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- 09 January 2018
It was a pleasure to spend two days at the Oxford Real Farming Conference during recess last week, launching the APPG Agroecology’s report on trade post-Brexit. Michael Gove became the first Tory ERA Secretary to speak at the Conference, as well as appearing at the more traditional Oxford Farming Conference down the road. Here’s me and Patrick Holden from the Sustainable Food Trust on Radio 4 (33.50) discussing what we thought of Gove’s performance and, in particular, his welcome commitment to ‘public money for public goods’ – ie using farming subsidies to reward those who farm responsibility and sustainably, as opposed to (mostly) just rewarding land ownership under the Common Agricultural Policy. Despite welcoming this. I make the point on the programme that UK food and farming will still be hit hard by Brexit, if we leave the single market and customs union, and if standards are forced down in future trade deals.
- 08 January 2018
Today MPs are debating and voting on the Second Reading of the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, which looks at customs arrangements post-Brexit. Labour's reasoned amendment sets out why we will not be supporting this bill - https://publications.parliament.uk/…/cm201719/cmagenda/OP18… (Page 5/6) The front page story from yesterday’s Observer also highlights what the mess that will result, with many firms being hit hard by being required for the first time to pay upfront VAT on goods imported from the EU. This yet again shows how ill-prepared the Government is for Brexit, and why they should have carried out genuine impact assessments.
- 06 January 2018
E.ON are opening up funding opportunities worth up to £2,000 which can cover the full or partial cost of energy-related improvements and activities for local community groups and charities. For many groups, the paying of heating bills can form a major part of an organisation’s budget so being more energy efficient can save a lot of money in the long-run. To be eligible for funding, organisations must submit a request by midnight on Monday 29th January 2018. Please visit www.eonenergy.com/community to find out more.
- 05 January 2018
I was recently interviewed by Sky News on the use of animal fur. I called for, initially, better labelling when a product includes fur, and ultimately a ban on the import and sale of all real fur. A lack of clear labelling – and even wrong labelling – is unfortunately widespread. Just last year Humane Society International conducted research that found that many consumers accidentally buy real fur whilst thinking that they’re buying fake. Even worse, it was found that the majority of fur is mislabelled, with real fur being found in products advertised as fake in shops including TK Maxx, Debenhams and House of Fraser – all of which have fur free policies. It’s important to check the label carefully (products with real fur are often confusingly labelled ‘100% acrylic’), and if in doubt contact the store or try to avoid buying items which include fur that could be real or fake. You can watch my interview below
- 05 January 2018
People are rightly concerned, and upset, that John Worboys, who was convicted of 19 charges of rape and sexual assault, and responsible for many more offences, has been released from jail. Myself and 56 other MPs have signed Stella Creasy's letter to the Justice Secretary to request that he investigates the John Worboys parole decision.
- 05 January 2018
Say ‘thank you’ by nominating your policing heroes for a Be Proud Award Give the gift of a ‘thank you’ this winter by nominating your local neighbourhood officer, response officer, special constable, police staff member, investigator, volunteer or policing team for a Be Proud Award. The nominations are coming in thick and fast for next year’s Be Proud Awards, but to make sure your policing heroes are in with a chance of picking up an award at the ceremony in May, nominate them now. PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It’s important we take the time to recognise the work of our emergency services and in particular highlight individual members or teams within the Constabulary who go the extra mile. Many local people have already submitted nominations for their policing heroes and I am excited by the entries I’ve seen so far. “We always welcome hearing more examples of where officers, staff and volunteers are supporting you and your local community and want you to tell us if those people
- 04 January 2018
I’m pleased to see that the Government has granted the Street Doctors Project in Bristol new funding from a Community Fund created to tackle knife crime. Knife crime affects the lives of far too many people still. This New Year’s Eve, Jamel Powell was tragically killed in Stokes Croft and four young men died after stabbings in London. Street Doctors do important work teaching young people first aid so they could save the life of someone who has been stabbed, and work with high risk individuals to prevent them from carrying knives in the first place.
- 04 January 2018
I’m in the Bristol Post warning that Government planned changes as to which children may receive free school meals risk leaving kids going hungry. Currently any child living in a household in receipt of a range of benefits gets a meal, but the Government is looking at restricting it only to households with incomes lower than £7,400, meaning over a million children will lose out nationally. There is a stack of evidence demonstrating the benefits that having a healthy lunch every day has on the development of young people, and this is also a crucial tool in fighting food poverty. Entitlement to free school meals should be extended to more children not restricted further, and allowing all primary school students to claim free school meals is Labour Party policy.
- 04 January 2018
This is great news which shows the influence an organised workforce can have. Congratulations to the food workers union, BFAWU, for its long running FastFood Rights Campaign, and full solidarity with the McDonalds workers. Although unemployment is relatively low at the moment, too many companies pay poverty wages and their employees have poor job security. Organised workforces can help fight this trend. I would encourage everyone to join a trade union today - https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-union
- 03 January 2018
Sad to see that a winter crisis for the NHS has become the new norm under the Tories.
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