• Conor says Chancellor’s cuts put 2675 supported homes in St Helens North at risk

    This week Conor and fellow Labour MPs called a vote to halt Conservative plans to cut housing benefit support for thousands of elderly and vulnerable people across the country, which could put at risk 2675 homes in St Helens North.

    Supported housing provides specialist care for groups including the elderly, the homeless, disabled people, veterans, people with mental health problems, young people leaving care and women fleeing domestic violence.

    Experts say that across the country 156,000 supported homes are at risk of closure due to the Chancellor’s cuts.

    In Parliament Labour called on George Osborne to exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and to consult with charities, councils and housing associations to safeguard this vital accommodation. However, Conservative MPs voted down Labour’s motion to protect these homes.

    Conor McGinn MP said:

    “These cuts will hit the most vulnerable in our community and shows just how out of the touch the Tories are.

    “That 2675 supported homes will be put at risk in my constituency is simply unacceptable.

    “We should be doing all we can to help those most vulnerable in society, not making life more difficult for them.

    “This is more of the same from a Tory government whose woeful housing policy is making large swathes of the country unaffordable for low income households to live.”

    John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Housing, said:

    “George Osborne’s crude cuts to housing benefit could force the closure of thousands of specialist homes for vulnerable people across the country.

    “This would be a catastrophe for those who can least afford it. There is no way these people or the organisations who support them could make up the yawning shortfall these cuts are set to open up.

    “Labour is calling on the Chancellor to urgently exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and consult fully with the organisations that provide this vital accommodation.”

  • Conor speaks to Moss Bank residents at St Patrick’s Over 60’s Club

     

    ST Pats

    Conor McGinn MP visited St Patricks, Moss Bank to meet with the over 60s group to listen their concerns.

    Over a cup of tea, Conor and group members discussed a range of issues from transport links to Moss Bank, to the impact of rising fuel costs.

    The group meet every Thursday from 1.00 till 2.30 for a game of bingo, a drink and good company. It is just one of a number of activities organised via the church for young and old across the community.

    Commenting Conor said:

     “I visited St Patricks before the election in May and it was great to be back to catch up with Father Kevin and those attending the group, and listen to the issues and concerns affecting them.

     “This is just one example of how St Patrick’s give older people from the area the chance to meet up and enjoy each other’s company.

     “I am proud that the Labour Party is committed to improving the lives of older people, backs the triple-lock on state pension and is working to prevent discrimination against older people.”

     

  • Conor accuses Tories of public service ‘theft’ & says Merseyside Fire Service can’t suffer more cuts

    Conor McGinn MP, speaking in the House of Commons, has highlighted what he called the ‘theft’ of public services from the people of St Helens North, and criticised cuts to the fire service.

    Speaking in a debate in Parliament, about funding for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, McGinn criticised the government for further cuts planned to the fire service. He also paid tribute to the fire authority and senior management team for mitigating the worst effects of the cuts, and commended the FBU for their constructive approach in defending their members.

    Following a consultation period it seems likely that both Eccleston station and St Helens fire station will be closed, with a new station built to serve both areas. There are expected to be 22 job losses as a result.

    Speaking after the debate Conor said:

    “Over the past five years, £20 million has been taken from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, with a further £6.3 million to be found this financial year.

    “The authority, senior management and those at the Fire Brigades Union are doing great job coping with huge scale of these cuts and mitigating the worst effects.

    “This Tory government seems intent on implementing public sectors cuts to the point where critical and public services are at put at risk.

    “The Tories call it savings. I call it theft. They are taking from the people of St Helens, Merseyside and the north-west of England what is rightfully theirs: their public services. Public services that have been paid for by their taxes, built by their hands and staffed by their hard work.

    “Firefighters and their families represent all that is best about our public services and communities, and I will continue to fight to protect our public services.”

  • Conor: Closing St Helens Courthouse would be “illogical and inefficient

    Conor McGinn MP has criticised the Government for being hypocritical and wasteful regarding the proposed closure of St Helens Courthouse.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn noted that the Ministry of Justice spent £1.7million refurbishing St Helens Courthouse in 2012 declaring it as ‘efficient and logical’, but are now considering its closure only 4 years later.

    In July 2015 the Government launched a consultation on their court closure programme, the Estates Reform Project, which proposes the closure of 91 courts and the integration of 31 courts and tribunals in England and Wales.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “The closure of St Helens Courthouse would be illogical and inefficient and would have a detrimental effect on my constituents and people across the Mid-Mersey region. 

    “How can it be consistent that just 4 years ago the Government spent £1.7 million refurbishing the courthouse, but are now proposing its closure?

    “This exposes the wastefulness and hypocrisy of this Tory government. They are putting access to public services at risk, and are doing little to the help people in my constituency and across the North West. The Minister couldn’t even commit to a date when he will announce his decision, despite the consultation closing over three months ago.

     

     

  • Conor McGinn MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

    HET 3

    This week Conor McGinn signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment.

    By signing the book Conor has pledge his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

    Wednesday 27th January will mark the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

    In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

    After signing the Book of Commitment, McGinn said:

    “Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten.

    “I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”

    Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

    “We are proud that Conor is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day.

    “As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.”

     

     

  • Conor backs local firm and slams Government for betrayal of renewable energy

     

    Conor McGinn MP has backed a local firm and slammed the Government for betraying them and Britain’s renewable energy sector.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn raised concerns about the effect cuts to feed-in-tariff and a proposed increase in VAT for residential solar could have upon solar energy firms, including St Helens firm and Saints sponsor Solar King, which employs 200 people locally.

    In December, the Government announced that feed-in-tariffs would be cut by 64% and proposed increasing VAT for residential solar by up to 15%.

    The Solar Trade Association has estimated that over 1000 jobs have been lost in the solar industry since the government proposed cuts to feed-in-tariff.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “The Government’s promise of a ‘solar revolution’ lies in tatters.

    “The double whammy of cuts to feed-in-tariff and planned increase in VAT are seriously concerning for companies like Solar King.

    “Current government plans will harm the solar industry in UK and cost jobs here in St Helens, and the whole Tory approach seems at odds with climate change commitments made in Paris.

    “The Energy Secretary should listen to the concerns of renewable energy companies in my constituency and across the UK. However, given her continuing refusal to meet me and companies based in St Helens to discuss these issues, I don’t hold out much hope that she will.”

    Graham King, the CEO of Solar King, said:

    “Conor is right to raise the issue in Parliament; we have just had to cut the workforce by over 50% because of the reduced tariff.

    “20% VAT for residential solar would cause further issues as it would lead to a price increase, which obviously means its less attractive to customers.”

  • Conor appeals to Ministry of Defence to reconsider veterans funding decision

    Commando Joe's

    Conor McGinn MP raised the issue of funding for the North-West based veterans Commando Joe’s in Parliament, winning a commitment from the Government to review the decision to end its funding of the organisation’s schools projects.

    Commando Joe’s works in more than 500 schools across the country, placing veterans in classrooms to share skills and experiences with young people.

    Despite robust evidence from the University of Swansea of the success of its work, its Government funding is due to end in March this year.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “Commando Joe’s does great work in schools across the country, and the activities run have been shown to help improve pupils’ educational attainment and attitude as well as providing opportunities for veterans to share their skills an experiences.

    “I met with Director Mark Hamilton and training manager Shaun Hickey and was impressed with their enthusiasm, and commitment to helping young people achieve their potential.

    “I welcome the Veterans Minister’s invitation to meet to discuss how we can continue this great work, and I hope that we can help find future funding for the organisation.”

    Mark Hamilton, Director of Commando Joe’s, said:

    “It is fantastic to know Conor supports our programme and we’re grateful for his help.

    “The funding we receive means a huge amount, not only for the employment of ex-military veterans with the right aptitude to work with vulnerable young people, but also schools and the support we give teachers and impacts within the community.”

  • Conor visits Smarties Parent and toddler group

    Smarties

    Conor McGinn MP visited Smarties toddler group based at St Mark’s Church in Haydock.

    Conor spoke with the volunteers and parents of the under 5s who enjoy the twice weekly sessions held at the church centre.

    The parent and toddler sessions are run by the churches children’s pastor, Kay White, and a team of volunteers.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said:

    “It was a great to meet parents, grandparents and the volunteers.

    “The group is another great example of the important role the church plays in our community. My 2 year old son certainly enjoyed himself!”

    “I am pleased that my party, Labour, supports plans for 30 hours of free childcare for working parents and is committed to ensuring that parents get a better deal on childcare.”

  • Conor attends Annual St Helens Chamber Dinner

    Conor McGinn MP joined hundreds of representatives of the St Helens Business community at the St Helens Chamber Annual Dinner.

    St Helens Chamber is one of the largest Chambers in the UK and has the highest rate of business Membership. They provide expert advice to local business as well as encouraging new businesses to start up, and helping people into work.

    Conor has worked with companies to encourage investment, challenge government policy that would harm local business, and to promote great local businesses.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “It was a great to have the opportunity join representatives of the local business community and celebrate their achievement.

    “I have been working with many local businesses across the constituency, raising their concerns in Parliament and helping promote what is best about our local economy.

    “St Helens Chamber is one of the most successful in the country, and provides excellent support to local businesses as well as helping people get into work and develop new business ideas.”

  • Conor & Labour uncover statistics showing St Helens North has 4th highest number of early winter deaths in England – with a further rise predicted

    Fuel Poverty

    Shocking figures released by the Office of National Statistics predict that the number of people dying prematurely in winter 2014-15 are two and half times higher than in the previous winter.

    In St Helens North the reported number of excess deaths has averaged 68 over the past 5 years, the 4th highest in England. With the total for England and Wales leaping from 17,460 to 43,900 it is almost certain that St Helens North will see a further worrying growth in local figures.

    The number of excess winter deaths (EWD) are defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths which occurred in the rest of the year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that between 30 and 50% of EWDs are caused by poorly insulated cold homes.

    The ONS figures show that fatalities in women have more than doubled with people aged over 75 worst affected.

    Commenting Conor McGinn said:

    “The average number of EWDs was already cause for concern, these new figures show that government cuts are really hurting the most vulnerable people.

    “These figures are truly shocking. As the weather turned cold last week I am gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in St Helens North.

    “Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing who will suffer because of this government’s lack of investment.”

    Clive Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, said:

    “The latest figures show the highest number of EWDs since the winter of 1999, with many of these being older people, often living in homes with poor insulation. Yet the government is cutting back on life-saving energy efficiency measures by up to 65%.

    “Labour believes that everybody has a right to access the basic level of energy they need to keep their home warm enough to live in. With 2.35 million households now living in fuel poverty, this government clearly doesn’t share our vision.”

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