Aylestone | Castle | City Centre | Clarendon Park | Crown Hills | De Montfort University | Evington Road | Eyres Monsell | Wycliffe | Gilmorton | Highfields
Knighton | Knighton Fields | Leicester University | Leicester Royal Infirmary | Saffron | Spinney Hills | St. Andrews | St. Matthews | St. Peters | Stoneygate
It's a busy schedule working as the MP for Leicester South. We try to make sure we keep everyone up-to-date with important issues, topics that affect constituents. We do this with regular updates on the website, including this page, where we highlight news items.
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JUNE 2011

Jon pushes for Commons debate on ESOL cuts

Thursday June 30 2011

Speaking in the House of Commons today Labour MP Jon Ashworth called for a guarantee that the Equality Impact Assessment on ESOL will be published and debated before the Parliamentary recess on 19 July.


Jon Ashworth called on the Leader of the House of Commons to: "Guarantee a debate on the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment on the floor of the House" Unfortunately the Leader of the House refused to confirm a debate will take place.
"Speaking afterwards Jon said "It's disappointing that we haven't yet been guaranteed a debate on the Equality Impact Assessment of ESOL cuts. It's vital that the implications of these cuts and their effect on communities in Leicester are fully understood by the Minister which is why I will continue to raise the matter in Parliament."

Armed Forces Day Service and celebration of Aylestone Meadows

Saturday June 25 2011

Leicester South Labour MP Jon Ashworth to attend this year's Armed Forces Day Service at Leicester Cathedral on Saturday 25 June, and on Sunday 26 June to join in a celebration of Aylestone Meadows.

Leicester South's Labour MP Jon Ashworth will join the congregation at Leicester Cathedral at 11am on Saturday.

Jon Ashworth MP said: “This Service at the Cathedral helps to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces.”

“Armed Forces Day is an ideal opportunity for myself, and the nation, to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community - from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets.”

Following the service at midday there will be a parade of Standards, service personnel and veterans from Guildhall Lane to the Town Hall where the salute will be taken.

On the following day, Sunday 26 June, John and his family will join members of the community for a picnic at Aylestone Meadows. This community picnic is organised by Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society (AMAS).

AMAS, a non political organisation, was at the forefront of a battle over the use of the Meadows for nearly two years. In March of this year, AMAS was victorious when the Planning Committee refused planning permission for the proposed football development on the Meadows.

Jon commented: “I have heard about AMAS and the tremendous work they did in protecting the Meadows.
Jon and Adam at the celebrations of Aylestone Meadows

Jon and Adam at the celebrations
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My family and I are very much looking forward to meeting members of the community and enjoying this local resource. It is great opportunity for all members of the community to come together”

Leicester to be hit hard by cuts to ESOL provision

Saturday June 25 2011

From September this year the Government plans to cut ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) funding and impose restrictions on learners' eligibility for public funding, including full fee remission. These plans will drastically reduce the number of people who will be able to take ESOL courses in Leicester.

Jon Ashworth MP said: “This year over 5,500 learners benefited from ESOL courses from the four main providers in Leicester. It is very doubtful that a similar number of people will benefit from this September.”

Under the Government's plans full fee remission will be limited to people claiming Job Seekers Allowance or those in the Work Related Activity Group claiming Employment and Support Allowance. People in low paid work and those not looking for work will have to pay for the ESOL course. Currently, people on other benefits, including Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support and Pension Credit do not have to pay for their ESOL course.

Jon Ashworth commented: “This restriction on full fee remission will make it more difficult for women to learn English, especially as the ESOL Learner Support Fund is likely to be abolished from September. This Learner Support Fund helps students, including women without independent means and low paid workers, with course fees.”


“Having spoken with providers of ESOL courses it is clear there are many barriers for women to pay their own fees, and even having to pay 50% of the course fee will be too much for a lot of women. If providers of ESOL course are not prepared to make losses and allow women to attend for less than 50% of the fee, then the repercussions of these cuts have the potential to adversely impact on women's independence, economically and socially.”

