Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Fwd: Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update July 1, 2015
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones was guest of honour and handed out trophies and medals along with local councillors Miles and Bernadette Parkinson.
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Monday, 22 June 2015

Supporting those that suffer with Arthritis

People with Arthritis shouldn't have to suffer.​

I have pledged to support Arthritis Research UK for the thousands of local people in Haslingden and Hyndburn living every day with the pain of arthritis.

In Hyndburn alone, 6,769 people are living with the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis of the knee, with 3,961 suffer from osteoarthritis of the hip.

With Arthritis Research UK and I agreed to support the charity's 'Prevent, Transform, Cure' manifesto.

Musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis, back pain and osteoporosis are the single biggest cause of disability and pain across the country, 10 million people in the UK are in pain right now because of arthritis.

The pain, fatigue and lack of mobility prevents millions of people doing simple tasks such as making a cup of tea or walking to the shops.

The manifesto called for an end to the myth that nothing can be done for people with arthritis.

Arthritis Research UK have pledged to:
  • • campaign to make musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority
  • • fight to ensure that people with arthritis get high-quality care at the time that they need it
  • • champion the UK's leadership role in medical research.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Led by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, Labour MPs have highlighted the inadequacies of our education system and urged the Government to initiate a cross party review of 14-19 education.

The fact is we have the biggest skills gap in the developed world. Our current education system is too narrow and too focused on academia. We provide too many short-term, low quality apprenticeships. We are failing to equip young people in our country for adult life and the jobs which our economy will offer in the future.

As a party we are making it a priority to ensure all young people leave education with sufficient skills so they can compete with the best in the world. The only way to do this is to reform our education system. That’s why on Wednesday we put the case to the Government to set out a more ambitious strategy for improving technical education.

Labour believes in introducing a 14-19 framework with four key elements. Firstly, a core curriculum including GCSEs, A-levels and accredited vocational qualifications, which offer guaranteed progression into further study, a high quality apprenticeship or employment. Secondly, a requirement to study Maths and English up to the age of 18. Thirdly, a programme of personal skill development. Finally, the chance for all young people to undertake an extended programme on the same level as an International Baccalaureate.

We believe that these four ingredients provide a simple and compelling educational structure at all levels for all students; those on academic and vocational tracks, high achievers and those needing extra support.

Labour will not rest until everybody in Britain is able to leave school and college with qualifications that prepare them for a life of work; the opportunity to fulfil their potential and the chance to offer a positive contribution to our country.


This week MPs voted on whether to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the EU referendum. I have long supported the campaign for votes at 16.

After we forced a vote on this issue, many Labour MPs made an impassioned and logical case for extending the franchise. 

If 16 and 17 year olds can join the armed the forces, get married, get a job and pay taxes we should be able to trust them to participate in a democratic decision that will determine their future as much as it will ours.

Despite this, the Government voted against our proposal. The Tories’ stance on this is astonishing. They are denying young people the opportunity to have their say on an outcome that, whichever way it goes, will have a tremendous effect on their lives. 

We know what’s at stake here for young people. Their options for living, working, travelling and studying abroad. 

The Tories know this too. But in effect they are saying that they don’t trust 16 and17 year olds to make informed decisions about matters which will affect their own lives. 

The Scottish Referendum showed us what enfranchising 16 and 17 year olds can mean - over 80 per cent of them registered to vote in the referendum last year. They participated and brought, substance, energy and vitality to the debate.

The Tories are trying to push this issue into the long grass. But they cannot ignore our mounting pressure for much longer. The Labour Party will continue to fight for the rights of 16 and 17 year olds at every opportunity we get. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Supporting our bees and to keep the ban on bee-harming pesticides

This week in parliament I attended an event to support our bees and two keep the ban on bee-harming pesticides

I am committed to protect bees in the UK, speaking out against proposed plans to temporarily lift a ban on bee-harming pesticides.

Alongside many other MPs I made the declaration as government ministers look at requests to let dangerous pesticides - known as neonicotinoids - back into UK soil this autumn, despite clear evidence of how much damage they do to our bees.

Recent figures show that bees contribute £651 million to the UK economy each year - up 51% since 2007. For instance 85% of the UK's apple crops and 45% of our strawberry crop relies on bees to grow.

Over 380,000 38 Degrees members signed a petition urging MPs to keep the pesticides off British fields. Thousands of emails were sent to MPs across the country by their constituents, asking them to speak to Environment Minister Liz Truss, urging her to keep the ban.

The ban was voted for by European governments in 2013 after numerous scientific studies found that certain pesticides were particularly harmful to bees. Since then even more studies have supported the need for this ban.

I'm committed to doing all I can as an MP to protect bees in the UK - and speaking up to make sure this ban on bee-harming pesticides is kept in place is critical. This is an issue that lots of us in Haslingden and Hyndburn care about - so the government needs to keep the ban in place - and deny emergency authorisation for these pesticides this autumn.

38 Degrees campaigner Megan Bentall said: "It's good to see so many MPs commit to keeping the ban in place."

"Hundreds of thousands of us are asking why the government is even considering allowing harmful pesticides back on British fields. We're calling for Environment Minister Liz Truss and the government to keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides, with no exceptions."

Friends of the Earth Bees Campaigner Dave Timms said: "Bees are crucial for our food and farming. The scientific evidence is growing all the time about the need to protect our much loved bees from these dangerous pesticides. It's vital the Government keeps them out of our fields and gardens for good."


1. More information on the bid to lift the ban on neonicotinoids can be read here<>.

2. The new figures on how much bees make for the economy can be read in full here<>.

3. This briefing <> from event organisers Friends of the Earth outlines the new evidence of the threat to bees from neonicotinoid pesticides.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fwd: Easier broadband switching from tomorrow

Dear Mr Jones,

Changes coming into force tomorrow will make it easier for millions of consumers to change to a new broadband or landline deal.

From Saturday 20 June, the process of switching between providers who use the Openreach telecoms network – such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk – will become simpler and smoother with a new 'one touch' process. This will place the responsibility for the broadband or landline switch entirely in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving.
Currently consumers wanting to change provider face a number of different switching processes, depending on who they are moving from and to, and the type of service being switched.

Ofcom research has found that, in cases where the consumer had to contact their existing provider to request a change, the process can be significantly more difficult for consumers to follow.

Under the new system, consumers will no longer need to cancel their contract with their old provider. Instead, the whole switching process will be handled by their new supplier on their behalf.

Once the switching process is under way, the consumer will receive written confirmation from both the old and new provider. If the consumer changes their mind, they can cancel the switch.

Providers must also keep records of each consumer's consent to switch, to protect against 'slamming' – where a customer's supplier is changed without their knowledge or consent.

Further consumer information is available in Ofcom's new online guides to switching landline and switching broadband.

Ofcom is now looking at ways to make it easier for mobile phone customers to change provider.

Kind regards


Fwd: Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update June 18, 2015
Graham Jones MP: Speaking out about addictive FOBTs
Labour MP Graham Jones writes about challenges for the bookmaking industry and suggests how to reduce the impact of fixed odds betting terminals.
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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Asthma UK has launched a new report that highlights the scale of unsafe prescribing

Asthma UK has launched a new report that highlights the scale of unsafe prescribing putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.

Last year’s National Review of Asthma Deaths highlighted prescribing errors in nearly half of asthma deaths in primary care (47%). Asthma UK has subsequently analysed data from over 500 UK GP practices which shows these prescribing errors were just the tip of the iceberg.

The analysis reveals there is evidence that over 22,000 people with asthma in the UK, including 2,000 children, have been prescribed medicines (long-acting reliever inhalers) in a way that is so unsafe they have a ‘black box warning’ in the USA due to the risk they pose to the lives of people with asthma.

In addition, the report indicates that almost 100,000 people with asthma have been prescribed too many short-acting reliever inhalers (more than 12 in a year) without national clinical guidelines being followed, leaving them at risk of life threatening asthma attacks.

Complacency in asthma care must end and more must be done to improve patient safety for the 1 in 11 people with asthma in the UK.

I have written to the Secretary of State for Health to raise this matter directly with him, as it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.