August 2020: News from your local MP
Enjoying the summer, but getting set for winter too
Your Voice in Parliament
Parliament is now in recess until September 1, but it will come as no surprise to you that – bar two weeks off – it doesn’t mean my team and I aren’t working hard on your behalf.
The autumn is going to be very busy for Parliament and we’re all conscious of the winter ahead: managing Covid-19 alongside the other challenges we always face in winter, from influenza to NHS capacity to flooding. I don’t mean to cause angst as we try to celebrate the summer, but I do want you to know that I’m working hard to make sure we’re as prepared as possible for the months ahead.
Nationally, I’ve been calling on Ministers to ensure proper consumer protections are in place to accompany the delivery of green home vouchers, from September, to upgrade the energy efficiency of our homes. Our homes and buildings really do need upgrading – it's a priority net-zero transition requirement – but a minority of dodgy traders can let the rest down and deflate confidence from homeowners in getting the work done. I’m expecting the Government to bring forward comprehensive consumer protections, complaints processes and upfront easy information at the same time as delivering vouchers.
I’ve also written to the Business Secretary, as part of my committee inquiry on the impact of Covid- 19 on business and workers. This interim report sets out recommendations for the future (such as the need for sectoral support for British manufacturing, including aerospace) and a request to learn from the mistakes made in the early stages of the pandemic including leaving out new starters, the self-employed and freelancers from appropriate income support. Blind spots in support must be addressed, including anti-discrimination guarantees for pregnant women at risk of redundancy and proper income support to people following local lockdowns protocols. Our recommendations are supported by workers, trade unions, experts and industry leaders from across the UK and they mirror the conversations I’ve been having with constituents in Bristol throughout the pandemic.
We all know it’s going to be a bumpy few months ahead and that we’ve still got lots of work to do to get through this pandemic. I will continue to work as hard as I can to make sure all of you are represented as best as possible. If you think I’m missing something, please do let me know!
Your Champion in Bristol
I've always looked forward to August, not just to take some time off with my family, but because of the extra time I get to meet with many of you across the constituency. Sadly, I can’t do this safely in the normal way this year, so instead, I’ve set up meetings with our frontline services to say thanks and understand what more they need in preparations for the winter. From food banks and fire and rescue services to police and schools, all of our essential workers have stepped up to help our community when it was most needed and they’re doing fantastic work in preparing for our return to school and work.
I'm also very conscious of the number of local people being made redundant. I set up and co-hosted an emergency Jobs Summit attended by all Bristol MPs, our Mayor, trade unions and major employers. We must pull together to coordinate existing support and to highlight the gaps that put people at risk of redundancy. Some companies, including Westbury-on-Trym’s Hearing Solutions, have been able to restructure and save jobs but that, sadly, won’t be the case for all businesses. In addition to the Jobs Summit, I will be visiting a number of local businesses during August to understand what more can be done to help keep jobs, transition workers and, ideally, lay the foundations for creating new jobs in our recovery.
Bristol City Council has launched an ambitious engagement programme to inform their public transport improvement plans across the No. 2 Bus Route that runs right through our constituency. You can follow the route and give feedback online (https://travelwest.info). I’m also partnering with residents in Westbury and across Bristol to make sure that offline constituents can share their feedback too. This engagement window runs until September 11, so please share your thoughts on how we can improve this travel corridor.
On August 15, I’ll be hosting our next online Café Politics. Please go to my website (www.darrenjones.co.uk) to reserve a space. I’ve enjoyed these informal catch-ups with constituents and I’d like to see them continue even when we get back to hosting in-person events again.
As always, if you have any questions or need my help just drop me an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the House of Commons. My Facebook Page is at www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp and you can join my mailing list via my website, www.darren-jones.co.uk