Welcome to my new regular newsletter. If you scroll down you will see updates about what I have been up to in Parliament, as well as out and about in the constituency. If you want to know more about what I am up to, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter and check for updates on my Website.
As ever, if you have any queries, or if there is anything that I can do to assist you with any issues that you have, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Justin In The Community
First of all, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope that you had a relaxing and enjoyable festive period! It was certainly a busy year last year in Ellesmere Port & Neston. An indication of this is the fact that I dealt with over 5800 individual constituent enquiries, which is over 100 new issues to deal with each week.
I was pleased to end the year by holding free Christmas dinners in Neston and Ellesmere Port aimed at older people, who are less advantaged. These proved to be a great success judging by the feedback on the day! I also spent part of Christmas Day at a special dinner held for people who would otherwise have been alone at Christmas, which was a reminder of the efforts that still need to be made to tackle social isolation. Of course none of these events would be possible without the generosity of local businesses and volunteers, to whom I am extremely grateful.
This weekend, I am holding another event, this time for young carers from the area. A young carer is a young person who has to provide support to a parent or sibling with a disability and/or illness. This can sadly impact on their education, as well as their well-being. I am pleased that we will be able to take a group of young carers out to the Blue Planet Aquarium, where I hope they will have an extremely enjoyable and relaxing day out.
I enjoyed visiting the British Heart Foundation Shop in the Ellesmere Port last week where the volunteers include Doris Hoyle, who was celebrating 20 years of volunteering at the shop as part of 35 years of voluntary service. Well done Doris! It was also a pleasure to visit Meadow Park in Great Sutton alongside Councillor Paul Donovan to see some of the work being done by the local community there. A neglected and underused piece of land is being transformed by a group of enthusiastic local volunteers and they have a fantastic vision of what they want to see the area look like in the future.
Of course it has not all been good news in the Constituency and I have also been campaigning on a number of issues. Just before Christmas, we had the sudden news that Elton Post Office had closed. I have been working hard with Elton Councillor Stephen Smith to resolve this issue and I have pressed for action in Parliament. I will keep working hard until a solution is found to this difficult situation - many number of people rely on Post Office services and simply can't travel several miles for an alternative. They deserve better.
I continue to get out and about in the community as much as I am able to; knocking on doors, holding regular surgeries in Ellesmere Port and Neston, holding coffee mornings, street surgeries and responding to the many emails, letters and telephone calls that my office receives.
Justin In Parliament
This year is proving to be just as busy as the last, with the NHS in particular never far from the news. We even had the unprecedented sight of the Red Cross stating that the NHS was in the grip of a “humanitarian crisis” as longer and longer queues formed at accident and emergency departments across the country. As Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, I often meet with senior health professionals, as well as front-line staff and they have been warning for some time about a looming crisis caused by years of under-funding. I have continued to press this Conservative Government to give our health and social care sector the funds that it needs to survive.
This month, the APPG on Social Mobility, which I Chair released a new report looking at Access into Leading Professions. "The Class Ceiling" report calls for a number of measures including a ban on unpaid internships, which received a huge amount of coverage in the national media. During our Inquiry, witnesses included Michael Sheen, a BAFTA-winning actor; David Morley, Senior Partner at Allen & Overy; Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of accountancy firm Grant Thornton; Dan Jarvis MP and Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office. You can read more about the report here and here.
I continue to speak up in Parliament as much as I can, to highlight local and national issues. In January I spoke on the following issues (please follow the links to read my contributions in full):
- Access to Justice and the impact of Employment Tribunal Fees.
- The need for Government intervention to improve local high-streets.
- The issues facing the Pennine Acute NHS Trust in Manchester.
- The closure of Elton Post Office.
- Cuts to IVF and NHS infertility services.
- Campaigning against reductions to local school funding.
I also raise a number of Written Questions to Ministers each week, which you can keep up with here. I have asked over 370 since I was elected, so it would take up too much space to include a full list!
Of course, this is just a snapshot of what I get up to in Parliament, with a number of meetings and events taking place every week. I am working hard to pursue local campaigns like calling for improvements to the M56 motorway and the Borderlands Line, which serves Neston. If you would like to know my views on any issues, or would like to raise an issue with me, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
The focus over the next month will almost certainly be the legislation that will follow the Supreme Court Decision on Article 50. My view is that having asked the people to take the decision on whether we remain in the EU in a referendum, it would be wrong to go against their views or to obstruct Article 50. However, that does not mean that we should accept any deal that we are offered without question and I will be pressing the Government to protect worker’s rights and to ensure that our important automotive, science and technology sectors are not damaged when we leave the EU.
I hope that you enjoyed reading! I'll be in touch again at the end of February.