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Jim Fitzpartick
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2016 November

30 Nov

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse pledges support for St Mungo’s Stop the Scandal campaign

November 30, 2016 | By | No Comments

At a reception in parliament Jim Fitzpatrick pledged his support for St Mungo’s campaign to stop the scandal of rough sleeping.

The campaign is calling for a new strategy to end rough sleeping, including more specialist support for people sleeping rough with mental health problems.

Recent St Mungo’s research found that increasing numbers of people on the streets are also tackling mental health problems. Four in ten people sleeping rough need mental health support and those with a mental health problem are more likely to live on the streets for longer. Despite this only a third of areas with high levels of rough sleeping commission specialist mental health services for people sleeping rough.

Jim said in support of the Stop the Scandal Campaign:

“No one should have to sleep rough, which is why I am pleased to support St Mungo’s campaign for a new strategy to end rough sleeping. I don’t want anyone in Poplar and Limehouse to be stuck sleeping rough because they can’t access the mental health support they desperately need and I pledge to challenge the government and local partners to do more to prevent and tackle rough sleeping.”

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:

“It’s nothing short of a scandal that people are stuck sleeping rough while their mental health suffers. Our research has revealed a number of stark findings including rising numbers of people who are affected and a lack of specialist services to support people to come off the streets. I’m grateful to all our supporters in parliament for their pledges to help tackle the mental health crisis on our streets.”

In February, St Mungo’s launched its Stop the Scandal campaign calling on the Prime Minister to lead a new strategy to end rough sleeping. More than 15,000 people signed an open letter to Theresa May which was handed in on World Homelessness Day on 10 October.

To find out more, please visit: www.mungos.org/stopthescandal

 

28 Nov

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Electrical bargains not all they seem

November 28, 2016 | By | No Comments

Research by leading safety charity, Electrical Safety First, found that 1 in 6 consumers in the UK have bought a fake electrical item as a Christmas gift – and most of us are unable to identify a genuine electrical product from a fake.

Now Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse is helping the charity raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeits in the run up to the Christmas shopping period when high street and digital retailers offer a range of special offers and discounts.

“Christmas is always expensive and we are all keen to get a bargain but Electrical Safety First’s research makes it clear that shoppers must beware of fakes, particularly via the web”, explains Jim. “The Charity found that 3 out of 5 fake electricals are purchased online, with a third of buyers experiencing major problems with the item. And with almost half of all domestic fires in UK homes caused by electricity, this is a risk you don’t want to take.”

Electrical Safety First also found that it’s not always easy for people to spot a counterfeit product. Three quarters of UK consumers were unable to identify genuine ‘GHD’ hair straighteners and 3 in 5 could not spot a fake ‘Apple’ charger and with the rise of online shopping, it can be even more difficult. One in 5 online shoppers admitted they didn’t consider the authenticity of the product, with over half simply presuming that the electrical items for sale online were genuine.

And, of course, some people are deliberately buying fake products. One in 6 of those surveyed said they would consider buying a product, even if they suspected it was fake, if it was cheaper than the original.

Jim added:

“Fake goods are often cheaper because they omit key components which can affect both the safety and functionality of the product. To make sure you buy ‘the genuine article’, Electrical Safety First has developed advice to help people spot a fake electrical product. I’m urging all my constituents to check this before they do their Christmas shopping.”

For more information, visit: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/electrical-items/safe-shopping/

25 Nov

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Fitz Weekly: 25 November 2016

November 25, 2016 | By | No Comments

Click here to check out the new edition of Fitz Weekly- the best way for constituents in Poplar & Limehouse to keep up to date.

24 Nov

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Westminster Hall Debate: Sustainable Development Goals

November 24, 2016 | By | No Comments

I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on UK implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and spoke about how the role of Fire & Rescue service and the creation the charity FireAid can help deliver the goals.

Follow the links to watch or read the debate in full and for more information on FireAid, please visit: www.fire-aid.org

24 Nov

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP urges eye clinics not to cancel constituents’ appointments

November 24, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick recently attended the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) parliamentary reception to find out if time is running out for his constituents with conditions that can lead to sight loss.

Eye clinics that cancel appointments put their patients at risk of irreversible sight loss because many treatments for sight-threatening conditions require frequent follow-up appointments.

RNIB is campaigning for patients to be seen by eye clinics in the time advised by their consultant, and for patients to keep their appointments.

Jim said:

“I support RNIB’s campaign to make sure people are given timely eye clinic appointments. I’ll work with RNIB to ensure people in Poplar and Limehouse receive their treatment on time.”

Sally Harvey, RNIB’s Acting Chief Executive, said:

“Patients must be seen by their eye clinic within an appropriate time for their condition. No-one should lose their sight needlessly because their eye clinic was too busy to treat them on time.

Patients can also help themselves by attending their eye clinic appointment and not miss or cancel them. Doing so puts their sight at risk, prevents other patients being given timely appointments, and costs the NHS money.”

For more information you can call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk

23 Nov

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Over 35,000 households in Poplar and Limehouse could save hundreds of pounds on energy

November 23, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP backs the Energy Switch Guarantee, an industry initiative to make switching supplier simpler, quicker and safer.

More than 83% of households in Poplar and Limehouse could be missing out on hundreds of pounds of energy savings that can be made by switching energy provider.

The Energy Switch Guarantee – launched in June – is a set of ten commitments designed to offer customers more confidence in the switching process.

The signatories of the Guarantee will make sure the switch is completed in twenty-one days. The Guarantee gives customers the extra assurance that the switch will be fast and reliable.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:

“I want to see 83% of households in Poplar and Limehouse save hundreds of pounds by switching their gas and electricity supplier this winter.

“People tell me that if you’ve been with the same supplier for years switching can seem like a daunting task that is why I support the Energy Switch Guarantee which promises to make switching simple and smooth for everyone.”

Tina Tietjen, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee said:

“I encourage people to shop around this winter for the best deal for them. Customers can save hundreds of pounds and with the Energy Switch Guarantee they are assured a simple, speedy and safe switch.

“The Guarantee is a major commitment by suppliers – from the largest to some of the newest suppliers in the market – to make switching simple and quick. It is designed to reassure consumers who may have reservations about switching.”

Further information about the Guarantee can be found by visiting: www.energyswitchguarantee.com

22 Nov

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EFRA Select Committee: Common Agricultural Policy examined with Rural Payments Agency

November 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

The House of Commons Select Committee on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs held an evidence session on Common Agricultural Policy during which the Committee heard from the Rural Payments Agency. The Rural Payments Agency is responsible for the payment of Common Agricultural Policy funds to farmers.

You can watch the session in full and for more information, click here.

22 Nov

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“Stop discrimination against disabled people” says Jim Fitzpatrick MP

November 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP visited a Guide Dogs event in Parliament to show his support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence. A Private Member’s Bill that sought to introduce such training was debated on 18th November but was not voted on due to a lack of time.

At the event, guide dog owners told the MP for Poplar and Limehouse how taxi and minicab drivers refused to carry them because they had their guide dog with them. They explained that they had missed important appointments due to the refusals and how it had left them anxious and reluctant to use taxis and minicabs again.

Although the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of people living with sight loss were turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have illegally been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.

Guide Dogs is calling for disability equality training to be made a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the rights and needs of disabled people and how to welcome assistance dog owners.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP commented:

“It is shameful to hear from so many people who are illegally turned away from taxis and minicabs because they travel with an assistance dog. I’m asking the Government to act to ensure all taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training so they are aware of the law and how to assist their disabled customers in the right way.”

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

“Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog.

“This discrimination is not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and can stop them doing everyday things that most people take for granted.

“We are very disappointed that we didn’t see a vote on the Disability Equality Training Bill. We were encouraged by the Government’s supportive comments and hope they will take action to introduce training for all taxi and minicab drivers.”

21 Nov

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Two weeks left to report issues for ‘Clear Up’ project

November 21, 2016 | By | No Comments

The council is taking steps to improve how it works and ensure it is more transparent, following the introducing of government-appointed commissioners almost two years ago.

An independent ‘Clear Up’ team has been set up to deal with any outstanding allegations of impropriety or serious concerns residents or staff might have for the period from October 2010 to June 2016.

More information about the team’s work can be found here.

And there are now just two weeks left for people to come forward with their concerns.

James Richardson, a secondee to the Council from the Civil Service, has been appointed as the ‘Clear Up’ Project Manager and is overseeing the team which aims to encourage people to identify any issues during this timeframe which have not yet been looked into.

James said: “This is a completely independent process, and where possible we will be seeking to protect the anonymity of those who want to come forward.

“As well as giving residents, partners and external stakeholders a chance to raise specific concerns, there is also the same opportunity for staff, so I would urge anyone with any outstanding issues to raise them by 8 December.”

Allegations for investigation by the Clear Up team have to be submitted before this date. After the 8 December, any issues should be raised through the council’s usual whistleblowing process.

To submit an allegation you can:

Allegations should be as specific as possible.

For more information about the Commissioners and their roles, you can visit the council’s website: towerhamlets.gov.uk

21 Nov

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Local MP calls for greater Meningitis vaccine take-up

November 21, 2016 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP is taking a leading role in a campaign to help protect young people’s health in Poplar and Limehouse.

He has signed up to promote meningitis awareness and vaccine take-up with GPs following a Parliamentary reception organised by charity Meningitis Now.

The charity is campaigning to increase the take-up of the lifesaving Men ACWY vaccine, which is available free to first-time university students up to the age of 25.

Jim said: “The low uptake of the Men ACWY vaccine among this at-risk group of young people is very worrying.

“I don’t want to see anyone in my constituency dying because they didn’t know about or didn’t get around to getting this vaccination.

“As we enter the peak season for bacterial meningitis I’ll be writing to local GP practices and university leaders to urge them to do more to promote awareness and encourage improved take-up.”

Following an increase of 809 per cent in meningococcal (group W) meningitis cases in the past five years around the country, Government launched a vaccination programme to protect young people aged 14 to 15 through schools and those aged 17 to 18 and first-year students up to 25 through GPs and clinics.

Despite the increasing risk to students and the recent deaths of a number of them across the UK, the uptake of the Men ACWY vaccine within this vulnerable age group remains very low, with just 17.4 per cent taking up the vaccine in England, and similar levels across Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jim has pledged to support the charity in its awareness-raising work and will be writing to GPs and university leaders locally to encourage them to do more to persuade young people to take up the vaccination.

“It is vitally important that students protect themselves with the Men ACWY vaccine and learn the signs and symptoms of the disease,” Jim added. “It only takes a few minutes and it could save theirs or their friend’s life.”

Liz Brown, chief executive of Meningitis Now, said: “We welcome Jim Fitzpatrick’s strong stand and support in persuading GPs to encourage students to protect themselves.”

Up to a quarter of students carry the bacteria that can cause meningitis compared to one in ten of the general population. Over 12 per cent of all cases occur in the 14 to 24 age group, with first year students being at particular risk.

Meningitis Now, in its 30th anniversary year this year, is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.

It does this by funding research into vaccines and prevention, raising awareness so people know what to look for and what action to take if they suspect meningitis and rebuilding futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of the disease.

For more information on meningitis and the work of Meningitis Now visit: www.meningitisnow.org

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP