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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.
You can also visit archive news items shown in the menus below.
 
     
 
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JANUARY 2016

Jon Ashworth MP thanks the residents of Leicestershire for letting the Fire Service know their views on the proposed closure of the Central Fire Station

Friday January 29 2016

The proposed cuts that were consulted upon at the end of last year would have seen the closure of Leicester’s Central Fire Station.

Jon, along with the Fire Brigades Union, campaigned against the proposal to close the Central Fire Station. Following the announcement on Wednesday of this week (27 January) that the Chair and Vice Chair Combined Fire Authority will be bringing forward new budget proposals, Jon stated: “I want to thank all the residents of Leicester, and Leicestershire, who let the Fire Service know their views on the proposals, and I am pleased that their views have been listened to and that the Central Fire Station will now not be closed.”

“I met with representatives from the Fire Brigades Union back in September and then campaigned with them to save the Central Fire Station.”


 
The U-turn not to close the Central Fire Station followed the official consultation process, debates at both City Hall and County Hall, and the presentation of a petition signed by more than 12,000 people.

Graham Vaux, Fire Brigades Union chairman, stated: “Leicestershire's FBU wants to say a big thank you to the people that have engaged in the consultation process, which has forced this 999 U turn. The people of Leicestershire have saved two fire stations from closure, 88 firefighters’ jobs from redundancy and the loss of two fire engines.” 

The new budget proposals will go to the next meeting of the Combined Fire Authority on February 10.
 
Jon in a Fire Engine when he visited the Central Fire Station in 2014
Jon in a Fire Engine when he visited the Central Fire Station in 2014
 
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP supports Charity Link’s ‘Wear a Funky Scarf Day’

Friday January 29 2016

Jon visited the Charity’s Poverty Action Week shop at Highcross and met with Charity Link staff and volunteers to help celebrate the Charity’s annual dress up day, ‘Wear a Funky Scarf Day’.

Wear a Funky Scarf Day, part of Charity Link’s Poverty Action Week (25th – 31st January), was launched in 2015 and encourages local individuals, businesses and schools to wear their favourite or most funky scarves on the day and donate an amount of their choice for the pleasure.

Jon stated: “The year round work that Charity Link does in the City is so important. As Charity Link helps people who cannot afford to keep warm over the winter period or have to choose between eating and heating, ‘Wear a Funky Scarf Day’ is a great idea to raise much needed funds.”

“It is crucial that Charity Link is able to provide items that the majority of us take for granted, such as beds, fridges cookers, clothing, and in emergencies, food.  It also offers help with mobility equipment and utilities where necessary. So please give generously to Charity Link or drop off some food at its food bank in the Malcom Arcade.”

Charity Link’s Poverty Action Week Shop, which has been open within the Wot SPACE shop on Shires Lane since Monday, is highlighting the Charity’s work supporting people in poverty, hardship or crisis throughout Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

The Charity is encouraging local people to share their views on local poverty on a giant thoughts board. Visitors can also donate food for the Charity’s city centre food bank, find out about volunteering and take part in food quizzes.

 
Jon talking with Susan McEniff and Gareth Owen who volunteers at the Foodbank

Susan McEniff, Director of Charity Link, commented: “Jon has been a long term supporter of our work and we are delighted that he is taking the time to visit our Poverty Action Week shop to show his support on Wear a Funky Scarf Day. We hope that many local people are donning their scarves, or giving what they can, to help local adults and children living in poverty.”

Tina Barton, Director of Wot Box Participation, said: “We're really excited to be supporting Charity Link for the second year, providing space at Highcross to promote and raise awareness of Poverty Action Week."

Charity Link helps over 8,000 vulnerable adults and children each year by providing essential items including beds, cookers, fridges, clothing (including school uniforms) and help with the cost of utilities. Charity Link has run a food bank in Leicester city centre since 2013.

The Poverty Action Week shop closes at 3.00 pm on Friday 29th January.
Find out more about Poverty Action Week and Charity Link’s work at
www.charity-link.org

or by calling 0116 222 2200.
 
Jon, Susan and Charity Link volunteers outside the Poverty Action Week Shop

Jon signing the giant thought’s board “It’s our duty as a society to defeat poverty”

 

Photos, top left, Jon talking with Susan McEniff and Gareth Owen who volunteers at the Foodbank.

Photos above, top,
Jon, Susan and Charity Link volunteers outside the Poverty Action Week Shop.

Bottom,
Jon signing the giant thought’s board “It’s our duty as a society to defeat poverty”
Click any photo for enlargement

Chancellor’s cuts puts nearly 2,000 supported homes for elderly and vulnerable people in Leicester at risk

Thursday January 28 2016

Labour MPs, including Jon Ashworth, voted to halt Conservative plans to cut housing benefit support for thousands of elderly and vulnerable people across the country, which could put at risk 1,796 homes in the City.

Supported housing provides specialist care for groups including the elderly, the homeless, disabled people, veterans, people with mental health problems, young people leaving care and women fleeing domestic violence.

Experts say that across the country 156,000 supported homes are at risk of closure due to the Chancellor’s cuts.

In Parliament, Labour called on George Osborne to exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and to consult with charities, councils and housing associations to safeguard this vital accommodation. However, Conservative MPs voted down Labour’s motion to protect these homes.

Jon Ashworth said: “George Osborne’s crude cuts to housing benefit could force the closure of thousands of specialist homes for vulnerable people across the country, with nearly 2,000 in Leicester alone.”

 
“This would be a catastrophe, and a travesty, for those who can least afford it. There is no way people living in supported housing, or the organisations who support them, could make up the massive shortfalls these cuts are set to open up.”

Housing benefit changes announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement set a new cap on housing benefit for social tenants, equivalent to the local housing allowance rate that currently only applies to private tenants. While these changes do not come into force until April 2018, they will affect all new tenancies from April 2016.

Jon commented: “It has to be remembered that specialist housing for vulnerable and elderly tenants is significantly more expensive to run because of the support needs of its tenants. Higher rents are therefore charged which are often met by housing benefit. The government has made no exception for this type of accommodation.” 

“Labour is calling on the Chancellor to urgently exempt supported housing from his housing benefit cuts and consult fully with the organisations that provide this much needed accommodation.”
 
Jon speaking in the House of Commons
Jon speaking in the House of Commons
 
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment 

Wednesday January 27 2016

This week Jon signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, and in doing so pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day.

Holocaust Memorial Day honours those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Wednesday 27th January marked the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

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.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Jon commented: “Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten.

 

 

 
I have had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau where I saw the full extent of the nature of the Holocaust, and it is important that the lessons learned from it are remembered for generations to come.

I encourage all my constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that Jon is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.”
For further information, please contact Samantha Abrahams, the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Head of Public Affairs via Samantha.abrahams@het.org.uk
or 020 7222 6822
 
Jon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment
Jon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP supports Open Hands’ appeal for a warehouse

Friday January 22 2016

Since being elected, Jon has been a supporter of Open Hands and the services it provides to the local community. He has visited many times, and in February 2014 he officially opened the Support Centre.

Due to ever increasing demands for its services and the need to get value for money, Opens Hands requires a large warehouse.

Jon said: “I hope the City Council and other organisations will be able to provide a suitable base within the City for Open Hands. This fantastic, and much needed organisation, desperately needs access to a warehouse so that it can store furniture and food donations.”

The organisation requires a warehouse of approximately 5000 square feet.

Sue Smout, Senior Manager, commented: “It would be ideal if this warehouse is near the City Centre. Such a large warehouse would mean that Open Hands can expand many of its services, but particularly its furniture project.

 

Currently, we often have to turn people away on a weekly basis as we can only distribute a limited amount of furniture a week due to our lack of storage space.”

Established in 2006, Open Hands holds regular weekly sessions where people can access clothes, furniture, household items and baby equipment. There is also a free cafe serving hot toast, drinks and snacks.

Sue Smout stated: “Over the previous ten years, by working in partnership with lots of agencies we have been able to make a real difference to lots of people’s lives. Now, Open Hands needs a large warehouse to help expand services which will help more people in financial need in our City. I ask the City Council, and any commercial landlords, to help us find a suitable location.”

 
Jon with Sue and Bethany from Open Hands
Photo; Jon with Sue and Bethany from Open Hands
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP meets with Olympus Care Services Ltd

Friday January 22 2016

Through a range of specialist services Olympus supports people who have a physical or learning disability, older people, people living with dementia and services to younger people including the transitions group.

Jon met with the Manager and Team Leader of the Employment and Disability Service which is a speciality service within Olympus. The Employment and Disability Service (EADS) has actively supported disabled jobseekers since 1982. The team guide disabled people in finding and sustaining paid employment in Leicester.

Jon stated: “It was very informative meeting the Manager and the Employment and Disability Service team, particularly as I have been involved in campaigns for the provision of services for people with mental illnesses and learning disabilities.”

As well as assisting disabled people to find work, EADs also helps people to stay in employment by providing on-the-job support, assistance with negotiations with employers and developing skills through courses and training.

 

 

Julia Green, the Team Leader of the Employment and Disability Service, said:

“It has been a great opportunity to meet with the local MP today to highlight the challenges faced by the people we support, but also to share some of their many good news stories. We really look forward to working with Mr Ashworth in the future in supporting his constituents to gain paid employment and raising the profile of supported employment in Leicester”.

More details about the Employment and Disability Service, as well as Olympus Care Services, can be found on their website at www.olympuscareservices.co.uk/

 
Photos right top, Jon with (left to right) Harry Corrigan (Manager), Julia Green (Team Leader) and Amy Hordley (Employment Development Officer). Bottom, Jon talking with Julia Green, Team leader, about what EADs can offer
Click any photo for enlargement
 
Jon with (left to right) Harry Corrigan (Manager), Julia Green (Team Leader) and Amy Hordley (Employment Development Officer)

Jon talking with Julia Green, Team leader, about what EADs can offer

Jon Ashworth MP criticises Sky and the Premier League for changing City’s match against Arsenal

Monday January 18 2016

Jon Ashworth has today written to Sky and the Premier League to ask them to explain their late decision to move City’s away fixture at Arsenal from Saturday 13 February to Sunday 14 February.

City fans only found out this week that the top of the table clash at Arsenal is now moved with less than four weeks’ notice before the match.

Jon said: “I was amazed in December when Sky announced their televised matches up until the end of February that the City match at Arsenal was not included. Now, with less than a months’ notice the fixture has been moved from the Saturday to a 12 noon kick off on the Sunday.”

“Many City fans would have already booked train tickets for Saturday 13 February or made other travel arrangements, and possibly pre-paid hotel rooms that do not provide refunds. I am really annoyed that Sky and the Premier League have only decided to let the fans know this week that the match is to be moved by a day.”


 

 
According to the Premier League, fans are given a minimum of six weeks’ notice of fixture changes, and that it in only in extremely rare circumstances when this does not occur.

Jon has written to both the Premier League and Sky to ask what are the ‘extremely rare circumstances’ that have resulted in the City Arsenal game being moved with less than four weeks’ notice.

Jon commented: “I know that this is the top of the table clash that everyone want to see, but in December both Clubs were near the top of the Premiership and it is fair to say that fans could have assumed that the match would have been changed then, not the week of 18 January. It is time that Sky and the Premier League start respecting the fans who buy the tickets and go to the matches.”

“I have asked Sky and the Premier League to introduce a minimum six week notice period for fixture changes for TV, with no changes allowed to the schedule in this period.”
 
Jon speaking in the House of Commons
Jon speaking in the House of Commons
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP says Blue Monday may not be so Blue

Monday January 18 2016
Today (January, 18) has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by experts. While it may sound negative it can be an opportunity to sort out debts and regain control of your personal finances.

According to Aviva family debt is now at its highest level since 2013 and has risen by £4000 in the last 6 months.

Jon said: “The third Monday in January has been dubbed Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Demand for debt advice will spike as credit card and other bills hit the doorsteps and at the same time under the Tories many working people are struggling to make ends meet.”

