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Jim Fitzpartick
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20 Oct

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Nursery closures

October 20, 2014 | By | No Comments

overland nursery

This month I have been in correspondence with Tower Hamlets Council regarding cuts to children’s services and proposals to close Overland Children’s Centre.

In terms of the general issue of children’s services cuts, a number of constituents contacted me about the consultation exercise being undertaken by the council, saying that such cuts would impact not only on children, parents, future generations, but also will have a direct impact on poverty within the borough.  Concerns have also been voiced regarding a lack of consultation.  I am pressing for answers on these questions, although it is fair to say that many of us could foresee this scenario.  It’s all well and good promising that funding levels will be maintained; but those proverbial chickens tend to come home to roost.

The Overland Children’s Centre is a resource for deaf children.  Parents are incredibly concerned that the support provided by Overland could be taken away.  Many describe the centre as a lifeline for the children and their families, and say that, by attending the centre, there is a significant increase in the confidence and communication skills of deaf children.  Once again, the lack of consultation has been raised as an issue, too.

Could all this tie in with the contents of a press release I put out this month, which focused on concerns about the distribution of grants in Tower Hamlets?  A recent analysis by ‘Love Wapping’ reported that there has been an uneven distribution of monies in the borough.  I have written to Mayor Lutfur Rahman for confirmation of the accuracy of this information.  I shall look forward to his reply, and to the replies to my other correspondence regarding children’s services, and shall be happy to report back to local people accordingly.

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17 Oct

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‘wear it pink’ day

October 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

wear it pink Jim Fitzpatrick 2

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day.

The theme of wear it pink this year is to ‘look good, do good’ in support of breast cancer research. On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year’s fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP says “Every year in the UK around 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease each year. This is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts to support world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments. I hope you’ll all join me by wearing it pink on Friday 24 October and showing your support for breast cancer research.”

wear it pink on Friday 24 October to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research. For more information or to register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org.

15 Oct

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Palestine Vote

October 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

I'm at the back, third from the right.

On Monday, the Commons voted strongly in favour of recognising Palestine as a sovereign state.

The result, however 274 to 12, is not binding on the government.

I queued for five hours in an effort to raise my concerns and make a contribution but there were too many MPs trying to speak and a number of us were not called.

Here is a flavour of what I would have said:

“We know that 134 out of 193 UN member states collectively recognise the state of Palestine.

We know that the IMF and World Bank recognise the state of Palestine.

We know that the UK has been moving towards the principle of recognition but now is the time to actually recognise Palestine as a sovereign state.

My belief is that in recognising Palestine now, we give her the additional responsibility that comes with statehood.

Politicians like President Abbas who believe in non-violence and in a political route to self-determination often feel we in the West are doing nothing to help them – and on the contrary, our inaction is helping those who argue the only way to success is via armed resistance.

A vote for recognition would do a lot to restore their faith in a political route.

It is a long awaited right for Palestine to be offered her recognition as a state, and with that right come responsibilities – a point strongly made by other MPs.

Moreover, Israel needs to know she is losing support from key allies such as the UK. Ignoring UN resolutions, continuing to build and expand illegal settlements, using disproportionate force as we saw this summer, causes despair among their many supporters.

We all want to see Israel safe, but we also want to see Palestine safe.

The UK’s current position is hugely symbolic because of the historic role we have played in Palestine but our decision should and must have an impact.

We all want to see peace but it’s not happening, to say recognition would be a further obstacle is denying the reality. For those of us who support the motion, it is part of the way forward.”

14 Oct

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Tower Hamlets – Highest Child Poverty Rate in the UK

October 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

According to figures released by the End Child Poverty Campaign, Tower Hamlets has the highest child poverty rate in the UK with 49 per cent of our children living in poverty.

I wrote to Mayor Rahman just last week regarding this issue and raised my concerns over an analysis showing the four wards with the highest poverty indices in Tower Hamlets being in receipt of the lowest grant support.

I have yet to receive a response to my correspondence but I know that Labour has been working tirelessly in Tower Hamlets to improve the lives and wellbeing of its children, including Labour’s campaign for free school meals for primary school pupils which began this September.

I have also been in close contact with the End Child Poverty campaign and have written to the Children’s Minister and Shadow Minister for Education regarding this issue, asking for a ‘roadmap’ to reducing child poverty and further information on Labours’ plans to ending child poverty by 2020 respectively.

10 Oct

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‘Give Someone a Start’

October 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

SONY DSC

As Lord Sugar starts his search for another new ‘Apprentice’, a group of long-term unemployed people from east London are hoping valuable work experience gained at Thames Water will help them get hired.

Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick, spoke to the candidates who successfully completed the three-week programme called ‘Give Someone a Start’ at a presentation held at the East London Business Alliance offices in Tower Hamlets on Friday.

The scheme, first developed by London’s water supplier in 2012 and supported by the government, aims to give long-term unemployed people a foot-up on the career ladder. It shows them what employers are looking for while also equipping them with practical skills and hands-on experience in a real workplace, including one of Europe’s biggest sewage works in Beckton.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Often it is a lack of experience, rather than a lack of ability, which prevents people from stepping onto the career ladder. Thames Water’s Give Someone a Start programme is providing workplace experience that will help participants show potential employers what they are capable of. I wish them well in their future endeavours.”

