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Kerry McCarthy
Kerry McCarthy
Fairtrade fortnight 2013

News from Westminster

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Showing records 91 to 100 of 808

- 02 January 2018
I’ve written to the Home Secretary urging her to take action to improve the way visa applications are handled. It’s not acceptable how many people are left in limbo, often for years, waiting for UK Visas and Immigration to process their applications. This is in part due to the steep cuts to the Home Office - it’s lost a quarter of its budget - under the Tories, and it causes undue distress for many.
- 26 December 2017
#trailhunting is a cover for the chasing & killing of animals! Don't believe the lies this Boxing Day. #keeptheban http://thndr.me/80CXE2 Last month I asked the Government a series of Written Questions about what plans they had to legislate on trail hunting. I'm disappointed that they revealed they had no plans to do so and they they made no assessment of the potential impacts on wildlife and their habitats.
- 23 December 2017
Do you have a poor broadband connection? The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is for a limited time offering vouchers worth £500 towards the cost of getting gigabit-ready broadband installed in local homes as part of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. I would encourage interested residents to get together to apply for the scheme, which is a great opportunity to address the lagging broadband speeds in some parts of Bristol East. Further information on the scheme, including how to contact the suppliers, is available by visiting - https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk
- 22 December 2017
It’s cool to see that under major new reforms announced by Ofcom switching mobile phone provider will become as easy as sending a free text message. Waiting for a PAC code and having to physically swap sim cards is an unnecessary burden, and two in five phone users experienced at least one major problem when switching, while seven in ten encountered at least some difficulty. I welcome reforms such as this one which empower consumers, although it’s a shame it won’t come into effect for another 18 months.
- 22 December 2017
Last week the Foreign Affairs Select Committee published an excellent report on the violence against the Rohingya people in the Rakhine State in Burma/ Myanmar and the UK Government’s response. The report was critical of the Government’s early ‘hesitation and equivocation’ over defining the violence – which does amount to ethnic cleansing and possibly even genocide. I questioned the Committee Chair in Parliament on whether he believed the Rohingya would ever find a safe haven in Rakhine, or whether there was a need to find a permanent home for them elsewhere, as some from the Bristol Muslim community have urged. Clearly the priority at the moment, however, is delivering humanitarian assistance and keeping people safe, whether that be in Burma or over the border in Bangladesh, but longer-term solutions also need to be explored.
- 21 December 2017
Now even Tory politicians and right-wing papers like the Daily Mail are attacking the Government for its cuts to local government; the audacious deception that they are increasing funding, which the Communities Secretary tried to spin yesterday, has been effectively exposed. The only way councils like Bristol will be able to get more funding for local services is through putting up council tax. There is no new money from the Government. Only a Labour Government will properly resource councils like Bristol so they can deliver the services local people need.
- 21 December 2017
Yesterday in a debate on the Blue Belt and the need for enhanced marine protection around UK overseas territories such as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, I raised the issue of plastic pollution. Recent research by the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey has shown that levels of plastic pollution in the Antarctic are now, shockingly, at five times the expected level. I very much support calls for a Marine Sanctuary in the Antarctic, but we also need to do more to tackle plastic pollution at source.
- 21 December 2017
It’s traditional for Ministers to attempt to sneak out bad news with a flurry of Written Ministerial Statements on the day Parliament rises for recess, but this statement from Defra actually looks like (reasonably) good news. I’d heard rumours Michael Gove was moving away from the Tories’ previous position of uncritical – and totally misguided - support for the inhuman and ineffective badger cull. Today’s announcement suggests a greater focus on testing, vaccination and biosecurity. It is disappointing to see the Minister still showing support for this year’s extended culling programme, with the ‘reference to effective, licensed badger control operations’, and I will be tabling questions in the New Year to challenge him over this. All the evidence shows that culling is not the way to eliminate the terrible scourge of bovineTB, and we need to build on today’s announcement to campaign against more badger culls in 2018.
- 20 December 2017
Yesterday in Parliament we had statements on local government finance and policing, in which the Government confirmed that there will be no new funding for Bristol City Council or Avon and Somerset Police. I am deeply disappointed by this. The move to reduce central government funding of local authorities and instead leave them to rely on locally sourced taxation such as council tax has disproportionately hurt poorer, urban councils. Bristol City Council, having already had its funding slashed by central Government, now faces having to find another £100 million or more of “savings” over the next few years. Rather than giving local councils the resources they need, the Government has simply shifted the burden onto local people by announcing a rise in council tax. Following the release of ‘The Tipping Point’ report, which highlighted the threats, risks and consequences facing Avon and Somerset Police due to the cuts, I have been urging the Government to ensure the police are adequa
- 19 December 2017
On 13 December 2017, I took part in an excellent Westminster Hall debate on the Parental Rights of Prisoners, called by my colleague Carolyn Harris MP. I spoke in this debate to highlight the estimated 200,000 children who have a parent in prison. It’s very difficult to be precise, because Government and local services do not have official figures for how many children are affected, which makes it difficult to identify those who need help. I recently wrote to the Children’s Commissioner to ask that the children of prisoners are officially recognized as vulnerable, and hope to meet her to discuss this further in the New Year. The children of prisoners are far more likely to experience mental health problems and conduct issues at school, and are also three times more likely to offend themselves. It can often be very confusing and traumatic for a child to witness their parent being arrested, and it’s important that joined-up, specific support is offered to children at this time. Bar
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