Friday, 31 May 2013

Pensions Bill – Age UK Second Reading briefing

Dear Mr Jones, Please find attached Age UK's Pensions Bill briefing. We are expecting the second reading debate to be held in mid-June.

Age UK supports the aims of the single-tier pension. Generally those who will benefit from the changes will be people with low lifetime earnings and those who have had time out of the labour market due to unemployment, caring or disability. The self-employed, who currently only build up entitlement to the basic state pension, could also receive a higher state pension. However there are a number of areas where we would like the government to clearly outline their intent on the face of the bill and where we feel more could be done to ensure particular groups of individuals are not penalised by the changes. We are also concerned that the level of the single tier pension indicated in the White Paper is only just over the level of pension credit guarantee yet overall money is being taken out of the pensions system through the abolition of contracting out. We are disappointed that this bill does nothing for current pensioners including the 1.7 million who currently live in poverty and who will not benefit from the changes in this legislation.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Patients and hospitals are paying the price for David Cameron’s mismanagement of the NHS. The unfolding crisis in A&E is a clear and visible symptom of a system under pressure with ambulances queuing up outside A&E, patients waiting on trolleys, and waiting longer in A&E.

Almost 4,500 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street in May 2010 and those losses are putting patients’ lives at risk. Recently released figures show that major A&E units across the North West are seriously struggling under the Tories and have consistently missed their waiting times targets over the last six months.

The Tory-led Government has tried to blame everybody else for this chaos. The NHS needs leadership but instead it has David Cameron who is taking it backwards.

Olympic legacy fading - Hyndburn bucking the trend

Survey of teachers and sports organisers shows that participation rates in school sport has gone down in over a third of schools across the country.

This survey shows that at the same time David Cameron was basking in the success of Team GB he was undermining school sport partnerships which are essential to delivering the Olympic Legacy among the current generation of school children.

A Survey of over 1,000 Primary and Secondary School Teachers and School Sport Staff has found that:

- Over a third of schools have reported a decrease in participation since Government cut ring fenced funding for School Sport.
- In the North West nearly 40% of respondents have reported a decrease
- 68% of School Games Organisers and school sport staff have reported a decrease in participation

We’re fortunate in Hyndburn that we have a dedicated School Games Organiser and that schools have worked to ensure participation rates increase. Nonetheless if the government is serious about sport and the health and well-being of our young people it should be prioritising support for our schools and sports clubs. In particular we know that the previous system supported children with SEN and disabilities far better than the current one.

The new funding arrangement could undermine the work that has gone on already and see a well established system of events and activities that have a high record of participation being completely undermined.

Notes for Editors:

- The survey has been published by the Smith Institute and is available here:
- Daily Telegraph Friday 17th May Pg. 1: A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “This is a self-selecting survey which includes school sports partnership staff and therefore cannot be taken seriously”
- Labour has previously called for a minimum of 2 hours participation in PE and Sport a week for pupils. A ten year, cross party plan for school sport and Ofsted to play a greater role in inspecting school sport

The Tories are failing to help families

The Tory-led Government help squeezed households facing a cost of living crisis. Last week it was revealed that

Thousands of hard-working families in Haslingden and Hyndburn are under enormous pressure from rising prices, a flatlining economy and sky-high utility bills with many of them struggling to make ends meet.

Since the Government came to power in 2010 energy bills have soared by over £300, rail tickets for commuters have gone up by as much as 9.2 per cent and housebuilding is now at the lowest since the 1920s.

But in a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Labour Mp's voted to demand the Government change course and help hard-pressed families struggling with the rising cost of living.

I voted to force the Government to introduce measures and policies that will make a real difference to the lives of people in Haslingden and Hyndburn who are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.

The economy has flatlined for two and a half years, real wages are down £1,700 since 2010 and energy bills have risen by over £300.

But in David Cameron’s Britain millions are forced to pay more for this government’s economic failure through cuts to tax credits, child benefit, maternity pay and the bedroom tax, while 13,000 millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut.

We need real action to get people back into work, to get more affordable homes built, to tackle rising energy bills and to tackle the growing cost of getting to work.

People in Haslingden and Hyndburn, who get up early, work hard and do the right thing, are feeling the squeeze like never before - it’s time the Government took real action to stop their living standards falling any further.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

CANsafe @GrahamJones_MP

Graham Jones MP (@GrahamJones_MP)
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner hails Hyndburn's joint operations CANsafe project with full county roll out.

Graham Jones MP (@GrahamJones_MP)
More info on CANsafe and its incredible success protecting young pple. and;

Graham Jones MP (@GrahamJones_MP)
CANsafe began in Peel ward thanks to local resident Joyce Plummer. The PCC will launch the highly successful initiative across Lancashire.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Organ Donation in Hyndburn

Missing Persons Awareness month

Dear Mr Jones, We have chosen to mark May, which is Missing Persons Awareness month, by launching a re-designed leaflet promoting the Service.

Please find attached a copy of The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service information leaflet which we are circulating to every MP for use with her/his constituents.

As you may know, we deal with thousands of requests for help in the search for a missing relative. The Family Tracing Service sees 89% of its cases make successful contact with loved ones after months or years apart. Each year, over 16,000 members of families are reunited with the help of our team of dedicated caseworkers. However, there are occasions when the search is unable to trace the missing relative, or results in the sad news that the person is no longer alive. It is in these cases where the new act will be particularly helpful, allowing surviving relatives to deal with the affairs of their loved one more easily, without causing further distress at an already painful time.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With my warmest regards,
Gareth Wallace

Gareth Wallace
Public Affairs Adviser
The Salvation Army
Public Affairs Unit
101 Newington Causeway
LondonSE1 6BN
Direct Line: 020 7367 4558
Switchboard: 020 7 367 4500

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Smart metering of the pre-paid electricity supply offers a way to potentially revolutionise electricity use

Smart metering of the pre-paid electricity supply offers a way to potentially revolutionise both the electricity delivery, and the shape of the market itself, however there is a risk that opportunities will be missed if the energy companies fail to work together in order to offer inter-operable technologies that empower consumers and inject choice into the market.

A report by Accenture on behalf of Consumer Focus into the future of smart metering has found exactly this.

There are problems that need to be overcome before we can get any kind of liquidity into the electricity market. The ideal would be that consumers on smart meters could go to their post office or supermarket to top up their meter, and be confronted by a selection of companies they could choose to purchase electricity from, with a daily quoted price like at a petrol station. The report lists the main technological challenges for implementing prepayment in a wider market as:
  • Barriers to interoperability due to the current implementation of proprietary metering solutions.
  • A lack of agreed industry processes for managing customer switching and prepayment top-ups for smart meters.
  • The completion of agreed standards for messages to and from the smart meters, and for encrypting credit top-ups.
  • Availability of compliant equipment.
  • An agreed industry model for operating prepayment in a competitive market structure.”

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Funding advice for 3rd sector. 12 June. Funders in attendance.

Graham Jones MP (@GrahamJones_MP)
Big Lottery Fund @ East Lancashire Funding Fair 12th June. Burnley Youth Theatre. Funding advice for 3rd sector.

Big Lottery Fund - East Lancashire Funding Fair

From: "Ford, Antonia" <>
To: "JONES, Graham" <>
Subject: Big Lottery Fund - East Lancashire Funding Fair

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to let you know that Big Lottery Fund are attending the East Lancashire Funding Fair taking place on the 12th June.  Attached is a poster for the event which includes all the details.

The event has been organised by the NW Funders Forum and is in partnership with Burnley Pendle and Rossendale CVS.

If possible could you please cascade details of this event to your constituents.

Many Thanks
Antonia Ford
Communications Officer
England Directorate
10th Floor
York House
York Street
M2 3BB
Direct Line: 0161 261 4616
Fax: 0161 261 4646

Did you know that Awards for All offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for projects that improve communities, and the lives of people within them. It's for voluntary and community groups, schools and health organisations, parish and town councils and is open for applications now. For more information call 0845 4 10 20 30 or go to<blocked::>


This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed.
The contents of this message will not be in any way binding upon the Big Lottery Fund. Opinions,
conclusions, contractual obligations and other information in this message, in so far as they relate to the official business of the Big Lottery Fund,
must be specifically confirmed in writing by the Big Lottery Fund.
If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing,
or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. Additionally,
the information contained in this email may be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Britons slip down world ready-cash table as Tory-led Government create a cost of living crisis

The Tory-led Government has squeezed households budgets in what has become a cost of living crisis. Last week OECD figures revealed that Britons have become poorer than their counterparts in a host of other rich economies, sliding from fifth to 12th on an OECD list of wealth based on disposable incomes.

