• Conor says focus should be on effects of poverty not blaming families

    Conor McGinn MP has criticised the Government for increasing levels of poverty and its impact on family stability.

    After a Tory MP asked the Work and Pensions Secretary how family stability affected poverty levels, McGinn turned the question around to ask the Government to explain how increasing levels of poverty under his government are affecting family stability.

    Over the last parliament, average real wages fell by over a thousand pound a year and cuts to Universal Credit that begin in April will see 2.1 million working families £1,600 a year worse off by 2020.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “In my constituency child poverty levels are almost 5% above the national average and recent statistics show that the number of children living in poverty is not decreasing.

    “The government’s failure to make work pay and its cuts to in-work support risk increasing the number of working families in poverty even further.

    “Cuts to Universal Credit that will begin in April will make it almost impossible for families to work their way out of poverty.

    “It is high-time the Tories recognised that we should be working to address the root causes and ensure working families get the support they need, not putting families under increasing pressure.”

  • Conor calls for musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House

    Conor McGinn MP is supporting musicians and film-makers from St Helens North by calling for local artists to enter Parliament’s two largest creative competitions, Rock the House and Film the House.

    The competition, now in its fifth year, offers the opportunity to put local musicians and film-makers in direct contact with the movers and shakers of the two industries and is judged by the leading lights of industry, with prizes ranging from festival slots, studio time and top-notch equipment, the Rock the House and Film the House competitions are a pioneering opportunity to showcase what the constituency has to offer, raising awareness about the importance of Intellectual property (IP) to our creative industries and country.

    Dates for the 2016 competitions are:

    • 1st May, closing date for entries to MPs
    • 31st May, closing date for MPs to announce their constituency nominations
    • 20th June, final battle of the bands
    • 4th July, awards ceremony

    More information on how to apply for each competition can be found at:

    Conor McGinn MP said:

    “I welcome the return of Parliament’s most-hotly contested competitions, and would urge all local musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House. This is an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate our local talent and, as all nominations are judged by industry experts, there is no finer chance for our musicians and film-makers to gain exposure.”

    Rock legend and actor, Alice Cooper said:

    “Rock the House is a great project which celebrates the fantastic diversity of the British music scene and gives musicians a vehicle through which to hold their legislators accountable about protecting the music industry’s intellectual property.”

    For more information on how to enter Rock the House go to www.rockthehouseuk.com;

    and for Film the House www.filmthehouse.com.

  • Conor votes to ‘Keep Sunday Special’

    Conor today voted against new Sunday trading laws sneaked in by the Government under the Enterprise Bill.

    The new proposals will relax rules on Sunday trading and devolve new powers to authorities to take decisions on Sunday trading. The move may lead to retail workers having to work on Sundays instead of spending quality time with their families.

    Retailers comprise 10% of employment in constituencies across the UK and an independent survey of over 10,000 retail staff found that 80% of staff in large stores are working Saturdays and 74% already work on Sundays. 

    Before the General Election, the Prime Minister promised not to relax Sunday trading laws arguing that the “current system provides a reasonable balance between those who wish to see more opportunity to shop in large stores, and those who wish to see further diversity.”

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I oppose longer opening hours for big stores on Sunday.  I am convinced that shops are currently open long enough for people to do their shopping and that Sunday should remain a special day, different to any other.

    “The Sunday Trading Act is a great British compromise, which gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.

    “It’s important that shopworkers are able to enjoy time with their families and the changes proposed by the Government threaten this and do not protect the rights of workers.

    “Changing the Sunday trading laws would be detrimental to shopworkers and their families, as well as wider society, and that is why I am voting against the changes and backing the Keep Sunday Special campaign.”

     

  • Conor and Linda Robson ‘get behind the daffodil’ for Marie Curie this March

    marie curie

    Conor  and actress and presenter Linda Robson have joined forces to ‘get behind the daffodil’ this March and help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

    Conor and Linda were pictured together with Marie Curie Nurses, Leonie Christian and Elisabeth Goze, at a parliamentary event in Westminster to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

    Conor pledged his support to the appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug and WHSmiths shops, and Wyevale garden centres, during March.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I am proud to be backing such an important campaign and would like to pay tribute to the important work done by the nurses who provide invaluable care and support.

    “High quality palliative care services should be widely available and we should be giving as much support as we can to the Marie Curie Nurses.

    “I encourage people in my constituency to give a small donation and wear the Marie Curie daffodil pin to help raise as much money as possible.”

    Linda, who plays Tracey in the hit television show Birds of a Feather, and co-presents ITVs Loose Women, is a long-time supporter of Marie Curie, having experienced first-hand the vital work of the charity.  She said: “Our mum Rita was cared for by Marie Curie and we could never have coped without their constant support and care in her final months.  Our family still cannot put into words just how grateful we are.”

    “I’m delighted to be here with Conor to help launch the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal – and to thank personally Leonie and Elisabeth for their incredible care and support when we needed them the most.”

    Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Having the support of Conor and Linda makes a huge difference to Marie Curie in terms of raising awareness about what we do and helping us to reach more people who need us.

    “We know that seven out of 10 carers say people with a terminal illness don’t get all the care and support they need. We don’t think that’s good enough. That’s why we are asking MPs to commit to ensuring that everyone has the right to palliative care when they need it and help support our annual fundraising appeal.”

    “Our services rely on charitable donations, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin during March.”

    The money raised from the Great Daffodil Appeal will help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones at home and in one of the charity’s nine hospices.”

    To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie has also published a new report which shows that people living with blood or brain cancer – which together account for around 10% of all cancer deaths annually – are more likely to miss out on care and support focussed on providing relief from symptoms, pain and emotional stress. The report, backed by Bloodwise and the Brain Tumour Charity, argues that all people with cancer should have their palliative care needs assessed when they are first diagnosed.

    For more information about the Great Daffodil Appeal and to volunteer to collect for Marie Curie, please call 0845 601 3107* or visit mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil.  To donate £5 text *DAFF to 70111 or call 0800 716 146 and donate over the phone.

  • Conor welcomes mental health taskforce report and calls for swift implementation

    Conor McGinn MP has urged the Government to implement the recommendations of the mental health taskforce report.

    Speaking in Parliament, Conor welcomed the taskforce’s comprehensive report, and urged the Government implement all of the recommendations in full.

    The taskforce report, The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, was published earlier this month. The report puts forward recommendations to ensure mental health issues are treated on a par with physical health issues in the NHS.

    According to Public Health England 16.8% of people in St Helens have reported suffering from depression and anxiety. In the UK one in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “The way we treat people who have mental health problems needs to change, and I welcome the report’s recommendations that seek to ensure they are treated on a par with physical health.

    “People in my constituency and across the UK who suffer from mental health problems should have access to comprehensive treatment on the NHS and should not feel stigmatised.

    “That there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of mental health problems is of real concern, and the recommendations in the report need to be implemented sooner rather than later.”

     

  • 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.”

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