“These cuts, along with the proposed ending of funding for ESOL in the workplace and limiting funding to people from ‘settled communities', will have a wider far reaching impact on social cohesion and stability within our City. These cuts will disproportionately hit Leicester with its diverse communities which we are all rightly proud of.”

Jon Ashworth met ESOL learners at The Highfields Centre on Friday morning, 24 June, and on the following day he is took part in a Public Meeting at Leicester Adult Education College.

Photos opposite show Jon speaking at The Highfields Centre with some of the ESOL Learners'

Click any photo for enlargement

Jon speaking at the meeting to discuss ESOL at the The Highfields Centre
People interested in ESOL at the meeting at the The Highfields Centre
People interested in ESOL at the meeting at the The Highfields Centre

Jon calls for inner city job scheme to help young people find work

Tuesday June 21 2011

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth today pressed Treasury ministers to fund a new scheme to help young people on inner city estates in Leicester South move off benefits and find employment.

Jon Ashworth
argued that Ministers, instead of giving banks a tax cut, should instead introduce a bank bonus tax and use the revenue to fund the new scheme to help get young people move off the dole and into work - which is a better way to get the deficit down in the longer term.

Speaking in the House of Commons today Jon Ashworth said: ‘The Minister will be aware that the claimant count has continued to rise in each of the last three months, and unemployment in many inner city constituencies such as mine remains stubbornly high – will the minister consider, that rather than giving the banks a tax cut, instead tax bank bonuses sufficiently and use that revenue to fund an inner city jobs programme to give young people on in city estates the opportunity to find work?

500,000 women forced to wait more than a year for their pension

Monday June 20 2011

The Government's plans to accelerate the state pension age increases mean that 500,000 women will have to wait for more than a year longer before receiving the state pension, leaving many women aged 56 and 57 feeling robbed including nearly 3,000 in Leicester and 900 women in Leicester South.

Nationally, 300,000 women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 October 1954, will have to wait an extra 18 months, and an unlucky 33,000 will have to wait an extra 2 years, before being entitled to their state pension.

The majority of these women will already be well underway in their plans for retirement, with many already working reduced hours in order to care for grandchildren or elderly parents. Yet they are now being forced to make significant changes to their financial plans, with just 5 years notice before the changes kick in.


The unlucky 900 Leicester South women born between 6 March 1954 and 5 April 1954 are set to lose around £10,000 in lost state pension, with less than 7 years to attempt to accommodate the change.

Jon Ashworth MP said “The Tory Liberal Democrat Government's plans to increase the state pension age disproportionately affects women, and many women across Leicester South have been to see me on this issue.”

“Many of these are women who have juggled working lives with raising a family, and who have very little retirement saving to fall back on. The lack of warning of these changes means they do not have enough time to adjust carefully thought-out retirement plans.”

“That is why I voted against the Pensions Bill during the Opposition Day Debate on the impact of government policies on women, that is why I spoke against the Bill during this debate,  and this is why today I will be voting against these changes in Parliament.”

Jon to visit Clarendon Park Summer Fair and the Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club

Sunday June 19 2011
Leicester South Labour MP Jon Ashworth will visit the Clarendon Park Summer Fair and the Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club on Sunday 19 June.

Jon Ashworth MP along with his wife, Emilie, and baby daughter, Gracie, will join in the fun at Clarendon Park Summer Fair on Queens Road. The event, which starts at 11am until 5pm, includes arts and crafts stalls, children's activities, a music stage and street entertainment.

Jon Ashworth MP said: “As a local resident I am keen to support my local community. My family and I are looking forward to meeting people at the Summer Fair. I hope that the whole community comes together to have a fun time at the fair and visit the excellent shops on Queens Road and Clarendon Park Road.”

Later in the day Jon, Emilie and Gracie will visit the Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club on Ethel Road. Jon commented:

“I am pleased to be visit the Club that has been in existence over 50 years and is highly respected in the local community for the work they do.”

Jon Ashworth MP at the kick-off for Carers' Week 2011

Monday June 13 2011

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, has teamed up with Greg Drozdz, the Chief Executive of CLASP, to support this year's Carers Week, which runs from 13 to 19 June.

The theme for Carers Week 2011 is ‘The True Face of Carers'. It calls for greater recognition for the diverse range of people who have provide unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled. The work they carry out is vital for their families and friends, and for their communities.

Greg Drozdz, Chief Executive Officer of CLASP, the Carers centre said: “The theme of Carers week is the “True Face of Carers”. I wonder what people think the true face of Carers is? Is it a happy or sad face? Is it a face with stress lines all over it? The true face of carers is that across our city and county there are thousands of people whose lives are governed and dominated by the fact that they look after someone else, as an unpaid carer. They need the kind of support that CLASP has to offer – information, advice, advocacy, help to continue in their role and increasingly - counselling.”

Greg Drozdz added: “Never underestimate what it is to be a carer. You often never know what it is like until you have been in the situation of a Carer but that does not stop us acknowledging the vital part they play in society and Carers Week is a way of bringing it to the attention of the general public.


Carers Week is organised by a partnership of 9 national charities: Age UK, Carers UK, Counsel & Care, Crossroads Care, Dementia UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Parkinson's UK, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

Jon Ashworth and Greg have joined together to pay tribute to carers, and to urge that they receive more support in their caring roles. Jon said: “Thousands of people in Leicester sacrifice not only their time, but also their money and their health in order to care for a loved one. Together they save this country an incredible £119 billion every year. They deserve to be recognised for their contribution to both our local community and to wider society.

“I am taking part in Carers Week to show my respect and appreciation for our carers. I also want to let them know that there are services out there to help them. Caring can be so incredibly demanding. It's important that carers know that they don't have to struggle on alone.”

CLASP is the local first port of call for Carers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland seeking advice and information, counselling, advocacy and emotional support, and has provided this invaluable service for more than 15 years. There are nearly 30, 000 carers in Leicester all of different ages and all with different circumstances.
CLASP can be contacted for support on 0116 2510999. A list of local events is available on their website:

The first event is an information and fun creative day - drop in between 10.30am – 3pm on Monday 13 June at Leicester Town Hall.

Jon commented: “I am looking forward to calling into the Town Hall on Monday and hopefully meeting some of the people of Leicester who care for friends and relatives.”

CLASP is also working in partnership with Kidney Research UK. For more information on Kidney Research please contact:

Jon attends rally in support of the children's heart surgery unit

Thursday June 16 2011

Jon has met many constituents concerned about the closure of the children's heart surgery unit at the Glenfield Hospital, and attended a rally at the Walker's Stadium on Thursday 16 June 2011.

During his Maiden Speech, Jon raised the question of the children's heart surgery unit at Glenfield Hospital. Liz Kendall MP, the MP for Leicester West, along with the Leicester Mercury, has been at the forefront of the campaign to keep the unit open.


As a fellow Leicester MP Jon pledged his support for the campaign and promised to do all that he can to back efforts to maintain the children's heart surgery unit at Glenfield.

Constituents concerned about the closure of the children's heart surgery unit at the Glenfield Hospital, at a rally at the Walker's Stadium

Constituents concerned about the closure of the children's heart surgery unit at the Glenfield Hospital, at a rally at the Walker's Stadium
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Khidmar Unity event at Crownhills Community College on Gwendolen Road

Sunday June 12 2011

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, is attending the 12th Unity Event organised by Khidmah Organisation on Sunday 12 June 2011 at Crownhills Community College on Gwendolen Road.

Jon, who will be attending the Unity Event from 12.30pm, said: “I fully support Khidmah Organisation's aim to organise community events to bring together different communities.



This 12th Community event, which is supported by UNITE the Union, is testimony to the fantastic work undertaken by Khidmah”. At the Unity Event there will be various zones including sports, health, culture, entertainment and a food court.

Jon commented: “I am looking forward to attending the event with my wife, Emilie, and my new baby daughter, Gracie, and meeting new friends in the community.”


Jon Ashworth MP backs Leicester hospital's heart unit fight

Thursday June 09 2011

Jon Ashworth uses first Parliamentary speech to back ‘Hold on to Our Hearts' campaign to keep children's heart surgery at Glenfield

Delivering his maiden speech and speaking in the Commons for the first time, Jon Ashworth said: "The NHS is something my constituents take very seriously and quite rightly so."

“While Glenfield Hospital is in Leicester West, many of my constituents have told me how strongly they feel that the children's heart surgery unit at Glenfield should remain open and I agree with them."

“My Hon Friend, the member for Leicester West has been at the forefront of the campaign to keep the unit open and, today I want to make clear my support for that campaign and assure my constituents, that working alongside my Hon Friend, I will do all I can, locally and nationally to back efforts to maintain the children's heart surgery at Glenfield.”


Jon also used his speech to raise the issue of unemployment and urged the Conservative-Liberal Government to do more to help local people move into work and in particular called on the Government to drop plans to cut the ESOL budget:

“Our jobless rate is too high - the highest in Leicester. Tackling our unemployment rate will require the Government to implement a strategy for growth with investment in skills, training and work readiness schemes. I especially hope the Government will reconsider the ESOL cuts which will have a detrimental effect on the ability of many of my constituents particularly women to find work.”

Jon used the opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity of Leicester and the Leicester South constituency specifically: "I am privileged Mr Speaker to represent a constituency of huge diversity, vibrancy and tolerance. And while we must never be complacent our communities generally live harmoniously together."

Jon Ashworth MP, delivering his maiden speech in Parliament and speaking to the ‘Hold on to Our Hearts' campaign to keep children's heart surgery at Glenfield

Jon Ashworth delivering his maiden speech in Parliament on the future of the children's heart unit and the EOSL.
Click photo for enlargement

“Our diversity enriches our cultural life, it enriches our social life, our civic life and contributes immensely to our economic life too."

Click here to read the full speech...

More families threatened with losing their homes

Saturday June 04 2011

Jon Ashworth is pressing for a strategy for investment in infrastructure to get the economy moving again, both in Leicester and nationally.

The number of families threatened with losing their homes has risen in the first few months of this year.

Ministry of Justice statistics showed 230 householders in Leicestershire received repossession orders in the first three months of the year. That was up from 185 during the same period last year – an increase of almost a quarter.


Labour blamed the rise on Government spending cuts. Jon Ashworth said: "I would say this is the latest in a long line of worrying economic data.

"We've seen record Government borrowing in April, low manufacturing growth, low consumer confidence and the unemployment figures in Leicester South are still far too high. "I'll be pressing the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government to get a strategy for growth in place which includes investment in infrastructure to get the economy moving again, both in Leicester and nationally."


Jon is supporting National Family Week at Eyres Monsell Picnic In the Park

Saturday June 4 2011

Leicester South Labour MP Jon Ashworth to Support National Family Week at Eyres Monsell Picnic In the Park.

Leicester South's Labour MP Jon Ashworth along with his new baby daughter Gracie and mum, Emilie, will join families at the Eyres Monsell Picnic In the Park tomorrow (Saturday 4 June 2011) to celebrate National Family Week.

Jon Ashworth MP said: “As a new dad I know how important family is. This event is a fantastic opportunity for young and old to enjoy their local park, meet other families in the area and, fingers crossed, soak up some sunshine while having a fun day out!"


"I'm also looking forward to taking my new baby daughter Gracie along and introducing her to new friends in the community.”

The event, which runs from 1pm to 4.30pm, has been organised as part of National Family Week by the Eyres Monsell Community Association, the Eyres Monsell Events Committee and The Monsell Mail with support from Leicester City Council and Billy Bates & Sons Fun Fair.

The event takes place on Eyres Monsell Recreation Ground, Sturdee Road, and will feature a funfair, Punch and Judy show, family laser quest, a car boot sale, live music from Leicester band The Stiggz and lots more entertainment for all ages.
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