Thames Water education manager Paul Hampton added: “Give Someone a Start is a valuable scheme giving unemployed people a taster, or in some cases, a reminder of what it’s like to be in the workplace.

“We employ more than 4,500 people at Thames Water so have a huge amount to offer in the way of advice and experience. We’re very proud of this programme which has proved in the past gets results and, most importantly, people into work.”

During the three weeks with Thames Water, participants from Islington, Stratford, East Ham and Walthamstow worked alongside staff in a range of roles at various locations across the east of the city. They were also given tips on interview techniques and CV writing and took part in a workshop to sharpen-up their IT skills.

A presentation event was held on October 3 to mark the end of the east London programme, where certificates were presented to participants by Mr Fitzpatrick and Thames Water’s Ken Oakley. They also had one-to-one sessions with the programme leaders to get feedback on how they performed and advice on next steps to get into work.

Davin Chaggar, Programme Manager, Employment and Skills at ELBA, said: “ELBA is proud to be working in partnership with Thames Water on the east London leg of their work experience programme. We have supported the scheme by providing links to jobseekers from our local boroughs including Hackney, Islington and Newham, as well as delivering fun, exciting and impactful training.

“One of our key objectives is to promote careers in science, technology, mathematics and engineering which makes Thames Water a perfect corporate partner for us.”

The east London scheme is the first of four that Thames Water will be supporting in the next eight months. The others will be in west London, Reading and Swindon.

09 Oct

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Marner School

October 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Following negative press coverage of Marner School in the Sunday Times on the 28th September, including questionable claims which have been proved wrong, an Ofsed report has just been released that will reassure local parents.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:

“Marner is a great local school.  None of us are complacent about protecting our young people, but I know the school well, and the Ofsed report backs me up – they do a good job, and parents should feel reassured that they can trust the teachers there”.

Cllr Helal Uddin, a local councillor said:  ” I know Marner school well, and I know that they take their responsibility to community cohesion very seriously.  I am glad that the Ofsted report demonstrates what we already knew, that there is no space given to those who might seek to divide our community”.

Cllr Danny Hassell, a local councillor and Labour Group spokesperson on schools said:  “We are proud of the track record of Tower Hamlets schools – it was a Labour council working with a Labour government that brought together local people, parents, teachers and young people to transform educational attainment in our part of the east end.  We in the Labour Party will continue to work with parents, teachers and communities to continue that story of success.  Moreover we will not allow our schools – and our communities – to be stigmatised.  The manner of the briefing against Marner school was unjustified”.

Rushanara Ali MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said;

“We all welcome this report which shows the effectiveness of safeguarding in Marner School. There is no greater responsibility in schools than this. Moreover, it is absolutely right that Ofsted should investigate all cases where concerns are brought forward.”

“However, the way in which allegations have found their way into the press has been unacceptable. Pupils and parents have had to deal with what has become a culture of fear created by the tone of unsupported accusations.”

“We must learn lessons from this incident. Quick and effective measures must be put in place to deal with reports of wrongdoing – without investigations becoming sensationalised and distracting from the excellent work of our local schools.”

08 Oct

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Concerns about grant distribution in Tower Hamlets

October 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

A recent analysis by “Love Wapping” reported that there has been an uneven distribution of grant monies in Tower Hamlets over the last four years.

What is more alarming is that the four wards with the highest poverty indices are reported to be in receipt of the lowest grant support.

This includes East India and Lansbury which according to the council’s own figures, has the highest child poverty rate in Tower Hamlets at 54 per cent, yet organisations located here only received 4.6 per cent of all grants.

Similarly, Bromley by Bow has 52 per cent of children living in poverty and Mile End East has 51 per cent yet their percentage of grants was 2.3 and 3.74 per cent respectively.

As a result of this report, I have written to Mayor Rahman raising my concerns and asking for confirmation of the accuracy of this information.

I have also asked him to indicate what actions his administration will be taking to rectify this anomaly, if at all.

01 Oct

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Should we lower the UK’s voting age?

October 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

DSC_0042[2]I was delighted to be joined by Callum and Alice from Bishop Challoner today in Westminster. The three of us had a spirited discussion regarding the UK’s voting age and I was happy to have assisted them in the collation of their joint report with the BBC.

30 Sep

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“Ask your MP”

September 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

Myself with Vanessa Feltz

Today I faced the hotseat as I joined Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9 for an hour of “Ask your MP”. It was a great opportunity to talk about some of the wonderful developments in Poplar and Limehouse as well as answering some of your questions directly.

If you didn’t get the chance to tune in, have no fear! Click on this link and forward to 02:01:50.

17 Sep

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Improving cancer survival rates with earlier diagnosis

September 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

I recently highlighted the importance of improving earlier cancer diagnosis as a means of increasing one-year cancer survival. In Tower Hamlets, only 65% of people with cancer will live for a year after diagnosis.

At the moment, the UK lags far behind its international and European neighbours in cancer survival. We know that early diagnosis of cancer leads to better survival rates for patients. The one-year cancer survival rates will highlight areas where improvements need to be made. I have written to the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning group for an update on initiatives to encourage earlier diagnosis, and look forward to working with them on behalf of local cancer patients. By matching Europe’s best survival rates, the Government estimates that the NHS in England could save 10,000 lives a year. This should be our aim: to give people in our area the best chance in their fight against cancer.

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP