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27 Nov

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP Backs Report Exposing Grisly Wildlife Cybertrade

November 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

IFAW

A murky multi-million pound trade in wild animals and their parts is booming across online marketplaces, with questions being asked as to the legality of many advertisements offering endangered species for sale.

A shocking report released this week by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) shows how thousands of endangered species are bought and sold on the Internet, many advertised without any form of supporting documentation.

Wanted – Dead or Alive, Exposing Online Wildlife Trade reveals that, in early 2014, an intense six-week investigation found a total of 33,006 endangered wildlife and wildlife parts and products for sale via 280 online market places across 16 countries.

IFAW found the legality of almost 13 per cent – 1,192 – of the 9,482 advertisements investigated was sufficiently doubtful to warrant turning these over to law enforcers for further examination. However this may only be the tip of the iceberg as investigators were careful not to deluge enforcers with reports of potential wildlife crime. The IFAW investigation focuses on the ‘surface-web’, namely open-source websites commonly referred to as online marketplaces, where products are freely available to the public.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP is pictured at the parliamentary launch of the report, and said:

“I wish to commend the International Fund for Animal Welfare on producing this shocking report that shows the devastating effect of the online trade on wildlife across the world. I am offering my support for tougher measures and the strongest possible enforcement of the law to clamp down on this organised criminal activity.”

In the UK, websites hosted 1,087 online advertisements offering a total of 1,603 items for sale including ivory and suspected ivory, turtles, tortoises, owls, exotic birds, monkeys and parts and products from elephants, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, alligators and big cats. The items were valued at more than £300,000. Over two-thirds of adverts were for wildlife parts and products rather than live animals.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said:

“Governments need to introduce stronger legislation that specifically targets online wildlife crime and must encourage and support their enforcement agencies in making sure wildlife cybercriminals are apprehended and prosecuted. We would like to thank Jim Fitzpatrick MP for his support in saving wildlife and combating international crime.”

IFAW’s investigation specifically targeted the sale of species listed on Appendix I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which regulates and restricts the trade in wildlife and their parts and products. Many of the 280 online sites monitored either didn’t ask customers to demonstrate that their trade met with national laws, or else the provisos were hidden to the extent that customers simply wouldn’t be aware of them.

21 Nov

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NHS Bill

November 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

023 - NHSs Bill

Today, Labour MP Clive Efford’s Bill on the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) received its second reading with 241 votes to 18.

It is now being decided by Government whether to let the Bill go to the Committee Stage.

The Bill will repeal some of the more controversial elements of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 supported by the current Coalition Government.

I supported the Bill in response to the overwhelming amount of emails I have received from my constituents in Poplar and Limehouse voicing their concerns.

If passed, the Bill will exempt our NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP).

This will mean our NHS will be legally immune from procurement or competition obligations, thus ensuring it is protected from foreign health care providers and remaining entirely our health service.

I am concerned that without the passing of this Bill, our NHS will be open to competition and private interests, particularly from US healthcare providers which may eventually lead to a wholly privatised health service in the UK.

It is also important to ensure the NHS is providing the best possible care in the best possible interests of its patients – us, and this Bill will seek to do this by repealing some of the worst elements of our existing legislature.

I believe supporting this Bill is the decent and right thing to do, it will ultimately put patients’ needs above profit which the NHS is not currently bound by law to do.

The Bill undoubtedly received a negative reception from the Tories; however, I am glad to say I voted to save the NHS from the clutches of private interests.

21 Nov

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Safer Streets

November 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

safer streetsJIM FITZPATRICK WANTS TO SEE SAFER STREETS IN YOUR AREA

This week Jim Fitzpatrick Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse visited the Campaign for Safer Streets exhibition in the Upper Waiting Hall at Westminster.

The exhibition, created by transport charity Sustrans, gives MPs the opportunity to identify the challenges and solutions to making streets safer for everyone.

During Jim’s visit they had the opportunity to redesign a street, using a scale model to identify road safety issues for local residents and the best way to resolve them.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse commented:

“It was great to see how small, low cost changes to local streets could make a significant difference to the safety of all people using them. With a focus on making our streets and communities safer for everyone, we would see more pleasant and healthier places to live, work and play.”

Claire Francis, Head of Policy for Sustrans commented:

“Everyone wants to see our roads become safer, but we’ve still got a long way to go, particularly when it comes to our most vulnerable road users – children.

“Jim had to opportunity to look at new ways to redesign a street to make it safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling – I hope it was an inspiring experience he can take back to his constituency and work with colleagues locally and nationally to change their local communities for the better.”

In 2012, the number of children killed while walking or cycling on our roads was equivalent to over one primary school class, and the equivalent of over seven whole primary schools were seriously injured.

Sustrans Campaign for Safer Streets wants to see:

  • Long term investment by government to transform routes and support walking and cycling at the local level.
  • A national 20mph default speed limit in built-up areas to make everyone’s journey safer and mark a shift in policy.
  • Stronger duties and incentives to improve local walking and cycling networks and promote active travel.

21 Nov

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Road Safety Week

November 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

022  Road Safety Week

Jim Fitzpatrick MP backs national Road Safety Week campaign urging road users to look out for each other to save lives

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, is backing a national campaign launched on Monday by road safety charity Brake, calling on road users to look out for each other to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads and particularly to protect people on foot and bike.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, employers and community groups will be raising awareness about road safety, and police across the country will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

The look out for each other campaign is all about everyone, especially drivers, showing patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users, especially the most vulnerable. To help avoid tragedy, Brake is particularly urging drivers to protect people on foot and bike by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room. People on foot and bike are also being encouraged not to take chances, and make sure they can be seen.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “It is unacceptable that five people die and 61 are seriously injured on UK roads every day. This is why I am glad to be supporting Road Safety Week, road safety is an important issue which needs more awareness. I myself have attended a number of Parliamentary receptions on this issue including Brake’s drop-in session for MPs in the Commons earlier this week. I have also signed EDM 462 in support of Road Safety Week and Brake’s ‘look out for each other’ campaign encouraging road users to look out for each other, acknowledging that roads are shared spaces which require mutual tolerance and respect. Thankfully, no postcodes in Poplar and Limehouse are included in the national top 10 postcodes for careless driving offences; however, it is still important to raise awareness of road safety and what better way to do this than supporting this Week.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

14 Nov

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP and E.ON team up to help Poplar and Limehouse residents get ready for winter

November 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

020 - Eon PR

Jim Fitzpatrick MP has met with representatives from E.ON at its ‘Getting ready for winter’ event to find out about the support available to help local residents and small business customers with their winter energy bills.

The event was held in the House of Commons where representatives from E.ON shared details about:

  • The Energy Companies Obligation which supports the installation of energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation in low-income households and in properties that have cavities that are harder to treat;
  • Practical debt advice including home visits and information for customers who can’t afford to pay their bills;
  • Smart meters which can help put people in control of their energy use, facilitate easier switching and bring an end to estimated billing;
  • E.ON’s Saving Energy Toolkit which allows customers to see how their home energy use stacks up compared to similar homes in order to see where savings can be made;
  • Support for smaller to medium sized businesses (SMEs) including the Energy Toolkit which offers sector-specific energy saving tools and advice and a dedicated energy efficiency helpline to help small businesses save energy.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, said: “There’s a huge amount of help available for people who are worried about their winter energy bills and it’s great that E.ON are doing this.”

Ruth Day, Head of Public Affairs at E.ON, said: “We know people are particularly concerned about their energy bills at this time of year. That’s why it’s really important we make sure people know about the help they may be entitled to, before the winter sets in. As well as holding this event, we’re also working with a number of like-minded organisations to spread the word, and are keen for anyone who’s concerned to get in touch and find out how we can help them.”

