• Conor welcomes mental health taskforce report and calls for swift implementation

    Conor McGinn MP has urged the Government to implement the recommendations of the mental health taskforce report.

    Speaking in Parliament, Conor welcomed the taskforce’s comprehensive report, and urged the Government implement all of the recommendations in full.

    The taskforce report, The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, was published earlier this month. The report puts forward recommendations to ensure mental health issues are treated on a par with physical health issues in the NHS.

    According to Public Health England 16.8% of people in St Helens have reported suffering from depression and anxiety. In the UK one in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “The way we treat people who have mental health problems needs to change, and I welcome the report’s recommendations that seek to ensure they are treated on a par with physical health.

    “People in my constituency and across the UK who suffer from mental health problems should have access to comprehensive treatment on the NHS and should not feel stigmatised.

    “That there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of mental health problems is of real concern, and the recommendations in the report need to be implemented sooner rather than later.”

     

  • Conor invites local schools to enter the Speaker’s School Council Awards

    Conor McGinn has called on schools in his constituency to enter the 2015/16 Speaker’s School Council Awards.

    The awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate school council’s achievements in bringing about positive change in their school or community.

    The competition is open to every infant, primary and secondary school, sixth-form College, and SEN school in the country.  The winners are invited to the Houses of Parliament for a prize giving ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

    This year the speaker wants to hear about a project initiated by school councils that they are proud of.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I have visited many schools across the constituency and spoken with school council members who have had great ideas and put them into practice.

    “These awards are an opportunity to highlight the contribution school councils make and I hope many in my constituency will put themselves forward.”

    Entries can be submitted from until 16 May 2016.

    Visit www.speakersschoolcouncil.org for inspiration and guidance on how to enter the competition, or see the attached sheet for details about how you can inspire others by submitting a blog, story ‘top tip’, or an image.

    For more information, contact the Speaker’s School Council Awards team on 0207 219 6260 or email speakersschoolcouncilawards@parliament.uk.

     

  • Conor announces support for Britain Stronger In Europe

    Britain Stronger in Europe 2

    St Helens MP Conor McGinn has announced that he is campaigning for the UK to remain a member of the European Union following the announcement by the Prime Minister that the referendum will take place this June.

    Conor will join Alan Johnson MP on the Labour In For Britain campaign, and work with Britain Stronger In Europe as a political champion for the North West region.

    Independent research has shown that EU membership is worth £ 13.5 billion every year to the North West in increased trade and CEBR figures show that 477,005 jobs are linked to the EU.  Under the EU Youth Employment Initiative in the North West, Merseyside also receives £22.2m of funding to help get young people back to work

    Outlining his reasons for backing the In campaign, Conor said:

    “I am pleased to announce that I will be formally backing the Stronger In campaign as a political champion to make the case that Britain is stronger, better off and more secure in Europe.

    “For people in St Helens North and across Britain, being in Europe supports jobs and lower prices here at home, makes it easier to keep our streets safe and gives our country a stronger leadership role on the global stage.

    “Going out on our own is a risk we simply can’t afford to take. The European Union isn’t perfect. No partnership is. But the benefits outweigh the costs and this deal makes Britain even stronger in Europe than we would be out of it.

    “As we approach the referendum, I encourage businesses and volunteers in St Helens North to join in the debate. The decision facing us is the most important in a generation and voters must have all the information they need to make an informed decision.”

    Will Straw, Executive Director of Stronger In, said:

    “Britain Stronger In Europe is pleased to welcome Conor McGinn to join our team of political champions. Our supporters come from a range of political backgrounds, from all walks of life and from all regions of the UK.

    “Their diverse backgrounds make them a formidable team in making the case for why Britain is stronger, safer, and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own.

    “I look forward to working with Conor making a positive and patriotic case that it is in Britain’s interest to remain part of Europe. Our membership makes our economy stronger, our security stronger and gives us a stronger voice on the world stage.”

  • Conor raises ‘unjust local government funding’ for St Helens

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, has highlighted that the country’s poorest councils are set to lose £198 more per head than the average English local authority, and hit out at government for the ‘unjust allocation of local government funding.’

    Research by the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA), shows that between 2010/11 and 2017/18 the poorest authorities will see an estimated loss of funding of £685 per head, compared to the English average of £487.

    McGinn has criticised the unfair allocation of funding in the Local Government Finance Settlement, which will force poorer local authorities to make further cutbacks to public services, which could hit libraries and children’s services.

    In St Helens, the local council will see its spending power reduced by £92 per household just in 2017/18, compared to the average English reduction of £76.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “This settlement means less money is now available for local authorities to spend on public services in deprived areas, and critical services are being put at risk.

    “As a result the poorest are being hit hardest under this Government, at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet.

    “Councils should be treated fairly, but further unfair cuts have been forced onto local authorities.

    “Councils like St Helens are doing a great job in face of large scale cuts, but further cuts imposed by the Tories will have a major impact on the public services that my constituents rely on.”

  • Conor welcomes latest u-turn by Justice Secretary and calls on Govt to abandon plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

    Conor McGinn MP has welcomed the Justice Secretary’s u-turn on legal aid and called on the Government to drop plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn pointed out that Government Ministers had recently changed their minds on Saudi prison contracts, a book ban for prisoners, the criminal courts charge and had now scrapped plans to change legal aid.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “I’m glad the Government has scrapped plans to cut legal aid. It is important that people regardless of their means have access to the justice system.

    “However, this is the latest in a long list of u-turns from the Tories who appear to be making it up as they go along.

    “The government should now scrap plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. No one knows what they plan to replace the Human Rights Act with and it’s clear that repealing the law will weaken British people’s rights, particularly workers.

    “The Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights are fundamental to our democracy and I will continue to fight to ensure people’s rights are protected.”

  • Conor: police cuts affect police officers as well as the public

    Conor McGinn MP has raised concerns over the impact that cuts to police budgets have had on the morale of police officers.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn noted that a survey towards the end of last year undertaken by the Police Federation found that more than three-quarters of police officers suffered from low morale and did not feel valued.

    As a result of the latest Police Grant Settlement many police forces will now have to find further savings. Merseyside Police force alone is set to face a budget deficit of £5.4 million in 2016/2017.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “Police officers in Merseyside and across the UK play a vital role in keeping our communities safe, often putting their own personal safety at risk.

    “Research by the Police Federation that shows over three-quarters of officers do not feel valued and suffer from low morale is seriously worrying.

    “The huge cuts to police budgets by this Tory government are not only affecting the ability of forces to operate, but are also having a detrimental impact on police officers as they come under increasing pressure.

    “The Tories recent blunder on police grants means that unfortunately the problem is likely to be exacerbated as forces are required to make further savings.

    “It’s high time the Government treated our men and women police officers with the respect they deserve, ensuring our forces are properly funded and looking after the welfare of those who serve our community.”

  • Conor: Magistrates Court closure will deny access to justice for St Helens North residents

    Conor McGinn MP, responding to the announcement that St Helens Magistrates Court is to close, said:

    “This is bad news for the town and for residents of St Helens North.

    “We await further and final details from the Ministry of Justice, but it would appear that the functions of the Court will move to Liverpool.

    “Many appointments at Court are often first thing in the morning, and without access to adequate transport attendance will simply be unfeasible for many of my constituents. This is particularly the case for the people who live in places like Rainford, Billinge, Moss Bank and Haydock and rural areas, who have to travel just to reach direct bus and rail services to Liverpool.

    “Added to that, the cost of the train or bus to Liverpool will also have an impact on vulnerable people in my constituency whether they are victims, witnesses or defendants. Someone’s financial means should not affect their ability to access the justice system.

    “Today’s announcement is another attempt by the Tory Government to denigrate the status of St Helens as a major town in the North West. We must not let them succeed.”

    The link to Conor’s court consultation response in full and recent parliamentary question on the courthouse can be found below:

    http://www.conormcginn.co.uk/conor-campaigns-to-keep-st-helens-courthouse-open

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-26b.147.6

  • Conor is joining with Citizens Advice to help people in North West save money

    CAB 2

    Conor McGinn MP is encouraging people living in North West to be one step ahead with their finances by getting help from Citizens Advice.

    Conor met people from across the charity’s network at an event in Parliament on Tuesday 2 February. He heard about how local Citizens Advice are working with people across England and Wales to help them work out a budget, save money on bills and build confidence using online and mobile banking.

    Together with Citizens Advice, the MP for St Helens North is inviting local people to try out five tips to help them keep on top of their bills and save money.

    Citizens Advice helped 2579 people in North West improve their financial skills between April 2014 and March 2015.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “We can all benefit from being one step ahead with our finances.

    “Developing money management skills can give a real sense of security and helps put you in charge of your money, keep on top of bills and avoid unaffordable debt.

    “I work closely with Citizens Advice in my constituency on many issues. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve their money management skills to contact their local Citizens Advice.”

    Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

    “Managing your money better can help keep your family and home secure.

    “Getting help with planning a budget can put people in a better position to pay for daily costs and cope with sudden expenses such as emergency car repairs. Shopping around and negotiating with energy and broadband suppliers can also help to reduce your bills.

    “Anyone looking to save money on their day-to-day costs can get help from their local Citizens Advice or checking our website www.citizensadvice.org.uk.”

    The five tips are:

    • Build your budget – List your regular income and spending to help stay on top of your money and save for unexpected costs or the future. You can use the Citizens Advice online Budgeting Tool.
    • Drill those bills – Check with your energy provider that you are on the best deal. Ask your local Citizens Advice if they are running Energy Best Deal group advice sessions or use Citizens Advice’s price comparison tool for help cutting your energy bills.
    • Control your credit – If you have debts, keep a list of them and compare it with your monthly budget. If you think you will struggle to pay some of them, ask your local Citizens Advice for help negotiating with your creditors.
    • Plan your pension – If you are able to, you should top up your State Pension with your own pension to make sure you’ll have enough money to see you through retirement. Pension Wise offers free, impartial guidance if you are over 50 and on a defined contribution scheme.
    • Seek advice – Citizens Advice offers free, impartial advice on money management and other issues. However, for more complex issues like buying a house or considering investments, you may wish to consider paying to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser. Organisations like the Personal Finance Society can help you get in touch with Independent Financial Advisers.

     

  • Conor: We will keep up the pressure on Government to introduce Helen’s Law

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    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, today accompanied Marie McCourt and her family to a meeting with the Victims Minister and then to Downing Street, where he helped deliver a petition to the Prime Minister calling on him to introduce Helen’s Law, which has been signed by over 320,000 people.

    Yesterday, the Parole Board recommended that Helen McCourt’s murderer be transferred to an open prison. In response to that and today’s events, the Prisons Minister has asked the Parole Board to review its guidelines in relation to the sentencing and release of convicted murderers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victims remains.

    Speaking outside No. 10 Downing Street, Conor said:

    “Marie made her case with characteristic decency and dignity. She is an extraordinary woman who despite enduring the most awful suffering is dedicated to helping others. The Victims Minister listened carefully and responded positively.

    “The priority for me now is to ensure that the Secretary of State for Justice is fully informed of all the facts around Helen McCourt’s case before making the final decision about whether her murderer is to be transferred to an open prison.

    “I also welcome the fact that the Prisons Minister has responded to the overwhelming public support for our campaign to introduce Helen’s Law, and has asked the parole board to review the guidelines around convicted murderers who refuse to reveal the location of their victims’ remains.

    “I want to see immediate progress on this and I will be keeping the pressure on the Government so that victims and their families get the justice they deserve.”

  • Conor stands up to Tory Minister to defend jobs and services in the North of England

    Conor McGinn MP has criticised Business Minister, Anna Soubry, for her comments on public service and jobs in the North of England.

    Speaking in Parliament after Labour MPs demanded Tory Ministers came to the House of Commons to answer questions about the closure of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse office in Sheffield, McGinn criticised the Minister for showing little sympathy for the workers losing their jobs and praised the hard work done by local councils in the North.

    He also spoke of the negative impact of the public sector cuts implemented by Government.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “People are losing jobs and the Minister hasn’t shown a shred of sympathy or regret.

    “It’s incredible that the Government is closing its main office in the North of England where civil servants working on the Northern Powerhouse are based.

    “Local councils like my own in St Helens are working hard to promote investment and develop the private sector in our areas. But this Government’s public sector cuts mean that jobs are being lost now across the North and critical and public services are being put at risk.

    “How can the Tories claim to be building a Northern Powerhouse when they’ve abandoned British steel, have reneged on their promise to invest in the North and now are even sacking their own Northern Powerhouse workforce?”

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