Saturday, 30 November 2013

Fixing Britain's broken energy market

Ed Miliband and Caroline Flint have this week launched our Energy Green Paper that sets out the steps a One Nation Labour government will take to reset the market during the 20 month price freeze to ensure energy is affordable and available for the long term.

People in Haslingden and Hyndburn know times are tough. Prices are rising faster than wages and people are working harder, for longer, for less. That amounts to a cost of living crisis for people here and across the country.

As we head into winter people have been telling me they are worried about how cold it will get and the choices they will have to make to pay their energy bills. I don’t think that is right. People shouldn’t have to make the choice between putting food on the table and turning on the heating.

David Cameron says the economy is fixed - but since he has been in Downing Street prices have risen faster than wages in 40 out of 41 months and energy bills have gone up by almost £300. When the price of energy increases energy companies pass this on but when it drops consumers don’t see their bills fall.

The problem is David Cameron can’t deal with the cost of living crisis because he stands up for a privileged few, not for ordinary families and people working hard to make ends meet. David Cameron has cut tax for people on over £150,000 a year while raising it for everyone else. We can only tackle the cost of living crisis by building an economy that works for working people.

Ed Miliband announced in September that the next Labour Government will freeze energy prices until 2017 while we reform the energy market to deliver fairness in the long term. I’m delighted that this week he has set out the next steps a One Nation Labour government will take to ensure energy is affordable and availablefor the long term.

These next steps include plans to improve competition in the market, establish a new Energy Security Board to deliver the capacity we need and create a tough new regulator to prevent overcharging.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Dementia: Concerted international action required to tackle this disease

Dementia and the social care system is one of the biggest issues facing this country and has at heart something that is not going to go away over night, and which unfortunately has no simple remedy.

On the 11th of December the UK is to host the first G8 summit dedicated to dementia. The purpose of the summit is an attempt to spur the world into taking globally-coordinated action to combat the disease. This will be done through identification and agreement of a new approach to dementia research; to help break down barriers to collaboration between and within companies, researchers and clinicians; and finally to secure cooperation needed to reach shared goals faster than nations acting alone.

Those not aware of problem will be surprised by some of the facts. For instance 1-in-3 of people over 65 will develop dementia, there are currently 800,000 sufferers and this will rise to 1,000,000 in 2021 and 1,700,000 by 2050. It costs £23 billion to the UK economy each year – more than cancer, heart disease or stroke, and will rise to £28 billion in the next 4 years.

The reason concerted international action is needed is because dementia will soon be the biggest healthcare burden on earth, with an annual global cost of between £400-600 billion and rising. The thing that is perhaps most notable about dementia is that there is no treatment available to slow down the progress of the disease, let along halt, reverse or cure it. It is a huge challenge and one which will not be solved unless countries, researchers and private sector all work together.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Tories have axed 410 frontline police officers and since 31 March, many more have gone

New data released by the House of Commons library has revealed the scale of the effects of Government cuts on front line policing. Theresa May repeatedly said that there would be no need for forces to cut back on operational officers, despite the swingeing cuts she has introduced to the forces. The Police Federation warned her that funding cuts would inevitably lead to service cutbacks.

The new figures released show that Lancashire has 410 less frontline police officers than it did before the Conservatives took power, and this is a -13.2% cut in the number of Operational Frontline Police Officers. This is 4.9% higher than the national average reduction in officers (8.3%).

Across the County in September this year there were 14,719 recorded crimes. But in Surrey, which had a criminality count of only 6810 now has 198 more police officers on the beat, a 12.5% increase in full time officers. It begs the question as to why the Government has overseen the reduction of so many officers in Lancashire, an area with a high crime rate, and areas like Surrey are barely feeling the pinch at all. The Government’s policy on policing does not seem to be an evidence-based assessment of where the greatest need for policing is.


Supporting the White Ribbon global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women

25 November 2012 (United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Day)

What is the White Ribbon Campaign?

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) - www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk - is the UK branch of the global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women. We are an educational organization to encourage reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action amongst men. Throughout the year we encourage men to do educational work in schools, workplaces and communities, to support local women's groups, and to raise money for the international educational efforts of the WRC. We distribute Education and Action kits to schools, colleges and youth clubs, maintain a website, and speak out on issues of public policy.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

‘SAVE ENERGY, SAVE MONEY AND KEEP WARM’ - WARM HOMES HYNDBURN LAUNCHED

It is vital that with 60% of homes of 'victorian build' with hard to treat cavity's or solid walls that Hyndburn draws down green energy funding (ECO) to insulate these homes and accesses further funding to deliver other energy saving measures.

Hyndburn's Labour Council is committed to tackling rising energy costs and this week over 40 representatives from Hyndburn organisations plus Councillors attended the launch of ‘Warm Homes Hyndburn’ at Accrington Town Hall on Thursday 21st November.

The scheme is a partnership between the Council, Homewise, Dyson Energy Services and Keepmoat who will access funding to offer FREE energy home improvements to qualifying households.


Backing the campaign to get local school children talking and learning about money

Hyndburn schools are being urged to take part in Personal Finance Education Group’s (Registered Charity) free, new scheme.


Local schools can get their pupils talking and learning about money, as part of a charity’s new campaign to help improve the financial capability of young people.  

Every primary and secondary school in Hyndburn has been sent free Get Money Smart posters and teaching materials by national charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group), which wants to get children talking about money in the classroom.

The charity’s Get Money Smart posters – for children aged up to seven, 11, 14 and 16 – are designed to encourage classroom discussions about things children can do to learn more about money and personal finance.  Ideas for different ages include checking your change, estimating the cost of a weekly shop, comparing mobile phone tariffs and planning and budgeting for a trip.

Labour pledges new cycle safety laws

Joe Murphy’s piece on today’s London Cycling Summit has just been published. #LabourCycleSafety

Labour pledges new cycle safety laws and our cycling plans can be found here

JOE MURPHY, POLITICAL EDITOR - London Evening Standard (not available in Accrington!)

Lorries will be fitted with special equipment to protect cyclists, under Labour Party plans unveiled at a safety summit today.

Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman joined politicians to launch a 10-point plan for safety HGVs, including beepers to alert drivers when a rider is in a blind spot.

My letter to Jeremy Hunt on Accrington's walk-in centre

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Labour will support neighbourhood policing, not undermine it like the Tories


We all rely on the police to keep us safe and protect our communities but the Tory-led Government is making it increasingly difficult for them to do this.

The police are doing what they can but the scale and pace of the Government's cuts over the last three years is hitting services hard, despite its promises that the front line would not be affected. In Lancashire alone, we’ve already seen the number of police officers cut by 410 (as of 31 March 2013), and across the country we’ve lost over 10,000 front line officers. Since March many more Police Officers have gone.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse


It’s Shoebox World time again!

Over the past 23 years, through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes in over 100 countries.

While the ‘window’ for dropping off shoeboxes is now closing, it’s not too late for people across the country to send gift filled shoeboxes to disadvantaged children around the world this Christmas!

People can still take part through Shoebox World – a fun and interactive programme to create a shoebox online. It’s a quick and easy way to create a shoebox gift for a child overseas!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The cost of living crisis is hitting working families – they need real help with the cost of childcare

With Shadow Minister Lucy Powell
I’ve spoken to mums and dads in Haslingden and Hyndburn and they’ve told me how tough they are finding things at the moment. Fuel and food prices are on the rise and wages aren’t keeping up with inflation. David Cameron’s cost of living crisis is bad news for local people.

One of the biggest problems that parents talk to me about is the cost of childcare. 

I have a four year old daughter myself and the cost of childcare just mounts up. Nursery costs then breakfast and after school clubs, clothes, books, lunches, sponsored events, fund raisers, birthday parties, christmas and birthday's, hours and days lost at work when your child is ill, ... the list just goes on.


Guest article countering calls for 'parliament of the North' by Eddie Bone & James Black Campaign for an English Parliament

Disclaimer. Eddie Bone & James Black article opposing my support for (following the printing of Paul Salverson article here last week) devolution for the north of England. The views below are those of the authors. Just for clarity, my own view is for regional devolution.

Campaign for an English Parliament: Labour Needs to Grab English policy making by the Collar and accept that the English do not want regionalisation

The Labour Party currently has two choices, it embraces Englishness and nurtures a progressive civic English national identity or it simply falls on its British sword, chanting ‘One Nation!’ as it disappears from England in much the same way as the Conservative Party have disappeared in Scotland. That statement might seem a tad over dramatic but the future prosperity of the British Labour party in England will be dire if it doesn’t adapt to changing attitudes towards Britain by the English.

The Labour party needs to accept that a problem exists in its relationship with England, that it is not just a scratch but a deep wound that will turn sceptic if left untreated. The first step of treatment must be an assessment of why Labour regionalisation policy lost its way and how it has damaged Labours relationship with its traditional English core vote.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The future of local radio isn't secure.

'RADIO TODAY' VIEWPOINT: What does Brighton's small scale DAB test actually tell us?

After the the DAB row last week came the inference that there was a solution for the hundred or so stations that don't already have a plan for a digital future after switch-over.

Daniel Nathan, CEO of Brighton's Juice 107.2, writes for eRADIO on his experience of the trial held up as the answer...

Government communication and public statements by pro-DAB lobby group Digital Radio UK in the last few weeks, have inferred that the “Small Scale DAB” test carried out as a private initiative in Brighton last year, was part of an approved and co-ordinated strategy for digital radio switchover.

My visit to hi tech Hyndburn firm Isothane Ltd

Earlier this month I visited Isothane Ltd, an expanding hi-tech Hyndburn company to see their products, and particularly the demand that exists for their product Technitherm.

Four aspects stood out. The work they have done to show that 80% of terraced properties have hard to treat cavity, the insulating and bonding qualities of Technitherm, its pioneering use in 3,600 properties in Blackburn and Darwen Council and the problems getting Energy Companies to fund and insulate properties through the Energy Company Obligation.

I have long campaigned for improvements to the housing stock in the constituency and it was impressive to see a product designed, developed and made in Hyndburn is being used to improve the homes of East Lancashire residents.

I have already had correspondence with the Leader and Chief Executive of Hyndburn Council to see what can be done in Hyndburn and I have sent a copy of the same report to colleagues across East Lancashire.

I have also informed our shadow minsters of the scheme. It is vital that funding is brought into Hyndburn and that hard to treat homes are insulated in as significant numbers as is possible. 60% of the housing stock in the constituency are old Victorian terraced homes. We must make every effort to tackle fuel poverty and modernise homes.

I also raised awareness with Isothane managers and directors of the opportunities for business in China and passed on helpful business contacts from UK firms in China and the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai as well as UKTI details in China. It is vital that Hyndburn firms look towards exports to grow their business and create greater employment.
Visit to Isothane Limited 1st November 2013

WARMER INSULATED SECURE HOMES (WISH) SCHEME
BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN BOROUGH COUNCIL & ISOTHANE LIMITED

Background

Millions of hard-to-treat-homes with cavity wall construction including stone built houses have been mistakenly identified as “solid wall” housing. The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE ) estimates there are 10 Million or 40% of UK homes which are hard to treat and the National Insulation Association (NIA) together with the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) has identified that of these, around 8m HTT cavity walls are capable of being filled. Homes with hard-to-treat cavities can be insulated with Technitherm® polyurethane, an all-in-one energy efficient cavity wall insulation solution manufactured by Isothane Limited in Accrington.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Don’t let your loved ones fall victim to Carbon Monoxide poisoning

Lynn Griffiths, the founder of the Carbon Monoxide Awareness charity will launch the charity’s 8th National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week at the House of Lords this Monday 18th November 2013.

The mother-of-four set up the charity over eight years ago, after she and her family suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning for over a decade.

“It is shocking that despite living in the ‘information age’ people still don't realise that carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless highly toxic gas that can kill in under three minutes !!



Walk in Centre Accrington Victoria; A response from the Chair of the Clinical Commisioning Group

Dear Mr Jones, Thank you for your email about the Health Access Centre, which will have crossed with my letter to you, including the paper that we have issued outlining the options. I would be happy to hear your views about the options.

I recognise the value placed upon this service by patients and the need to improve patient access. The issue that we have is whether a walk-in centre funded by a fee per attendance, with no incentive for patients to choose other more cost effective services, like community pharmacies, is affordable given the financial challenges we face.

We will be considering this at our Governing Body on 25 November, but may defer a final decision until the New Year so that we can understand the implications of the new contract arrangements for GPs announced today and the Monitor Report about walk-in centres.

Yours sincerely
Dr Mike Ions
Chief Clinical Officer

Road safety week: LET’S ALL TUNE INTO ROAD SAFETY

We all have a right to live in a safe community. People in Hyndburn rely on knowing that their children can get to school safely, that they can cycle to work easily, and depend on reliable public transport and roads to get them from A to B.

But although the UK has some of the safest roads in the UK, there are still an unacceptable number of deaths and injuries happening on our roads every day. Five people die on our roads every day.

This week thousands of children, schools, colleges, workplaces and police officers from across the country will join together in Road Safety Week. The annual campaign led by the charity Brake reminds us that there is still a lot more we can do to make the streets in Hyndburn safer places to be.

Sadly recent figures show worrying trends in the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads – particularly for casualties amongst and motorcyclists. Every year over 3000 people are killed or seriously injured on a bike.

Monday, 18 November 2013

A Promise; The next Labour government will repeal the bedroom tax

Hi Graham, there's no place for the cruelty of the bedroom tax in Britain today.

The next Labour government will repeal the bedroom tax. It is one part of my bigger commitment to you: to build an economy that works for all working people, not just a privileged few.

Labour will always stand up for those who need it, support working people, and speak out against powerful interests.

If you share our vision for a better politics and a better economy — and if you want to live in a society with no place for the bedroom tax — I'd like to invite you to do something to help make it happen.

Help kick out the Tories at the next election and show your support for a fairer, better Britain: donate to the Labour Party now.

From United Utilities to Hyndburn customers: Important advice on preventing frozen pipes

From: John Martin
Date: 15 November 2013 13:58:42 GMT
To: graham.jones.mp@parliament.uk;
Subject: Important advice for constituents - freezing pipes

Dear Graham, with temperatures forecast to drop to -5°C in the North West next week, increasing the risk of household pipes bursting, we would be grateful if you could help promote United Utilities' Winterwise campaign.

It would be great if you could tweet or put information on your website over the next few days pointing people in the direction of our campaign webpage - http://www.unitedutilities.com/winterwise

The advice on the website could help save your constituents hundreds of pounds by taking cheap, simple steps.

The future of local radio on FM and the threat of DAB

I have just received this email from Digital UK regarding DAB and the fact that local radio stations are being squeezed off DAB as it does not have a capacity that DAB+ (or FM) has. The government have ruled out DAB+ and the roadmap was for a digital switchover like the one for TV in which analogue (FM/ Medium wave) was turned off.

The reality is there is simply not enough space on DAB and I have expressed my concern to government over this issue and unless significant changes too radios that are for sale are made, local stations such as 2BR and 107 The Bee as well as Rossendale Radio or any other will be forced to remain on FM whilst a radio listening public only have incompatible DAB radios.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hannah Mitchell Foundation: The North needs its own devolution, not an English parliament

Paul Salveson, Hannah Mitchell Foundation

The accelerating debate in Scotland over independence or further devolution is starting to have an impact south of the border though many on the English left haven’t really woken up to the implications of Scottish independence. The idea of an ‘English’ parliament has gathered some currency though the more you unpick the idea, the more its reactionary nature becomes clear. There is an alternative – real devolution within the English regions and strong links with a self-ruled Scotland and Wales. A federal, democratic Britain.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Hyndburn and Haslingden sports clubs under threat from proposed Government changes. Where is the Big Society?

I have been campaigning against subtle changes proposed by the Government to tax rules on Community Amateur Sports Clubs scheme (CASC) which I know will affect at least two cricket clubs in the constituency, Haslingden and Baxenden Cricket Clubs and probably many more of the larger sports clubs.

