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- 17 October 2017
I’ve written for the Huffington Post about why Channel 4 should relocate to Bristol. With our international reputation as a centre of unorthodox creativity and talent, and substantial creative talent pool (of people and companies), Bristol would make an ideal home for Channel 4. Let’s make it happen.
- 15 October 2017
The world renowned and widely respected International Monetary Fund has now rejected the long accepted orthodoxy that raising taxes on the wealthiest earners will be harmful to growth. Over the past few decades, but particularly since the financial crash of 2008, we have seen wealth and income inequalities rise, as the experiences of those at the top completely diverged from the majority of people facing the brunt of austerity, wage shrinkage, and a rising cost of living. I hope we are able to reopen the discussion about a more progressive tax system, which I see as key to achieving a more equal society.
- 14 October 2017
I’m late to this - Tory MP Rebecca Pow, claiming at her party conference that Labour MPs ‘don’t have soil in their constituencies’ Clearly this is a nonsense; what is more invidious is her claim that this issue of soil depletion ‘is not on Labour’s agenda’. She boasts that it is now on the Government’s agenda ‘because of a parliamentary inquiry and a debate’. Well yes. That would be the inquiry into soil health carried out by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chaired by Labour’s Mary Creagh, and the subsequent parliamentary debate on soil, led by Mary too, in which I also spoke (as you’d think Ms Pow might recall, given that she intervened on me several times).… I could also point Ms Pow, as Chair of the All-Party Group on Agroecology, to the three part inquiry on soil health it conducted which preceded the EAC inquiry. Or to my Westminster Hall debate on urban food-growing, at which I waxed lyrical about the need to protect soil classified
- 13 October 2017
Earlier this week I was in Strasbourg as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which covers 47 European countries and is primarily concerned with matters of democracy and human rights. I have added my name to this statement on the humanitarian situation affecting the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The Disasters Emergency Committee has now set up an appeal fund and I would urge those of you who can to make a donation -…
- 13 October 2017
Following my question to the Prime Minister on Wednesday about meningitis and the risk for young people, I am keeping up the campaign to extend the provision of vaccination against Meningitis B to all children and young people. Raising awareness alone is not enough; we need Government action on this. I have written this article urging the Government to do more, and will be taking relatives of Izzy and George to meet with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on 1st November. Sign the petition to vaccinate all children against Meningitis B here -
- 12 October 2017
I am launching a new report which warns of the dangers of a hard Brexit to farmers and our food – just days after reports that crashing out of the EU without a deal will see the return of customs controls and investors redirecting their money from the UK to the EU. The report follows an inquiry by the Agroecology All-Party Group, which I chair, during which we heard from witnesses that a hard Brexit would result in a rise in food prices and farms going out of business due to tariffs and labour shortages. The report sets out clear recommendations for protecting higher-welfare British farmers from lower welfare imports (especially from the US) – but I am less than confident that the Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, can be trusted not to trade-away animal welfare and food safety standards, as part of future trade deals.
- 12 October 2017
I have co-signed, with This is Rubbish, a letter to the Environment Minister, urging her to support ambitious EU food waste targets, from farm to fork. There are signs the Minister is not keen on having EU targets, but given that we are leaving the EU and would not then be bound by the targets, it would be wrong for the U.K. to sabotage EU proposals. You can see our letter below and also follow my food waste Facebook page -
- 11 October 2017
At the weekend I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak at Unite South West’s regional conference, praising Unite’s work as a campaigning union (for example, in highlighting the exploitation of workers by Sports Direct) and discussing how this fits with Labour’s agenda of challenging zero hours contracts, protecting the role of trade unions, and ensuring workers’ rights. I also spoke about Brexit. 37% of Unite members work in the five sectors that have been identified by the Government as potentially most affected by Brexit: the automotive sector; aerospace; pharmaceuticals and chemicals; financial services; and food and farming. I have added my name to a letter to David Davis, calling for the publication of Brexit economic impact studies. As the letter says, we need a full and frank debate about the impact of Brexit on our jobs, economy, trade and living standards, and we cannot do that debate justice unless we have full transparency from the Government. What is it they are tr
- 11 October 2017
Earlier today I asked the Prime Minister whether the Government would do more to raise awareness of Meningitis and extend free vaccinations to teenagers. This is following the deaths of Izzy Gentry and George Zographou, students at St Brendan's Sixth Form from Meningitis B, and a further death of a student at Orchards School from suspected Meningitis. Unfortunately, despite me tipping her off about my question in advance, I didn't get a good response on vaccinations, but I will continue the campaign.
- 10 October 2017
Today is World Mental Health Day, which is a time to raise awareness of how many people will be affected by a mental health condition during their lifetime, and to consider what more can be done to help them. Young Minds, the children’s mental health charity, is urging people to wear yellow today and tweet their support at #HelloYellow. They say that three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition, and over 80,000 young people in the UK are severely depressed. But it’s becoming more difficult to get assessment or treatment, and more and more young people are being admitted to A&E for self-harm. I have co-signed a letter, along with many other Labour MPs, calling on the Government to give mental and physical health parity of esteem, and to ensure funding for mental health services is protected by ring fencing.
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