry. I can’t wait to help welcome Channel 4 to this great city of ours“.

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Darren backs local shops – nominate your high street now!

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones MP has backed local high streets and urged the government to do more to protect local jobs and the heart of our local communities.

Darren said:

” We know our high streets and shopping parades are struggling – shops are closing across the country and I see the impact of vacant stores here in Bristol North West. Almost 70,000 retail jobs, including shop-floor roles, are set to be axed this year in Britain – according to a new report released by retail magnate Bill Grimsey. His review suggests high streets are facing “their greatest challenge in history”.

Just yesterday, a resident of Westbury-on-Trym shared their concerns about a vacant premise becoming a target for petty vandalism and the number of stores now empty in the village. I’ll be meeting with a representative from Westbury Business Association next week to discuss what I can do to help champion all of our high streets.

The government must urgently re-assess the support they are giving to small, family run shops, as well as the medium and larger chains who are not immune to these pressures, and the rates they charge them – high streets are the lifeblood of our communities.

I’m also working hard to bring infrastructure investment to Bristol North West – we know congestion, and irregular or unreliable bus, rail and cycle routes can put people off visiting a high street and only encourages them to visit out-of-town retailers and shop online. Our transport network must support local high streets and encourage use of public transport.

I am also urging residents to do their bit – shop locally, support locally-run businesses and nominate their high street for the Visa Great British High Street competition“.

#MyHighStreet

 

 

 

 

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Darren hosts first Business Forum on Modern Slavery

On 22nd June, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, hosted a Business Forum with local employers, the council, charities and the police and called upon them to work with him to end Modern Slavery in Bristol and beyond.

Darren said:

“There are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK, however many experts agree that’s a huge underestimate. I’ve been championing victim’s rights since becoming Bristol North West’s MP – we have seen cases of modern slavery in Southmead and across the city. I’ll continue to make this a priority by supporting Bills that come through the House of Commons and hosting events such as my Business Forum today – it is only by drawing these issues out into the open that we’ll bring an end to this abuse of vulnerable people. I also recently wrote to the Gangmaster’s and Labour Abuse Authority to ask them to licence nail bar and car wash businesses (as known hot spots for modern slavery) in Bristol, to make sure they treat workers properly.  I have met victims at my weekly surgery – so this is an issue I take extremely seriously”.

Darren continued:

“I’m also continuing to fight unethical working practises wherever I see them including tipping etiquette in restaurants, changes to Asda employee’s terms and conditions and the hostile takeover of GKN amongst others. As the event heard on Friday, Bristol is continuing to lead the way on exposing cases of modern slavery but this great work will only continue if we all join forces – as our Police and Crime Commissioner said businesses and members of the public need to be the police’s eyes and ears and report their concerns”.

Speakers at the Forum included CEO of Unseen Andrew Wallis OBE, Sue Mountstevens Police and Crime Commissioner and Jaya Chakrabarti MBE.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig also joined the event to support calls for partners to work together and ensure Bristol acts as a positive example to other cities on how to tackle and eradicate modern slavery.

 

 

 

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Darren asks government about UK company participation in EU projects after Brexit

Currently, after Brexit the UK will for a time continue to contribute financially to EU Security and Defence projects. However, non-EU country companies are prohibited from bidding for EU security and defence projects. Mindful of the effect this could have on companies, Darren asked the Government Minister for Defence Procurement about this potential situation and whether it could be prevented.

 

Darren also asked how concern around funding for the Galileo project tied into concerns around defence funding in general.

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Darren speaks to BBC News about Brexit risk to Airbus UK

Airbus have today stated that they ‘require immediate details’ on what they will need to do as a consequence of Brexit, as ‘without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant’. They’ve also specifically stated that a No Deal Brexit or an overly short transition period could impact their business in Britain.

Darren spoke to BBC about what this could mean for Bristol, and what the government needed to do to fix the situation.

 

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Darren asks for government for guarantees over Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce employ 3,000 people in Bristol. This week, they announced 4,600 job cuts, some of which will be in Bristol. Darren wrote to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ask how he was going to help strengthen the Aerospace industry, including Rolls Royce, in the future.

Darren wrote:

Dear the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP

 

Aerospace and the Industrial Strategy

 

3,000 people work at Rolls Royce Bristol, located to the North of Bristol North West.

Today, it was announced that 3,000 UK Rolls Royce employees will lose their jobs, including 1,500 by the end of the year. Some of these will be in Bristol.  Today, many of my constituents will be worried about their and their families’ future.

On 27 November 2017, you announced an Industrial Strategy which you said would ‘make the most of our untapped potential’ and bring ‘good jobs and greater earning power for all’. Aerospace is at the heart of this strategy. A sector deal forms part of a promise to ‘support our strong aerospace industry’, including to ‘anchor’ Rolls-Royce.

Since then, there have been some relevant developments.  Airbus has said that they might leave the country. GKN have been taken over and is likely to be split up. And it is increasingly likely UK firms will be shut out of Galileo contracts in the future on the basis that non-EU member states are banned from defence and security contracts. It is clear that the Government’s Industrial Strategy is failing to support and grow the UK aerospace sector, and that defence as well as civilian jobs are at risk.

57,000 people in the South West work in the aerospace supply chain. Will you please give them reassurance by explaining what you are doing to get the Industrial Strategy back on track, and what will you do to ensure UK remains able to trade competitively and efficiently after Brexit?

 

Kind regards,

Darren Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Bristol North West

And here’s what the government wrote in reply:

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Darren speaks to Bristol Cable about the impact of AI and automation

Darren spoke to the Bristol Cable – Bristol’s independent, cooperatively owned newspaper – about the impact of artificial intelligence and robots on society.

Writing on Facebook about the interview, Darren said that

The impact of AI and automation will be felt – these are issues that will affect all of us. It’s time the government properly engaged and understood the opportunities and risks of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Burying their heads in the sand won’t protect our data or hundreds of thousands of jobs.

You can read the full interview here: https://thebristolcable.org/2018/06/artificial-intelligence-robots-and-the-future-of-society-interview-with-darren-jones/

 

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Darren congratulates Marvin and his team for Bristol making Channel 4 shortlist

Channel 4 have started looking for cities to host their new national headquarters. Thanks to the work of Bristol City Council, led by Labour’s Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, Bristol are on the shortlist. On Facebook, Darren congratulated Marvin:

Great news! Well done to Marvin Rees and the team for getting us this far. Now to secure Channel 4 in Bristol!

You can read more about the shortlist here: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/may/30/channel-4-cities-national-hq-birmingham-manchester-glasgow-liverpool-leeds.

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Darren calls for new Anti Modern Slavery measures in Bristol

On Facebook, Darren wrote:

Bristol has had real issues with modern slavery: car washes and nail bars can be hotspots. I’ve written to the Gangmaster’s and Labour Abuse Authority to ask them to licence these businesses in Bristol, to make sure they treat workers properly. I’ll also be hosting a Modern Slavery-focused event in June to continue to raise awareness of these issues to the local business community.

You can read the full letter here: