• Conor supports victims of contaminated blood scandal

    Conor McGinn MP announced his support for the campaign to help those affected by the contaminated blood scandal after meeting with Sue Molyneaux, a constituent who is a widow of one of the victims to hear first-hand the impact on her and her family of her husband’s death.

    From the 1970s through to the early-1990s, thousands of people underwent treatment with NHS-supplied blood products. Many of these products are now known to have been contaminated with HIV and/or Hepatitis C. Thousands were affected and many have sadly passed away, and their families and survivors have campaigned for years for justice and to receive compensation.

    Despite previous commitments to give the survivors and families a resolution to the scandal the Government has again delayed matters by setting up a further consultation on the compensation package, which could see some of those who were affected lose thousands of pounds.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “It’s impossible to underestimate the scale of this scandal and the pain it has caused to many families including my constituent Mrs Molyneux.

    “Many have gone through the heartache of losing a loved one and then have had to fight for many years to make the Government take action to address concerns over the administration of the compensation scheme.

    “Alongside my colleague Diane Johnson, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, I am supporting the victims of this scandal and will work to ensure they receive just compensation.”

  • Conor: a failing Budget from a failing Chancellor

    Conor responding to the Budget delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer today said:

    “The Chancellor talks a good game but in reality, this was a budget of failure.  

    “The OBR has revised down its growth predictions and the Chancellor has failed to meet his own fiscal targets. The economy is smaller than predicted and there is now a £18 billion black hole.

    “Whilst I welcome the announcement of HS3 and further infrastructure investment in the North, these have to be delivered and the Chancellors record previously has been one of failure. That over 97% of staff employed to deliver the so-called ‘northern powerhouse’ are based in London is an absolute shambles.

    “It seems the Chancellor is primarily concerned with posturing for Tory leadership, and is making working families pay for his own economic failings rather than helping them.   

    “Mates’ rates on taxes for multinationals -while local authorities suffer 79% cuts, child poverty set to rise every year, 2.1 million working families £1,600 a year worse after cuts to Universal Credit and 200,000 disabled people set to lose £3000 a year; the Chancellor is making working people and the most vulnerable pay for his own economic failings.

    “This was more of the same from an out of touch Chancellor and will do little to help people in St Helens North and across the North West.”

     

     

     

  • 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 celebrates National Apprenticeship Week and calls for more high-quality apprenticeships

    Apprentices

    To mark National Apprenticeship Week Conor McGinn MP paid a visit to Kalzip in his constituency.

    At the site Conor met apprentices employed by the company through a St Helens Chamber-led scheme. He spoke to Debbie Ashurst, Planning and Materials Control Manager, about why the company felt it was important to take on apprentices and took the opportunity to meet the apprentices and listen to their experiences and how they enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills in the workplace.

    National Apprenticeship Week is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service to celebrate apprenticeships and traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

    Kalzip, an international company based in Haydock produces roofing and building materials for use  all over the world, currently has taken on 7 apprentices via the St Helens Chamber of Commerce.

    Speaking after the visit Conor said:

    “Delivered well, apprenticeships are an important route into employment.  They give an opportunity to learn and develop skills for the workplace whilst earning a living.

    “Companies like Kalzip have recognised that high-quality apprenticeships are good for employers and good for those completing them. And with help from St Helens Chamber, they’ve identified some really fantastic young people and given them a great opportunity.

    “But for too long the UK has not invested enough in apprenticeships. The current Government have failed to address this; they have not fixed the underlying structural economic weaknesses which hold our country back.

    “The UK faces a skills emergency, skills shortages make up over a third of vacancies in some industries. This is bad for businesses and for working people too. Boosting apprenticeships must be part of the solution.

    “Employers like Kalzip and organisations like St Helens Chamber are helping to address this. I am glad to be supporting them and will continue to press for high-quality apprenticeships, a solution to the skills shortage and help to get young people into work.”

     

  • Conor visits St Helens Carers Centre

    Apprentices 3

    Conor visited St Helens Carers Centre to meet the Chair Jane Dearden and Chief Executive Alan Ashton and hear about the work of St Helens carers.

    The Centre aims to be a one-stop-shop for Carers, where they can get support, information, advice and access services. Conor spoke with Jane and Alan about the challenges faced by carers, the support they need and the help the carers centre provides.

