• Conor McGinn backs bid for St Helens regeneration funding

    Conor McGinn backs bid for St Helens regeneration funding

    Local MP Conor McGinn has pledged to work with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) and back its bid to secure £40 million in funding – helping communities in St Helens.

    The Trust supports former coalfield communities and invests in jobs and skills, and St Helens will stand to gain if the funding bid is successful.

    Four in ten people in St Helens live in the top 20 per cent of most deprived neighbourhoods in the country – making it a priority areas for regeneration funding.

    On top of this, 23 per cent of people in St Helens have a limiting long-term illness, compared to the national average of 18 per cent.

    Under plans set out by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the new funding will assist 10,000 young people into work and help a further 200,000 people access sports and fitness projects.

    Throughout the country, an estimated 5.5 million people live in former coalfield communities – one in ten across England.

    Commenting, Mr McGinn said:

    “Communities in St Helens face higher levels of deprivation and rates of long term illness than the national average.

    “As a former coalfield community, it’s important that St Helens benefits from central government regeneration funding, which is why I am proud to back the important work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and support their bid for £40 million of funding.

    “Jobs, skills and training are all vital for our communities and it is important the Government invests in our young people through regeneration funding – here in St Helens and across other former coalfield communities.”

    Coalfields Regeneration Trust Chairman Peter McNestry added:

    “People may think that £40 million is a lot of money to ask for, but when you consider the scale of the challenges that still remain, it requires this level of ambition if we are to make the significant and lasting impacts needed.

    “We know that we can deliver a social return on investment of £10 for every £1 spent. There is no other organisation in the country that could achieve this in our communities.”

     

  • Conor gives his support to St Helens libraries and Libraries Week

    Conor McGinn visited Moss Bank and Haydock libraries as he praised dedicated library staff in St Helens and threw his support behind Libraries Week.

    Over the last week, local libraries have showcased the creativity, innovation and diversity they offer. In St Helens, the activities range from tea and talk events, family reading sessions, examining the Borough archives and Read and Rhyme sessions that introduce children to the fun of reading.

    Conor said: “Libraries Week is a wonderful showcase for all that our libraries have to offer thanks to the efforts of their dedicated staff. As well as their traditional role, our award-winning library service is a key partner in tackling social exclusion and isolation by giving people a place to meet and socialise.

    “We have also seen our libraries used as venues for top quality arts and drama productions and exhibitions through the Cultural Hubs programme. Like thousands of constituents, I and my family have enjoyed using our library service which is an invaluable asset, and Libraries Week gives us the opportunity to shout about its success and importance to our communities.”

  • St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School Celebrates 60 Years

    It was lovely to join staff, pupils, parents and the community of St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in Parr at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King for a Diamond Jubilee Celebration Mass of Thanksgiving.

    The service is just one of the events being held to mark the school’s 60th anniversary and to celebrate the part its staff, students – past and present – and the wider community have played in the school’s journey and success.

    I want to particularly thank headteacher Mrs Catherine Twist for inviting me to take part in this special event to mark the school’s Diamond Jubilee year, and to Archbishop Malcolm McMahon for his warm welcome to all of us to the Cathedral.

    St Cuthbert’s has been an important part of our community since its opening in 1957 and in adding my congratulations to the school for reaching this important milestone, I would particularly like to thank all the current staff and governors, and many others in similar roles over the last 60 years, who have been dedicated to providing young people in the area with a good education, an ethos of care and community, and strong values to take forward in to adult life.

  • Conor marks first anniversary of ‘Helen’s Law’ Bill with demand for urgent Government action

    Conor  has written to Theresa May to express the unhappiness of victims’ families with the Government’s failure to bring in a new “no body, no parole” law for convicted murderers.

    Conors proposed new law would prevent the release from jail of killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victims’ bodies.

    He is fighting for Helen’s Law to get justice for his constituent Marie McCourt whose daughter Helen was murdered in 1988.  Despite her killer’s conviction, Helen’s body has never been found.

    Conor has stepped up the campaign ahead of the first anniversary today (Wednesday October 11) of his parliamentary battle to change the law with his Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill.

    In his letter to the PM, Conor said: “I must report the immense sense of frustration and continued sense of injustice that victims are feeling at the lack of progress.”

    He urged the Prime Minister to work with him to get Helen’s Law on to the statute book as swiftly as possible to ease the torment endured by Marie McCourt and many other families.

    Helen McCourt was killed at the age of 22 by Ian Simms, the landlord of a pub where she had worked as a barmaid. She disappeared close to her home in Billinge in Mr McGinn’s constituency of St Helens North on February 9 1988.

    Simms, then aged 31, was found guilty of murder in a landmark conviction based on overwhelming DNA evidence – even though Helen’s body was never found.

    Since Helen’s death, Simms has continued to torment Marie McCourt by refusing to explain what happened to Helen’s body.

    His callous silence has denied Marie and her relatives the chance to grieve properly and give Helen a proper funeral.

    Marie has described that unimaginable distress and the prospect that she could die before discovering the whereabouts of her daughter as “a special kind of torture”.

    More than 400,000 people have signed a petition backing Helen’s Law which would help grieving families give their loved ones a proper funeral.

    The new law would help people like Marie and others suffering similar ordeals, likethe parents of murdered schoolgirl Danielle Jones, who vanished from a bus stop in 2001, and relatives of Carole Packman who was killed in 1985.

     

    According to Home Office figures, there have been at least 30 murders since 2007 in England and Wales where no body has been recovered.

    “Throughout her ordeal, Marie has shown dignity and courage while continuing to fight for justice.

     “Yet, despite his cruel silence, her daughter’s killer could soon be released from jail. That would be a terrible injustice.

     “Helen’s Law would mean that if a killer refused to give information about the location of a victim’s body, they would not be considered eligible for parole and would remain behind bars.

     “Despite the huge support of more than 400,000 people, the Government is in danger of being seen to be dragging its feet and risks betraying victims’ families and those like Marie who are being denied the justice they deserve.”

  • Conor elected as officer of all party group on childcare and early education

    Conor has been elected as an officer of an influential new group at Westminster, the Childcare and Early Education All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The group will spearhead efforts to improve childcare and early education across the country.

    The move comes after Conor – a father of two pre-school aged children himself – revealed new figures about the number of local children who are missing out on free childcare in St Helens.

    In St Helens, almost one in five (19%) of two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out on 15 hours free childcare, according to the latest official Government figures.

    That means around 136 two-year-olds in St Helens from disadvantaged backgrounds are not getting the free childcare they need.

    Commenting, Conor said: “The Government is already failing to fund its promise to provide 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

    “The latest figures show that many two-year-olds in St Helens are not even getting 15 hours of free childcare.

    “The Tories are letting down families who most need help with childcare, as well as childcare providers who are struggling to meet costs.

    “I hope that, together with Parliamentary colleagues, I can use this new group to press the Government to strengthen early education for children in St Helens and across the country.”

    Of the £9.1 billion spent on childcare and early education in this Parliament, just £250 million is earmarked for the most disadvantaged children.

    Around three in 10 disadvantaged two-year-olds are still missing out on a free childcare place – despite new evidence to show that this can have a marked impact on their development.

  • Conor welcomes the commencement of work on Pasture Lane

    Residents in Rainford will be relieved that works on Pasture Lane have finally commenced.

    I first approached the Government for help just a few days after the flooding caused serious damage to the road and forced its closure at the end of 2015.

    Local people have had to endure 20 months of waiting because Tory Ministers in London wouldn’t release the funding needed to make these repairs.

    I pay tribute to the local community for their persistent campaigning on this issue and thank St Helens Council for its role in securing funding.

    I will continue to monitor the works over the following weeks to ensure they are completed to a high standard and on time.

  • Conor campaigning for transport improvements in St Helens North

    Conor McGinn has stepped up his campaign for urgent transport improvements in St Helens and across the North West.

    St Helens North MP Conor also accused Government ministers of backtracking on pledges to invest in transport as part of the Northern Powerhouse project.

    He spoke out following a major summit to discuss Cross Rail North and wider transport investment for the Northern Powerhouse held in Leeds.

    Conor accused the Government of pouring cash into London’s £30 billion Crossrail 2 project at the expense of the North West and appearing to water down a previous commitment for the full electrification of the Trans Pennine Line.

    He is also demanding assurances about progress on improvements at Newton-le-Willows station, plans to upgrade Garswood station and the proposed improvements at junction 23 of the M6 motorway.

    Conor said: “Yet again the Government is snubbing the North West at the expense of London and the South East.

    “We desperately need good transport links to help drive economic growth in St Helens and across the North with improvements from West to East from Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

    “It is these transport improvements that will increase jobs and prosperity for St Helens and Merseyside – not the proposed HS2 rail link or London’s Crossrail 2.

    “We need the Northern and Trans Pennine Express operations to deliver better connections between Merseyside and other economic centres in the region.

    “The Government should shift its focus away from London to other cities and towns like St Helens that are crying out for better transport connections.”

  • Conor supporting constituents facing “rip off” Leasehold charges

    Conor McGinn, St Helens North MP, has vowed to continue fighting for people being forced to pay “rip off” leasehold charges.

    His pledge came after the Government responded to the campaign supported by Conor and Parliamentary colleagues to stop leasehold exploitation.

    It announced plans to ban the sale of houses leasehold and set the ground rent for new flats at a peppercorn level.

    Conor welcomed the Government’s response to the campaign, but said more must be done to help those who had already bought properties and faced exorbitant leasehold charges.

    He took up the case of dozens residents in St Helens North who are among the many households across the North West who have been hit by the unjust fees.

    Commenting, Conor said: “The Government’s response to our demands for action is not before time. Urgent action is needed to stop these rip-off charges.

    “But we must also help those who have already bought a home and are being ruthlessly exploited through these unjust, sky-high charges.

    “I am helping a number of constituents who have contacted me over this issue and I will continue to fight for justice on their behalf.

    “For those people already trapped in this leasehold nightmare, the promise of Government action in future is not a solution.

    “I will be pressing ministers to end these unfair charges as swiftly as possible and to help those who have already been hit by these exorbitant charges.”

    Among those who have contacted Conor are those who have been hit with huge ground rent increases and others who found developers had sold on the freehold to their flats to a third party without informing them.

    In other cases, householders were told they would have to pay thousands of pounds just to have their plans for an extension reviewed.

  • 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.”

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