I have written to the minister - see below for my letter and his response (read more link).

The Government are intending to place restrictions on the amount of income clubs can raise from social activities. Clubs rely on a range of social and non-sporting income from various sources for the sole purpose of keeping that club open and accessible to the community. (I was at Baxenden Cricket Club a week last Friday which had allowed the club to be used for a school fund raiser myself). The income clubs make from its own social activities help maintain the upkeep of the facilities and ensure in working class areas like this, membership fee's are kept at an affordable rate and that resources are available for to support juniors and young people.

The CASC scheme has been a great success and statistics from the ECB show that registered clubs have 32% more participating adult members.

I have long stood up for community clubs and have previously campaigned to extend rate relief in Hyndburn on working men's clubs from 50% to 80% because of their contribution to the community and we simply cannot afford to lose them.

David Cameron championed the Big Society and yet his actions are totally contrary to his warm words. If he believes the contribution of Haslingden and Baxenden Cricket Clubs is a vital part of society and community life he should back them, not undermine them.

China, Europe, Britain, Hyndburn; Two decades of dramatic change?

The Bund & Pudong District - centre of Shanghai. Paddy fields 25 years ago.
“Be scared, be very scared” was the rather chilling advice that ended my trade trip to China last month. The question I had asked of the British Chamber of Commerce members in Shanghai; heads of global British companies such as RBS, BT, HSBC, Arup, “What advice would you give to me to give to SME’s in Hyndburn?”. 

There’s a mistaken argument about Chinese manufacturing I discovered, a convenient untruth perhaps that rising wages and poor quality in China is resulting in leading UK firms repatriating their manufacturing to the UK. That in some way a corner has been turned on Chinese advantage and ‘we’ll now be alright’. A belief based on the rise in power of organised Chinese Labour, the workers protesting as aspiration creates aspiring consumers demanding better living standards and that this will increasingly price out of the market Chinese manufacturing. These hopeful assumption’s are far removed from the reality of Chinese ambition that I met. Quite simply they are ahead of that curve. Low value added manufacturing may still be backbone but high end high value added is China’s future, a view made clear to us when we met the Shanghai Communist Party. They were clear about the country’s needs. They want a high skilled, high added value economy. They want our technology and know how across every sector. From heavy industry, to the environment, from IT to marketing.

In conversation, the British CEO’s were very quick to dispel the myth that chinese manufacturing is inferior. That some of the most hi-tech, innovative manufacturing facilities already existed in China and whilst lesser facilities existed, these were being consolidated into the bigger companies. Companies of such huge global size but who have never traded outside the chinese domestic market as yet. Jaguar Landrover are now selling more vehicles in China that anywhere else and plan to open a plant there but as is always the case, the chinese communist government insist it’s a joint venture with a chinese company.

Pudong District at night - Hyatt Hotel is the tall red bottle opener skyscraper

According to the Heritage Foundation’s “China Global Investment Tracker," China’s non-bond investments in Europe have reached $35 billion, compared to $28 billion invested in the US. China clearly wants an ever greater piece of the European market, and at the moment (due to the sovereign debt crisis that is plaguing Europe) a lot of European countries are willing to overlook earlier hesitations to Chinese investments.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Video - Asking Secreatry of State for Health about closure of Accrington Victoria GP wak in centre

Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): The Secretary of State earlier quoted the suggestion that GP walk-in centres were in the wrong places, where there was little demand. Last year, 36,000 people used the under-threat Accrington Victoria hospital walk-in centre, and now there is deep anger with the Conservative party. Will he explain how 36,000 people going to overstretched Royal Blackburn hospital A and E will help the situation there?

Mr Hunt: The hon. Gentleman makes my point for me extremely eloquently. Under the previous Government, we had a top-down, ham-fisted policy of opening walk-in centres everywhere as a sticking plaster solution to the disasters with their GP contract. Sometimes they were valuable services, sometimes they were not. We are clearing up the mess, but sometimes, when those centres are useful and important for the public, we will keep them.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14103
Scroll to 12:58 and 35seconds.



Wednesday, 13 November 2013

vInspired national awards seek nominations of young volunteers (aged 11-25) and youth workers

Dear Mr Jones, Now in its fifth year, the vInspired national awards, in association with RBS Early Careers, is giving local people in your consistency the opportunity to nominate young volunteers (aged 11-25) and youth workers who are making positive strides in their communities.

We know there are a huge number of young volunteers making a real difference to your community and we want to make sure their achievements receive the recognition they deserve.

We now have a new category for Social Entrepreneurs – to reward young people who have set up innovative enterprises to tackle social problems in their communities.

Please help us to spread the word about the nominations to your constituents through your website, newsletters, Facebook and Twitter. A press release is attached for you to use, and include your own quote.

The awards ceremony will be held in March next year, where we will be rewarding the fantastic achievements of young volunteers, with celebrity presenters and great performances from some of the biggest British stars. In previous years the awards have been backed by all three major political party leaders and HRH Prince William.

For more information visit http://vinspired.com/about/vinspirednationalawards. Nominations are free and close on 24 November 2013.

Kind regards
Ornella Nsio

Youth Involvement and Policy Intern
020 7960 7022

vInspired is based at
5th Floor Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF
Tel 020 7960 7000 Fax 020 7960 7099
www.vinspired.org

The Bedroom Tax is a cruel and unfair measure that hits over 400,000 disabled people.

The Bedroom Tax is a cruel and unfair measure that hits over 400,000 disabled people. For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, hitting vulnerable people through no fault of their own. There is now a real risk that the Bedroom Tax will cost more money than it saves. The next Labour Government will repeal the Bedroom Tax. But we don’t think it is fair to make people wait until 2015, so today we will bring the repeal to a vote in the House of Commons.

The Bedroom Tax policy is both unjust and unworkable, but we are clear that repeal cannot mean extra borrowing to pay for social security changes. To ensure that it can be reversed without any additional borrowing, funds have been earmarked from reversing recent tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and addressing the tax loss from disguised employment in construction. We are confident that these measures will cover the £470 million cost of repealing the Bedroom Tax.

Labour will deal with under-occupation by funding local authorities who are able to help people with the costs of moving to suitable accommodation, using the funding set aside by the Government through Discretionary Housing Payments for dealing with the problems caused by the Bedroom Tax .

Hi Graham,

Last night, Labour forced a debate on the Bedroom Tax in the House of Commons.

We lost the vote — because 252 Tory and Lib Dem MPs defended a policy that inflicts hardship and suffering on children in poverty and people with disabilities.

Speak out against the Bedroom Tax and the results of last night's vote by sharing the Facebook graphic below. It's all set up so it'll take just a few seconds to show your support.


If Labour wins the election in 2015, we promise to scrap the Bedroom Tax immediately. Until then, we need to work together to keep up the pressure on this government to repeal it.

Don't let people forget that Tory and Lib Dem MPs did the wrong thing last night — share our Facebook graphic now:

http://action.labour.org.uk/share-bedroom-tax-graphic

Thanks, Rachel
Rachel Reeves
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions



 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Risks of a government enforced digital radio switchover for UK listeners

Good morning, I thought I’d drop you a quick email to keep you in the loop following our email exchange in October, and agreeing to write to the Minister on our behalf.

Our campaign is certainly picking up pace, and is now supported by over 80 local commercial stations across the UK. I’ve attached the joint statement that has been issued by these stations – including 2BR and The Bee. The press release which has already been picked up by national press is below.

If I can provide any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you again for supporting our cause and helping to preserve local radio in Hyndburn!

Best regards, Simon
Simon Brierley
Managing Directo
2BR and the 107 The Bee

As Parliament discusses future of East Coast, Government admits option to reintroduce third class travel

RMT PARLIAMENTARY GROUP
Convenor: John McDonnell MP

As Parliament prepares for a special debate today (12th November) on the future of the publicly-owned East Coast Mainline rail route, Ministers have confirmed in Parliamentary answers that they are leaving the door open for bidders to reintroduce a third class of travel on Britain’s railways for the first time in over 50 years.

