• Universal Credit Roll Out

    This week sees the rollout of the Universal Credit Full Service to St Helens.

    The botched rollout has continued despite widespread problems, including the failure of the online system to accept certain kinds of evidence and long waits for an initial payment with delays in processing claims.

    In some other parts of the country, these delays have added to an already lengthy wait for initial payment that is built into the Universal Credit system.

    The Citizens’ Advice Bureau has already highlighted that these delays have placed people at risk of eviction as rent arrears have built up due to the delays.

    Figures from the Trussell trust also show food bank referrals have increased at more than double the national average in areas in which the Universal Credit Full Service has been rolled out.

    The Government must urgently get to grips with these problems and fix Universal Credit so that people in St Helens are not put at risk.

     

  • Eric Bristow

    As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Darts, I was very sad to hear of the death of legendary player Eric Bristow.

    Eric was World Champion five times in the 1980s, dominating the sport and helping so much to popularise darts and take the players of the game from pubs and clubs onto our TV screens and into people’s homes and popular culture.

    I was delighted to host him along in Parliament just last year for our Westminster Darts Tournament.

    Here in St Helens, we are home to some great darts players as well as businesses like A180 Darts and the St Helens Darts Academy.

    Eric played a huge part in making darts what it is today and he will be sadly missed by everyone associated with the sport.

     

  • Rainford Rangers links to Brookvale Young Boys FC

    For almost 25 years, Rainford man Terry Duffy has had a link with a boys football club in the village where I grew up in Northern Ireland.

    Brookvale Young Boys FC have visited Merseyside several times and I was absolutely delighted to hear that Rainford Rangers are making the return visit to county Armagh this weekend.

    I popped up to a training session in Rainford last Sunday to wish the boys well as they embark on their “lads and dads” trip across the water. The club are great ambassadors for the village and the whole of St Helens. As well as visiting Bessbrook, they will be playing teams from Omagh in county Tyrone and Ballybofey in county Donegal.

    Sport has an incredible capacity to bring people together and forge lasting friendships. I am really proud of this strong connection between our community in Rainford in my constituency and the community in Bessbrook where I grew up. Long may it continue!

  • 200 new jobs for St Helens

    It is hugely welcome news and a real boost to our borough that Movianto will be bringing 200 jobs to St Helens.

    The new jobs mean more opportunities and demonstrate that St Helens is very much a place that companies want to locate and do business in.

    It also goes to show just what can be achieved when our council, our local educational institutions and the business community work together with a ‘Team St Helens’ approach.

    St Helens is open for business, and these new jobs are a shot in the arm for the local economy – particularly following the closure of Palmer and Harvey before Christmas.

  • Tory Government plans to slash budgets for fire services

    Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service does a vital job protecting our communities in St Helens and across the region.

    But new figures uncovered by the Fire Brigades Union show that this Tory Government is planning to slash budgets for fire services – with a 12 per cent cut expected for Merseyside in the four years up to 2020.

    These dangerous cuts, which will leave our firefighters with fewer resources, come on top of more than 11,000 firefighter job cuts since 2010.

    The terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower last year underlined the importance of a fully funded fire and rescue service, but the new cuts will run down capabilities and damage morale.

    I’m backing the Fire Brigades Union in calling on the Government to urgently reverse these cuts and protect Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

  • Conor hosts reception in Parliament for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust

    Former coalfield communities up and down the country like the ones I represent in St Helens have seen chronic underinvestment in employment, skills and health since the closure of the pits.

    I hosted a reception in Parliament for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust as they set out their ambitious programme of strategic projects in St Helens and across the country, supporting St Helens Council and local communities and businesses.

    I was delighted that so many Parliamentary colleagues came to support the event, particularly Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

    It is more important than ever to support our coalfield communities so that high skilled and well-paying jobs are available and health and wellbeing are prioritised.

    You can find out more about the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the important work they are doing in St Helens here:

    https://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/where-we-work/england/ See More

     

  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies awareness video

    Dementia with Lewy Bodies – or DLB – affects up to 100,000 people in the UK, but many people are unaware of the condition.

    DLB can cause nightmares, hallucinations, confusion and memory loss, but the condition is often misdiagnosed.

    The Lewy Body Society is raising awareness this winter of DLB, and campaigning for more people to understand and recognise the symptoms.

    For more information on Dementia with Lewy Bodies, you can watch the Lewy Body Society awareness video here.

    https://itnproductions.wistia.com/medias/4uzqqjvgg4

  • Trussell Trust Annual Food Collection

    Conor visited the Tesco store in Earlestown to meet store manager Sam Aldred, Leslie and Linda and to support the Trussell Trust annual food collection, which last year alone collected 3.6 million meals for people in need.

    2,600 Tesco stores across the UK are taking part in the annual Food Collection, which encourages shoppers to donate to The Trussell Trust to support to people who might otherwise go hungry this Christmas in St Helens North.

    People should not have to rely on food banks. However, the Tory Government’s austerity policies are the reality for many people, both in and out of work.

    But thanks to the generosity of many people, those in need will be able to get support through The Trussell Trust’s foodbanks and the work of organisations such as the Hope Centre in St Helens and their volunteers who are working hard to prevent people going hungry at Christmas

  • Palmer and Harvey

    In recent days the Palmer and Harvey company – which has a regional centre in Haydock – went into administration.

    This will result in hundreds of job losses in the constituency and across St Helens and the wider region, which is devastating news for the community just weeks before Christmas.

    Some workers only found out they had lost their jobs when they arrived for their shift and the gates were closed.

    Conor raised this as an urgent matter in Parliament and asked the Business Secretary to intervene and support Conor and the USDAW trade union to stand up for those affected. Since then, Conor has spoken with the administrators PwC. Conor has also spoken to St Helens Chamber of Commerce, which is offering free, in-house re-training and CV writing guidance for any workers who have been made redundant and they can be contacted on 01744 698800.

    Since the announcement Conor has been working with all involved to try and salvage something from this desperate situation.

    It is know known that at least 250 jobs will be lost at the Haydock site and there are huge questions for the company to answer about how this situation arose. Conor intends to pursue those questions in Parliament and by whatever other means necessary, along with MPs in other areas affected and the trade union movement.

    But the priority now is to try and find alternative employment for those affected as quickly as possible and to make sure they receive their full redundancy and associated entitlements where that applies.

    To that end, an event has been organised in St Helens Town Hall this Thursday 7th December at 10am.

    The event will commence with a presentation from the Jobcentre Recruitment Team providing advice and guidance on:
    • Redundancy Rights and Information
    • Financial Information
    • Jobsearch
    • Welfare Benefits
    • Other Options
    • Useful Contacts

    Following the presentation there will be the opportunity to meet some local employers who have current vacancies.
    In addition, Conor has written to the Business Secretary to ask if he can provide a hardship fund for those affected to tide them over from their last pay packet at the end of November to hopefully their next one or at least to help them through the Christmas period. This is especially important for those who have worked for the company for under 2 years and therefore are not eligible for any redundancy pay.

    Conor has also written to the DWP to ask for any benefits claims by those affected to be expedited so they will receive payments before Christmas.

    If you are an affected worker and need more information, you can contact your union rep, the administrators (who assure me they have written to every employee affected) or, if you are a St Helens North constituent, Conors office.

     

  • Haydock Cottage Hospital Memorial

    Conor joined the local community, ward councillors and Mayor Joe Pearson in Haydock for the dedication and unveiling of a memorial to Haydock Cottage Hospital.

    The hospital, which was part funded by local miners making donations from their wages, was opened 120 years ago following the Haydock Wood Pit disaster in 1878 in which over 180 people when killed. At the ceremony, music was played by Haydock Brass Band, as indeed it was at the opening of the hospital in 1886.

    The dedication of the Memorial is a fitting reminder of the hospital and the people who received its care, in particular the many miners from the area, who were working in such dangerous conditions.

    Thanks to Councillor Martin Bond for securing the memorial once the decision had been made to redevelop the hospital site, and then arranging the commemoration event.

    Across the borough of St Helens, there is a proud mining heritage, and Conor is working closely with organisations like the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to preserve and protect these proud traditions as well as investing in our communities for the future.

Page 2 of 2412345...1020...Last »