• 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.”

  • Conor praises Age UK Mid Mersey after visit to Mansion House

     

    Mid Mersey Mid mersey 2

     

    Conor McGinn MP called in to The Mansion House, Victoria Park to meet local residents enjoying one of the Age UK Mid Mersey’s active care sessions.

    The sessions are run on a daily basis and provide are a great opportunity for people who may otherwise be home alone to meet up, enjoy activities and a good meal at the bistro restaurant.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “Age UK Mid Mersey are doing a great job, offering support to over 60,000 people across St Helens. This winter they distributed over 5000 packs to help keep older people warm.

    “They also provide activities and support for older people as well as much needed advice, guidance and advocacy for those that need it, especially given the rise in older people living in fuel poverty as government cuts and inaction on measures to help our most vulnerable stay warm.”

    CEO of Age UK, Mark Lunney, said:

    “Many of our older people across St Helens can be lonely or at risk of the recent cold weather, and not just at Christmas time.

    “I’m delighted that Conor was able to pop in and see some of the work Age UK do. Our active care service offers a great way to reduce such risks for the elderly.

    “If anyone wants to find out more about our active care please give us a call.”

  • Conor and Labour fighting Tory plans to scrap student maintenance grants

    The government are planning to scrap maintenance grants for students from poorer backgrounds, replacing them with additional loans.

    This change would mean that the poorest 40% of students going to university in England will graduate with debts of up to £53,000 from a three-year course, will impact on students studying at further education colleges.

    These sweeping changes – which were not in the Conservative election manifesto – were attempted to be forced through in committee rather than on the floor of the House of Commons, hidden away from public scrutiny.

    On Tuesday 19 January, Labour will hold a debate and a vote on the floor of the House of Commons, to challenge the government and try and halt their decision to scrap maintenance grants for loans.

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, speaking ahead of the debate, said:

    “Maintenance grants provide vital support for students from lower income backgrounds from St Helens North, and ensure that poorer students do not leave university with greater debts that their more privileged peers. But this could change if the Tories force through their plans.

    “I have been in touch with student representatives from Edge Hill University and St Helens College who have expressed their concerns about the impact this will have locally. The Government’s own assessment shows that these cuts will have a disproportionate effect on disabled people, women, older learners and people from industrial areas like St Helens”

    “The government should be doing all it can to ensure that those from the poorest backgrounds reach their full potential. This change would do the opposite, and could make poorer students think twice about going into higher education due to the considerable debts they will rack-up in the process.”

    Angela Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, responding to the scrapping of maintenance grants for loans for lower income students, said:

    “Instead of investing in future generations the Tories are betraying students and making life harder for people from the poorest backgrounds, who would leave university with substantially higher debts than their better-off peers under these plans.

    “Targeting those who are working hard and doing the right thing to better their lot in life leaves the Tories’ claim to back those who want to get on in tatters.

    “The Tories have shown yet again that they’re governing from the shadows, trying to force through the sweeping changes in committee hoping that no one would notice.”

  • Conor urges renewed focus on Ukraine and strongly backs the UK’s role in NATO and the EU

    Conor McGinn MP, has asked the Foreign Secretary for an update on the ongoing political and military conflict in Ukraine.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn asked about the progress of work undertaken by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

    Under the Minsk agreement the OSCE has been given responsibility for monitoring ceasefire arrangements and weapons withdrawal in Donbass.

    Commenting Conor said:

    The recent international focus has rightly been on the refugee crisis and action against ISIL Syria, however, we shouldn’t ignore the continuing conflict on Europe’s own doorstep.

    “The OSCE is doing an important job, and I would like to pay tribute to their personnel who do their work under direct threat due to the continued fighting in Donbass.

    The aggressive posture adopted by Russia towards former Eastern bloc countries shows the need for an effective European defence umbrella. Britain must play a leading role in that, and I believe that is best achieved by our continued membership of NATO and the EU.”

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