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Your March Update:

Your Voice in Parliament

As your voice in Parliament, I have been focussing on the roll out of testing and vaccinations in our city, as well as lobbying for the economic support we need to come out of this pandemic on a stable footing, ready for recovery. As part of this, I have started a new Parliamentary committee on data poverty, working with the Government and internet providers to introduce a low cost ‘social tariff’ for broadband got families on lower incomes. With internet providers already signing up to provide cheaper broadband for low-income families, you can follow our progress here. I’ve been meeting with experts on anti-poverty policy throughout February. I expect to announce exciting news soon about a broader piece of work on child poverty; building on progress made in January.

I have also been preparing for the Spring Budget, expected to be presented in Parliament tomorrow. This budget is the Chancellor’s last opportunity help the millions of people who have been unfairly excluded from financial help so far. Having consulted with constituents excluded from covid support, businesses struggling in lockdown and industry leaders about our national strategy, I’ve written to the Chancellor spelling out Bristol’s expectations for this Budget. We need a change in approach from the Chancellor that goes beyond flashy branding and headlines. We need a compressive skills-focussed jobs program, targeted support for highstreets, retail and hospitality, proper funding for nurseries and early years; as well as a review of the employment rights system that places Britain bottom in Europe for sick-pay. Ahead of the budget, you watch a summary of my Business Committee’s recommendations and read my personal thoughts about what’s needed next for the United Kingdom to succeed.

My work on climate change has also increased in priority, with the UK hosting the UN international summit – COP26 – this November. As chair of the energy committee, I have been closely involved with the Government and the COP team on preparations for November, as well as our own domestic work in the UK to decarbonise by 2050.

I’ve also been involved in Bristol’s bid for the ‘Great Western Freeport’ to Government. I have many reservations about the Government’s policy on freeports – which would designate parcels of land in Avonmouth and Severnside as having tax and/or customs benefits – but the West of England may as well take part and so I have lent the bid my support, albeit with several conditions. If you’d like to know more about this, please do get in touch.

Your Champion in Bristol

Bristol is making huge strides in the campaign to get our city vaccinated; we’re currently the seventh best performing region for the roll-out. A huge thank you to our local GP surgeries, pharmacies and other health and social care staff and volunteers for working so hard to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible. With the success of the community surge testing effort in Bristol and beyond, I am confident our city is in a great place to start opening back up. I welcome the Prime Minister’s roadmap to lift lockdown restrictions, but this strategy must be accompanied with continued economic support until the restrictions have been fully lifted. In a pre-budget report from my Committee in the House of Commons, I have set out our cross-party expectations of the budget for workers and businesses.

I know some constituents are anxious about when our loved ones will get their vaccine appointment or are hesitant about getting a new vaccination. Last month, I sat down with Dr Tim Whittlestone to discuss how the vaccine approval process works, what you should expect when you go to your vaccine appointment and why it is important to get the jab. You can watch our full video and subtitled highlights here: darren-jones.co.uk/vaccine. As this roll-out progresses, I am continuing to engage fully with our regional NHS Clinical Commissioning Group overseeing Bristol’s vaccination effort. My casework team and I have been successful in raising and resolving edge-cases for vaccine eligibility. I’m confident that we’re in a fantastic place to complete our roll-out, support people nervous about getting the vaccine and drive down hospital admissions.

My next topic-focused online briefing will be on the use of Neonicotinoids, the Environment Bill and Agriculture Act. I’ll be hosting more of these throughout the summer; picking a policy area based on what constituents are most frequently writing to me about. For this briefing and Q&A, on April 14th, I’ll be joined by the Shadow Secretary of State for Agriculture, Luke Pollard MP. You can sign up for tickets to join us on Zoom, and watch my initial video briefing summarising my position on our current Environment and Agricultural strategy, as well as the use of pesticides on bee populations, at http://darren-jones.co.uk/aabriefing/. I hope to see some of you on April 14th!

Finally, thank you to all those that attended the Excluded UK Bristol North West forum in February. I’ve written to the Chancellor ahead of the Spring Budget with your feedback, alongside a report from my Committee which calls out the discrimination in financial support between employed and self-employed workers, and for recent mums who have taken parental leave in the past three years. I was also delighted to host so many residents to discuss Bristol’s Clean Air Zone last week, the feedback from which I have now sent to our Mayor. Although this is a change put onto Bristol from the Government, and a chance to fix our city’s air pollution problem, I’ve sought assurances that it will not disproportionally impact local business constituents or residential communities.

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Bristol wins multiple NHS Regional Awards

Bristol has repeated its strong performance in this year’ NHS Parliament Awards with 4 regional winners announced!

In November, NHS regional teams across England announced the individuals and teams chosen as regional champions in the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020.

The champions – including NHS volunteers, patients, local council health teams and the creators of extraordinary digital innovations – will now vie with each other for a national award to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July.

Darren nominated individuals and teams across seven categories, with a special focus made to teams that have helped Bristol during this pandemic. Four regional winners were announced with three working at the NHS North Bristol Trust and one team recognised for the successful GP/Community Pharmacy pilot making it easier for patients to be referred over the phone.

You can read details about each nominee here.

From more than 700 entries submitted by almost half of all MPs in England, senior NHS experts have chosen seventy outstanding nominations, which exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out.

Speaking about the success enjoyed by those nominated this year, Darren praised teams and individuals for their contribution to healthcare in Bristol:

“It is a delight to see so many hard-working teams from the North Bristol NHS Trust being shortlisted for their excellence in patient healthcare; mental health care; future NHS innovation; and primary care. Along with the whole of Bristol North West, I’m so proud to see these contributions recognised once again at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards and we wish all of the teams the best of luck for the final awards.”

Well done to GPs and Pharmacists across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire for making the shortlist for this year’s Excellence in Primary Care Award. Successful pilots like the GP Community Pharmacies scheme improve healthcare across the country and I’m proud that the Southmead and Henbury practice in my constituency had completed the most GP to Pharmacist referrals during this pilot. Congratulations to everyone involved, and I wish you the best of luck in the next stage.”

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Travel West: A37/A4018 Transport Corridor Engagement

Until September 11th, Travel West are looking for your thoughts and feedback as they prepare to plan improvements to travel corridors across Bristol, starting with Bus Route 2. This route goes straight through our constituency and connects  Henleaze, Southmead and Henbury to the city centre and Cribbs Causeway

These improvements go further than improving bus travel in Bristol though, it’s aim is to help people get around Bristol on foot, by bike, wheelchair and buggy too. It’s about making it easier, safer and quicker to travel in Bristol.

With social distancing in place, Travel West have set up a virtual engagement show-room to look at the route and propose feedback. This is an opportunity to contribute to this project at the ground floor before the formal plan has been written.

To get contribute feedback, please click the link below.

 

Alternative formats

If you would like to receive a paper version instead or would like the survey/ information in another language, Braille, audio tape, large print, easy English, BSL video or CD rom or plain text please  contact us:

Write to: Transport Engagement Team, PO Box 3399, 100 Temple Street, Bristol, BS1 9NE

Email: transport.engagement@bristol.gov.uk

Answerphone: 07775 115909 and leave your name, contact details and request

Phone calls

You will also be able to email a team member or receive a call back if you wish to ask any questions before submitting your feedback via the survey and interactive map. Please use the email address and phone number below.

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Darren encourages schools to teach WW1 Remembrance

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has written to all Primary schools in Bristol North West encouraging them to take part in a free scheme which educates pupils on the importance of WW1 Remembrance.

Darren said:

“During early October, I contacted all 29 primary schools in Bristol North West, inviting them to use the free lesson and assembly plans supplied by the Royal British Legion and National Literacy Trust. These plans can be used in English, Science and History lessons – as well as school assemblies – to ensure Remembrance, and the importance of peace, is universally understood. The plans commemorate the First World War generation – those who served, sacrificed and changed our world.

As we approach Remembrance Sunday, I urge all schools to get involved”!

Here’s a copy of the letter Darren sent to Badocks Wood Academy in Southmead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren slams cuts facing 100% of local schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“I’ve just received (25th October 2019) a briefing from the National Education Union which confirms Department of Education funding for local schools from 1st April 2020. Despite the government pretending otherwise, 100% of our schools will have less budget than they did in 2015!

I’ve visited nearly every school in my constituency over the last two years and I hear the same concerns at each one – we’re pushing overworked teachers out of the profession and forcing our kids to face larger class sizes with less staff available to help and less money for books, equipment and technology. This crisis is felt even more acutely with children who have special educational needs, young people with mental health needs and is also illustrated in the reduction of creative subjects being taught. Yet this Government continues to underfund and under-deliver on their responsibility to schools – all the whilst pretending austerity is over – and the nation’s children and young people.

Between 2015 and April 2020, our schools in Bristol North West will have faced a shortfall of £49,308 million. That’s – on average – £704 less per pupil than in April 2015. This is totally unacceptable and puts our kid’s futures at risk – education can’t and shouldn’t be done on the cheap!

