• 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.

  • Conor welcomes talks over ex-miners’ pensions

    Miners

    Conor McGinn has welcomed news that talks will be held to get a better pension deal for former miners.

    The trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) have written to Labour MPs from coalfield communities agreeing to their demand for a meeting.

    The MPs called for the meeting to review an arrangement that has deprived ex-miners of billions of pounds in pension payments.

    Under an agreement made by the Tory Government and the trustees of the British Coal pensions schemes in 1994, half of the surplus made by the MPS goes to the Government.

    Commenting, Mr McGinn said:

    “I’m pleased the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme have agreed to our request for a meeting.

    “Thousands of former miners who worked in local pits like Parkside and across the region worked hard for decades to build up a pension for when they retired.

    “This country owes a debt of gratitude to our former miners. We owe it to them and their families to secure a far better, fairer deal for them and I will continue to fight on their behalf.

    “Victory to the Miners.”

  • McGinn in Parliament: Keeping juveniles in prison in solitary confinement is shocking, wrong and probably unlawful

    Keeping juveniles in prison in solitary confinement is shocking, wrong and probably unlawful. Whatever chance these young people have of turning their lives around, they won’t find it locked in a cell for 23 hours a day. The Government must order an end to this practice. My question to the Justice Secretary this week.

  • Conor met with the new Chair of St Helens Chamber, Graham Worsley

    GPW recruitment

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, met with the new Chair of St Helens Chamber, Graham Worsley, to talk about his role and vision for businesses in the borough.

    Graham, who is also Chairman of GPW Recruitment based in Windle, is a highly successful businessman with a strong commitment to St Helens. GPW has been a long-term supporter of The Steve Prescott Foundation.

    After the meeting, Conor said:

    “It was great to meet Graham and hear about his pride in becoming the new Chair of St Helens Chamber, which has won Chamber of the Year three times in recent years.

    “We discussed the challenges of Brexit but also the opportunities ahead for the borough and local economy, and how we can work together to make the most of them. We also spoke about our shared passion for horse racing and importance of Haydock Park to our borough.

    “Graham’s commitment to St Helens is clear to see. He is passionate about the borough and delivering good quality apprenticeships to develop a skilled workforce for the future.

    “I look forward to working with him and continuing to build on the already excellent work of St Helens Chamber.”

  • Conor visits BOC’s nitrogen and hydrogen plant in Moss Bank

    BOC

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, paid a visit to BOC’s nitrogen and hydrogen plant in Moss Bank in St Helens.

    Whilst there he looked around the site and met with Site Manager, Chris Jeal, and Grant Holland, Head of Energy Strategy, to hear about their concerns over increasing energy costs.

    The St Helens BOC site produces nitrogen and hydrogen and provides the industrial and medical gases to a range of companies across the UK including Pilkington Glass, where the gas supplied is an essential component in the production process.

    Conor discussed the challenges faced by energy-intensive companies such as BOC and Pilkington and the impact increasing taxation is having on the industry.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said:

    “It was good to visit the site, learn more about the production process in St Helens and hear about important concerns of energy intensive industry.

    “Industry has a responsibility to play its part in responding to climate change and becoming more energy efficient, but in facing these challenges we cannot put our industries at a disadvantage.

    “Energy costs in the UK are twice as high comparative to some EU countries. If industries based in St Helens and the North West are to be competitive on a European and global level this has to change.

    “The government’s industrial and energy strategy must strike the right balance between tackling climate change and allowing our industries to compete on a level playing field.”

  • Conor McGinn: This Budget does nothing for St Helens and is already unravelling before our eyes.

    The Chancellor’s Budget is falling apart after just a couple of days.

    His £2 billion hike on National Insurance paid by the self-employed is so unpopular that even Tory MPs are lining up to attack Philip Hammond over the broken Tory manifesto pledge.

    In St Helens North, his plan to raise National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for solo workers will hit around 5,500 lower and middle-income earners and take over £170,000 out of the local economy.

    The Prime Minister has already hinted that she is ready to perform a humiliating climbdown over the deeply flawed plan that will hit the workers who are backbone of our economy.

    The Tories promised four times in their 2015 manifesto there would be “no increases in National Insurance contributions” – but Class 4 NICs on self-employed profits are set to rise to 11% in 2019.

    That will cost someone on £27,000 more than £30 a month – so much for the Tory promise to help those people who are just about managing.

    But the National Insurance hike is not the only betrayal of ordinary working people by the Government. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that workers have endured 15 years without a pay rise, thanks to the sluggish economic recovery under this Government.

    It is an equally grim story when it comes to the Government’s assault on public services and the cuts inflicted upon them.

    The £2 billion promised to ease the social care crisis over the next three years is nowhere near enough – especially when set alongside the £4.6 billion of cuts in the last Parliament.

    When it comes to education, a handful of free schools and grammar schools will get £1 billion over the Budget period – but the rest of our schools will receive barely a quarter of that at just £260 million over the same timeframe.

    However, the Government is pressing ahead with its £1 billion cut to inheritance tax and cuts for big business with further reductions in corporation tax, widening the gap between rich and poor.

    In stark contrast, services in places like St Helens North will continue to suffer as the local government budget is cut by more than 20% from £8.2 billion this year to £6.5 billion in 2017/18 and £5.5 billion the year after.

    Despite all the Government’s talk of a creating a Northern Powerhouse, the Chancellor failed to deliver the urgently needed infrastructure investment for the North.

    George Osborne became infamous for his Omnishambles Budget. It looks like Philip Hammond has taken a leaf out of his predecessor’s book with his botched Budget proposals.

    This Budget is already proving a chaotic shambles that holds nothing for my constituents in St Helens – except further cuts to local services and more Tory austerity.

    The Chancellor’s Budget will only further widen the North-South divide and continue to reduce social mobility. It is a Budget for the privileged few that ignores the needs of the many.

  • Conor paid a visit to BOC’s nirtogen and hydrogen plant in Moss Bank

    BOC

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, paid a visit to BOC’s nitrogen and hydrogen plant in Moss Bank in St Helens.

    Whilst there he looked around the site and met with Site Manager, Chris Jeal, and Grant Holland, Head of Energy Strategy, to hear about their concerns over increasing energy costs.

    The St Helens BOC site produces nitrogen and hydrogen and provides the industrial and medical gases to a range of companies across the UK including Pilkington Glass, where the gas supplied is an essential component in the production process.

    Conor discussed the challenges faced by energy-intensive companies such as BOC and Pilkington and the impact increasing taxation is having on the industry.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said:

    “It was good to visit the site, learn more about the production process in St Helens and hear about important concerns of energy intensive industry.

    “Industry has a responsibility to play its part in responding to climate change and becoming more energy efficient, but in facing these challenges we cannot put our industries at a disadvantage.

    “Energy costs in the UK are twice as high comparative to some EU countries. If industries based in St Helens and the North West are to be competitive on a European and global level this has to change.

    “The government’s industrial and energy strategy must strike the right balance between tackling climate change and allowing our industries to compete on a level playing field.”

  • Conor welcomes Labour’s candidate for Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP to St Helens

    Rotheram Visit 2 Rotheram Visit 1

    Conor welcomed Labour’s candidate for Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP, to St Helens to see plans for a new housing scheme in Parr and meet local community activists from re:new.

    The Torus housing development at Chancery Lane will provide over 30 homes for those aged 55 and above. The scheme will also offer support to meet the needs of those forced to move home due to recent housing benefit cuts.

    The re:new neighbourhood management project in Parr is a joint initiative between St Helens Council and Helena Partnerships. It aims to create better places to live and to improve the quality of life for local residents.

    Commenting after the visit, Conor said:

    “It was great to have Steve and John visit St Helens and see some of the impressive community development and housing projects like this one in Parr.

    “It and others like it will provide a much-needed boost in housing quality and supply for the local area.

    “Merseyside is bearing the brunt of Tory cuts to supported housing and local government, as well as imposition of the bedroom tax. In addition, this Government has ended funding for remedial work to make contaminated land fit for development, which has a hugely negative impact on industrial areas like Parr.

    “Despite this we are lucky to have a strong community ethos across St Helens, and I pay tribute to people like Bernie and many other volunteers and activists like her who continue to work hard to improve neighbourhoods and make life better for local residents.”

  • Conor backs International Women’s Day

    IWD

    Conor McGinn MP has backed International Women’s Day and called for the Chancellor to deliver a Spring Budget that works for women.

    International Women’s Day, held on 8 March, marks a celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women.

    This year the 2017 Spring Budget falls on International Women’s Day and Conor and Labour are calling on the government to guarantee a budget that works for women.

    As of the 2016 Autumn Statement, 86% of the net gains to the treasury through tax and benefit measures had come from women, with a disproportionate impact on women from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

    Labour have announced a twelve month consultation on a new Economic Equality Bill. This Bill will aim to strengthen legislation around equal pay and tackle the structural and economic barriers that stop women, BAME communities and disabled people from reaching their full potential.

    Commenting, Conor said:

    “Tory cuts have hit women the hardest and it is high time they put in place policies to change this – that’s why I’m calling on the Chancellor to deliver a budget that works for women.

    “Much progress has been made in the battle for gender equality but this government are turning back the clock on economic equality for women.

    “That the gender pay gap is still 18.1% for full-time workers is shocking and much more needs to be done to ensure women are on equal economic footing.

    “I will work with Labour colleagues to hold the Government to account and to introduce an Economic Equality Bill to tackle structural and economic barriers.”

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