There was a stark that the young and poor are being hit hardest as UK cuts widen inequality, says OECD.

Disposable incomes in countries such as France and Australia rose at a faster rate than the UK, as price pressures weighed on the average Briton’s disposable income. The average per head disposable income in the UK was $27,927 in 2011, compared with $26,050 in 2005. (FT)

Michael Forster in Guardian made the point that; "The argument that austerity will see more people will get jobs eventually has only worked in one country in recent years – Germany – and that was unique. ‘Germany had the benefit of a weak euro and high exports and also a model of social partnership where trade unions were always at the table, asking for very modest wage increases. But both these elements are not there in Britain"

Thousands of hard-working families in Haslingden & Hyndburn are under enormous pressure from rising prices, a flatlining economy and sky-high utility bills with many of them struggling to make ends meet.

Since the Government came to power in 2010 energy bills have soared by over £300, rail tickets for commuters have gone up by as much as 9.2 per cent and housebuilding is now at the lowest since the 1920s.

In a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday, I voted against the Government, to change course and help hard-pressed families struggling with the rising cost of living. The Government need to introduce measures and policies that will make a real difference to the lives of people in Haslingden & Hyndburn who are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.

The economy has flatlined for two and a half years, real wages are down £1,700 since 2010 and energy bills have risen by over £300.

But in David Cameron’s Britain millions are forced to pay more for this government’s economic failure through cuts to tax credits, child benefit, maternity pay and the bedroom tax, while 13,000 millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut.

We need real action to get people back into work, to get more affordable homes built, to tackle rising energy bills and to tackle the growing cost of getting to work.

People in Haslingden & Hyndburn, who get up early, work hard and do the right thing, are feeling the squeeze like never before - it’s time the Government took real action to stop their living standards falling any further.

The Conservative Party are obsessing about Europe – and the British people are paying the price

In opposition, David Cameron promised to change his party and to halt its tradition of obsessively ‘banging on about Europe’.

But this week we’ve seen that David Cameron is failing to lead his party, at the expense of doing what is best for the country.

He’s spending his time worrying about how to get the Conservative Party in line, instead of how to get the
country back on track.

Instead of standing up for British interests he finds himself being pushed around by his backbenchers, conceding more and more to the Eurosceptics in his party. His inability to stand up to his party is forcing David Cameron to allow Britain to sleepwalk towards exit.

What people increasingly see is a weak Prime Minister who is unable to lead his divided Government, obsessing over Europe when he should be sorting out the economic mess his Government has made.

David Cameron has turned a Europe issue into a leadership issue.

Accrington Pals finally signposted by Commonwealth War Graves Commission

I am very pleased to have been informed that there has finally been a sign erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the Sheffield Woodlands area of Serre in France, which points visitors towards the Accrington Pals Memorial.

It may only seem a small thing, but it means a lot that visitors to the Commonwealth War Graves in Serre will pointed towards the memorial to a group of young people who died in such tragic circumstances, and who mean so much to the community in and around Accrington.

Everyone in the area knows about the Accrington Pals, and hopefully now visitors to the Commonwealth War Graves in Serre will be inspired to read or learn about them.

True thanks for the fact the sign is there must go to Cath Holmes of Accrington, who has been trying for some time to get this sign erected. After a slightly frustrating breakdown in communication between Cath and the CWGC in France, and an intervention by my office, I am pleased that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have put up, and paid for the sign.

A need to help those leaving foster care.

Last week week I backed I backed the Foster Care Fortnight 2013 which runs from the13-26 May). One huge issue which has been raised by the Fostering Network about children in care is that they are not supported past the age of 21. I recorded my own experiences on video for the Fostering Network of a young girl badly affected by this policy in Hyndburn some years ago which had a profound impact.

That young female had been abandoned by her parents at a young age with no siblings; had had a succession of foster parents; could not read or write; had no one who loved her or cared for her and no prospects of a job. She lived in mouldy damp terraced property which she could not afford to heat and was for the most part of the week hungry with no where to turn - all due to a greedy landlord who would not do repairs and whose only interest was receiving his sky high rent. It was fair to say I was both delighted when she found a genuine boyfriend who showed her love and scarred by the fact the fact that her life - in Hyndburn - when I was asked to intervene as a councillor was shocking. She had been let down by her parents; the state; and society and I think we all have to accept some responsibility.

