News

Local MP stands up to prejudice by signing Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment

Last week Wigan MP Lisa Nandy signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.

Sunday January 27th marked the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.

In signing the Book of Commitment, Lisa paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme.

In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.

Lisa said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join other members of the community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that Lisa is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry.”

January 28, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

WIGAN SPORTS CLUB is celebrating a major boost

Sport England today revealed that more than 1,000 local sports projects across the country have now received National Lottery funding through Inspired Facilities, which is part of the £150million Places People Play legacy programme. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark– celebrating the links to the Games.

Wigan Sports Club has secured an award of £50,000 for urgent refurbishment of the Club’s changing room facilities, which are used extensively by numerous Hockey, Cricket and Squash teams at junior and senior level – as well as many others using the Club’s full-size Astroturf pitch. The Sports Club is also contributing over£30,000 to the project.

Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “This National Lottery investment is helping us deliver a lasting sporting legacy in Greater Manchester from last year’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games. “With so many clubs in the North West having benefitted from this fund already and building on the success of last summer, this is the legacy people want for their local community.”

Club President Tony Littler said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured Sport England’s support for this crucial investment in our facilities. The club operates around twenty teams across a range of sports; our facilities are also used by district and county sides and many community groups. We are an entirely not-for-profit community club and this investment is crucial so we can provide proper facilities for the local community. We want those facilities to be used to the maximum and can assure everyone a warm welcome whether they are the youngest novice or an experienced county-level player.”

Wigan MP and Shadow Children’s Minister, Lisa Nandy said: “This is great news, and will give Wigan Sports Club a much needed upgrade. It comes at just the right time, enabling the club to reach more young people at a time when they face huge challenges. This is a well-deserved award and I’m looking forward to visiting in the coming weeks to see first-hand the excellent work they do for the community.”

Wigan Sports Club is one of 310 projects across the England to receive lottery investment from the third round of the Inspired Facilities fund and one of over 1,000 to benefit overall, with the milestone being achieved one year ahead of schedule.

January 28, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Local MPs visit groundbreaking vocational pathway for young people

Local MP’s Lisa Nandy today and Yvonne Fovargue visited a ground breaking vocational training scheme operating in Wigan.

Fix It UK Ltd is a Charitable Trust operating from Spring View. Now in its 10th year, has developed a holistic and practical approach to learning, by offering a specialist training facility in the repair and maintenance of motor vehicles.

During this period, over 1000 young people have been through its doors and have been helped into employment or further training.

Both MP’s called in to see for themselves the work being undertaken at the Rosebridge Industrial Estate site; to talk to some of the young people about their progress and also pick up tips on the importance of car maintenance, particularly during the cold winter weather snap!

They were given a tour of the facility by Fix It UK Ltd’s, Ian Tomlinson and trustee Cllr Keith Cunliffe.

Fix It recognise that all young people have skills and qualities and that not all wish to pursue an academic route. The courses provided are designed to enable students to learn in a safe and secure environment, in small class sizes, thereby providing a high quality learning experience.

Fix-it works closely with 14-19 year olds to deliver vocational motor vehicle studies. All programmes are designed for students who may have faced difficulties in traditional pathways to work such as;

  • Have shown a negative behaviour pattern such as poor attainment, attendance and/or behaviour at school.
  • Have a flair for vocational or practical subjects.
  • Are academically gifted but have become de-motivated.
  • Require positive role models.
  • Have difficulty mixing or working with others.
  • Respond to a less formal approach to teaching
  • Looked after children
  • Have been identified as having learning needs (including emotional and behavioural difficulties)

Fix It UK Ltd are also celebrating and putting to good use the proceeds of a £84,000 grant from the BBC Children In Need Appeal.

At a time of uncertainty for many charities as a result of the economic downturn the grant secures the future of the charity for the next 3 years.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy MP was very keen to visit the charity given her role as Shadow Childrens’ Minister.

Lisa said:

“It was fantastic to visit Fix It to meet Ian and Keith and hear about their valuable work providing training opportunities for young people who have faced challenges in their lives.

“It is absolutely vital that young people are given opportunities to make a decent start in life. I am delighted with the work Fix It are doing, helping young people with that first step is essential.”

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said:

“This is fantastic project working with our young people. It is vital that we continue to support the opportunities provided by Fix It Uk Ltd and the grant from Children in Need secures the immediate future and will help yet more youngsters to develop their skills and receive quality vocational training.

“Equipping youngsters with practical skills and knowledge is not just an investment for today but provides a pathway into work and the benefits that this brings to individuals and wider society in the future.”

January 25, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

What on earth has gone wrong with a country where we can’t feed our children?

I spent a snowy day recently back at primary school shadowing a teacher who is responsible for child protection. I wasn’t surprised to hear that morale has hit a real low among teachers, or that there is a real concern that many of Gove’s reforms hinder, rather than help, schools and teachers’ efforts to work together.

However the biggest message I received was that the pressure on other agencies, particularly social workers, has left schools dealing with a range of problems alone where previously they had help. As the teacher said to me, schools see it all – the impact of poverty, domestic violence, parents in prison, mental health problems, parents who turn up drunk or on drugs to collect their children, traumatised refugee children and children with severe disabilities. Huge cuts to children’s services mean they now have to deal with those issues in school because, often, there’s nobody else to call.

Poverty was a huge issue for children in the school and getting worse. Last year the office started offering charity food vouchers to families on free school meals and one family took them up on it. This year they ran out of vouchers less than 24 hours after writing to parents and had to approach the charity for more. The school runs a breakfast club, but budget pressures mean they have to charge for it. This leaves children who can’t afford to pay, hungry. The office manager told me they sometimes end up giving them food out of the staff fridge. It left me wondering what on earth has gone wrong with a country where we can’t feed our children.

Teachers are also worried about the impact of benefit changes. I was told that the removal of child benefit for families where one person is a higher earner led to two single mums breaking down in tears in the school office. A number of parents have approached the school about the bedroom tax as they are probably going to have to move out of the school’s catchment area and take their children out of school. This is even before the real terms cuts to tax credits and benefits kick in this coming April.

I’d expected that the unravelling of the Every Child Matters agenda might be welcomed by teachers, as I’ve heard that the Common Assessment Framework (or CAF as it is better known) took a long time to complete. But it seems the disappearance of a co-ordinated approach worries many teachers. The local authority used to co-ordinate multi-agency meetings but pressure on health, police and other agencies, and cutbacks in local authorities, mean they don’t happen anymore. The resulting lack of communication worries me from a safety point of view. If teachers know very little about children’s backgrounds, how do they know which concerns to look out for?

They also told me that the school has to be much more proactive than in the past. All staff members have child protection training once a year but whereas before it would be offered, now they have to ask for it. Increasingly it seems they are funding support for children out of the school budget because nobody else can. They employ an educational psychologist and bring in support for children with emotional and mental health problems, and I was shocked to hear that recently the school had to pay out of its budget to send pest control to a private rented flat because the child was covered in bites and refusing to go home.

It’s both ironic and tragic that by focusing on education and neglecting the wider children’s agenda, Gove has pushed teachers into doing the opposite. It shows how false his distinction is between high academic standards and the wider support network for those children. Making sure children are adequately fed, clothed and housed is an essential precondition for high standards, not a distraction from them.

                                                                                                                                                           Published on Labour list 22/01/13

January 23, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Labour forces Government to think again on community pubs

The Tory-led government has been forced to introduce legislation to help protect struggling pubs in places like Wigan after campaigning by Lisa Nandy and Labour shadow Ministers.

The number of pub closures has recently risen from 12 to 18 a week and over 200 pubs have been converted to convenience stores in the last two years alone.

Campaigners have been supporting a broad coalition in calling for a statutory code to guide and regulate the relationship between large pub companies (PubCos) – the branded chains of pubs which account for the majority of pubs in the UK – and their tenants and licencees.

Labour used the first Opposition Day Debate of 2013 to call for statutory regulation of the PubCos. Despite dismissing it out of hand as little as three months ago, the Coalition Government caved in and agreed to back Labour’s call for a statutory code.

Lisa said “Well-run pubs are vital hubs for communities in Wigan and are strongly valued by local people. This Government promised to back small landlords but instead we have seen inaction and broken promises while pubs close at an ever-increasing rate.

“I have raised this with Ministers over the last year but it was only after Labour forced a Commons debate that they decided to think again. The statutory code that I voted for last week will help pubs and brewers in Wigan.”

Notes

1. Lobby groups in the pub trade who support Labour’s calls for a statutory code with a free-of-tie option include CAMRA, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Independent Pub Confederation, Fair Pint and the Guild of Master Victuallers, The BIS Select Committee, the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, UNITE the Union, the Independent Pub Confederation, Fair Pint, the GMB Union, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the Guild of Master Victuallers, the Society of Independent Brewers and the Forum of Private Business.

2. The opposition day debate was held on Wednesday 9 January 2013.

January 22, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa comments on shocking new report on regional poverty

Lisa has responded to a new report from Greater Manchester Poverty Commission which says 600,000 people are already in ‘extreme poverty’ – and a total of 1.6m residents, equal to half the region’s population, could be at risk if the economic crisis deepens.

In Wigan, unemployment was the biggest problem, with Norley said to be in the top six wards in the region with the highest numbers of people (up to 29pc of residents) out of work and claiming job seeker’s allowance.

Lisa  said:

“Today’s report shows the shocking consequences of this Government’s political choices, which have seen unemployment and poverty rise rapidly in regions like the North East and North West.

 

“The Government must invest in housebuilding, roads and the railways to create jobs and get people spending again. The higher unemployment rises, the fewer people spend in towns like Wigan and help boost local businesses.”

Read more about the report on Wigan Today.

January 17, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa calls on Government to follow Wigan Council’s example and pay the Living Wage

Lisa praised Wigan Council for pledging to pay the Living Wage in a debate in Parliament last week, saying the move would have ‘profound and important consequences’ for the 565 people who work for the Council and put an extra £40 a week into the pockets of those previously paid the National Minimum Wage.

Lisa also highlighted the positive effect paying the Living Wage will have on reducing child poverty, improving family life, and boosting the local economy. She called on the Government to commit to pay the Living Wage to all Government employees, and to work with companies contracted by the Government to also pay the living wage to their staff.

She said:

“The Living Wage will make a big difference to the millions of people across the country employed in low paying jobs who currently struggle to make ends meet.

 

“We know that not paying the living wage means many children have to live in poverty. Research shows that two parents on the minimum wage can only meet 82% of the basic costs of bringing up children.

 

“It’s time the Government followed Wigan Council’s example and committed to paying the Living Wage to all its employees. We need to send a clear message to everyone that the minimum pay level must be enough to allow families to lead decent lives free from poverty.”

Read Lisa’s full speech in the debate here.

January 17, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Loughton says child protection a ‘declining priority’ at Department for Education

Lisa Nandy MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, commenting on former children’s minister Tim Loughton’s comments that child protection is a ‘declining priority’ at the Department for Education, said:

“Just a few days after the police and NSPCC report into Jimmy Savile, a former minister has lifted the lid on David Cameron and Michael Gove’s education department, warning that they are failing to make child protection a high enough priority. That is an incredibly serious issue.

“Experts are warning that the Government is in danger of undermining the guidance on child protection. After their failure to hold a single overarching inquiry into abuse allegations, ministers must get a grip and focus on this issue – these warnings must not go unheeded.”

 

January 16, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

HMV Goes Into Administration

The news that HMV has gone into administration, putting 4000 jobs at risk, is ‘really worrying news’ according to Wigan’s MP.

Lisa Nandy said: “this is a really worrying time for HMV staff in Wigan. I know that discussions are ongoing and I hope that a deal can be struck to keep shops open and protect jobs.

“The retail sector is having a tough New Year with the recent collapse of Jessops, and now HMV. It’s clear that we need a new economic plan to stimulate growth.

“The Government should be creating new jobs and boosting the incomes of the lowest paid so that people start spending again and our high streets can recover.”

January 15, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Local MP Lisa urges Wiganer’s to pack peace of mind when booking overseas trips this January

MP Lisa is urging Wigan residents to pack peace of mind when purchasing their holidays this year, by making sure they book an ATOL-protected trip.

The ATOL scheme is there to protect people against the risk of their travel company going bust: ensuring they can continue their holiday and return home safely if the company collapses whilst they are away; or providing refunds if they’re yet to travel. And with over two million ATOL-protected air holidays expected to be sold in the UK during January – the scheme will give holidaymakers in Wigan and across the country peace of mind that their hard earned holiday will not be lost.

During 2012, Parliament agreed two key changes to the scheme to widen protection and help people understand when they are protected. Holidays known by the industry as ‘Flight-Plus’ are now included in the scheme, as well as traditional package holidays. A ‘Flight-Plus’ booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are booked with the same company and within a day of each other.

The second change agreed by Parliament in 2012 saw the introduction of the ATOL certificate; offering consumers greater clarity on how their holiday is protected. Anyone who books an ATOL-protected trip will now receive an ATOL certificate from their travel company as soon as they make any payment. The certificate tells them what is protected, who is protecting it and what to do if something goes wrong.

Lisa said: Families and individuals booking holidays at this time should ensure they are protected against sudden changes that could affect their tour operators ability to fulfil their agreement ATOL protection ensures families and individuals will not be left stranded abroad or left with no holiday at all.

Anyone wishing to book an ATOL-protected air holiday can check if a company provides protection by looking for the ATOL logo on their promotional material, or searching the company’s name at www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk. More information about what’s covered by the scheme and how the ATOL certificate works is also available from this site.

Lisa is also advising people booking trips not covered by the ATOL scheme such as those without flights or holidays booked directly with airlines, to seek alternative methods of protection such as insurance or paying with their credit card.

Notes

1.   www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk includes FAQs, information on how to check if a company is ATOL protected and an explanation of the ATOL Certificate.

2.   For general media enquiries about the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority press office on 020 7453 6030 orpress.office@caa.co.uk.

 

January 11, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment