• 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.

  • Conor welcomes Labour’s candidate for Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP to St Helens

    Rotheram Visit 2 Rotheram Visit 1

    Conor welcomed Labour’s candidate for Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP, to St Helens to see plans for a new housing scheme in Parr and meet local community activists from re:new.

    The Torus housing development at Chancery Lane will provide over 30 homes for those aged 55 and above. The scheme will also offer support to meet the needs of those forced to move home due to recent housing benefit cuts.

    The re:new neighbourhood management project in Parr is a joint initiative between St Helens Council and Helena Partnerships. It aims to create better places to live and to improve the quality of life for local residents.

    Commenting after the visit, Conor said:

    “It was great to have Steve and John visit St Helens and see some of the impressive community development and housing projects like this one in Parr.

    “It and others like it will provide a much-needed boost in housing quality and supply for the local area.

    “Merseyside is bearing the brunt of Tory cuts to supported housing and local government, as well as imposition of the bedroom tax. In addition, this Government has ended funding for remedial work to make contaminated land fit for development, which has a hugely negative impact on industrial areas like Parr.

    “Despite this we are lucky to have a strong community ethos across St Helens, and I pay tribute to people like Bernie and many other volunteers and activists like her who continue to work hard to improve neighbourhoods and make life better for local residents.”

  • Conor backs International Women’s Day

    IWD

    Conor McGinn MP has backed International Women’s Day and called for the Chancellor to deliver a Spring Budget that works for women.

    International Women’s Day, held on 8 March, marks a celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women.

    This year the 2017 Spring Budget falls on International Women’s Day and Conor and Labour are calling on the government to guarantee a budget that works for women.

    As of the 2016 Autumn Statement, 86% of the net gains to the treasury through tax and benefit measures had come from women, with a disproportionate impact on women from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

    Labour have announced a twelve month consultation on a new Economic Equality Bill. This Bill will aim to strengthen legislation around equal pay and tackle the structural and economic barriers that stop women, BAME communities and disabled people from reaching their full potential.

    Commenting, Conor said:

    “Tory cuts have hit women the hardest and it is high time they put in place policies to change this – that’s why I’m calling on the Chancellor to deliver a budget that works for women.

    “Much progress has been made in the battle for gender equality but this government are turning back the clock on economic equality for women.

    “That the gender pay gap is still 18.1% for full-time workers is shocking and much more needs to be done to ensure women are on equal economic footing.

    “I will work with Labour colleagues to hold the Government to account and to introduce an Economic Equality Bill to tackle structural and economic barriers.”

  • Conor McGinn calls for Government U-turn on decision to scrap bursaries for student nurses and midwives

    STP

    Conor has called on the Government to drop its plans to abolish bursaries for student nurses and midwives.

    NHS bursaries are due to be scrapped from August in a move that could leave students paying tuition fees of more than £9,000 and forced to rely on student loans.

    But Conor is fighting the move which he warned would only worsen the recruitment crisis which had meant local hospitals are forced to rely more heavily on agency nurses to plug staffing gaps.

    His demand comes after it was revealed last year that St Helens Care Commissioning Group faced a £12.5 million shortfall in its funding.

    Conor is backing a Labour campaign for a Government U-turn over the plan to scrap the bursaries for student nurses amid fears it could worsen NHS staffing problems across Merseyside.

    Latest national figures show that students are already avoiding nursing degrees because of the extra financial burden on them.  Almost 10,000 fewer would-be nurses have applied for university courses – 23 per cent fewer than last year.

    Commenting, Conor said:

    “There has already been a big drop in the number of people applying to become nurses which is likely to have a damaging impact on healthcare in St Helens and elsewhere.

    “That should be a wake-up call to the government which needs to rethink these badly flawed plans to abolish bursaries.

    “We have seen the huge pressure that the NHS is under in St Helens and this ill-judged decision by the Government will just make matters worse.

    “With Britain leaving the EU, we will need home-trained nurses more than ever.  But the government’s decision is likely to worsen the staff shortages already faced by many hospitals.”

  • Conor McGinn steps up campaign to get a better deal for St Helens ex-miners

    Miners letter

    Conor McGinn, St Helens North MP, is demanding a far better deal for former mine workers from St Helens and across the region.

    He has joined Gloria DePiero MP in writing to the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) to call for a meeting to review an arrangement that has deprived ex-miners of billions of pounds.

    Under an agreement made by the Tory Government and the trustees of the British Coal pensions schemes in 1994, 50 per cent of the surplus made by the MPS goes to the Government.

    Since 1994, it has made £3.36bn from the scheme – despite making no contributions, even when the scheme was in deficit.

    Mr McGinn is working with the National Union of Mineworkers and MPs from coalfield communities to get a fairer deal for ex-miners.

    Commenting, Mr McGinn said:

    “Thousands of miners from St Helens and Lancashire and across the North West worked hard in difficult and dangerous conditions to build up a pension pot for their retirement.

    “I believe they or their widows and families should have a much greater share of the huge surplus that has been built up.

    “We will keep fighting for them. The Government might want to forget the contribution these men made, but we won’t. Victory to the Miners.”

  • Conor backs law change to tackle police assaults

    Conor policeHolly Lynch

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, has co-sponsored a Bill which would put in place measures to protect police officers, fire and rescue service workers, paramedics, doctors and nurses.

    The Crime (Assaults on Emergency Service Staff) Bill is led by the Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch and sponsored by Mr McGinn and nine other MPs. The Bill would make certain offences, including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault, aggravated when perpetrated against a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, doctor or nurse in the execution of their duty.

    It would also require someone who spits at an emergency responder to provide a blood sample to rule out the risk of having transmitted a communicable disease, or face a fine and custodial sentence for refusing to do so.

    Mr McGinn has previously called for tougher sentences for criminals assaulting police officers after he obtained figures for the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy. The figures showed that 584 Merseyside police officers were assaulted in the year 2015-2016 which represented one in six of the force’s 3,635 officers.

    This week the Police Federation of England and Wales released the results of their latest welfare survey data which suggest that there were more than two million (2,113,602) unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12 month period, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon.

    Speaking after the Bill was presented in Parliament, Conor McGinn MP said:

    “The amount of assaults and intimidation faced by our emergency services workers is truly shocking.

    “It seems clear that something needs to be done to better protect emergency workers and it for this reason that I am proud to support and sponsor Holly’s Bill.

    “I know from my regular meetings with the police officers and representatives from the Police Federation, as well as medics and firefighters what a difficult and often dangerous job they do. They deserve our utmost respect.

    “We need tough sentences to protect those who protect us and show that attacks against emergency service workers will not be tolerated.

    “This Bill will help protect those providing vital services against violent attacks and other forms of intimidation.

    “I hope the Government take note and act now to ensure police officers and emergency service workers are properly protected.”

  • Conor fights for ex-miners and families hit by rule change on compensation claims for killer disease

    parkside

    Conor is calling on the Government to reverse a “despicable” rule change that makes it harder for ex-miners and their relatives to claim compensation for potentially fatal lung disease.

     

    The St Helens North MP is calling for a rethink from ministers amid fears that former miners and their families could miss out on a vital cash lifeline.

     

    Thousands of miners contracted pneumoconiosis – also known as miner’s lung or black lung – after breathing in coal dust at work.

     

    Under the 1974 Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Scheme (CWPS), ex-miners, as well as their widows or family members, are able to claim for compensation for their illnesses.

     

    But Mr McGinn has warned that a change in the rules for making compensation claims could affect thousands of families of ex-miners in St Helens and across the region.

     

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which administers the scheme, has ruled that the relatives of deceased miners will be forced to include a Grant of Probate with any compensation claim.

     

    The change will make claiming compensation harder because families are likely to have to pay for solicitor or legal advice to get the Grant of Probate – a legal document which proves they have the right to deal with the deceased miner’s assets and administer their estate.

     

    Mr McGinn has thrown his support behind a House of Commons motion calling for a U-turn on the rule change amid fears that it is a move to cut the cash paid out under the compensation scheme.

     

    Commenting, St Helens North MP Mr McGinn said:

     

    “These changes look like an effort by the Government to cut the amount of compensation paid out under the scheme by making it harder to make a successful claim.

     

    “Thousands of hard working miners and their families have been affected by this awful disease because of the difficult and dangerous job they did, including those who worked in local pits like Parkside.

     

    “ It seems the Government is trying to stop ex-miners and the relatives who look after them getting the compensation they deserve.

     

    “It is a despicable attack on those who are suffering with a terminal illness.  The decision to change the rules should be reversed as a matter of urgency.

    Details and full text of the Early Day Motion that Conor is supporting here:

    https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/348/

  • Conor calls for bedroom tax to be scrapped and praises families after Supreme Court ruling

    bedroom-tax-jpg

    Conor reiterated his call for the bedroom tax to be scrapped, following the Supreme Court ruling that the bedroom tax is unfair and discriminatory.

    Last week, a woman who has spina bifida and a couple who look after their severely-disabled grandson won their Supreme Court appeals against the bedroom tax. The court ruled that the government’s changes to housing benefit discriminated against them.

