• ‘Back Your Local Bookie’ campaign

    The ‘Back Your Local Bookie’ campaign by the Association of British Bookmakers has successfully highlighted positive stories from staff and customers about their local betting shops. There is a long history of betting shops in many communities, and I appreciate that they make a significant tax contribution. I particularly agree that staff who work in betting shops should be supported and I have consistently backed efforts to improve the safety of UK betting shops for staff and customers. The success and sustainability of our high streets is also important. For generations, high streets have been at the heart of our communities – centres that bring people together and define the character of a place. However, in recent years the economic downturn and changing shopping patterns have left our high streets under pressure. As you may be aware, the Government is reviewing the maximum stakes and prizes for gaming machines; the number and location of gaming machines; and social responsibility measures to protect players from gambling-related harm. I welcome this review and have long believed local communities should have more power to shape their high streets. I appreciate there are strongly held views on these matters and I hope that the Government will carefully consider all views that were raised in its recent consultation on this.

  • Cuts to Employment Support Allowance

    Constituents have been contacting me recently regarding planned cuts to financial support for new claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment Support Allowance. I share those concern about this issue and am very disappointed that the level of support for new claimants in the WRAG is set to be reduced by around £30 a week from April 2017. This will see disabled people in the ESA WRAG group lose around £1,500 a year. During the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, I opposed this unfair measure, as I believe it will hurt vulnerable people who through no fault of their own are suffering from serious illnesses and are in and out of work intermittently. I also believe it risks creating a perverse incentive for people with health problems to be placed in the more expensive Support Group of ESA, thereby making is less likely they will receive help and support to return to work and potentially increase social security costs. While various discretionary funds may be available, there is no guarantee of support and I am therefore concerned that the cuts to ESA will increase the numbers of disabled people living in poverty, threatening their health and wellbeing. I believe, like the NHS, our social security system should be there for all of us in our time of need, based on principles of inclusion, support and security for all, assuring us of our dignity. Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I can assure you I will continue to stand up for a welfare state that is there to support people when they need it most, and will press for a full reversal of the planned reductions to ESA.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

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