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- 17 October 2017
I’ve written for the Huffington Post about why Channel 4 should relocate to Bristol. With our international reputation as a centre of unorthodox creativity and talent, and substantial creative talent pool (of people and companies), Bristol would make an ideal home for Channel 4. Let’s make it happen.
- 11 October 2017
At the weekend I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak at Unite South West’s regional conference, praising Unite’s work as a campaigning union (for example, in highlighting the exploitation of workers by Sports Direct) and discussing how this fits with Labour’s agenda of challenging zero hours contracts, protecting the role of trade unions, and ensuring workers’ rights. I also spoke about Brexit. 37% of Unite members work in the five sectors that have been identified by the Government as potentially most affected by Brexit: the automotive sector; aerospace; pharmaceuticals and chemicals; financial services; and food and farming. I have added my name to a letter to David Davis, calling for the publication of Brexit economic impact studies. As the letter says, we need a full and frank debate about the impact of Brexit on our jobs, economy, trade and living standards, and we cannot do that debate justice unless we have full transparency from the Government. What is it they are tr
- 09 October 2017
A damning new report from the IFS has revealed that taxpayers are now making more of a contribution towards students’ university education than they did when tuition fees were set at the much lower level of £3000 a year. Theresa May announced in her conference speech that fees would be capped at £9,250 - a policy that does nothing to help students leaving university with massive debts and nothing to help the taxpayer either. A radical review of how we fund higher education in this country is needed.
- 07 October 2017
Healthy City Week starts today and is a great opportunity to focus on healthy habits and sustainability. Through the Feeding Bristol project we are looking at ways to ensure everyone in Bristol can access good, healthy food, including through supporting local food growing projects. I have also been campaigning for a change in planning law so that new fast-food stores need to be at least 800 metres away from schools, rather than the current 400 metres.
- 06 October 2017
My Senior Caseworker, Lois and I had a useful visit to Easton’s Job Centre Plus last week. We met staff and raised some of the issues I see in my casework, including ESA and PIP assessments (which are carried out elsewhere), the effect of sanctions, and the support given to jobseekers. We also sat in on a Case Conference, where the staff discussed a few examples of people struggling to find suitable work, and the options available to help them. We also talked about the roll-out of universal credit. It was reassuring to hear that the staff believe the new computer system is much better, and that the move to new offices with the Housing Benefit team will help joint-working, but I remain concerned that claimants may have to wait up to six weeks to receive any money. Along with many other MPs I have signed this letter on Universal Credit to raise our concerns with the Minister. -…/0B5hq3WTB8y7XOEZDcTI2TWJPNjg/view
- 05 October 2017
I am showing my support for Noel Conway in his fight to challenge the law on assisted dying. Noel has terminal motor neurone disease. He wants the choice to end his life, within a safeguarded law for terminally ill, mentally competent adults with six months or less to live. He says: ‘Having the option of an assisted death would bring me great comfort in my final months. I believe it is my fundamental human right – one I am willing to fight in the courts to secure.’ I encourage you to join m
- 04 October 2017
This e-newsletter covers my work as your MP, both in east Bristol and in Westminster.
- 04 October 2017
Coughs and hecklers and falling signs aside, there were some important policy announcements from Theresa May in her speech to the Tory Party Conference today. There is a housing crisis in Britain, and in Bristol this problem is especially acute. We have sky-high rents and rising house-prices, and despite huge demand for houses we still have the lowest levels of house-building since the 1920s. Developers realise that by holding on to land, building slowly and with the minimum number of affordable homes, they can maximise their profits. We need radical government action to stimulate house-building, and Theresa May’s “big announcement” on housing at the Tory Conference falls short of this. The Government would build an additional 25,000 Council Homes, which works at only 15 new homes per local authority per year. I welcome the announcement that the Government will introduce a cap on energy bills. Energy prices have risen higher than inflation and wages, meaning that many people are for
- 03 October 2017
Yesterday I had a great visit to Chester Park Juniors School, accompanied by Hillfields Councillor Anna Keen, and Harriet from the British Lung Foundation. We talked to Year 3 pupils about the dangers of air pollution, and discussed with them how they can help change behaviour and campaign to reduce the amount of emissions we produce. Air pollution poses a great danger to many, especially young people living in built-up areas in cities, and drastic action is needed to tackle the issue. Some great points from the children as well!
- 28 September 2017
I’ve just got back from Labour Party Conference in Brighton, where I spoke at a couple of events, on ‘Sustainable Solutions for British Agriculture after Brexit’, which proved to be a fascinating discussion, and on divestment of pension funds from fossil fuels at a Labour Energy Forum event. The mood of the Party and of Conference was that of unity and optimism. After the unexpected gains for Labour in June, gaining 30 seats and winning almost 13 million votes, there is now a clear belief that Labour can go on to win the next General Election. The task now is to present to the public a clear plan for what a Labour Government would look like, and, as Jeremy Corbyn said, to win broader support across the country for this vision. It was on housing - a particular issue of concern in Bristol - that Jeremy divulged the most significant developments in Labour policy: including action to stop the social-cleansing seen in many areas, to solve the housing crisis through a mass-housebuilding pr
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