    Since April 2013, housing benefit for people in the social rented sector deemed to have a spare bedroom has been reduced by 14%. In the North West over 63,000 homes have been affected and over 2000 households in St Helens.

    In 2013 the Government gave local authorities more funding for discretionary housing payments, in part to allow them to cover the costs of the bedroom tax in some instances. Statistics from DWP in July showed that 40% of all local authorities had spent all the money allocated to them.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I would like to pay tribute to all the families for their tireless work on bringing this issue to court. The true cruelty of the Tories bedroom tax has been exposed.

    “The bedroom tax is a cruel and unnecessary policy. And the Government have failed to provide adequate funding for local authorities to mitigate the worst effects.

    “As a result, the ill-thought-out and callous bedroom tax punishes low-income social housing tenants and those most vulnerable in our society.

    “A Labour Government would scrap the disgraceful bedroom tax, ending the misery faced by people in my constituency and across the country.”

  • Conor calls for real living wage

    living-wage

    One of the great legacies of the last Labour Government is the National Minimum Wage. Introduced in the teeth of opposition from the Tories, it raised the wages of millions of workers and helped improve living standards for families across the country.

    In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign – even calling it the ‘National Living Wage’.

    Yet the government’s ‘National Living Wage’ is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. It is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Under current forecasts, this means a rise to less than £9 per hour by 2020.

    This is unacceptable. I want to see a statutory REAL Living Wage which independent forecasts put this at over £10/hour in 2020.

    Labour’s REAL Living Wage will reflect the cost of living. It is about ensuring what households need to survive & doesn’t take account of possible employment effects. Labour’s REAL Living Wage will be an independent economic calculation based on the cost of living and adjusted for inflation.

    Moreover, Labour’s REAL Living Wage is just one aspect of our plan to tackle low pay. Only a Labour Government can deliver the industrial strategy to rebuild and transform Britain – to address wage stagnation, inequality, regional imbalance and provide investment support in those areas like St Helens which have been hardest hit by economic decline and austerity.

    Paying a living wage makes a real difference to workers and employers, their families and the wider community. I recognise the challenges of becoming a Living Wage employer, but it’s a challenge we need to help more organisations meet, if workers and their families are to live, and not just get by. I am delighted to see more and more employers in St Helens and across the country become living wage employers.

    Decent pay is not just fundamentally right, it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Britain.

     

  • Conor demands action after shock figures show Merseyside children lose out on Government education cash

    Conor has slammed the Government after figures he obtained revealed less money is spent on educating young children on Merseyside than the rest of the country.

     

    Conor is demanding action from Education Secretary Justine Greening after the shocking findings emerged in parliamentary questions he asked.

     

    Across England, an average of £4.56 per hour in central Government cash is spent on the education of three and four-year-old children.

     

    However, according to the information obtained by Labour MP Mr McGinn, far less is spent on the early years education of children across Merseyside.

     

    The replies to Conor from Education Minister Caroline Dinenage revealed all five Merseyside boroughs get below the national average of £4.56 per hour spent on each child.

     

    In the worst case, the figures showed Halton will get just £3.54 per hour to spent on three and four-year-olds this year – almost £1 an hour less than the national average.

     

    St Helens gets just £3.61 per child per hour from central Government towards the education of three and four-year-olds.  The figure is 95p per hour below the national average of £4.56.

     

    In Knowsley, central Government funds amount to £4.49 per hour for the borough’s three and four-year-olds.  Sefton receives £4.03 per child per hour – just ahead of Wirral which gets £4.02.

     

    In her parliamentary answer to Conor, Ms Dinenage said the national average hourly rate paid in 2016-17 by the Department of Education to local authorities in England is £4.56 for three and four year olds and £5.09 for two year olds, including the early years pupil premium.

     

    Commenting Conor said:

     

    “For all their talk of a Northern Powerhouse, the Government is still short-changing Merseyside when it comes to education.

     

    “It’s a disgrace that in some areas almost £1 an hour less is spent on educating young children on Merseyside compared to the rest of the country. That is unfair and unjust.

     

    “The figures that I have obtained show Tory Ministers are betraying a generation of young pupils in Merseyside by starving local authorities of the funds they need to drive up education standards.

     

    “We need a level playing field where children on Merseyside get the same opportunities and as much Government funding as children in the rest of the country.

     

    “Theresa May and her Education Secretary Justine Greening should end their obsession with reintroducing selection in education with new grammar schools and focus on properly funding schools across Merseyside.”

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