Having just recently supported campaigns for improved nursery and sixth-form funding, I assure my constituents I’ll continue to do everything I can to achieve fair funding for our schools”.

Here are some examples of what these devastating cuts mean for our kid’s schools:

  1. Glenfrome Primary school, has been cut by an average £626 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.4 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 4 teachers. Funding is below average.
  2. Fairfield High School, Bristol has been cut by an average £855 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.0 pupils per class in 2015 to 26.6 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 17 teachers.
  3. Fonthill primary School has been cut by an average of £738 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 26.9 pupils per class in 2015 to 28.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  4. Stoke Park Primary School has been cut by an average of £520 per pupil since 2015, which has badly affected the school. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 23.7 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.3 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.
  5. Sea Mills Primary School has been cut by an average of £654 per pupil since 2015. Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 25.8 pupils per class in 2015 to 27.9 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers.

You can support the NEU’s campaign and find out about cuts to your local school here.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren calls on Barclays to reverse Post Office decision

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Darren hosts Bristol Arena Q and A

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones, hosted an event for constituents to find out more about the potential 17000 seater arena being built in his constituency in North Bristol.

Darren said:

“YTL will soon be applying for planning consent for their proposed arena in the former airport hangars in Filton (this sits just on the edge of my constituency). Following requests from constituents, I arranged a personal briefing and Q and A at the hangars to discuss YTL’s plans. The planning application is expected in the coming weeks.

I’ve always said, I can only support the arena if it comes with proper transport investment and public transport upgrades. YTL also need to ensure residential streets in Henbury, Brentry, Lockleaze and Southmead are not linked to the arena site so they don’t become rat runs. I formally called for these restrictions  back in January as part of my North Bristol Transport Plan. I also met with the new leader of South Gloucestershire Council in July and pressed for improved planning and joined-up thinking on transport.

The planning application for the arena will be available in the usual way on Bristol City Council’s website – I’ll share details once they’re available”.

YTL Arena operations team, who are responsible for the plans to create an arena in the Brabazon Hangars, will be holding a series of public consultation open days and tours. You can find out more by visiting: www.brabazon.co.uk

You can follow Darren’s work on transport here.

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Darren visits relaunched Southmead Children’s Centre

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, visited the newly re-launched Southmead Children’s Centre on Friday 30th August.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to see the Southmead Children’s Centre open today: the centre is keeping the vital legacy of Sure Start alive and kicking with day care, family support and a soon to be launched forest school!

Well done to Bristol City Council, Mayor Marvin Rees, Councillor Helen Godwin and all the team for making sure these hugely important services are available to our local communities – at a time when councils up and down the country are closing children’s centres, we should be proud ours are being revitalised. It was also great to see the fab “Briony from Bristol” again – I need to get her views on the new series of GBBO!”

 

 

 

 

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Library Drop-in Event Information

In March 2019, Darren attended a Library Ideas conversation event to discuss and look at innovative ways to continue running the service after all of the city’s libraries were saved from closure by Bristol City Council in 2018 – which you can read more about here.

Following the Library Ideas conversations, throughout September there will be a series of Library drop-in events open to all that are being held in libraries across Bristol North West to help get an idea of people’s ideas and priorities for the future of libraries.

Please find the dates and the Facebook event links below;

  • Henbury Library: Wednesday 4th September 2019, 2pm – 7pm (Facebook event here)
  • Lockleaze Library: Thursday 5th September 2019, 11am – 4pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Avonmouth Library: Friday 6th September 2019, 1pm – 5pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Southmead Library: Tuesday 10th September 2019, 11am – 5pm – (Facebook event here)
  • Horfield Library: Monday 23rd September 2019, 11am – 5pm – (Facebook event here)

 

 

 

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Darren welcomes council progress on Library innovation

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure in 2018 but, given the continued decline in government funding, earlier this year they asked for resident’s help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future. Along with constituents, Darren attended an event in Southmead in early March 2019 to talk about ideas to support Bristol North West’s libraries.

Darren said:

“Back in March, I joined one of the library consultation events held in Bristol North West. Bristol City Council have now published over 1200 ideas and suggestions from that consultation.

16 ‘Friends of’ library groups have also been set-up, if you’d like to join an existing group or start a group for your local library, find out more via this link.

Some of the ideas have already come to fruition, including extended self-service opening at Westbury Library on Sunday afternoons.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the library service, you can find out more here. They have roles that help with story times, IT or events.

A new Library Strategy will be going before City Councillors later this year. I’ll share further news once I have it”.