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Press Release

01 Aug

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Government launch consultation into leasehold properties

August 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Last week the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced they would begin an 8-week consultation and consider a range of measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold.

The APPG on Leasehold Reform, which I co-chair, and the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership have campaigned tirelessly on this issue and welcome the announcement. We are pleased about the news from the DCLG that they are to consult on the proposal to ban the building of leasehold houses and the removal of opportunities to produce unfair leasehold ground rent terms on all new build homes.

However, many people will be left worried by the scope of the reforms. The APPG will now look to understand from the Housing Department what their position is on existing homeowners who will not be considered under the terms of the consultation.

If you’ve bought a new-build leasehold house or flat since 2005, please click here to fill in a 5-minute survey. We need help to fight back, your efforts will help us to make the case for reform.

31 Jul

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Jim Fitzpatrick reveals impact of Child Poverty in Tower Hamlets

July 31, 2017 | By | No Comments

15,760 children will go hungry in Tower Hamlets over the summer holidays as they will not be able to access the free school meal they were entitled to during term time.

Across the London there will be a total of 212,238 children going hungry without their free school meal, and a total of 700,000 children growing up in poverty will be at risk of going hungry over the summer.

New Trussell Trust data shows increasing reliance on food banks during the summer, with 47% of food parcels that went to children going to primary school aged children.

Across London, hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of going hungry over the holidays. There will be a total of 700,000 children at risk of going hungry this summer across the city, as they are growing up in poverty and their families may not have the money they need to make sure the children are fed.

Real wages are falling in real terms as inflation rises, which will leave more children at risk of going hungry.

Commenting on the statistics Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:

“It is unacceptable that in 2017 so many children are at risk of going hungry in our community. The last Labour government I was a part of lifted 1 million children out of poverty- one of our proudest achievements. Our ambitious plan was to eliminate child poverty by 2020 but instead, under the Tories, it’s at a seven-year high.

“Tower Hamlets is the worst affected area in London- over 15,000 children will no longer receive the free school meal they were eligible for during term time.

“Labour showed what can be achieved and only Labour will do what is required. Every child deserves to be well fed regardless of their background, and we will introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour to ensure that every family is able to make ends meet.”

27 Jul

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Jim Fitzpatrick Calls for Action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

July 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Cut the Stake, Reduce FOBT Harm

 

Jim Fitzpatrick has revealed over £8 million was lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in Poplar and Limehouse and backed the work of the FOBT All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Parliament, expressing his support for the Group’s ‘Cut the Stake, Reduce FOBT Harm’ campaign.

FOBTs allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment. Political concern and controversy has been growing about the highly addictive nature of the machines, with one campaign group even calling them the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.

The cross-party group of MPs and Peers, published its report in January 2017, assessing the impact of FOBTs, and called for a substantial reduction in the maximum stake playable, stating that there was a strong case for this to be no more than £2.

The campaign has secured the widespread support with the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties supporting the campaign.

Lending his support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Jim said:

“I was extremely concerned to hear that £8,441,681 was lost to FOBTs in Poplar and Limehouse. What needs to be understand is this isn’t just about losing the odd quid here and there, some gamblers are losing serious amounts of cash.

“These machines are strategically placed on high streets in poor areas across the country which in turn, effects vulnerable people and their families. There is no doubt FOBTs are causing harm. I urge the Government to bring forward their proposals, and to substantially cut the stake to £2 now.”

The Government is currently considering responses from the Call for Evidence into Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility launched in October 2016. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is expected to publish the next stage of the Review, with its proposals, in October 2017.

25 Jul

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Jim Fitzpatrick slams the Government as more Met Police Officers cut

July 25, 2017 | By | No Comments

Responding to the police workforce figures which revealed the Metropolitan Police Service has lost another 608 Officers, Jim Fitzpatrick slammed the Government’s shameful record. 20,000 Police Officers have now been axed in the UK since 2010. The crime statistics show the largest rise in recorded crime in a decade, including an 18% jump in violent crime.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:

“The Tories’ claim of being the ‘Party of Law and Order’ lies in tatters. It is no coincidence that in a week when we learn of further cuts to Police numbers, it’s also revealed that crime is on the rise.

“Barely a day goes by without a constituent raising their concerns over anti-social behaviour, acid attacks or drug use. Tower Hamlets Police do an outstanding job but they deserve the resources to deal with the problems in our borough. Being told by the Government to do more with less is nonsense.”

Louise Haigh, Labour’s Shadow Policing and Crime Minister said:

“These damning new figures prove that this government cannot be trusted to keep our communities safe.

“Thanks to years of Conservative cuts, police numbers are now the lowest on record, at a time when forces are under unprecedented pressure. You can’t protect the public on the cheap.

“This is the grim legacy of seven years of Tory austerity; dedicated police officers fighting hard to keep the public safe with fewer officers per head than ever before. Labour will recruit another 10,000 new police officers to help keep us safe.”

24 Jul

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Poplar and Limehouse leads the way in helping disabled people into work

July 24, 2017 | By | No Comments

 

Jim Fitzpatrick MP has taken on the Disability Confident summer challenge to get local employers on board with disability employment

MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick has undertaken a challenge to encourage employers in his area to become more inclusive, sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and open up their workforce to disabled people.

The challenge is part of a national campaign run by the Disability Confident scheme, which supports employers to increase the diversity of their workforce and offer opportunities to disabled jobseekers, including work experience, apprenticeships, work trials and employment.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

“Disabled people make up a fifth of the working age population, and our local employers could be missing out on a large proportion of the talent in our community.

“I hope this will be the start of lots more employers in Poplar and Limehouse becoming Disability Confident and improved opportunities for local disabled people to realise their potential in the workplace.”

You can find out more about the scheme and sign up here.

19 Jul

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP supports campaign to break down employment barriers for people with hearing loss

July 19, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP joins Action on Hearing Loss volunteer Jeanann Doyle and Chief Executive Paul Breckell to sign ‘Working for Change’

 

Jim Fitzpatrick sponsored an event in Westminster to help MPs learn about a campaign by Action on Hearing Loss aiming to break down the barriers that people with a hearing loss face when trying to stay in employment.

The charity presented its recent report ‘Working for change: Improving attitudes to hearing loss in the workplace’ to MPs, which urged businesses and Government to work closer together to help people with a hearing loss to find and stay in work. Currently there are 11 million people in the UK having hearing loss with almost five million who are of working age, a number set to rise steadily due to the ageing population.

Jim Fitzpatrick, said:

“As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness it’s been great to see Action on Hearing Loss in Westminster helping to set the record straight about hearing loss in the workplace.

“This is an important campaign, we need to support people with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss and remove the barriers they face when finding and staying in work. The fact that an increasing number of people of working age have hearing loss makes it more important that employers are aware of support available. I’d recommend that all businesses and organisations in Poplar and Limehouse have a look at their report.”

Paul Breckell, Action on Hearing Loss Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted that Jim attended our drop-in event and took the time to learn more about this vitally important campaign. We want to help businesses to support people with hearing loss to maximise their valuable skills; in 2017 no one should have to give up work due to their hearing loss early because their working environment can’t support them.”

The ‘Working for change’ report can be download here.

13 Jul

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United Against Dementia in Parliament

July 13, 2017 | By | No Comments

This week I attended an Alzheimer’s Society event for parliamentarians to learn more about the issues affecting people with dementia. There are 850,000 people suffering from dementia in the UK and 1,088 estimated to be living with the disease in the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

Having dementia can have a devastating impact and could happen to any one of us, in any community. That is why we must all act to tackle dementia.

There is currently no cure, and very few effective treatments. Funding for dementia research has lagged behind that of other major health conditions such as cancer or heart disease. In recent years progress has been made, with £250million investment committed to the establishment of the world’s first dementia research institute. But we still have a long way to go until we find a cure and understand how to care for people living with the disease.

The previous Labour Government launched the first ever national dementia strategy, appointed the first national clinical directors for dementia, and commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop the quality standard for dementia. Together, those began the process of establishing memory clinics, providing better training for GPs and improving the quality of dementia care for people in hospital.

As we work to find a cure for dementia I believe we should place an equal emphasis on the care provided to people living with disease and the support provided to their families and carers. I am concerned that the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services reports that £4.6 billion has been cut from adult social care budgets and that 300,000 fewer people are receiving publicly funded services than in 2009-10.

At the General Election, the Labour manifesto committed to establish a National Care Service, backed up by an additional £8 billion for social care budgets, in order to build capacity to move quickly towards a joined-up service, provide care closer to home, and deliver a 21st century health system.

If you are personally affected by dementia then please visit Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia connect website where you can find the services they provide near you. Or you can call their helpline on 0300 222 11 22.

11 Jul

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Do you have the ideas to create global change?

July 11, 2017 | By | No Comments

The British Council seeks exceptional young people aged 18-35 to join a long-term global network of emerging policy leaders.

Members of Future Leaders Connect will develop leadership skills, learn from global policy experts, meet with MP’s in the UK Houses of Parliament and attend private meetings with inspirational leaders.

The search is on for a new generation of leaders to join impressive individuals from ten other countries for an intensive policy and leadership development programme, including a conference in the UK Houses of Parliament debating some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Future Leaders Connect, launched this year by the British Council, will offer nine days of leadership learning and development for young people, to provide them with the skills they need to turn innovative ideas into tangible policy recommendations.

Those taking part will meet some of today’s leading thinkers from public, private, third sector and political worlds.

Jim said:

“We have a long, proud tradition of democratic policy-making in this country and this is a great opportunity for the next generation of leaders to take it forward. The connections these young people will make not only with UK decision makers but also with their counterparts from across the world, will be invaluable to them in their careers.

