• Conor welcomes latest u-turn by Justice Secretary and calls on Govt to abandon plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

    Conor McGinn MP has welcomed the Justice Secretary’s u-turn on legal aid and called on the Government to drop plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn pointed out that Government Ministers had recently changed their minds on Saudi prison contracts, a book ban for prisoners, the criminal courts charge and had now scrapped plans to change legal aid.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “I’m glad the Government has scrapped plans to cut legal aid. It is important that people regardless of their means have access to the justice system.

    “However, this is the latest in a long list of u-turns from the Tories who appear to be making it up as they go along.

    “The government should now scrap plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. No one knows what they plan to replace the Human Rights Act with and it’s clear that repealing the law will weaken British people’s rights, particularly workers.

    “The Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights are fundamental to our democracy and I will continue to fight to ensure people’s rights are protected.”

  • Conor: police cuts affect police officers as well as the public

    Conor McGinn MP has raised concerns over the impact that cuts to police budgets have had on the morale of police officers.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn noted that a survey towards the end of last year undertaken by the Police Federation found that more than three-quarters of police officers suffered from low morale and did not feel valued.

    As a result of the latest Police Grant Settlement many police forces will now have to find further savings. Merseyside Police force alone is set to face a budget deficit of £5.4 million in 2016/2017.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “Police officers in Merseyside and across the UK play a vital role in keeping our communities safe, often putting their own personal safety at risk.

    “Research by the Police Federation that shows over three-quarters of officers do not feel valued and suffer from low morale is seriously worrying.

    “The huge cuts to police budgets by this Tory government are not only affecting the ability of forces to operate, but are also having a detrimental impact on police officers as they come under increasing pressure.

    “The Tories recent blunder on police grants means that unfortunately the problem is likely to be exacerbated as forces are required to make further savings.

    “It’s high time the Government treated our men and women police officers with the respect they deserve, ensuring our forces are properly funded and looking after the welfare of those who serve our community.”

  • Conor: Magistrates Court closure will deny access to justice for St Helens North residents

    Conor McGinn MP, responding to the announcement that St Helens Magistrates Court is to close, said:

    “This is bad news for the town and for residents of St Helens North.

    “We await further and final details from the Ministry of Justice, but it would appear that the functions of the Court will move to Liverpool.

    “Many appointments at Court are often first thing in the morning, and without access to adequate transport attendance will simply be unfeasible for many of my constituents. This is particularly the case for the people who live in places like Rainford, Billinge, Moss Bank and Haydock and rural areas, who have to travel just to reach direct bus and rail services to Liverpool.

    “Added to that, the cost of the train or bus to Liverpool will also have an impact on vulnerable people in my constituency whether they are victims, witnesses or defendants. Someone’s financial means should not affect their ability to access the justice system.

    “Today’s announcement is another attempt by the Tory Government to denigrate the status of St Helens as a major town in the North West. We must not let them succeed.”

    The link to Conor’s court consultation response in full and recent parliamentary question on the courthouse can be found below:

    http://www.conormcginn.co.uk/conor-campaigns-to-keep-st-helens-courthouse-open

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-26b.147.6

  • Conor is joining with Citizens Advice to help people in North West save money

    CAB 2

    Conor McGinn MP is encouraging people living in North West to be one step ahead with their finances by getting help from Citizens Advice.

    Conor met people from across the charity’s network at an event in Parliament on Tuesday 2 February. He heard about how local Citizens Advice are working with people across England and Wales to help them work out a budget, save money on bills and build confidence using online and mobile banking.

    Together with Citizens Advice, the MP for St Helens North is inviting local people to try out five tips to help them keep on top of their bills and save money.

    Citizens Advice helped 2579 people in North West improve their financial skills between April 2014 and March 2015.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “We can all benefit from being one step ahead with our finances.

    “Developing money management skills can give a real sense of security and helps put you in charge of your money, keep on top of bills and avoid unaffordable debt.

    “I work closely with Citizens Advice in my constituency on many issues. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve their money management skills to contact their local Citizens Advice.”

    Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

    “Managing your money better can help keep your family and home secure.

    “Getting help with planning a budget can put people in a better position to pay for daily costs and cope with sudden expenses such as emergency car repairs. Shopping around and negotiating with energy and broadband suppliers can also help to reduce your bills.

    “Anyone looking to save money on their day-to-day costs can get help from their local Citizens Advice or checking our website www.citizensadvice.org.uk.”

    The five tips are:

    • Build your budget – List your regular income and spending to help stay on top of your money and save for unexpected costs or the future. You can use the Citizens Advice online Budgeting Tool.
    • Drill those bills – Check with your energy provider that you are on the best deal. Ask your local Citizens Advice if they are running Energy Best Deal group advice sessions or use Citizens Advice’s price comparison tool for help cutting your energy bills.
    • Control your credit – If you have debts, keep a list of them and compare it with your monthly budget. If you think you will struggle to pay some of them, ask your local Citizens Advice for help negotiating with your creditors.
    • Plan your pension – If you are able to, you should top up your State Pension with your own pension to make sure you’ll have enough money to see you through retirement. Pension Wise offers free, impartial guidance if you are over 50 and on a defined contribution scheme.
    • Seek advice – Citizens Advice offers free, impartial advice on money management and other issues. However, for more complex issues like buying a house or considering investments, you may wish to consider paying to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser. Organisations like the Personal Finance Society can help you get in touch with Independent Financial Advisers.

     

  • Conor: We will keep up the pressure on Government to introduce Helen’s Law

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    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, today accompanied Marie McCourt and her family to a meeting with the Victims Minister and then to Downing Street, where he helped deliver a petition to the Prime Minister calling on him to introduce Helen’s Law, which has been signed by over 320,000 people.

    Yesterday, the Parole Board recommended that Helen McCourt’s murderer be transferred to an open prison. In response to that and today’s events, the Prisons Minister has asked the Parole Board to review its guidelines in relation to the sentencing and release of convicted murderers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victims remains.

    Speaking outside No. 10 Downing Street, Conor said:

    “Marie made her case with characteristic decency and dignity. She is an extraordinary woman who despite enduring the most awful suffering is dedicated to helping others. The Victims Minister listened carefully and responded positively.

    “The priority for me now is to ensure that the Secretary of State for Justice is fully informed of all the facts around Helen McCourt’s case before making the final decision about whether her murderer is to be transferred to an open prison.

    “I also welcome the fact that the Prisons Minister has responded to the overwhelming public support for our campaign to introduce Helen’s Law, and has asked the parole board to review the guidelines around convicted murderers who refuse to reveal the location of their victims’ remains.

    “I want to see immediate progress on this and I will be keeping the pressure on the Government so that victims and their families get the justice they deserve.”

  • Conor stands up to Tory Minister to defend jobs and services in the North of England

    Conor McGinn MP has criticised Business Minister, Anna Soubry, for her comments on public service and jobs in the North of England.

    Speaking in Parliament after Labour MPs demanded Tory Ministers came to the House of Commons to answer questions about the closure of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse office in Sheffield, McGinn criticised the Minister for showing little sympathy for the workers losing their jobs and praised the hard work done by local councils in the North.

    He also spoke of the negative impact of the public sector cuts implemented by Government.

    Commenting McGinn said:

    “People are losing jobs and the Minister hasn’t shown a shred of sympathy or regret.

    “It’s incredible that the Government is closing its main office in the North of England where civil servants working on the Northern Powerhouse are based.

    “Local councils like my own in St Helens are working hard to promote investment and develop the private sector in our areas. But this Government’s public sector cuts mean that jobs are being lost now across the North and critical and public services are being put at risk.

    “How can the Tories claim to be building a Northern Powerhouse when they’ve abandoned British steel, have reneged on their promise to invest in the North and now are even sacking their own Northern Powerhouse workforce?”

  • Conor calls for progress on transport smart ticketing system

    Conor McGinn MP asked Transport Minister to provide an update on progress towards the introduction of a smart ticketing system for the North.

    Speaking in Parliament, McGinn raised concerns that many of his constituents who live in the MerseyTravel area but travel to work outside pay more because of travel area boundaries.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “Many of my constituents who travel to work in places like Wigan, Warrington and Manchester effectively pay a levy on their commute.

    “Those who travel outside of the MerseyTravel area for work are unnecessarily out of pocket because of an arbitrary transport boundaries.

    “If this Tory government is serious about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ then the prompt introduction of a smart ticketing system and the end of arbitrary boundaries would be a priority. Transport for the North are taking steps in the right direction and Ministers in London should support them however they can.”

  • Conor says Chancellor’s cuts put 2675 supported homes in St Helens North at risk

    This week Conor and fellow Labour MPs called a vote to halt Conservative plans to cut housing benefit support for thousands of elderly and vulnerable people across the country, which could put at risk 2675 homes in St Helens North.

    Supported housing provides specialist care for groups including the elderly, the homeless, disabled people, veterans, people with mental health problems, young people leaving care and women fleeing domestic violence.

    Experts say that across the country 156,000 supported homes are at risk of closure due to the Chancellor’s cuts.

    In Parliament Labour called on George Osborne to exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and to consult with charities, councils and housing associations to safeguard this vital accommodation. However, Conservative MPs voted down Labour’s motion to protect these homes.

    Conor McGinn MP said:

    “These cuts will hit the most vulnerable in our community and shows just how out of the touch the Tories are.

    “That 2675 supported homes will be put at risk in my constituency is simply unacceptable.

    “We should be doing all we can to help those most vulnerable in society, not making life more difficult for them.

    “This is more of the same from a Tory government whose woeful housing policy is making large swathes of the country unaffordable for low income households to live.”

    John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Housing, said:

    “George Osborne’s crude cuts to housing benefit could force the closure of thousands of specialist homes for vulnerable people across the country.

    “This would be a catastrophe for those who can least afford it. There is no way these people or the organisations who support them could make up the yawning shortfall these cuts are set to open up.

    “Labour is calling on the Chancellor to urgently exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and consult fully with the organisations that provide this vital accommodation.”

  • Conor accuses Tories of public service ‘theft’ & says Merseyside Fire Service can’t suffer more cuts

    Conor McGinn MP, speaking in the House of Commons, has highlighted what he called the ‘theft’ of public services from the people of St Helens North, and criticised cuts to the fire service.

    Speaking in a debate in Parliament, about funding for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, McGinn criticised the government for further cuts planned to the fire service. He also paid tribute to the fire authority and senior management team for mitigating the worst effects of the cuts, and commended the FBU for their constructive approach in defending their members.

    Following a consultation period it seems likely that both Eccleston station and St Helens fire station will be closed, with a new station built to serve both areas. There are expected to be 22 job losses as a result.

    Speaking after the debate Conor said:

    “Over the past five years, £20 million has been taken from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, with a further £6.3 million to be found this financial year.

    “The authority, senior management and those at the Fire Brigades Union are doing great job coping with huge scale of these cuts and mitigating the worst effects.

    “This Tory government seems intent on implementing public sectors cuts to the point where critical and public services are at put at risk.

    “The Tories call it savings. I call it theft. They are taking from the people of St Helens, Merseyside and the north-west of England what is rightfully theirs: their public services. Public services that have been paid for by their taxes, built by their hands and staffed by their hard work.

    “Firefighters and their families represent all that is best about our public services and communities, and I will continue to fight to protect our public services.”

  • 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.

     

     

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