The average age for leaving home is 24, yet only one in twenty young people in foster care stay with their foster carers beyond their 18th birthday.

The Fostering Network recently provided MPs with an opportunity to voice our concerns as part of their Don't Move Me campaign.

I have raised this issue within the Labour Party. My video about fostered children staying longer with their foster carers is at this link , and in time will be launched on a website along with the other MPs.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Supporting deaf children

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) invited MPs from across England to show their support for its Stolen Futures campaign, aimed at ensuring every deaf child gets the support they need. There are more than 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK, and their future can depend on specialist services such as Teachers of the Deaf.

As part of their campaign I boarded the NDCS Listening Bus, which travels around the country to provide support to deaf children, to learn more about support in their area, and also talk to a group of deaf children about their hopes for the future and the help they need in school.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Volunteer Meeting Thursday 23rd May

Just a reminder that our next volunteer meeting will be held this Thursday 7pm at St Mary's Primary School, Haslingden Old Road, Rawtenstall. It has been another busy month which has seen referrals and evidence of levels of needs in our community increasing, but also some fantastic support of Raft from individuals, partner organisations and businesses alike.

I have attached a copy of the minutes of Aprils meeting. f you are able to download and bring a copy that will be appreciated. Agenda's will be available on the day. If you have any items in advance for Any other Business please let me know in advance if possible and I will add those to the agenda.

As part of our commitment to supporting volunteers we have reserved some places on the attached customer services course which is available free of charge to Raft volunteers. This not only reflects our commitment to volunteers themselves, and their personal development, but also a commitment to working toward respecting dignity of clients who access all our developing services, including the foodbank. If you are interested and available to attend this course please confirm by email or on Thursday. Please note however the course times are 9.30am – 2.30pm (not 10-2)

I look forward to meeting you all again on Thursday,

Kind Regards,



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Use the summer for a warmer winter

Dear Mr Jones, We now have the statistics for the Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) for last winter which shows that more than 44,000 people called for assistance. As you may know, the Home Heat Helpline is a free, not-for-profit phone line set up to help energy customers who are having difficulties with their fuel bills or problems keeping warm.

But recent research shows that nearly half of all those who are eligible for some help with their energy, whether it’s for changing their boiler, insulating their homes or getting a discount, do not apply. This is because they did not know that the help was available or thought that it did not apply to them. In addition, people mostly think about getting work done when it’s cold. Taking action now will help them keep warmer and save money when winter comes.

We think there are two areas where you could really help make a difference. The first is that, as you are in contact with a wide range of households, individuals and groups, we would ask you to help us in getting the message out to the 50% of people who are eligible and not applying. And the second is to make people aware that taking action this spring and summer (e.g. sorting out the boiler and the insulation) will make their homes warmer next winter and would be a really good step to take.

Back Britain’s Charities campaign

Dear Member of Parliament, The Back Britain's Charities campaign (run by the Charities Aid Foundation and NCVO) would like to invite you to a Parliamentary event entitled "Cuts in the Community: Can councils justify disproportionate reductions in charity funding?".

Our bees are in decline - Bee Cause campaign

Dear Mr Jones, Our bees are in decline. On top of the significant loss of habitat, disease and the impact of chemicals, bees have just suffered a year of record rainfall and a long, cold winter. We urgently need a UK-wide Bee Action Plan to ensure that this trend is unequivocally reversed as without bees food prices will rise and many of the beautiful places and spaces we value will be harmed.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Hacked Off: Briefing on the PressBoF Charter and latest Public Opinion Poll

Briefing on the PressBoF Charter and latest Public Opinion Poll

Download Document(s): JDL.MP.17052013FINAL.pdf, Briefing.PressBoFvsVXPRCFINAL.pdf, 01052013.Pollresults.pdf
Dear Mr Jones,

I have attached a 3 documents to this email for your information including:
  • A letter outlining the current position relating to the PressBoF draft Charter and the Victim's and Cross-Party Royal Charter agreed by Parliament
  • 12 key problems with the PressBoF Charter
  • A new opinion poll commissioned by the Media Standards Trust showing a significnat lack of  public trust and confidence in the PressBoF Charter and the regulatory system it seeks to introduce
If you require any further information from Hacked Off or would to arrange a meeting please get in touch.
With best wishes for the weekend,
John Dickinson-Lilley
Head of Government & Parliamentary Relations
Hacked Off

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Supporting Carers Week

To celebrate the launch of Carers Week, 10-16 June 2013, I met with actress Lynda Bellingham who is also promoting Carers Week, to recognise the contribution that carers in Haslingden and Hyndburn make on a daily basis.

