• ‘Mortgage prisoners’

    ‘Mortgage prisoners’ are people who don’t meet the mortgage affordability test and are unable to re-mortgage, despite currently paying higher rates. This situation leaves many trapped having to pay more for their mortgages than those that are financially better off. This is an unacceptable situation for the estimated 200,000 ‘mortgage prisoners’ suffering real financial hardship in the UK.
    I have joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mortgage Prisoners to add my support to find a solution to this issue, which affects many of my constituents in St Helens North.
    The Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation paper, which includes proposals to help those trapped in this awful situation. This is to be welcomed, but the plans to change mortgage affordability rules are currently optional for mortgage providers, not an obligation. Voluntary agreements are a step forward, but more must be done.

  • keep free TV Licences

    As predicted, the Tory Government has broken its manifesto promise to keep free TV Licences for over-75s until 2022, and now millions of elderly people across the country will have to pay.

    In St Helens North, 4,720 pensioner households will lose this benefit, costing collectively over £710,000 annually.

    Elderly people losing their free TV licences makes a mockery of the claim that austerity is over. The Government should take responsibility – rather than passing the buck to the BBC – and save free TV Licences for the over-75s.

  • ‘Long Live The Local’

    I am delighted to support the ‘Long Live The Local’ campaign to reduce beer duty tax.
    Pubs play a vital cultural, community, and economic role – creating nearly 900,000 jobs and contributing £23bn to the economy. Despite these tremendous benefits, they operate under an enormous tax burden that is 12 times higher than in Germany and Spain.
    We’re lucky to have some brilliant local pubs and bars across St Helens borough from places with live music, great food and real ale to quizzes, darts, charitable and community-focused activities and so much more. We need to support these community assets to survive and thrive, not hamper them with financial pressures.
    During the campaign last year almost 200 people in St Helens North showed their support by signing the petition. This year the campaign hopes to have even greater impact and deliver a cut in beer duty. So to sign the petition and show your support go to https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/

  • Congratulations to Carmel College

    Congratulations to Carmel College on retaining their ‘Outstanding’ status after recent OFSTED inspection. When visiting the college with my St Helens colleague Marie Rimmer MP, I was impressed with the extremely high standards of teaching and learning that young people from our borough and across Merseyside are receiving.

    This excellence has also been reflected in several work experience students from Carmel College who have undertaken placements in my office. Each student has been diligent, hardworking, open to learning, and a real credit to the College.

    The high standards Carmel sets for itself and its students is having a fantastic impact on young people’s lives and the future of our borough. I am delighted for headteacher Mike Hill and all the staff and students that they have had their fantastic work recognised.

  • Carers Week 2019

    I have pledged my support for Carers Week 2019. The number of people providing unpaid care is growing rapidly, with one in six adults now providing unpaid care, up from one in eight in 2011.
    Unpaid carers make an enormous contribution to the lives of sick and disabled people in Britain – often at a high price to themselves and with little support. Carers are seven times more likely to say they are often or always lonely and are almost twice as likely to suffer from anxiety.
    The considerable contribution of unpaid carers needs to be recognised when care funding is considered in the next spending review. Workplace rights need to be strengthened, and people’s caring responsibilities outside of work to be fully understood.
    In St Helens we have an excellent Carers’ Centre and groups which do great work.
    But the Government is failing to give carers the support they need and deserve. We must provide carers with the help and dignity that they so willingly give to others.

  • meeting the Boroughs new Youth Parliament Member

    I met with Ben Lomas, Youth Parliament Member and a pupil at Rainford High, and Morgan Lamb, a Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament and student from Hope Academy.
    We discussed priority issues affecting young people in St Helens borough – including access to affordable public transport, leisure facilities, and mental health support as well as homelessness, and knife crime.
    I was impressed with both Morgan and Ben’s understanding of youth issues and their drive to make a difference. They have important roles representing young people in the borough, and I look forward to seeing the impact they have during their time in office.

  • meeting with Tami Garvey-Jones, the new superintendent for St Helens borough

    I met with Tami Garvey-Jones, the new superintendent for St Helens borough, to discuss policing issues within our community.
    Our police force is facing enormous challenges with cuts to resources and officers. We discussed key issues including anti-social behaviour, drugs and knife crime, rural crime, domestic abuse, local police station opening hours and house burglaries. I raised the importance of the need for new police stations in both St Helens and Newton-le-Willows again, and why they are essential to ensure our community is well policed.
    Merseyside police officers, PCSOs, and support staff are doing a tough job – they need and deserve our full support.

  • Marie McCourt meeting with the Secretary of State for Justice

    Marie McCourt and I had a good meeting with the Secretary of State for Justice recently. We have made solid progress and the Government is finally listening.
    Putting Helen’s Law in statute to change the parole guidelines in law is a huge victory for Marie, the McCourt family, and the many other families in similar circumstances.
    Marie has been a real driving force behind this campaign and the support we’ve received from people in St Helens has been incredible.
    My Private Members’ Bill on Helens law received the unanimous support of the House of Commons three years ago and I don’t foresee any difficulty in getting this through Parliament. Marie and I will be working closely with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that Helen’s Law is introduced as quickly as possible.

  • Eid Mubarak

    Eid Mubarak to all my constituents celebrating at the end of Ramadan.

    I visited St Helens Mosque and the Iman Trust to meet with representatives of the local Muslim community in St Helens. It was good to see at first-hand the contribution this valued and important community make to our borough.

    St Helens borough has strong and proactive faith communities who play a crucial role in supporting people in their everyday lives and at times of need. The Iman Trust and St Helens Mosque is a shining example of such fantastic work.

  • St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School petition to 10 Downing Street

    I joined pupils and teachers from St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Windle to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street as part of a campaign against school funding cuts, and afterwards they came in to the House of Commons for a tour and to see some of our proceedings.
    Chronic underfunding by this Tory government is having a direct impact on the ability of our schools to provide the education that our children deserve. Schools like St Thomas of Canterbury are being forced to make cuts that will affect the education of pupils.
    Mrs Hall the headteacher, teachers and staff at St Thomas of Canterbury do an outstanding job, as do many of our schools across the borough – but this commitment from staff can only be stretched so far without proper funding. A lack of government funding is holding children in St Helens back from achieving their potential.
    The petition directly appeals to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to end the chronic underfunding the school is facing as a direct result of eight years of austerity. We need to equip our young people with the skills for them to succeed in the future. The Government must now urgently provide the funding that will enable our schools to do this.

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