    Established in 2001 the carers centre supports over 10,500 adult carers and over 500 young carers, which represents a little under 50% of all carers in the borough, making St Helens Carers Centre one of the most successful in the country.

    However, this success brings its own challenges and St Helens carers are working hard with the council to find ways, with ever tightening budgets, to meet the needs of local carers.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said:

    “Carers across St Helens make a vital contribution to the people they care for, to our local communities and to our economy, and they in turn receive excellent support from the St Helens Carers Centre.

    They do a difficult job in very difficult circumstances, indeed the system would completely collapse without them. Carers should receive proper support and funding from Government. 

    “However, under the Tories funding for adult social care was been slashed by over £4.5billion from 2010-2015. As a result our care system is under a huge strain and on the brink of collapse.

    “I urge the Government to act now to ensure that funding is in place so that carers receive the support they deserve.”

     

  • Conor joined pupils at a special service to celebrate education pioneer Sarah Cowley

    cowley 300 event

    Pupils past and present rubbed shoulders at a special service to celebrate education pioneer Sarah Cowley.

    A number of events are being held to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Sarah Cowley whose dream was to enable every child access to education and not just the wealthy.

    Around 200 people and several dignitaries attended the service at the old school building on Hard Lane including the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens Steven and Lynn Glover, Reverend David Eastwood, Conor McGinn MP and Cllr Andy Bowden who represented The Cowley Trustees.

     Some former pupils took part in readings and performed with The Cowley Singers and the ‘Veterans’ band. Members of the Cowley Institute for Performing Arts also sang with the Parish Church School Choir. Former head of music Ray Dobbs accompanied the musical performances on the piano.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “The service was a fitting tribute to the memory of Sarah Cowley and to the legacy she left behind. Her decision to leave money to support the education of local children has made a huge difference to many people’s lives and many still benefit from the trust fund she established.

     “All those involved in organising the 300 year commemorations have done Sarah Cowley’s memory justice. The event celebrated the achievements of pupils past and present. Sarah recognised 300 years ago the barriers that exist to getting a good education. She did something about it and her legacy continues to this day.”

     

  • 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 visits refurbished pub

    Red cat

    Conor pulled a pint to mark the refurbishment of one of his constituency’s pubs, the Red Cat in the pretty hamlet of Crank.

    He toured the revamped premises, which re-opened recently following a £200,000 joint investment from pub operator Punch and publican, Graham Roberts.

    Commenting on his visit, Conor said:

    “I was really pleased to visit the Red Cat pub and see the transformation first hand.

    ” It’s great to see the pub doing so well and alongside support from Punch, Graham has created a thriving pub to serve the local community as well as passers-by.

    “The food and events on offer looked great too! I wish Graham and his team the very best.”

    The Red Cat, a family friendly pub, re-opened in December after a complete refurbishment with new flooring, toilets, fixtures, fittings and furniture. It continues to offer a wide range of real ales, beers and lagers, alongside traditional British pub fayre using locally sourced and seasonal produce. There are plenty of events and special offers on, including a Quiz Night each week and Steak Night on Wednesdays, with further events planned.

  • Conor calls for Government rethink after visit to local supporting housing scheme

    Conor McGinn has called for the Government to rethink its decision to cut financial assistance for vulnerable people in supported housing.

    The MP spoke out after visiting Heald Farm Court in Newton-le-Willows, one of Helena’s 22 supported housing schemes in the borough, which provides homes for over 80 vulnerable older people.

    The implementation of a cap will reduce the specialist services provided to those in supported housing schemes increasing pressures on the NHS and local authority.

    National Housing Federation research shows those affected will lose an average of £68 a week, making many sheltered housing schemes unsustainable with some estimates suggesting over 80,000 places could be lost nationally.

    On his visit, Conor heard from residents, staff and Helena’s managing director about the implications for the community in St Helens.

    Conor said:

    “This policy will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable in our community. If the Tories press ahead, the loss of support will have serious consequences for older residents, veterans and victims of domestic abuse living in this sort of accommodation.

    “Schemes like the one I visited at Heald Farm Court are fantastic places, but there is only so much the staff and Helena can do to protect those that need our support. The Government must listen and act.”

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