• McGinn: The Tories are failing working families – 1/3 of Sure Start centres in St Helens have been lost

    Sure Start

    Conor McGinn MP & the Labour Party have uncovered shocking figures which show a third of Sure Start centres in St Helens and the UK have been lost since 2010.

    The Tories famously pledged to be the “most family friendly Government we’ve ever had” and promised to protect Sure Start. However, new research, based on Freedom of Information requests to councils, reveals the Tories have broken their promise.

    The figures show that the number of designated Sure Start children’s centres in St Helens has dropped by a third from 12 in 2010 to 8 in 2017. There are also 173 fewer centres in the North West.

    Commenting Mr McGinn said:

    “These shocking figures reveal yet another broken promise by the Tories, who are failing working families by making them pay for their economic mismanagement.

    “The closure of Sure Start centres in St Helens – taking away support from children and their families – has made life harder for many in my constituency.

    “A Labour Government would support Sure Start and stand up for families by building the services they need so we can give children the support they deserve.”

  • Conor & Labour: free school meals for all primary school children in St Helens

    Free school meals

    Conor McGinn MP has welcomed the Labour Party’s pledge that the next Labour Government will provide free school meals for all primary school children, a change that could benefit 7,986 children in St Helens.

    Labour will fund the policy by introducing VAT on private school fees, it is estimated this will raise £1.5billion. The House of Commons Library estimates that the cost of providing free school meals for all primary school children would be £700-£900 million.

    Research confirmed by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown offering universal access to free school meals improves educational attainment. The provision of free school meals also has been proven to improve the health of pupils through better nutrition.

    Commenting Conor McGinn MP said:

    “No child in St Helens should go without a decent lunch and be hungry at school.

    “By charging VAT on private schools fees, the next Labour Government will make sure all primary school children, no matter what their background, get a healthy meal at school.

    “This will benefit lower income families in my constituency who don’t qualify for free school meals currently, but are still struggling to make ends meet.

    “Research shows that this will improve educational attainment and will help make sure that no child is at a disadvantage because of their background.”

  • Conor backs Parkinson’s Awareness Week

    Parkinson's

    This Parkinson’s Awareness Week St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has pledged his support to the charity Parkinson’s UK’s “We Won’t Wait” campaign, calling for urgent action to unlock the promise of research developments that could pave the way to better treatments and stop Parkinson’s drugs ‘falling behind’.

    Conor McGinn MP said;

    “While great strides have been made over the past 200 years, people with Parkinson’s are still waiting for a treatment that can tackle the condition head on. Because of this, I am supporting Parkinson’s UK’s We Won’t Wait campaign: we need a complete step change to deliver better treatments and a cure faster.”

    Research released by the charity revealed that despite being an incurable, degenerative condition which can affect anyone, in the North West, more than half (54%) of people are unsure, or wrongly say that it is possible to prevent Parkinson’s.

    Parkinson’s UK wants to drive forward crucial developments in Parkinson’s research to pioneer more effective treatments that are desperately needed for the estimated 14,000 living with the condition in the North West.

  • Conor visits local business Handepay

    Handepay

    Conor McGinn MP paid a visit to locally-based national business Handepay in Haydock.

    Conor met with the Managing Director, Andy Peake, to talk about the company’s success and their plans for the future.

    Handepay provides debit and credit card processing services to 26,000 independent businesses. They employ 210 people with 150 jobs based at their headquarters in Haydock.

    Andy, from Newton-le-Willows and educated at Selwyn Jones High School, has worked hard to build his business. Last year Handepay celebrated their tenth year anniversary and marked it by pledging to raise £10k for the Steve Prescott foundation.

    Speaking after his visit, Conor said:

    “It was good to meet with Andy to talk about the success of Handepay, and how he wants to develop his business and continue to make a positive contribution to the local economy and community.

    “Chances are if you have paid for goods or services with a credit or debit card, you will have at some point used a Handepay card machine.

    “Andy is a great example of what can be achieved through hard work, creating the right product and a skilled and motivated workforce.”

  • Conor attended the induction of the Revd Malcolm Fife

    Malcom fife 2 Malcom fife

    Conor attended the induction of the Revd Malcolm Fife to the joint pastorate of Christ Church United Reform Church (URC) Haydock, Cross Lane URC & Huyton URC.

    The service was a very moving and uplifting event with Merseyside Synod Moderator, Revd Jacky Embrey, members from all three churches present along with the representatives from other Christian denominations and the wider community across St Helens, as well as Revd Malcolm’s family and friends.

    The church was founded in 1891 as Haydock Congregational Church and has served the local community ever since. The church also introduced a community centre which continues to support Haydock and the surrounding areas.

    Speaking after the event, Conor said:

    “It was a pleasure to attend a very uplifting service of celebration for Revd Malcolm’s induction as the United Reform Church Minister for this pastorate, and welcome him into our Haydock, Newton-le-Willows and entire St Helens community.

    “I look forward to working with Revd Malcolm in the future to continue the excellent work the church does in and for our whole community.”

  • Second stem cell transplants

    A number of constituents have contacted me regarding second stem cell transplants for blood cancer patients who have relapsed [and the related campaign by Anthony Nolan].

    I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by blood cancer, and I appreciate the work Anthony Nolan does in conducting vital research and supporting those with this disease. I appreciate that stem cell transplantation is a life-saving treatment.

    As you may be aware, on 24 February 2017, NHS England announced that it will routinely fund second allogenic haematopoietic stem cell transplants. It is estimated that this will cover approximately 15 patients a year who suffer a relapse following a first transplant.

    I know that Anthony Nolan has welcomed this announcement. However it has also expressed concerns that this decision comes too late for those patients who were denied the treatment that could have saved their lives. I understand the disappointment that would have been felt by many following NHS England’s initial decision to stop routine commissioning of this transplant.

    Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry has given thousands of people the opportunity to have a transplant where they previously may not have been able to be matched with a donor. I support Anthony Nolan’s efforts in trying to expand the register of potential donors, especially amongst younger people, and people from BAME backgrounds, who are particularly underrepresented on the current donor register.

    I also believe we need to do more to encourage medical research and new treatments, as this is vital to improving patient care and outcomes. Britain has been spending less on research generally as a share of GDP than France, Germany, the US and China, all of whom are increasing their commitment to science and technology. I believe we need a long term plan for research and development spending.

    I will continue to press the Government to improve treatment and support for people with blood cancer and to ensure cancer remains at the top of the political agenda.

     

  • School funding

    At the last general election I stood on a manifesto which pledged to protect the entire education budget and I share your concern that we are facing the first real-terms cut in the schools budget for over two decades. Indeed, the National Audit Office has revealed there will be an 8% cut in per pupil funding between 2015 and 2020. I support the principle that all schools should receive fair funding. However, I fear the proposed new funding formula will simply redistribute a sum of money that is inadequate to support our schools and provide our children with the excellent education they deserve. Indeed, the Education Policy Institute has found that every state school in England will see budget cuts before 2020, after the new national funding formula is implemented. Schools are struggling to manage significant budget deficits and there are shortages of teachers, not enough good school places, thousands of children in super-sized classes, and a widening attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers. Like you, I believe the recent Budget should have included extra funding for our existing schools. While the Government has confirmed some refurbishment funding, this only extends to the next 3 years, with no additional funding in the long term. However, an extra £320 million has been confirmed for free schools which comes after the 2016 Autumn Statement had confirmed new funding to expand grammar schools. As noted by the National Audit Office, it remains the case that mainstream schools across the country will be required to find £3 billion of savings by 2020, to counteract cost pressures. I believe that the focus should be on investing in our existing schools rather than new selective free schools, which evidence shows would not improve education for all.

    In February I called on ministers to give the area’s schools a fair deal after the statistics compiled by the National Union of Teachers claimed St Helens could lose more than £7 million in education cash by 2020.

    You can see more on this from my press release here – http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/15084541.Conor_McGinn_accuses_government_of__short_changing__schools/ I believe all schools should be given the funding they need to provide an excellent education for every child and I will continue to press for the investment needed to improve standards across all schools and to deliver an education which enables all of our children to reach their full potential.

  • Takeover of Sky TV

    I have concerns about the proposed takeover of Sky TV, and I know from the large number of emails I have received on this issue since last year that many people feel strongly about it. Indeed, over 300,000 people have signed the online petition.

    I agree that it is in the public interest that the bid is referred to Ofcom on media plurality and broadcasting grounds.

    As you may be aware, when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation sought complete ownership of BSkyB five years ago the House of Commons united behind a motion calling for the bid to be withdrawn in the public interest. The concerns were not only about the serious wrongdoing being uncovered in the phone hacking scandal but about the concentration of media power and ownership in fewer hands.

    In December last year, as soon as possible after Sky announced it had received an approach from 21st Century Fox, the Opposition asked an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, which forced the Government to make a statement. The Government was rightly pressed to refer the bid to Ofcom. It must be prepared to stand up to powerful interests and ensure that this proposed deal is properly and independently scrutinised.

    Formal notification for the proposed merger of Sky and 21st Century Fox was lodged with the European Commission on Friday 3 March. The Culture Secretary has since stated that she is minded to issue a European intervention notice on the basis that there are public interest considerations that warrant further investigation. She has said that she will
    come to a final decision on whether to intervene within 10 working days of the notification and I will follow any developments closely.

    Moreover, I believe the Government should not cancel the vital second part of the Leveson Inquiry, which would look at questions around unlawful or improper conduct within the Murdoch empire, at exactly the moment when Rupert Murdoch is attempting once again to strengthen his hold over the UK media.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to bring your views to my attention.

    Yours sincerely,

     

  • Access to Justice campaign

    I believe it is vital that anyone who has been the victim of a road traffic accident is able to fairly and effectively claim compensation for injuries they have suffered as a result of negligence. This must also be balanced against the need to ensure that insurance premiums are affordable for responsible motorists and that people are not able to make frivolous or fraudulent claims. As I am sure you are aware, at the Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November 2015, the Chancellor announced plans to end the right to general damages for minor soft tissue injuries, including minor whiplash, and raise the Small Claims Track limit from £1000 to £5000. In November 2016, the Government launched a consultation, ‘Reforming the soft tissue injury (whiplash) claims process’, on the two measures outlined at the Autumn Statement 2015 and a further two measures. The consultation closes on 6 January 2017 and the Government expects to publish its response by 7 April 2017. The Government has indicated that it will take its proposals forward in supporting legislation in the Justice Bill. It has also stated that it expects savings made by insurers to be passed on to drivers. I understand that a number of organisations, including Access to Justice, the Association for Personal Injury Lawyers and the Law Society, have expressed concern about these proposals. I am also aware that there was a Government e-petition calling on the small claims track limit to remain at £1000 which attracted 24,398 signatures, before it closed after 6 months in May 2016. While affecting the victims of road traffic accidents, I am also concerned that the proposed reforms to whiplash will also impact many others, including those injured at work. The current Small Claims Track limit has not been increased since 1991. However, the proposed increase to £5000 would exclude 90% of all personal injury claims. I am concerned that such a dramatic increase will undermine access to justice, effectively leaving people with legitimate claims without any legal representation for what can be complex cases. I do not believe that there is a compensation culture in this country and while there is a difficult balance to strike, it is important that the interests of the victims and their genuine claims are given the consideration they are due. I believe that the Government now needs to listen carefully to the concerns that have been raised about their proposals.

  • Conor McGinn MP urges Ministers to protect the future of Lancashire’s historic county regiment

    The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment covers Merseyside and the historic county of Lancashire.

    The Government has announced its Regimental Headquarters at Fulwood Barracks is to be sold but has given no details or commitment about where it or the Regimental Museum will be based in the future.

    In addition, 2 LANCS is to lose over half of its complement of personnel and be moved to Aldershot, leaving just one regular infantry battalion in this regiment left in the North West.

    In Parliament this week, I asked the Defence Secretary about these proposals and raised the concerns of the Armed Forces community and the wider public in St Helens and the North West.

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