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- 10 November 2017
Today is Equal Pay Day – the day from which women basically work for free, because they earn less than men for the same work. The gender pay gap means that women effectively aren’t paid for work between now and the end of the year. Despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, women still earn less than men in Britain today – 9.1% on average for those in full-time work. It is a sign of the slow progress that Equal Pay Day is the same as last year - at this rate it’ll take decades for women to get paid the same as men. The Government has already introduced a legal requirement for all employers with more than 250 employees to publish their data on gender pay and bonuses by April 2018. But more must be done to encourage employers of all sizes to account for the discrepancies between male and female staff pay. We should not have to argue that an employee’s work, and their contribution to the economy, is of no lesser value, just because they happen to be a woman.
- 10 November 2017
I am aware of the concerns around the possible impact on Thekla of new housing development nearby, and have been in contact with Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West, whose constituency it is in, and Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, about the risk. It appears the planned developments near to Thekla are further away than existing housing and fortunately should not require any new constraints on Thekla to limit noise pollution. We need to tackle the underlying issue which means music venues across the country have come under threat by new developments springing up around them. I am sponsoring a new law that will be introduced soon by John Spellar MP, which will require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses, like music venues, placing the burden on the developer, not the venue, to make sure that the venues and residents can co-exist in the same area
- 10 November 2017
Some of you will have seen today’s press reports about Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North and his past behaviour towards me. Although this is a difficult situation I now find myself in, and I do not relish being in the public eye over this, the decision to speak out was not a difficult one to make. As soon as I saw last week’s story involving Ava Etemadzadeh, and the similarities, I knew I had to support her. I therefore went to see the Chief Whip last Friday, and a senior member of the Leader’s office on Monday. This is the first they knew of it, and they could not have been expected to know before. I am doing this to support a young woman who was brave enough to speak out, and I will be submitting what evidence I have to the investigation involving her complaint, rather than initiating my own. As I say, my mind was made up as soon as the first story broke, but my resolve has been strengthened by seeing Ava come under attack from misguided, and in some cases, malicious individuals s
- 09 November 2017
I am supporting The Labour Campaign for Mental Health’s call to ring-fence mental health spending in the Autumn Budget. The Government has announced some additional funding - £1.4 billion over five years to deliver the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and £1.25 billion for the Future In Mind programme for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services - but this is only a fraction of what mental health services need to meet growing demands. Across England, for the second year in a row, over half of Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that decide how money is spent locally - say they plan to reduce the proportion of their budget spend on mental health. This is unacceptable. The money needed to transform mental health services and save lives is just not reaching the front line. Waiting times are too long, people are not receiving the best care in the community and people are having to travel too far for in-patient services. On November 22, in his Budget, the Chancellor Ph
- 09 November 2017
This week is Living Wage Week. Currently over 5,000 workers in Bristol East are paid under the voluntary Living Wage of £8.75 an hour. That means that the average person living in poverty is working, but still can’t make ends meet. We must end the low pay scandal and ensure all employers pay a fair wage. This would also provide our local economy with a much needed boost, as we would have more people with higher disposable incomes to spend on local goods and services.
- 08 November 2017
After Parliament unanimously voted for the release of impact assessments conducted on the potential effects of Brexit on Britain’s key industries, the Government must publish them in full now. Anything less is ignoring the clearly demonstrated will of Parliament.
- 08 November 2017
Last month I was one of the joint signatories to a letter to the Department for International Development drawing attention to the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Minster has now responded and I am pleased to see that the UK will be providing another £1.9m in support, although obviously we also need further action from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to address the underlying causes of the crisis.
- 07 November 2017
The Three Crowns Pub has played a great role as a community pub serving the local residents of St George. Too many pubs across the country are being forced to close, please sign this petition to help save it!
- 06 November 2017
The recent revelations about the schemes that the super-rich use to avoid paying tax are shocking; when we see people sleeping on the streets and public services being underfunded, I feel a burning sense of injustice that those with vast sums of wealth avoid paying their fair share. Massive credit must go to investigative journalists who invested millions of hours of work into this damaging expose, as well as my parliamentary colleagues, Margaret Hodge MP and Caroline Flint MP, who have both been incredibly persistent in pushing for greater transparency and tax justice.
- 05 November 2017
Following on from my article yesterday, it’s great to see Avon and Somerset Police are taking modern slavery seriously and now have three successful prosecutions against people who ran nail bars in Bath, with workers in shameful conditions. We must send the clearest possible signals that treating people in this way is not acceptable, and that exploitative employers will be caught and brought to justice.
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