I wish to support carers across Haslingden and Hyndburn as part of the national awareness campaign, Carers Week. The week is an opportunity to celebrate the 6.5 million carers across the UK and raise awareness of the impact that caring has on people’s lives. A few weeks ago I met with Liz Hamilton, Manager of Carer's Link in Hyndburn to discuss the issues of caring and carer's support in the constituency. As a former carer myself, I
cared for my grandmother who had dementia for several yearsI know the strain it places on those trying to look after others.

In 2013 Carers Week will be focusing on whether the nation is Prepared to Care? The campaign will highlight how the UK’s current carer population is coping, how effectively government is supporting the growing numbers of carers, and whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities.

As part of Carers Week, a number of events will be held in and around Haslingden and Hyndburn, to help carers access support and advice. Carers can find out what’s going on at

Every day across 1 in 8 people will care for a loved one in some form. This hidden group of people give up their time, sometimes their jobs and often make life changing sacrifices to care for someone. Carers save this country an incredible £119 billion1 every year. That’s why I believe as a society we must be Prepared to Care for our carers.
Actress and former carer, Lynda Bellingham, said: “My sister and I cared for our mother when she had Alzheimer’s and so I know first-hand the impact that caring can have on someone’s life. That’s why I’m supporting Carers Week because I believe it’s vital that help is made available, especially when you consider that every day 6,000 new people will take on a caring role for a loved one. Carers in this country do a fantastic job and we must come together to support them.”

“It’s fantastic to see MPs pledge their support for Carers Week and carers in the UK. Events like this ensure that carers stay at the top of the political agenda and it’s also an opportunity to remind MPs and decision makers of the overwhelming contribution that carers make.”
Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “It’s fantastic to see MPs taking a stand for carers. Carers form the backbone of our society and that’s why Carers Week is so incredibly important to not only recognise their contribution, but ensure they get the help and support they need.”
Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell. In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England Skills for Care.

Keep up to date with Carers Week and events happening in INSERT AREA at Twitter @carersweek

- ENDS -

1 Carers UK and the University of Leeds (2011) Valuing Carers 2011: Calculating the value of carers’ support.

Notes for editors:

1. Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell. In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England Skills for Care.

2. Carers Week takes place to recognise and celebrate the UK’s carers and encourage them to access the support, advice and information they need that can help improve their lives and the people they care for.

3. At least 2,000 organisations take part in Carers Week, including local charities and voluntary organisations, hospitals, hospices and care homes and a growing number of employers.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

First World War: then and now – a Centenary grants programme launched

Dear Parliamentarian
Today the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is launching First World War: then and now, a £6 million small grants programme to help communities across the UK mark the Centenary of the First World War.

HLF is making at least £1 million available per year until 2019 and will provide grants between £3,000 and £10,000 enabling communities and groups to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.

HLF has already invested £10 million in projects – large and small – that will help communities mark the Centenary of First World War and we are pleased that we can now ensure at least £6 million for communities to mark the Centenary over the next six years.

We will outline the programme so that you can encourage your constituents to apply for this Lottery funding. We would be grateful if you could tweet about the new programme using the hashtag #understandingww1 so that as many communities as possible are able to discover and understand more about how the First World War shaped the modern world.

Yours sincerely,
Dame Jenny Abramsky

I am backing the Foster Care Fortnight

The Foster Care Fortnight, the annual awareness campaign run by the largest UK fostering charity the Fostering Network, is aiming to support fostering services across the UK in recruiting 9,000 new foster families to provide homes the rising number of children coming into care. 

This year the campaign runs from 13 to 26 May. encourage constituents across the region to consider becoming foster carers to some of the area’s most vulnerable children.

Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Graham has put himself in the frame for Foster Care Fortnight. It shows that they recognise the need to make sure that the children and young people of Hyndburn who most need support, love and care have it.”

Monday, 13 May 2013

Enough Food for Everyone IF...towards the G8

Sent: 09 May 2013 11:34
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: Enough Food for Everyone IF...towards the G8

Dear Mr Jones,, The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign is now in its 15th week and gearing up for more action in the lead up to the G8.

Since its launch in January, 73,130 supporters have signed up to the campaign using their voice to fight the silent scandal and injustice of hunger. In February and March 40,000 constituents wrote to their MPs, 300 met their MPs, and 17,000 people wrote to the Chancellor directly to express their support for spending 0.7% GNI on overseas aid and encourage him to tackle tax dodging in the Finance Bill.

From 8 to 17 June, the 10 days leading up to the G8 Summit, campaigners will be calling for world leaders to tackle hunger, including tens of thousands of people gathering in Hyde Park on 8 June. To help end hunger we are calling on the G8 to:

·         Clamp down on tax havens and launch a Convention on Tax Transparency to stop the billions of pounds that flow out of developing countries and could be used to help end hunger.

Help poor countries make sure that people have enough food and nutrition by supporting poor families to grow their own food and by investing in nutrition.

·         Give people in developing countries more control over their land by protecting poor farmers from land grabs and using land to grow food not biofuels.

As part of the activities in the lead up to the G8 Summit, this and next month the IF campaign will be holding a number of events in Parliament:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

International Day Against Homophobia - May 17th

This May 17th I am supporting the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). Across the world and the UK, gay and lesbian people still face persecution, discrimination and abuse on an all-too-frequent basis. No one should be maltreated as a result of their sexuality in 2013. There cannot be differeing degrees of equality.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

We rebuild Britain by standing up for the many but this Tory-led Government only stands up for the few

But we won’t get it from this Tory-led Government.

The Tories and their Lib Dem allies were given the opportunity to set out a positive agenda for the year ahead when the Queen opened Parliament and delivered a speech outlining the Government’s priorities on Wednesday.

But all we got was a no-answers Queen’s Speech from a tired and failing Government that is out of touch, out of ideas and unable to bring about the change we desperately need.

Their record is one of economic failure and it’s hard-working people who do the right thing who are footing the bill. With prices rising faster than wages, the economy flatling and one million young people out of work the Tory-led Government’s priority this April was to cut taxes by an average of £100,000 for 13,000 people earning over £1 million.

Policies like this aren’t going to help hard-working families in Haslingden and Hyndburn trying to make ends meet.

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech was a chance to rebuild our economy and get people back into work but instead it offered no change and no hope. Energy bills, water bills, paying the mortgage, the cost of getting to work – these are the issues that are worrying families in Haslingden and Hyndburn but the Government has absolutely nothing to say about it. In its deafening silence the Government demonstrated how utterly out of touch it is with the real needs of hard-working people in Haslingden and Hyndburn.

This was an opportunity missed. We rebuild Britain by standing up for the many but this Tory-led Government only stands up for the few while living standards fall for everyone else.

Britain is heading in the wrong direction under the Tories. What we need is a change of direction but it’s only by working together as One Nation that this will happen.

Friday, 10 May 2013

RNIB's new report "Don't lose sight"! Don't delay!" - Help for Constituents

From: Clarke, Katherine []
Sent: 09 May 2013 11:45
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: Help for your Constituents

Dear Mr Jones, RNIB's new report "Don't lose sight"! Don't delay!" reveals that your constituents' lack of knowledge about the early signs of wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) is leading to unnecessary sight loss. Wet AMD is an eye condition that affects 40,000 over 50s every year. Sight loss from Wet AMD can be prevented if people get treatment when they notice the early signs: a sudden change in vision such as faces become blurry or that straight lines appear wavy. Our report reveals that far too many people are unaware of the signs of wet AMD and do not seek immediate treatment. Your constituents can find out more by calling RNIB's helpline on 0303 123 9999 or googling ‘Spot the Signs’.

Should burning Britain’s forests to create electricity be stopped? - Norbord

I have raised the issue of government subsidies to energy from biomass producers which has forced up wood prices for other industries. Notably furniture manufacturers in the North West. Our wood consumption rate far exceeds our wood production rate and there are questions about the environmental benefits requiring decades to payback.

