News from our local MP Darren Jones - July 2019
Housing is still the number one issue in my inbox. For thousands of people across Bristol North West, and millions more around the country, affordable and secure housing is simply beyond reach.
I have longed called for not-for-profit housing (or council housing as its used to be known!) so that we have a basic level of security for people. Whether to help people save up for private rent or a mortgage or for when people fall on hard times, it’s clear that the market has failed. I raised this at a recent debate in the House of Commons, which you can watch www.darren-jones.co.uk/watch-darren-calls-for-more-council-housing/
The governing party is currently in the midst of a leadership election so, as might be expected (although entirely unacceptably in my view!), the Government isn’t tabling any substantive business in the House of Commons at the moment. Whether you like him or not, it looks like we’re most likely to have Boris Johnson as our next Prime Minister and I will need to understand what that means both for the country and, in particular, for Brexit as soon as possible. With Summer recess and the conference season ahead, we have only a few weeks of parliamentary time left before the next Brexit no-deal deadline. I promoted myself as the “pro-European choice” at my election and pledged to campaign to put the question back to the public if Parliament couldn’t agree what to do. I’ve stuck true to that position all the way through this saga and will continue to do so! As we’ve seen in recent votes to block a no-deal Brexit, a single vote by a single MP can make all the difference!
I’m aware many residents, and family members, are concerned about changes to the TV license for the over 75’s. It’s clear older people in Bristol, and across Britain, face a loneliness epidemic, and millions rely on TV for companionship, news and connectivity. The Government’s decision to defund the BBC and force them to scrap free licences for over-75s, was short-sighted and wrong. It is a clear breach of the last Conservative manifesto, and the 5,100 households in Bristol North West who stand to lose out will rightly feel betrayed. I share their anger. Uptake for Pension Credit is also woefully low, and frankly the Government isn’t doing anything to ensure vulnerable pensioners get what they’re due now. I have written to the Secretary of State to share my concerns and ask that he urgently reconsiders this shameful U-turn.
Following the EU elections, several constituents who are European Citizens shared their experiences of being unable to vote, despite being told they were eligible to do so. It is clear this was part of a much bigger problem across the UK. This is totally unacceptable and concerned me greatly. I have therefore signed a cross-party letter calling on the Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission to launch an immediate inquiry into why so many EU citizens were unable to vote and prevent these issues from arising at any future elections. You can see the letter here: www.darren-jones.co.uk/eu-elections
Your Champion in Bristol
As part of my continued work on transport across the constituency, I have written to the council’s Cabinet lead for Transport calling for the business case for a station at Lockleaze to be reviewed, the full Henbury Loop (not just a spur) to be supported and broader, continued investment into North Bristol’s infrastructure. Given the thousands of new homes and large-scale developments to be built in the area, only by taking a long-term, multi-function and hub-based approach, will we protect ourselves from ever-rising congestion and air pollution. Lockleaze and Horfield must have their own rail station.
I’ve now had a reply from the Bristol CCG about my concerns regarding the recent awarding of a new NHS contract for Psychological-therapy services to a private company based in Essex. You can see the CCG’s reply here: http://darren-jones.co.uk/mental-health-contract-2/
I stopped by the wonderful Café at the Old Library on Muller Road recently. It has a fantastic café, kids area and outdoor space. Hats-off to the volunteers from Lockleaze, Eastville and the surrounding area for creating such a great community space. As a father of two young daughters, being able to go to the library to not only borrow books but to provide a space for the kids to play whilst the grownups can sit down and have a coffee is great! I hope all our libraries can become hubs for community activities and provide a wide variety of services, alongside the traditional library service. I will continue to campaign on that basis.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an e-mail, call, write to me or message me on my Facebook page. To chat in person, pop along to one of my coffee mornings or pub politics events or ask me anything you like as part of my Wednesday night Facebook Live Q&As from 19:30. All the details can be found on my website at www.darren-jones.co.uk.