“For some people this can mean debts which appear too much and which could spiral out of control. Reaching out to Leicestershire Citizens Advice for free and independent financial advice and assistance can be the first step on getting your personal finances back on track.”

“Locally, there is Clockwise that can help you to manage your finances better, as well as provide loans that charge lower interest rates with flexible repayment options. I am a great believer in the work that Clockwise does and I encourage people to use their brilliant services.”


 

 
Jon helped to establish a School Savings Bank with Clockwise at Marriott Primary School, as well as his office organising sessions for parents to apply for low cost loans.

Clare Shilton, Business Development Manager at Clockwise, commented: “It can often be difficult managing your finances, especially in the months following the Christmas period.  However, no matter how daunting you think the task is, don’t bury your head in the sand.  Speak to reliable agencies that can offer you good advice on how to begin to tackle your money worries.”

“Try to stop the cycle of overspending at Christmas by setting up a small savings account for next Christmas, or if you are struggling to pay important bills on time, consider setting up a budget account to help you manage your money better. In the longer term this enables you to become a better saver and have a brighter outlook on your money altogether.”

“Finally, if you are thinking about borrowing money to ease the pressure, avoid high cost lenders such as Payday or Door Step, as this will turn into a short term fix, but leave you with more money worries in the long term.”
Contact Clockwise on 242 3900
or visit www.clockwise.coop
 
Jon opening Marriott Primary School Bank in December 2013 with the School Bank’s cashiers (left to right) Chantelle Mutsetse, Melissa Bell and Jaye-Leigh Mullaney
Photo shows Jon opening Marriott Primary School Bank in December 2013 with the School Bank’s cashiers (left to right) Chantelle Mutsetse, Melissa Bell and Jaye-Leigh Mullaney
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP visits Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre

Friday January 15 2016

Jon visited the Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre which is one of about 60 Centres in the UK that offers a number of therapies to those with Multiple Sclerosis and their families, and now offers their services to other conditions such as stroke and cancer.

Jon said: “I only became aware of this much needed facility following a meeting with one of my constituents, Kim Bradshaw. My visit was very informative and I leant a lot about the condition and how people can be helped.”

About 1 in 700 in the UK are diagnosed with MS whereby any parts of the motor and sensory system could become impaired which can affect mobility, dexterity, vision, speech and bladder and bowel control.

As well as offering counselling, the MS Therapy Centre has a well-equipped suite for physiotherapy sessions and a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chamber room. The Centre also offers massage and aromatherapy, reflexology, yoga and more all of which can benefit people suffering from MS and their carers.

Jo Hill, the Centre Manager, said: “The Centre has been on Freemens Common for 30 years and in all that time it has been entirely self funded. More and more people are finding a need to visit not just those with MS but other conditions like cancer and diabetes.  We operate as a drop-in and are open Monday – Thursday 9am – 4pm and Friday 9am -2pm. 

The Centre is a very friendly, welcoming place.”

As a charity, the MS Therapy Centre receives no state funding or grants. It costs over £100,000 a year to run the Centre, all of which has to be sourced by the Centre.

 
Jon outside the Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber with Mark who works at the Centre

Jon receiving a present from Father Christmas

 

This Saturday, 16 January, there is a Gala Night at Saffron Lane Working Men’s Club to raise funds for the Centre. Tickets cost only £3 and can be obtained on the door or by contacting Jo Hill on 0116 2557104.

Jon commented: “Unfortunately, I cannot be at the Gala Night but I encourage people to go along to support this brilliant Centre. The Centre is now trying to raise £40,000 for a refurbishment. If there any builders, or local businesses, that can help to support the Centre in any way at all, then please contact my office who will put you in contact with the Centre.”
 
Jon in a standing frame with the Physio, Joy

Jon with Centre staff, users, volunteers and Committee members

 

Photos, top left, Jon outside the Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber with Mark who works at the Centre. Bottom right, Jon in the Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber Room with Stuart and Joan.

Photos above, top, Jon in a standing frame with the Physio, Joy. Bottom, Jon with Centre staff, users, volunteers and Committee members

Click any photo for enlargement
 
 
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