Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Prime Minister's Questions



The #RaisetheRate campaign aims to lobby Government to increase the funding rate for sixth form students that has been frozen at £4,000 per student, per year since 2013.

The campaign uses recent research from London Economics to press for a £760 per student increase to sixth form funding that is raised in line with inflation each year.

The associations behind the campaign state that “only a significant increase in the national funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds will make it possible for the government to meet its objectives for a strong post-Brexit economy and a socially mobile, highly educated workforce.”

The £760 increase is described as the “minimum required” to increase student support services to the required level, protect minority subjects such as languages that are at risk of being dropped, and increase extra-curricular activities, work experience opportunities and university visits.

Winstanley College and St John Rigby are two award winning colleges that deliver fantastic results in challenging circumstances as cuts erode their core budgets. The reality is that without proper funding in place, then something has to give and it is our students who ultimately pay the price with courses cut and reduced opportunities for enrichment through pastoral care.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Greenbelt land at Junction 25, M6

I have received confirmation that a planning application will be submitted in the summer to develop greenbelt land at junction 25 Bryn/Winstanley. The development will comprise of 1.44 million sq ft of floorspace across 8 warehouses.

Let nobody be in any doubt, this application will destroy greenbelt land in the Bryn and Winstanley area and will have a huge impact on residents in nearby local communities. I do not believe that any ‘exceptional circumstances’ warrant release of greenbelt land at this site and I will be calling on the Planning Committee to reject this application.

I would encourage residents to attend the public drop in event to be held on Thursday, 24th May at St Aidans Social Centre between 4pm and 8pm or on Friday, 25th May between 5.30pm to 8pm at The Deanery High School, Frog Lane.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Fairtrade Fortnight

St Aidan’s Church, Winstanley invited people to take a step for Fairtrade today and join them at their annual Traidcraft event.

The event was organised by parishioner Patricia Boyle and attended by local residents and members of St Aidan’s Church congregation. Pupils from St Aidan’s Primary School also popped along to learn more about Fairtrade.

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

To tackle poverty you need to increase trade as well as give aid. Fairtrade helps millions of people in the developing world. When we choose to eat, drink or wear fair trade products we help change the lives of millions of farmers, workers and their families in developing countries.

I back Fairtrade Fortnight because it encourages people in Wigan to consider the power they have as consumers which does play an important part in changing lives for the better.

Friday, 9 February 2018

I support campaign for UK ivory ban to protect elephants

I attended an event at Westminster organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Endangered Species to highlight the elephant poaching crisis and public support for a UK ivory ban. I was able to view some of the many ivory items recently donated by members of the public to IFAW’s UK ivory surrender.

IFAW invited people to surrender their own ivory to be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction. The surrender has received overwhelming support from the UK public with almost 500 ivory items weighing around 150kgs donated in just a few months.

IFAW has run previous successful public ivory surrenders in the UK in 2004, 2011 and 2014, but has received far more donations in the recent surrender which ran from mid-July last year to the end of January. Items received range from whole raw and worked tusks to statues, carvings and jewellery.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW told me that there is clearly huge public momentum in the UK for an ivory ban.

With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, it is fantastic to see so many people keen to give up their ivory. We thank everyone who has surrendered ivory as well as the huge number of politicians who are supporting the campaign for a UK ivory ban.

Polling commissioned by IFAW reveals that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory. A YouGov survey of MPs also found 97% of MPs to be supportive of either a total ivory ban or a ban with some exemptions.

Time is running out for elephants and we must act now before it is too late. It is shocking seeing all this donated ivory when in reality each piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, shot or poisoned for its tusks. Clearly from the amount of ivory donated to IFAW’s ivory surrender more and more people recognise that ivory should only be valued on a live elephant. It is very good news that all this ivory will be put beyond use.

The Government recently announced that it had received more than 70,000 responses to its ivory ban consultation, one of the largest ever public responses to a Defra consultation, with the overwhelming majority analysed so far supportive of a ban.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Let's bring clear vision to the 2.5bn people worldwide denied it

Clearly - Glasses On - UK Politics from Clearly on Vimeo.

A campaign to bring clear vision to the 2.5 billion people worldwide denied it as quickly as possible came to Parliament this week.

The Clearly campaign has had support from celebrities such as Annie Lennox, Lenny Henry, James Corden, Brenda Blethyn and Niall Horan from One Direction. They have called on Commonwealth leaders to put poor vision on the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.

Shockingly, a third of the world’s population, 2.5 billion people, suffer from poor vision, which is the world’s largest unmet disability.

Nine out of 10 of these people just need a simple pair of glasses – a solution that has been around for centuries and can be produced for as little as £1.

I wouldn’t be able to do my job or go about my daily business without my contact lens/glasses, and I know many of my constituents feel the same. The ability to get a simple sight test and buy glasses is often taken for granted in the UK but it is something that so many around the world are unable to do.

I’m joining the Clearly campaign and calling on the Government and Commonwealth countries to put ‘vision for everyone’ on the agenda of their Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.

More info at www.clearly.world