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Stop ignoring child poverty, warns Darren to Chancellor

Following a disappointing Financial Statement from the Chancellor this winter, Darren questioned the Government’s commitment to eliminating child poverty.

Despite rates of child poverty increasing in the UK, the world 6th richest country, this winter’s financial statement does nothing to address the system causes of child poverty. The statement also fails to dedicate budget to helping families during the winter period that are suffering from in-work poverty.

Speaking in Parliament, Darren raised this issue to the Chancellor directly. You can watch the exchange here:

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Darren calls for clarity over COVID-19 Business Rules

Darren, as Chair of the Business Committee, has written to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State, asking for urgent clarifications about the COVID-19 rules and restrictions for businesses once England’s national lockdown ends at the start of December.

Darren and the Business Committee took evidence from Excluded UK, UKHospitality, Marston’s PLC, PureGym and more to understand the effectiveness of support available to businesses and the impact of Coronavirus restrictions. These insights were used to scrutinise the BEIS department’s guidance and support made available to businesses, as well as how taxpayer’s money has been targeted and businesses have been consulted.

Speaking of the importance of delivering clarity of businesses ahead of the Christmas trading peroid, Darren said:

“On Tuesday, business leaders in retail, leisure and hospitality warned of devastated high streets and even higher job losses unless urgent action was taken by Ministers to confirm what will happen after the second lockdown. Businesses need urgent clarity on the rules they will be required to follow under any new tiered system of restrictions so that they can make plans for their staff, sites and suppliers.

“Christmas trading is a crucial period and the Government needs to target support – alongside required public health measures – to help, especially for retailers who have been deemed non-essential during the second lockdown. Specifically, Ministers need to better target support and bring stakeholders together to find a solution to commercial rent debts. Ministers also need to take steps to ensure that businesses and unions are more involved on issues relating to local lockdowns, such as the system of curfews, so that safe and responsible trading can take place.”

You can read Darren’s letter to the Secretary of State below:

 

 

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Darren takes evidence from Metro Mayors about COVID and Levelling Up

Darren took evidence from England’s Metro-Mayors about the value their office adds to their regions.

Following the dramatic confrontation between central Government and the Manchester region over a lack of localised lockdown support this Autumn, Darren asked Metro-Mayor’s about their approach to connecting central and local government.

Darren and the Business Commitee took evidence from Bristol’s Conservative WECA Metro-Mayor Tim Bowles, and other regional Metro-Mayor’s:

  • Rt Hon Andy Burnham, Mayor, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Jamie Driscoll, Mayor, North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • Steve Rotheram, Mayor, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

While most Metro Mayors were able to explain in detail the role their office plays in securing funds to level up their region and maximise the impact of local leaders in ther region, some struggled to find examples of where they’d been effective during their time in office.

You can watch the whole evidence session here.

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Darren urges Government to do better on its commitments to human, workers and environmental rights

During the Free Trade bill reading, Darren called on the Government to avoid a race to the bottom when negotiating future Free Trade deals with other nations. Darren highlighted these future trade relationships as an opportunity create a coherent and modern industrial and economy strategy but warned that it must not come at the cost of weakening rights. Instead, future trade bills should set out clear declarations against human trafficking and for human rights, workers rights and environmental protection.

 

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Darren elected Chair of BEIS Select Committee

On Wednesday, May 6th, Darren was elected by his fellow MPs in the House of Commons to chair the Business Environment and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. This was the first real usage of the new virtual Parliament online ballot and Darren ran a campaign that priorities cooperation and collaboration between MPs during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Speaking about his election victory Darren said: