News from your local MP Darren Jones - March 2019
Each month I seem to start this column by saying the Brexit saga continues – sadly that is still true and uncertainty for businesses, the economy and EU citizens here in Bristol North West remains.
And with every week that passes I’m picking up more and more damage to local jobs and our economy.
We’ve had the devastating news from Honda that its factory in Swindon will close in 2021: making 3,500 direct employees redundant. Honda has a distribution centre in Avonmouth and ship their cars out of the Bristol Port, so we will feel some of the knock-on effects on this news too. I was only at Honda a few months ago hearing about their exciting apprenticeship programme, training new electrical engineers for their electric vehicles. It’s heartbreaking to see that now coming to an end.
Airbus continues to make the news too, making it clear that a “managed no deal” isn’t a thing and helping to continue to apply pressure on the Prime Minister. We’ve also had the news that Avara pharmaceuticals in Avonmouth is closing, making hundreds of technical and good quality jobs redundant.
Companies in and around Bristol North West are also pulling their hair out at requests from their customers asking for confirmation as to how they will continue to supply their goods and services in the face of a no deal Brexit: confirmation that businesses can’t give if they rely on importing and exporting their products. Businesses are losing customers and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of business.
I’m hopeful that Parliament will now pass the Cooper-Letwin Bill which will force the Prime Minister’s hand if she takes us closer to a no deal Brexit, and I’ll continue to work with the People’s Vote campaign and my Labour colleagues Phil Wilson MP and Peter Kyle MP on the “Wilson-Kyle” amendment which seems to gathering more support by the day for a public ratification of whatever the Prime Minister’s final deal is. I say all of this with a massive disclaimer of course, given that politics is moving so quickly day-by-day now that anything could happen!
I’ve also been spending a lot of time calling for fully funded childcare, proper funding for nurseries and local schools and working with colleagues at Southmead Hospital to call on the Government to properly meet the staffing crisis being faced in the NHS. I’ll write more on that in future columns!
Your Champion in Bristol
This month’s transport focus has rightly been dominated by news of the proposed changes to the A4018 which have widespread impact on access to Westbury village, Henbury, Southmead and Brentry. Residents and transport providers have made it clear to me in my North Bristol Transport Plan that they would like to see improved bus and cycle routes along key routes, but these current proposals are not fit for purpose. To be effective, any bus lanes should be attached to new Transport Hubs, bringing together bus services, park and ride, rail, car parking and electric vehicle charging, and cycle hire and lock up. I have called for three of these, near the Henbury rugby club, at the Portway Park and Ride in Shirehampton and North of Lockleaze. Two of these locations were deliberately chosen on my part to avoid the thousands of cars from new housing estates in South Gloucestershire having to drive down the A4018 or Gloucester Road – and equally, to prevent more cars adding to the commuter parking crisis across large parts of Bristol North West includingCheswick Village.
Whilst a park and ride has been proposed to the East of Lockleaze, I have objected to this on the basis that it involves turning greenbelt agricultural land in Stoke Park into a car park as well as on the other side of the M32 on the Sims Hill land. I was pleased to learn that Mayor Marvin Rees agrees with me on this issue and has joined me and Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy in calling on the West of England Combined Authority to find a brownfield site further North in South Gloucestershire. You can share your views by completing my Transport Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/transport
At the time of writing, I am also aware the council will soon commence their consultation on the proposed changes to Muller Road. I’ll be following this matter closely and urge you to share any comments or concerns with the council through their consultation – please be sure to send me a copy.
I’d like to congratulate Filton Avenue Primary School for seeing their pupil’s results in reading, writing and mathematics jump by a massive 27% between 2017 and 2018. Despite the huge pressure and budget cuts to primary education, many of the primary schools here in Bristol North West saw an increase to their Key Stage Two results. That’s down to the dedication of school staff, governors and their pupils working against the odds to make sure students get the best chance to succeed. Well done to each school in Bristol North West who saw an increase in their results – I know these are hugely challenging times for teachers and their colleagues, so I won’t stop calling for education to get the funding it needs so every child gets the best possible start in life.
I’ll be hosting one of my monthly café politic sessions, to chat local and national politics over a coffee, at Horfield Leisure Centre on Saturday 6th April. If you’d like to join me, at this or any other event, please reserve your tickets via www.darren-jones.co.uk/cafepolitics
If you would like to get in touch with me about any local or national issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to Darren Jones MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or sign up to my monthly newsletter via www.darren-jones.co.uk/sign-up. You can also find me on Facebook (fb.com/darrenjonesmp) and Twitter (@darrenpjones) and join my weekly Facebook Live chat on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.