I believe electricity from biomass is important - and the government have just paid a grant to switch the huge Drax facility from coal to biomass – and setting aside the unclear debate about the envronmental impact, the answer to price inflation is to increase forestry production. Currently production is way below future anticipated demand. I raised this point during the passage of the energy bill in committee around the contracts for difference which is a contract stating the subsidy that will be given to renewable energy producers based on the source and energy output.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Aerospace Technology Institute.

Below is the latest correspondence on the location of the new Aerospace Technology Institute.

It is important that East Lancashire rebuilds its manufacturing base around industries like aerospace which employs many thousands already in the region.

Local schools and My Money Week

The first week in June is My Money Week (3 to 9 June), when local schools have the chance to help pupils  learn more about money and personal finance. Every primary and secondary school in Hyndburn is being given the opportunity to take part for free in My Money Week, which has returned for its fifth year thanks to a new partnership between national charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) and Barclays.

My Money Week will improve young people’s financial skills, knowledge and confidence through special lessons, activities and debates in schools and other settings across the UK. Teachers in Hyndburn can order a free Activity Pack, developed by pfeg, full of creative and engaging financial resources and ideas for how to deliver financial education to young people, from the age of four up to 19. Young people in Hyndburn can also take part in the ‘A-Z of Money’, a national competition challenging them to learn more about money through creative writing.
Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group), said: “We are absolutely delighted to have the support of Graham Jones MP in promoting My Money Week this year, and I hope all schools in Hyndburn will seize the opportunity to take part through our free activity pack, advice and support.”

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hyndburn Savings & Loan Company - an impossible idea?

Since Labour came to power in Hyndburn in 2011 we have been looking at ways to assist businesses. It is important the Labour Party and your Labour Council helps small businesses. Recently we have been looking at a Hyndburn Savings and Loan Company similar to 'Bank on Dave' which has featured on Channel 4.

Providing access to funds for local businesses to invest and use to expand as well as providing suitable loans to local people at affordable interest rates would clearly be of financial benefit to the local economy. It should also reduce some of the worst aspects of lending practice centred around other non-traditional lenders and therefore has potential other socio-economic benefits.

The programme makes light of the simplicity of such a 'bank' and the difficulties entailed in setting one up, notably that all the problems encountered are surmounted by the 'Bank on Dave' by Dave Fishwick's personal guarantee's backed by his personal wealth.

Following a discussion between the Council leader and myself, the Council has undertaken some initial research into setting up a similar bank to “Bank on Dave” which is officially known as Burnley, Savings and Loans Ltd.

As you can see with various options there are real difficulties and at this stage the barriers to Council are involvement are considerable.

Direct Council Funding

The Council would be prohibited from depositing funds with Hyndburn, Savings and Loans Ltd (or any other Savings and Loans Company) as they are only allowed to lend money to organisations with appropriate credit ratings. Savings and Loans Companies have no prospects of achieving such a rating.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

People’s Millions deadline for entries - 13 May 2013

Mr Graham Jones MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
1 May 2013

People's Millions deadline for entries - 13 May 2013

Dear Mr Jones

As you may be aware, the Big Lottery Fund and ITV are giving the public a chance to vote for the community projects they want to receive good cause funding. We will be awarding up to £50,000 to 76 projects across every region of the UK to charitable projects which inspire, involve and improve their local community.

Each night for a week in November, those who make the best applications will battle it out on prime time ITV regional news for the public vote. Whether or not they succeed, the competition represents a great opportunity to mobilise support and publicity behind a local cause.

The deadline for applications is 13 May 2013 and I encourage you to get groups in your constituency to fill out the simple entry form online at or contact the Big Advice Line on 0845 0 10 11 12. In the past, approximately half of all groups entering the competition have not been funded by us before. For further information please visit

Yours sincerely,

Chief Executive

Friday, 3 May 2013

Breast Cancer Matters

From: Mia Rosenblatt
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: Breast Cancer Matters

Dear Mr Jones, Breast Cancer Campaign is committed to maintaining breast cancer research and charity-funded medical research and we know that medical research is an issue that people across the country care deeply about.

We are keen to ensure that the importance of charity funded medical research is not forgotten in the lead-up to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2015-16. We would therefore be delighted if you would support this aim by writing to the Chancellor to ask him to continue to support the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF) for the Spending Review period 2015-16 and also to improve access to the Gift Aid scheme, to enable charities to more easily access Gift Aid from small donations made in the workplace.

Below is information on the two specific schemes as well as an overview of the importance of research.

Why breast cancer research is so important
Breast cancer remains the UK’s most common cancer and one of the most difficult health issues affecting women, with over 50,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer and 12,000 people dying of the disease every year in the UK. Millions more live with the impact of the condition. It is through research that we will find the treatments of the future.

Why the Charity Research Support Fund is so important
There are many charities in the UK which, like Breast Cancer Campaign, are committed to funding medical research. Charities fund the direct costs of research, such as the scientists and laboratory supplies while the Government supports the indirect costs – the infrastructure costs like heating and lighting – through a fund known as the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF). Losing this Fund could be the equivalent of Breast Cancer Campaign cutting around a quarter of our annual research spend overnight. This partnership working between the Government and charities leverages additional funding for research and universities which means that considerably more investment in research is able to take place than would otherwise be the case and also brings major health and economic benefits. The CRSF also means that charities are able to fulfil their duty to their supporters to ensure that the funds they donate are spent directly on medical research and not university infrastructure.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Labour Councillors hard work pays off with £1.5m lottery success

The Pals marching outside Accrington Town Hall.

Labour are determined to revive Hyndburn's market towns in the hostile climate of austerity, economic downturn, out of town retail and the Internet. It is important our local heritage is a focal point of the drive towards town centre living and a more leisurely retail experience.

The Labour Council had already had a previous application for funding declined which was very disappointing at the time and since then much effort has gone in by Labour Councillors and myself to ensure that we wouldn't be disappointed a second time.

I am delighted that this time it has been successful. It isn't just about improving the public realm. We must use the funding to take the look of Accrington back in time, matching the period features with period street furniture and signage. Visitors must want to come to Accrington because it is a market town, because it has that charm from a century past and if it is to be successful it must look like that in all aspects. I just hope with the funding and the vision, Accrington's shop keepers will swing fully behind the ideas.

Accrington Town Centre and the Pals Centenary Townscape Heritage Initiative secures Heritage Lottery Fund support

Hyndburn Borough Council has received initial support¹ for a £1.5m Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)² bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Accrington Town Centre and Pals Centenary project, it was announced today. The project aims to transform the declining historic retail and commercial gateway into the town centre, along Blackburn Road, culminating in a public realm scheme outside Accrington Town Hall and Market Hall to commemorate the Accrington Pals and the Battle of the Somme. The scheme will last for 5 years from 2014 and over the next 12 months the Council will be working with property owners along Blackburn Road to identify the improvements that will be undertaken and will be commissioning architects to design the public realm scheme. The Council is investing an additional £500,000 into the scheme.

Development funding of £25,000 has also been awarded to help the Council progress their plans and over the next 12 months the Council will be fine-tuning the proposals and undertaking initial surveys and estimates.

Britain's renting families urgently need help

Dear Mr Jones, A new report by Shelter today reveals that a generation of families are living in unstable, unaffordable and poor quality private homes – and it is children that are bearing the brunt.

1 in 5 families in Britain now rent their home, as the shortage of affordable housing and high cost of home ownership take their toll. These days, just 6% of renters are students.

But our rental market was not set up to provide permanent housing. As a result, it is not always suitable for families.

The result is that many families are struggling to cope with the volatility and unpredictability which characterises much of the sector.

Growing up renting finds 1 in 10 renting families have had to change their children's school due to moving house. This can prove stressful and upsetting for many. With these families nine times more likely to have moved house in the last year than homeowners, 44% of renting parents feel their children would have a better childhood if they had more stability in their home.

What to expect from your doctor: a guide for patients

Subject: What to expect from your doctor: a guide for patients

Good Morning, I am writing to let you know about the GMC's new guide to what patients can expect from their doctor.

Patients deserve the highest standards of care and we are committed to ensuring that they understand what these are. We have therefore produced this guide which underlines the importance of dignity, mutual respect and partnership between patients and their doctor. It also sets out the duties of the doctor and that all doctors need to be honest and open if things go wrong, and to make the care of patients their first concern.

This guide complements Good medical practice, our core guidance for all doctors.