Posts

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Darren speaks in Meaningful Vote debate

Darren spoke in the House of Commons debate which is taking place before the Meaningful Vote. He spoke about how damaging Brexit would be and how the people deserve a final say on it. You can watch the full speech here:

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Darren demands stop to Universal Credit roll-out

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a letter, alongside all South West Labour MPs, calling on Amber Rudd the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and for immediate measure to be put in place to reverse the hardships it has caused.

This follow’s Darren’s extensive work on Universal Credit:

Darren first called for a delay to the roll out to new benefit claimants in October 2017. Universal Credit was, at that time, due to be rolled-out from Horfield and Shirehampton Job Centres in May 2018 (this was delayed until September 2018 with some additional funding in place).

Darren also backed large-scale changes to the full migration of existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit in advance of the 2017 Autumn Budget and in advance of the 2018 Autumn Budget, he called on the Chancellor to keep the government’s promise to ensure no benefit claimant would suffer hardship, or less income, under Universal Credit.

Darren also wrote to then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, calling for an end to the ‘two-child policy’ on benefits in October 2018 and – ahead of the 2018 Spring Budget – for free schools to be protected under the Universal Credit roll-out.

Darren said:

“Universal Credit, as it stands, is a cruel and shambolic system forcing many into debt. Claims often take weeks and weeks to resolve! I am clear that it should not take people to lose their homes, resort to food banks or go to unscrupulous lenders to survive for the government to act – especially when charities, MPs and advice organisations have been shouting warnings about financial hardship and waiting times for well over a year. I call upon the Secretary of State to listen to concerns and stop the roll-out of Universal Credit”.

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Darren demands proper funding of Bristol schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“Today (30th Nov) is #FundingFriday – where members of the National Education Union (NEU) will be calling on the government to fund education and our young people’s futures properly. Not those ‘little extras’ that the chancellor patronisingly referred to in the Autumn Budget but the must-haves like staff, safe and warm buildings and learning equipment!

I’ll be visiting Oasis Academy Long Cross today to meet with students, staff and governors to talk about how cuts are affecting them and see first-hand how hard staff are working to compensate for the lack of government support. I regularly visit schools across Bristol North West so I understand the huge pressure leaders are under to make cuts and how many teaching staff are considering leaving the profession as the stress is unbearable.

Members of the NEU – the leaders, teachers and support staff in our local schools – are saying enough is enough – I agree! I am proud to show my support today – and every day – for the campaign to end short-sighted and cruel school cuts“.

You can support the NEU’s campaign here: https://neu.org.uk/handsupsupporters

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

Darren questions Government over arms sales to Saudi Arabia

In light of the concern over the use of UK made weapons by Saudi Arabia in the Yemen, Darren raised a question with the Department for International Trade. The Department is responsible for making risk assessments for the purpose of handing out licences to UK businesses to export weapons.

Darren asked:

 To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will publish the risk assessments made by his Department on the granting of export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia since 25 May 2010.

A representative of the Department, Graham Stuart MP (Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) replied:

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework for considering all applications to export military goods to Saudi Arabia. The policy remains as announced to Parliament in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2014:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140325/wmstext/140325m0001.htm#14032566000018 and updated with an additional policy, as announced in a Written Ministerial Statement on 13 September 2018:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-09-13/HCWS957/.

Darren looks in Government Digital Services on Science and Tech Committee

The Science and Technology Committee, which Darren sits on, is currently holding an inquiry into the progress of Government Digital Services. Government Digital Services is aimed at developing the use of digital services across Government.

Darren asked two witnesses to the inquiry, Tom Loosemore, Partner at Public Digital, former Deputy Director of the Government Digital Service (2011-2015), and Dafydd Vaughan, Director, Cedryrn Ltd, about a variety of issues including the concrete changes needed to improve Government Digital Services.

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Darren gets response on Migrant Impact Fund

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, wrote to the Chancellor in advance of the Autumn Budget calling for the  Migrant Impact Fund to be restored.

Darren has now received a response:

Darren Jones MP said:

“The £50m Migrant Impact Fund (although it now appears only £35million was awarded) was set-up several years ago in response to legitimate concerns that public services needed central funding to help support any unexpected pressure on local services such as housing, schools and hospitals. This was – and still is – common sense and the fund should have never been replaced with the much less effective Controlling Migration Fund which does not fund things such as additional pressures on healthcare. This change was ill-thought out so I am disappointed this response has repeated the same old explanations without actually considering the points my letter raised – namely, that this backwards step applies pressure to healthcare services who can ill afford it, only helps to fans the flames of prejudice. I continue to call for the Migrant Impact Fund to be restored”.

 

Darren interviewed on Radio 4 about People’s Vote

Darren was interviewed on Radio 4’s PM show in order to get his views on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. He stated his opposition to the deal and his support for a People’s Vote. Listen below:

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Darren calls for parity for children’s mental health funding

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has commented on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services following release of a major new report from the Children’s Commissioner for England.

The report includes a detailed break-down of spending, waiting times and the number of children turned away for each area of England. This has enabled Darren to take a detailed look at provision in Bristol. Bristol CCG’s results show that between April 2017 and March 2018:

• 41% of children who are referred to NHS CAMHS services are not accepted for treatment. The Commissioner does not know what, if any, alternative support is available to these children.

• Of those who are accepted, 47% are seen within 4 weeks – this compares to 80% across England. 19% have to wait more than 6 weeks.

• Children’s mental health accounts for less than 1% of local NHS spending (0.99% locally). Per capita, adult mental health services are funded at three times the rate of children’s services. Bringing about parity of spending (per head) requires an additional £1.7bn to be invested in children’s mental health services nationally.

In response the Children’s Commissioner calls for the three commitments from NHS England to be included within the forthcoming NHS 10-yr Plan, I support:

1) A spending benchmark that brings parity between child and adult mental health, achieved within five years.

2) A large expansion of community mental health treatment to ensure that by 2023 the NHS is in a position to ensure no child who needs help is turned away. This should be combined with a clear four-week waiting times target.

3) A comprehensive plan for the NHS and local partners to provide lower-level children’s mental health services, to ensure easy access before conditions deteriorate. This should include an NHS-funded counsellor in every school.

Darren said:

“I will be meeting the CCG in the New Year and plan to raise these mattes for further discussion. I believe we can – and must – do better to ensure our young people get the support they need and deserve – the first step would be giving parity of funding per person to children and adolescent services as they do to adult mental health service. 41% of those referred for treatment do not receive it – that is genuinely concerning and must be fully investigated”.

 

 

 

 

 

Darren writes to Foreign Secretary on Ocean Protection

The Government has made significant commitments to ocean protection, but has failed to implement strong protections to the oceans around British Overseas Territories. Darren wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask why this is the case.