10 Nov

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Trustees’ Week

November 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

trustees week

Hundreds of events will be taking place this week as charities use Trustees’ Week as a time to thank the one million trustees across England and Wales for their time and dedication.

There are 310 voluntary organisations in Poplar and Limehouse that all rely on the dedication, energy and commitment of c. 1,700 trustees in order to support their beneficiaries.

Trustees are the people ultimately in charge of a charity. They make decisions that help charities achieve their aims and change their beneficiaries’ lives.

It is also a time to encourage more people to become trustees, as many voluntary organisations find it difficult to recruit new trustees. As many as one in five charities are looking for a new trustee.

Being a trustee allows you not only to make a difference to the lives of others, but to learn new skills, meet different people, and develop your career. Voluntary organisations are always looking for a range of skills and different backgrounds on their boards, as well as more young people. You can find out more about trustee vacancies in your local area through NCVO’s Trustee Bank, Charity Job and Do It.

07 Nov

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Homes for Britain

November 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

018 - Homes for Britainn

Housing is one of the biggest issues facing the country right now and one of the biggest burdens on family budgets.

Every day I hear from local people who are concerned about housing. Here in Poplar and Limehouse the average house price is now 9.5 times the average local wage. The result is that homeownership is becoming an increasingly distant ambition for many young people, while more and more families struggle to find a decent home at a price they can afford.

To create attractive, sustainable communities in which people want to live we need to make sure there are the right homes, in the right place, at a price that everyone can afford. Ensuring that people have access to good housing is a local issue, but it must also be a national priority.

That’s why in the run up to the General Election I’ll be representing the people of Poplar and Limehouse by supporting the Homes for Britain, a campaign calling for an end to the housing crisis within a generation.

If things continue as they are, the fear is that as a country we will not have enough of the right type of homes for our children to live in when they grow up. That’s why we must act now.

06 Nov

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‘Get Ready for Winter’

November 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

British Gas

With winter on the way, Jim Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse has today called on his constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP said: “There are a number of simple steps that every constituent should take to make sure they’re doing all they can to keep their bills down and their home warm.”

Insulate your home

One of the best ways to be energy efficient and keep your home warm is to insulate it. British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation which is available to 90% of homes that need it. Loft insulation can save up to £145 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £150 per year. To find out more you can call free on 0800 316 4051 or visit britishgas.co.uk/insulation

Get the best deal

Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. There are lots of deals and fixed prices to help you control your costs. British Gas tells customers in every bill if we have a better tariff for them. It also offers flexible payment plans which allow customers the opportunity to set and manage their own payments. Anyone worried about their bill can call 0800 048 0202 to discuss the help available.

Financial support

Constituents may be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year around 550,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount – a one off discount of £135 on the electricity bill, rising to £140 this year. British Gas has the broadest eligibility criteria of all energy suppliers. British Gas customers should call 0800 072 8625.

British Gas Energy Trust

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. The Trust is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Over the last decade British Gas has provided it with more than £75 million to help 120,000 people with grants and debt advice.

British Gas has teamed up with 18 debt centres across the UK to fund support workers to help people apply for a grant and provide face-to-face advice. You don’t even need to be a British Gas customer to apply. For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: britishgasenergytrust.org.uk

Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy said, “We know that household budgets are tight and many people will be concerned about their winter energy bill. There is help available, and we urge customers to get in touch to find out what advice and support is on offer.”

“In the long term, energy efficiency is still the best way to save money on bills. British Gas is pleased to be working with the Government to roll out help much more widely – 90 per cent of homes that need insulation can now get it for free, and you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to sign up. We’d advise everyone to find out if their home needs help to avoid missing out.“

Jim Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “It is really important to be prepared for winter and I want all my constituents in Poplar and Limehouse to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is so important and I advise everyone in Poplar and Limehouse to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

05 Nov

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Penny for London

November 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse, throws support behind Penny for London scheme

016 Penny for London

  • Jim Fitzpatrick joins other London MPs from across the political divide to support Penny for London
  • New ‘Penny for London’ scheme is the 21st century answer to charity collection tin
  • Proceeds will benefit disadvantaged young Londoners via Mayor’s Fund for London and other London children’s charities
  • Members of public can opt-in to donate as little as a penny using world-first contactless payment technologies

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, threw his support behind Penny for London this week and urged all constituents to register for the ground-breaking new scheme.

Unveiled by Boris Johnson last week, ‘Penny for London’ is a revolution in charitable giving which is set to transform the life chances of young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds all over the capital.

The new scheme, devised by the Mayor’s Fund for London, marks a step change in how we donate to charity, harnessing the huge potential of contactless payments that now total into the millions.

By registering their contactless debit or credit card, Londoners can donate one penny, or more if they wish, every day they travel on London Underground, bus, tram, DLR, London Overground, and National Rail services that accept Oyster.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said:

“I am delighted to provide my support for this initiative. ‘Penny for London’ is a great way to give to a worthwhile cause without really spending much – just one penny every time you travel can go a long way to transform the lives of young Londoners.”

The Mayor of London has described the new scheme as “a big, bold idea that will revolutionise the way we give to charity”.

The system is powered by Barclaycard which has led the way in contactless technology since introducing it to the UK in 2007. Barclaycard played a key role helping Transport for London establish contactless payments across its transport network and has both funded and developed the innovative micro-donation back-office technology that makes Penny for London possible.

Contactless cardholders can opt-in via the Penny for London mobile site or website – www.pennyforlondon.com – and follow Penny for London on Twitter @Pennyforlondon. The official hashtag for social media is #Easy1Peasy.

TfL, which currently operates Europe’s largest single payments system, counted over 5 million contactless journeys in the first month that the facility was available on all London transport.

On average there are over 100,000 journeys made on rail per day and over 100,000 journeys on buses per day using contactless payments, demonstrating the huge potential ‘Penny for London’ has to improve the fortunes of young people in the capital.

Every penny donated by the public will be used by Penny for London to benefit young Londoners via the Mayor’s Fund for London charities and other not-for-profits.

If 100,000 people sign up to the scheme in 2015, Penny for London is set to raise over £1 million for good causes. If 1-in-10 Londoners register the amount donated every year could rise to over £15 million.

Many of London’s leading organisations have come together and donated time and expertise to help bring Penny for London to life, including the GLA, Hogan Lovell, London Evening Standard, Magic 105.4 and Kiss FM, M&C Saatchi, Reward Insight and Zone.

31 Oct

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Supporting digital skills for young people with Eastside Educational Trust

October 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

014 - EET

On Wednesday 29th October, I attended a parliamentary reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Eastside Educational Trust, a leading charity which has been working in our constituency to engage and educate school age children through direct participation in the arts.

Eastside runs a number of projects spanning all artistic disciplines, including the BFI Film Academy, but today’s event showcased the work of the students participating in the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) programme, Adobe’s global initiative to increase digital creativity.

15 students from the youth centre Spotlight in my constituency of Limehouse and Poplar have benefited from advanced training in the use of digital media tools, access to creative practitioners, and mentoring to help them develop their creative skills.

I was able to hear first-hand from some of the young people involved in the project how Eastside has given them the opportunity to express themselves and develop the kind of digital skills they will need to live and work in the future.

It was a privilege to see them show off their new skills and talk about their work with such enthusiasm and confidence, and it shows the talent that can be harnessed through organisations like Eastside. And it was great to hear directly from young people what they view to be the greatest challenges in getting involved in the creative industries.

Since it was founded, Eastside has brought more than a quarter of a million young people into contact with the arts through its many projects and helped launch the creative careers of countless talented young Londoners. If you would like to find out more about the charity’s work with children and young people you can visit their website www.eastside.org.uk or please feel free to contact them directly on 020 7033 2380.

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