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Darren visits Home for Veterans, opens Nursery in Lawrence Weston and The Old Library in Eastville

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, had another packed weekend. Darren joined the team from Alabare Christian Care and Support to tour their new Bristol Home for Veterans. Darren also opened the new nursery in Lawrence Weston and visited the community café at the Old Library in Eastville.

Darren said:

“It was wonderful to visit the Old Library in Eastville – the centre has a fantastic café, kids area and awesome outdoor space. Hats-off to the volunteers from Lockleaze, Eastville and the surrounding area for creating such a great community space. I hope all our libraries can become hubs for community activities and provide a wide variety of services alongside the traditional book-lending schemes.

 I was also delighted to officially open the Long Cross Nursery in Lawrence Weston, which is linked to Oasis Academy Long Cross. I have long campaigned for fully state-funded childcare  – funded nursery places for two year olds should be available for all. I’ll continue to call for that.

I was also pleased to meet the manager at the new Bristol Home for Veterans that will open in Bristol North West in a few weeks. It is vital, after their hard work and service, our veterans get the support and care they need. Alabare are working to support veterans, vulnerable and homeless people and I applaud their efforts. I do however feel the government could do much more to vulnerable support people – and a start would be by providing a proper welfare safety net, ceasing the damaging system of Universal Credit and funding our councils so they can provide effective and well-resourced services”.

 

 

 

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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 makes Carers Week Pledge

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has pledged his support to Carers Week 2019.

Darren Jones said:

“Every year, #CarersWeek raises awareness and celebrates the contribution of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers, and spreads the word about support available for those who are caring. This year is the 25th anniversary of Carers Week. I held a carers-themed surgery back in January to ensure I heard from constituents and the issues they are encountering as carers or those who have carers.

The focus of Carers Week this year is ‘Getting Carers Connected’. Everyone has a part to play in connecting carers and helping them to get the support they need to care without putting off their own health needs or losing important relationships with others.

This year seven major charities are coming together and will be Getting Carers Connected. They are Carers UKAge UKCarers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, @Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Sense.

I’ve signed the Carers Week Pledge to do what I can to keep carers connected and reflect on their concerns in my work as your MP.

To find out more about Carers Week and the support available please visit: www.carersweek.org/about-us/about-caring “.

 

 

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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/”.

 

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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:

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Darren hosts surgery for local carers

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, hosted a Carers-themed surgery with Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire in Southmead on Friday 18th January.

” In the course of my work as Bristol North West’s MP, I have met many carers, including those at Henleaze-based Singing for the Brain and at other surgeries. I’m well aware of the challenges carers face and the dire need for more support for them, that’s why I backed the Carers Support Centre ‘carers need care too’ campaign and hosted this themed surgery.

I look forward to meeting more local carers and doing what I can to help and support them. I’ve agreed to host at least one carers-themed surgery a year but in the meantime, if you need support, please email my office at darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk (be sure to include your full address and postcode) and we’ll see how we can help you”.

 

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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”.

 

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Darren calls for investment in social care

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken our about the need for dramatic investment in social care funding following the release of the Coram Family and Childcare Older People’s Care Survey 2018. This is the third annual survey mapping the cost and availability of older people’s care across the UK.

Darren said:

“Anyone who needs social care or tries to put care in place for an older relative knows the current system is not fit for purpose. The government continues to dodge any real assessment of the social care crisis facing the UK’s ageing population, doesn’t fund council’s properly so they can adequately meet rising demand and has not ensured parity of importance between health and social care services.

I have met many constituents who have struggled to source adequate care and find the bureaucracy of the system significantly adds to levels of anxiety and stress. The Local Government Association is right to say the government just kick this issue ‘into the long grass’. I will continue to call on the government to fund council’s properly so they can meet the demand for social care services“.

The key findings of the survey in relation to the availability of older people’s care were:

•There is not enough care available for older people, with only one in five local authorities (20 per cent) reporting enough care in their area to meet demand.

•Over 4.3 million people aged 75 and over live in areas where there is not enough social care to meet demand.

•Some 34 per cent of local authorities expect the situation to get worse in the next year, while only 1 per cent expect it to get better. Bristol City Council has only recently flagged up how catastrophic a no-deal Brexit could be for social care across the city.

Key findings on the price of care were:

•The average weekly price paid by local authorities for all residential care types in the UK is £585. This represents a 5 per cent price rise since last year.

•UK averages show that individuals paying for their own care face prices which are 13 per cent more expensive than what the local authority pays for the same care. It takes less than 17 months for someone funding their own care to spend over £20,000.

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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 (1st 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. Whilst at the store, I met the Foodbank manager 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/ 

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Darren to host surgery for local carers

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, will be hosting a Carers-themed surgery with Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire on Friday 18th January.

Do you care for a friend, relative, family member or neighbour with an illness or disability? Do you need Darren’s support or would like to share your experiences so they inform Darren’s work in the future?

To meet with Darren you must live in Bristol North West. The Bristol North West constituency covers Avonmouth, Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston, Henbury, Brentry, Horfield, Lockleaze, Aurora Springs in Cheswick Village, Southmead, Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle, Sneyd Park, Stoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym, Westbury Park and Henleaze.

If you’re not sure if Darren is your MP, you can check here – If Darren is your MP and you’re a carer, come and meet him!

The surgery will take place on 18th January in Southmead between 10.30 and 12.30 with 6 pre-bookable appointments available.

If you would like to find out more or book a 15 minute slot, contact Caroline McAleese, Carers Engagement & Involvement Lead, Carers Support Centre on 0117 958 9989 or carolinem@carerssupportcentre.org.uk

“In the course of my work as Bristol North West’s MP I have met many carers, including those at Henleaze-based Singing for the Brain and at my weekly constituency surgeries. I’m well aware of the challenges carers face and the dire need for more support for them , that’s why I backed the Carers Support Centre ‘carers need care too’ campaign and am hosting this themed surgery. I look forward to meeting more local carers and doing what I can to help and support them”.