Jim Fitzpatrick MP has today shown his support for Kerry McCarthy MP’s Food Waste (Reduction) Bill which will tackle the scandal of food waste.
We have committed to the UN target of halving food waste by 2030. But while consumers have already reduced their food waste by over 20% since 2007, over half of all food waste occurs before we even have a chance to buy it. Suppliers and supermarkets urgently need to take responsibility for reducing the huge amount of waste generated upstream, particularly on farms.
The Food Waste (Reduction) Bill sets out a clear path for reducing the huge amount of food wasted before it even reaches our shopping bags, and for increasing the amount of good surplus food that is donated to charities.
Kerry McCarthy MP said:
“We need urgent action to tackle the scandal of wasted food. The UK is throwing away 15 million tonnes of food a year. But while consumers have reduced their food waste by over 20% since 2007, over half of all food waste occurs before we even buy it.
“Voluntary action by the industry is failing to deliver results so this legislation is essential. My Bill commits us to the UN goal of halving food waste by 2030, setting out a clear path for reducing food waste and ensuring perfectly good surplus food is donated to charities.”
Jim Fitzpatrick says:
“It is a scandal that food is being wasted on such a huge scale. Supermarkets must take more responsibility for the large quantities of food waste they cause in their supply chain. We also need to reverse the current situation which can make it cheaper for companies to dispose of good food than donate it to people in need. I hope the UK can lead international efforts to halve food waste by 2030”.
That this House calls for an increase in the percentage of national spend on research into cancer to be spent on research for better diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours; expresses concern that brain tumours received 1.5 per cent, £7.7 million, of the £498 million national spend on research into cancer, meaning that, at this current rate, it could take up to 100 years to catch up to the same level of developments for research into other diseases; notes that, unlike most cancers, the number of brain tumour incidences is rising; congratulates the charity Brain Tumour Research for its campaign calling on the Government and larger cancer charities to raise investment in research into the treatment and diagnosis of brain tumours to £30 to £35 million a year; and calls on the Government to support Brain Tumour Research’s campaign.
That this House notes that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) History Month takes place in February and welcomes 2016’s theme of Religion, Belief and Philosophy; celebrates the seismic shift in legal equality for LGBT people under successive Labour governments from 1997 to 2010, including the abolition of Section 28, the equalisation of the age of consent, the lifting of the ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces, the introduction of civil partnerships, the outlawing of discrimination in the provision of goods and services, the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act, the introduction of statutory rights for lesbian couples to access fertility treatment, increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes and government-led initiatives to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools; further celebrates the shift in public attitudes towards LGBT equality and the action taken since by successive governments across the UK to further LGBT equality, including the introduction of equal marriage rights; congratulates Sue Sanders, Tony Fenwick and the LGBT History Month team and other LGBT equality charities and pioneers for their ongoing work to improve the life chances and opportunities for LGBT people; further notes that there is still a great deal more work to do to ensure that all LGBT people are treated with dignity and respect; welcomes the groundbreaking report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee on trans equality; and encourages the Government to take further steps to end discrimination and bigotry against LGBT people in the UK and around the world.
That this House marks the thirtieth anniversary of the advertisement placed in The Times on 13 January 1986 by 1,500 scientists which called on the public to ask their hon. Members to save British science before it is too late; notes that at that time concern was expressed about the brain drain abroad and the loss of research in the UK due to declining budgets; further notes that the organisation entitled Save British Science was established as a result and was later renamed the Campaign for Science and Engineering; applauds the work that both organisations have done over the last thirty years to promote UK science; and finally welcomes the efforts that the UK science and engineering community make to strengthen links between Science and Parliament.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP has co-signed a new report from the British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) revealing that despite £1.7bn of taxpayers’ cash being pumped into subsidising the construction of UK high-speed broadband, there are still a staggering 5.7million people across Britain who cannot access the internet at the Ofcom required 10 Megabits per second.
In 2016 people rightly expect access to high-speed internet connections. Whether at home or work, fast broadband should be a reality in all our communities. Sadly, this is not yet the case. In Poplar and Limehouse people are dealing with some really poor connections and gaps in services. In fact Poplar and Limehouse falls into the bottom 30% of seats for average download speed.
Today’s report, ‘BroadBad’, calls on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach. The comprehensive report, which details connection speeds in every part of the country, argues that given our modern economy being so reliant on the internet, it is time to stop being held back by BT’s lack of ambition and underinvestment.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:
“I believe Britain should be leading the world in digital innovation. Yet instead the Britain suffers from having a BT run monopoly clinging to outdated copper technology with no proper long-term plan for the future. Britain needs to start converting to a fully fibre network so it is not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace digital advancement.
“However, Britain will only achieve this by taking action to open up the sector. Given all the delays and missed deadlines, I believe that only a formal separation of BT from Openreach, combined with fresh competition and a concerted ambition to deliver, will now create the broadband service that our constituents and businesses so rightly demand.”
There are more than 7080 people in Poplar and Limehouse living with heart and circulatory disease
This week Jim Fitzpatrick MP showed their support for heart patients and their families by joining the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and other cardiovascular organisations to hear how they are helping to save and improve the lives of the millions of people affected by cardiovascular disease in the UK.
At an All Party Parliamentary Group event in Westminster, Jim Fitzpatrick met with members of the Cardio and Vascular Coalition, as well as families who talked about their difficulties of living with cardiovascular conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and congenital heart disease. Together, with the Cardio and Vascular Coalition, the British Heart Foundation is urging the Government and the NHS to do more to tackle the disease on all fronts and put heart disease high on the agenda.
Jim Fitzpatrick said: “Heart disease is a devastating condition that affects thousands of people across Poplar and Limehouse. Research has helped to revolutionise our understanding of heart and circulatory conditions.
“If we are to continue making great strides in preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease, the Government needs to play its part to ensure that every person living with heart disease gets the care and support that they need.”
Jennifer Mitchell, Head of Policy at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Through our research we’ve helped reduce the number of deaths from heart disease by more than 50 per cent and improve the lives of the seven million people living with it.
“We recognise that there are a number of priorities for the NHS. However, we are concerned that cardiovascular disease is not being sufficiently prioritised by the Government or NHS England, and that this is having a ‘trickle down’ effect at a local level with health bodies and others. The end result is that too many of those living with cardiovascular disease in the UK are not getting the treatment, care and support they need. By increasing their awareness of how heart disease is having an impact on families today, Jim Fitzpatrick MP has taken an important first step towards tackling this problem head on.”
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab):Mr Percy, it is a pleasure to see you presiding in the Committee today. I will be brief.
I start by echoing the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) that the Minister is held in high regard, so it is disappointing that he has brought these regulations to the Committee. However, we have been here before. Maintenance grants were abolished by the Labour Government between 1997 and 2001. Looking round the room, I think only my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South (Mr Marsden) and I were here at the time.
For me, the issue was huge and still is. The vast majority of my young people in Poplar and Limehouse—the constituency was Poplar and Canning Town then—were not impacted by the introduction of tuition fees at £1,000, and I supported it. I still support tuition fees, not at £9,000 but at a more moderate level. The income threshold for my young people meant that they would not have to pay tuition fees. My worry was about those who were just above the threshold for whom grants were critical in allowing them to go on to higher education.
The issue is personal because my two brothers in Glasgow went to university and college, presumably only because they received a grant. I do not think my parents could have afforded to pay for my brother to go to Glasgow University and my other, younger brother to go to Glasgow Art School and then Dundee Art College. It was my only rebellion during the 1997-2010 Labour Administration. Conservative Members should know that standing on principle is not an impediment to promotion. In fact, it get may get them noticed. They should think long and hard, because this is a major issue. To the credit of the Labour Government, they changed their mind a few years later because they recognised the impact of the measure and restored maintenance grants.
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The Prime Minister, to his credit, speaks a lot about social mobility but, as we have heard, many people think this measure will impact on social mobility. My hon. Friends have outlined the case very strongly and much better than I could. I appeal to the Government on behalf of my young constituents not to proceed with these regulations today. I congratulate the shadow Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South, on the very powerful case he has mounted, supported by other Opposition Members. This measure reflects badly on the Government and it reflects even more badly on them that we are dealing with it in Committee, rather than in the full glare of the public in the Chamber, where many more colleagues, who would have wanted to contribute, could speak. This issue is fundamentally important for those people in our society who need a helping hand up. We need to ensure that they can share the great life that we all live in Britain.
Shocking figures released by the Office of National Statistics predict that the number of people dying prematurely in winter 2014-15 are two and half times higher than in the previous winter. In Poplar and Limehouse the reported number of excess deaths has averaged 14 over the past 5 years. However since the total for England and Wales has leapt from 17,460 to 43,900 it is almost certain that Poplar and Limehouse will see a worrying growth in local figures.
The number of excess winter deaths (EWD) are defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths which occurred in the rest of the year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that between 30 and 50% of EWDs are caused by poorly insulated cold homes.
The ONS figures show that fatalities in women have more than doubled with people aged over 75 worst affected.
Clive Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, says, “The latest figures show the highest number of EWDs since the winter of 1999, with many of these being older people, often living in homes with poor insulation. Yet the government is cutting back on life-saving energy efficiency measures by up to 65%. Labour believes that everybody has a right to access the basic level of energy they need to keep their home warm enough to live in. With 2.35 million households now living in fuel poverty, this government clearly doesn’t share our vision.”
Jim Fitzpatrick MP said, “The average number of EWDs was already cause for concern, these new figures show that government cuts are really hurting our most vulnerable neighbours. These figures are truly shocking, particularly as this huge rise happened over one of the mildest winters in recent years. As the weather turns cold this week we are gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in Poplar and Limehouse.
Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing who will suffer because of this government’s lack of investment.”