• Congratulations to Carmel College

    Congratulations to Carmel College on retaining their ‘Outstanding’ status after recent OFSTED inspection. When visiting the college with my St Helens colleague Marie Rimmer MP, I was impressed with the extremely high standards of teaching and learning that young people from our borough and across Merseyside are receiving.

    This excellence has also been reflected in several work experience students from Carmel College who have undertaken placements in my office. Each student has been diligent, hardworking, open to learning, and a real credit to the College.

    The high standards Carmel sets for itself and its students is having a fantastic impact on young people’s lives and the future of our borough. I am delighted for headteacher Mike Hill and all the staff and students that they have had their fantastic work recognised.

  • Carers Week 2019

    I have pledged my support for Carers Week 2019. The number of people providing unpaid care is growing rapidly, with one in six adults now providing unpaid care, up from one in eight in 2011.
    Unpaid carers make an enormous contribution to the lives of sick and disabled people in Britain – often at a high price to themselves and with little support. Carers are seven times more likely to say they are often or always lonely and are almost twice as likely to suffer from anxiety.
    The considerable contribution of unpaid carers needs to be recognised when care funding is considered in the next spending review. Workplace rights need to be strengthened, and people’s caring responsibilities outside of work to be fully understood.
    In St Helens we have an excellent Carers’ Centre and groups which do great work.
    But the Government is failing to give carers the support they need and deserve. We must provide carers with the help and dignity that they so willingly give to others.

  • meeting the Boroughs new Youth Parliament Member

    I met with Ben Lomas, Youth Parliament Member and a pupil at Rainford High, and Morgan Lamb, a Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament and student from Hope Academy.
    We discussed priority issues affecting young people in St Helens borough – including access to affordable public transport, leisure facilities, and mental health support as well as homelessness, and knife crime.
    I was impressed with both Morgan and Ben’s understanding of youth issues and their drive to make a difference. They have important roles representing young people in the borough, and I look forward to seeing the impact they have during their time in office.

  • meeting with Tami Garvey-Jones, the new superintendent for St Helens borough

    I met with Tami Garvey-Jones, the new superintendent for St Helens borough, to discuss policing issues within our community.
    Our police force is facing enormous challenges with cuts to resources and officers. We discussed key issues including anti-social behaviour, drugs and knife crime, rural crime, domestic abuse, local police station opening hours and house burglaries. I raised the importance of the need for new police stations in both St Helens and Newton-le-Willows again, and why they are essential to ensure our community is well policed.
    Merseyside police officers, PCSOs, and support staff are doing a tough job – they need and deserve our full support.

  • Marie McCourt meeting with the Secretary of State for Justice

    Marie McCourt and I had a good meeting with the Secretary of State for Justice recently. We have made solid progress and the Government is finally listening.
    Putting Helen’s Law in statute to change the parole guidelines in law is a huge victory for Marie, the McCourt family, and the many other families in similar circumstances.
    Marie has been a real driving force behind this campaign and the support we’ve received from people in St Helens has been incredible.
    My Private Members’ Bill on Helens law received the unanimous support of the House of Commons three years ago and I don’t foresee any difficulty in getting this through Parliament. Marie and I will be working closely with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that Helen’s Law is introduced as quickly as possible.

  • Eid Mubarak

    Eid Mubarak to all my constituents celebrating at the end of Ramadan.

    I visited St Helens Mosque and the Iman Trust to meet with representatives of the local Muslim community in St Helens. It was good to see at first-hand the contribution this valued and important community make to our borough.

    St Helens borough has strong and proactive faith communities who play a crucial role in supporting people in their everyday lives and at times of need. The Iman Trust and St Helens Mosque is a shining example of such fantastic work.

  • St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School petition to 10 Downing Street

    I joined pupils and teachers from St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Windle to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street as part of a campaign against school funding cuts, and afterwards they came in to the House of Commons for a tour and to see some of our proceedings.
    Chronic underfunding by this Tory government is having a direct impact on the ability of our schools to provide the education that our children deserve. Schools like St Thomas of Canterbury are being forced to make cuts that will affect the education of pupils.
    Mrs Hall the headteacher, teachers and staff at St Thomas of Canterbury do an outstanding job, as do many of our schools across the borough – but this commitment from staff can only be stretched so far without proper funding. A lack of government funding is holding children in St Helens back from achieving their potential.
    The petition directly appeals to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to end the chronic underfunding the school is facing as a direct result of eight years of austerity. We need to equip our young people with the skills for them to succeed in the future. The Government must now urgently provide the funding that will enable our schools to do this.

  • the rise of rough sleeping in St Helens

    I am absolutely appalled that between 2010 and 2018 rough sleeping in St Helens borough increased by 600%. This is a direct consequence of Tory austerity increasing levels of poverty.
    St Helens Council, alongside voluntary groups like The Hope Centre, YMCA, the Salvation Army and Teardrops, are working hard to tackle homelessness and its root causes. They support the most vulnerable people in our community and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
    The Labour Party has committed to tackling this issue with a pledge to end rough sleeping within five years. The Tories must take action on this now.

  • Shocking figures from the Trussell Trust

    Shocking figures from the Trussell Trust show that in the last year in communities across St Helens North, 6822 three-day emergency food supplies had to be given to local people in crisis – with 2564 of these going to children.
    Nationally, the Trussell Trust network distributed 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies to help people in crisis, a record rise of 18.8% on the previous year.
    This reflects the increase in families living in poverty as a direct result of Tory austerity. They are damaging the country, our communities, and families. We need a Labour government to ensure that no one in St Helens borough or across the country goes hungry.

  • managing wild birds

    General licences GL04, GL05 and GL06 were issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for specified purposes enabling people, lawfully, to take certain actions in relation to various species of wild birds. This included the use of lethal control for purposes of public health and safety, protection of crops and livestock, and the conservation of wildlife.

    I appreciate that the revocation of these licences has caused uncertainty and disruption for those who own and manage land. As I am sure you will be aware, the Government has now taken on responsibility for the future granting or revocation of these types of general licence. However, Natural England will continue to issue individual licences to anybody who needs to act within the law to control wild birds, where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative.

    On 4 May 2019, the Government launched a consultation on this issue. It is seeking views on the revocation of the specific general licences GL04, GL05 and GL06. This consultation closed on 13 May and there will be a separate review of general licences later this year. I hope the Government will listen carefully to all views that are submitted as part of the current consultation.

    The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee will hold a one-off evidence session on this issue on 21 May 2019. I will follow developments on this closely.

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