Fwd: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves

From: Craig Haraben <Craig.Haraben@hyndburnbc.gov.uk>
Date: 12 November 2013 09:19:14 GMT
To: Graham Jones MP <graham.jones.mp@parliament.uk>
Subject: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves

Hi Graham,

Just emailing to say thank you for forwarding the below email onto the Council. I intend on speaking to Miles about it to suggest publicising this information as part of the WW1/Accrington PALS commemorations which will be happening over the next couple of years as I think it's a good fit.

There are CWGC graves in Accrington, Dill Hall and Great Harwood cemeteries in Hyndburn – so I think it would be nice to make people aware of that as residents may not realise.

Cheers Graham and hope all is well with you.

Craig Haraben MBA BSc
Head of Parks and Cemeteries
Willows Lane Depot
Willows Lane
Accrington
Lancashire
BB5 0RT
Tel: 01254 356200/232933

From All Party Parliamentary Group of MPs for War Heritage.
Dear colleague,

We are writing to you as officers of the War Heritage APPG and as members of the Government's World War One Centenary Advisory Board about an important parliamentary initiative that is being undertaken by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which will be launched tomorrow (5 November) as part of the programme of activity to commemorate the 100th anniversary of 1914.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Campaign update: Prime Minister finally addresses issue of FOBTs



News for Graham

FOBTs high on the agenda in House of Commons

Both the Prime Minister and the new Minister responsible for gambling, Helen Grant, faced questions on the subject of FOBTs from MPs this month. David Cameron was the first to tackle the subject during Prime Minister's Questions – vowing to take a 'proper look' at FOBTs when asked by Labour MP Tom Watson whether he would consider banning them, as is the case in Ireland. You can watch the exchange in full here.



Next up it was the turn of the newly appointed Minister at the Department for Culture Media and Sport. Helen Grant was questioned by MPs from all parties on the impact of FOBTs on local communities, as well as their possible links with problem gambling. She assured the House that there is certainly no 'green light' for fixed odds betting terminals, and that the DCMS will be reviewing their existence and their functioning 'very carefully'. However, she failed to answer questions from Tom Watson MP on the recent money laundering scandal involving Coral betting shops. A video of the full debate can be found on our website.

FOBTs a growing concern in Grant's constituency

New Minister Helen Grant isn't just being faced with tough questions on FOBTs in Parliament – but in her home constituency of Maidstone and the Weald, too. Recent articles in the Kent Messenger used Campaign for Fairer Gambling statistics to reveal that £33 million was lost across Kent and the Medway, as well as an article which criticised the government for not doing enough to protect gamblers in Kent. Perhaps with the issue so close to home the new Minister will be forced to act sooner rather than later.



Urge your MP to support these Early Day Motions

Supportive MPs such as Tom Watson and David Lammy are also busy tabling Early Day Motions (EDMs) to try and raise the FOBT issue among backbench MPs. Tom Watson's recent EDM calls for a reduction in the maximum stake on the machines, which have been dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling." He has also written an article for the Huffington Post in which he describes his disbelief that the Government hasn't yet acted on the issue.

Meanwhile, long-term supporter David Lammy has also raised an EDM which focusses on the safety of betting shop staff – particularly with regard to the practice of lone-staffing. Both EDMs are vitally important to raise the profile of FOBTs and their associated issues within Parliament – so please encourage your MPs to sign both motions. You can contact your MP, raise the issue with them and urge them to sign the EDMs on our website.

Council's momentum building to restrict FOBTs

Councillor Vincent Stops from Hackney Council tabled a motion to support the Campaign last week and received unanimous, cross-party support. In Liverpool, Councillor Nick Small and former Lord Mayor Sharon Sullivan are leading the charge to get the addictive roulette machines banned from the city entirely. If you're a Councillor concerned about FOBTs, please get in touch as we would be very willing to advise on the most effective means of taking action.

Landmark case sees betting shop rejected in Scotland

A landmark licence refusal in the Highlands could well pave the way for other councils attempting to combat the proliferation of betting shops on the UK's high streets. The local community rejected an application from William Hill to open a bookies in the Merkinch area of Inverness, on the grounds that it would be based opposite a charity for people with drugs and alcohol addictions. Campaign Consultant Adrian Parkinson hailed it a 'powerful message to bookmakers' and added that 'this is what councils should be doing if they don't want more of these machines'. You can read the full story here.

Who is the "Myth Maker" of the ABB?

The government's recent Triennial Review decision caused some controversy – but it seems some were more satisfied with the result than others. The Association of British Bookmakers' Chairman Dirk Vennix 'welcomed' the decision – prompting the Campaign to dub him the "Myth Maker" of the ABB because of his reluctance to share all of the facts. The Campaign also set to work debunking some of the myths presented in the Gambling Commission's letter to the DCMS regarding data collation. Are the cracks beginning to show?

FOBTs in the news

It's been a busy month for the Campaign with articles appearing all over the press. The Hull Daily Mail reported on a case which involved a mentally disabled man gambling away his benefits, Campaign Founder Derek Webb wrote a guest column for Gambling Insider, the Bournemouth Daily Echo claimed the town had reached "saturation point" when it came to betting shops and the Weston Mercury called for a crackdown after Campaign figures revealed punters had gambled £63 million.


Monday, 4 November 2013

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A TAX CUT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES WILL HELP EASE THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

Families in Haslingden and Hyndburn are facing a cost of living crisis with prices rising faster than wages for 39 out of the last 40 months, more people than ever are working part-time because they can’t get enough hours to work full-time and energy bills having gone up by an average of £300 since David Cameron became Prime Minster.

Small independent businesses in Haslingden and Hyndburnare also struggling. Local people keep them going because they know they form a vital part of our high street and our community. But small businesses are facing their own version of the cost of living crisis – a cost of doing business crisis.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

GOVERNMENT MUST ADDRESS EFFECTS OF EXPLOITED MIGRANTS ON LOCAL WAGES AND JOBS

At a time when families are under real pressure from a cost of living crisis, Labour’s plans to deal with some of the problems created by European migration - particularly in relation to local wages and jobs - are an important part of our package of measures to tackle the cost of living crisis head on.

Labour is also setting out sensible measures to prevent illegal immigration in contrast to the Tory-led Government approach of resorting to ineffective and offensive ad vans, gimmicks or incorrect text messages to people who have lived here for 30 years.

People want sensible, practical policies which address their concerns.

The Government’s has no plan to tackle the key issues of exploitation in the jobs market and nothing to address problems with border control and enforcement.

Labour would take a different approach. Our plans include: making it illegal for recruitment agencies to only target and recruit foreign workers; making it illegal for employers to deliberately run shifts only for foreign workers or segregate shifts by nationality; an increased civil penalty of up to £50,000 for not paying National Minimum Wage and exploiting to undercut; trebling the fine to £30,000 for illegally employing foreign workers and introduce a statutory minimum fine of £10,000; and a requirement that every large firm hiring a migrant worker from outside the EU has to offer an apprenticeship in return.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A RECOVERY FOR THE FEW, NOT FELT BY THE MANY

After three damaging years of flat-lining, it’s both welcome and long overdue that our economy is finally growing again.

But for millions of working people still seeing prices rising faster than wages, this is no recovery at all. David Cameron says the economy is fixed, but for ordinary people things are getting harder, not easier. Only last week, figures showed that working people are on average over £1,500 a year worse off since the general election - while high earners on £150,000 or more have had a tax cut.

So when David Cameron and George Osborne claim that the long-delayed return to economic growth is proof that their plan has worked, their out of touch claims will jar with ordinary families.

We need a recovery that’s built to last, so we must also bring forward infrastructure investment now to build thousands of affordable homes. And we need to make long-term changes so that our economy works for working people.

That’s why Labour will cut business rates for small firms, reform our banks, strengthen the minimum wage and introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed.

David Cameron and George Osborne oppose all these measures. Despite the damage of the last three years and the growing cost of living crisis on their watch, they are still making the wrong calls and failing the British people.