“This is a great opportunity and I would like to encourage constituents in Poplar and Limehouse who want to make a difference, have their voice heard and become a great leader, to apply.”

Anyone who would like to take part needs to submit an online application by 23.59 Thursday 20 July 2017. They will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and about their experience as a leader.

Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council, said:

“An international outlook is vital for the future leaders of all countries, if they wish to overcome the challenges they will face.

“Through Future Leaders Connect the British Council will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today. The programme will help them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change in their countries.”

03 Jul

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Jim Fitzpatrick says “keep streets clear for disabled people”

July 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick attended a Guide Dogs event at the House of Commons on 3 July to show their support for the campaign to keep parked cars and other obstacles off our pavements.

At the event, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse heard from guide dog owners how parked cars and street clutter blocking the pavement force them to walk in the road, into the path of traffic they cannot see. They heard that some guide dog owners face these dangerous situations on a daily basis, risking their safety every time they go shopping or make the school run.

Research by YouGov for the charity Guide Dogs shows that 54% of UK drivers admit to parking on the pavement, with more than a quarter (29%) of those doing so a few times a month or more. More than half (55%) of these drivers do think about the impact on people with sight loss, but park on the pavement anyway.

Pavement parking and street clutter particularly affect people with visual impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97% of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement, and 9 out of 10 have had problems with pavement parked cars.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking because they can only restrict it street by street.

Jim Fitzpatrick commented:

“No one should be forced to brave traffic by cars parked on the pavement. Here in London the system works. That’s why I’m calling on the Government to end problem pavement parking across the country. Blind and partially sighted people should be able to walk the streets without fear.”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:

“Pavement parked cars and street clutter can turn the walk to work or trip to the shops into a dangerous obstacle course. It’s a nuisance for anyone, but if you have a visual impairment or a toddler in tow, walking in the road with moving traffic is just too big a risk.

Our research shows that most drivers who park on the pavement know that it can be dangerous for pedestrians, but many do so regardless. We need clear rules so that drivers only park where it’s safe.

Back in 2015, we were encouraged when the Government committed to find a solution to this problem. We hope that they will now follow up with a law to curb unsafe pavement parking.”

28 Apr

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP tucks into a Christian Aid Big Brekkie in solidarity with refugees

April 28, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, this week tucked in at a Christian Aid Big Brekkie event in Parliament, to show his support for Christian Aid Week (14-20 May), which is raising money for refugees fleeing conflict around the world.

Ahead of Christian Aid Week, Jim Fitzpatrick attended the event in Parliament to find out about activities and events taking place during the charity’s annual fundraising week in Poplar and Limehouse. Last year, £2523.81 was raised in Poplar and Limehouse during Christian Aid Week.

As Christian Aid marks 60 years of Christian Aid Week, the organisation is inviting people to join them in a Big Brekkie breakfast to stand in solidarity with refugees around the world. The charity has been working with refugees since the Second World War, and is not turning its back now.

Today, tens of millions of people across the globe are forced from their homes due to war, conflict and disaster. Many make life-threatening dangerous journeys in search of a safe place to call home.

While the majority of today’s refugees continue to seek sanctuary in poor countries, in 2015 more than once million refugees crossed into Europe. With borders across the continent now closed to refugees, thousands are stranded – and in need of urgent help.

Nejebar, from Afghanistan, fled her homeland after the Taliban announced they would kill anyone who worked for the government, like her husband Noor.  They eventually sought refuge in Greece with their children, after a treacherous journey across the Mediterranean in a small rubber dinghy.  The young family have left their home, family and friends behind, and now reside in a small tent, with no certainty on their future, especially that of their children.

Jim said:

“I was pleased to meet with Christian Aid and hear about the great work that’s being done in Poplar and Limehouse and across the country to help refugees at this desperate time. For millions of people around the world displaced from their homes, Christian Aid’s work provides vital support. I encourage my constituents to get involved in Christian Aid Week events where they can.”

Simon Kirkland, Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser, said:

“We are really grateful for Jim Fitzpatrick’s support for Christian Aid’s important fundraising events in Poplar and Limehouse. Everyone can do something to help this Christian Aid Week, whether its attending a local event, giving money or praying for the world’s many refugees at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who is able to take part in this year’s Christian Aid Week.”

This year, the people of Poplar and Limehouse will once again be holding events during Christian Aid Week to support our work with refugees. So far, the events we know are happening include:

  • 14 May 9.15-10.15am: Big Brekkie, St Mary’s, Bow Church
  • 16 May, 8am – 6pm: station collection, Mile End tube station ecumenical (St Mary’s, St Paul’s Bow Common, Bow Road Methodists)
  • 21 May, time to be confirmed: Christian Aid Week Service, Great Light Connections
  • 20 September: Station collection at Canary Wharf station by Poplar Christian Aid Group

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP