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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.
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APRIL 2014

Jon Ashworth MP took part in the annual parade celbrating Vaisakhi

Sunday April 27 2014

Jon Ashworth participated in the Nagar Kirtan, or Sikh Parade, that started at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Holy Bones.

Vaisakhi is the most important festival in the Sikh calendar, commemorating the inception of the Khalsa movement – a code of conduct that guides Sikhs in their religious beliefs and lifestyle choices. The festival also reinforces the principles of ‘Seva’, or ‘selfless service’, and people often use Vaisakhi as an opportunity to engage in this.

Following the Parade as part of his Seva Jon, along with Councillor Rory Palmer, served food in the kitchen of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on East Park.

 
Jon and Councillor Palmer  serving food at the Gurdwara
Jon said: “I was honoured to be asked to take part in Nagar Kirtan, and once again I was hugely impressed by the work undertaken in the Gurdwara kitchen and the immense generosity of the Sikh community.”
 
Jon with Councillors Palmer and Gugnani (to the right of Jon)
Photo left: Jon and Councillor Palmer  serving food at the Gurdwara, photo above,Jon with Councillors Palmer and Gugnani (to the right of Jon)
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Jon Ashworth MP contacts Minister regarding proposed 'Mango ban'

Thursday April 24 2014

Jon Ashworth has today written to the Secretary of State for the Environment raising deep concerns regarding the proposed ban on the importation of Alphonso mangoes. The ban on Alphonso mangoes is due to start on 1 May.

Jon has stressed to the Secretary of State that the ban on Alphonso mangoes will adversely affect wholesalers, retailers and the many Indian restaurants in the City that use these types of mangoes in desserts, meals and drinks.

Jon has pointed out in his letter that the reason given for the ban, namely that pests found in shipments of the mangoes could threaten the UK’s salad crop, is disputed by businesses in the City, some of which have direct links with farms in India.

Jon stated: “Given that the crop of Alphonso mangoes will peak this month and next, the import ban is deeply concerning for many businesses in the City of Leicester. I have therefore asked the Secretary of State for the Environment to look again at the importation ban in order to assist businesses in the City that will otherwise be severely damaged.”  

"I will raise the issue of this mango ban in the House of Commons next week when Parliament returns."

Supporting Jon Ashworth is Uday Dholakia, chairman of the National Asian Business Association and a previous Board Member of BIS’s Local Better Regulation Office.

 
Jon preparing a curry dish under the guidance of Shaf Islam, chef and owner of Chutney Ivy
Uday commented: “We are working with mangoes importers and distributors in the UK to facilitate a round-table meeting with key regulators to find a constructive way forward in the short term, as this year’s consignments are due in May. This will support the UK importers, distributors and retailers, but also the farmers in India.”

“There is, however a need for a long-term better regulation strategy between the UK and India to ensure effective supply chain trading in context of contamination, allergens and labelling. We are working hard to facilitate this in the UK and India.”
 
Jon preparing a curry dish under the guidance of Shaf Islam, chef and owner of Chutney Ivy
Photos show Jon preparing a curry dish under the guidance of  Shaf Islam, chef and owner of
Chutney Ivy
Click any photo for enlargement
 
Monica Bhandari, Fruity Fresh (Western) Ltd, a major importer and organiser of an online e-petition, said: “The mango season lasts just 10 weeks and this ban will destroy businesses in the UK and India as mangoes are worth several millions to the Indian and UK economy. The ban needs to be lifted immediately - and delay effectively means a ban for the whole year due to the short season. A considered approach in the vein of partnership needs to be taken as advocated by the National Asian Business Association”.

Jon Ashworth MP thanks the organisers of the 2014 Food Drive

Sunday April 13 2014

On Sunday, 13 April, to commemorate the most important day of the Sikh Calendar the Annual Vaisiakhi Food Drive was held.

Jon Ashworth attended the Food Drive at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on East Park Road, where he spent some time collecting the donations.

After the event Jon stated: “I would like to thank the Sikh and cross-community volunteers for organising and bringing together such an amazing day. I particularly thank the members of Leicestershire Sikh Alliance for this year’s hugely successful event.”

Gurdwaras traditionally offer free food on a daily basis from their own kitchens. Their kitchens are open to all, irrespective of background, and have always been a key part of the Sikh philosophies of service and charity.

Eleven tonnes of food donations were collected; one tonne more than last year.

 
Amandeep, one of the Food Drive organisers, and Cllr Kitterick receiving donations for Gilmorton Food Bank
Jon commented: “I am very grateful to the organisers of the Food Drive for agreeing to donate some of the collected food to three of the food banks within my Constituency. I know that the very generous donations will be welcomed at the Linwood, Gilmorton and Wesley Hall Food Banks.”

The main charities to receive food donations were FareShare Leicester, the Dawn Centre, the Women’s Refuge, the Midlands Langar Seva Society and Kirpa Food Bank.
 
Jon at the Food Drive

Photo above left,  Amandeep, one of the Food Drive organisers, and Cllr Kitterick receiving donations for Gilmorton Food Bank, photo above. Jon at the Food Drive
Click any photo for enlargement
 

Jon Ashworth MP presents SAFTAS

Friday April 11 2014

Jon Ashworth MP attended the SAFTAs at the Saffron Working Men’s Club.

The SAFTAs are organised by Saffron Community Health Alliance and this will be the fifth annual event.

Jon stated: “It is a privilege to be asked to present the awards to some of the many unsung heroes in Saffron and Eyres Monsell who give their time for the benefit of others. An enjoyable evening was had by all.”

This year’s SAFTAs have received funding from the Freemen and Eyres Monsell Ward Community funds, and local Councillors Elly Cutkelvin, Bill Shelton and Virginia Cleaver will be at the Awards Ceremony.

Councillor Cutkelvin commented: “The SAFTAS are a fantastic way to recognise the vital role that volunteers play in our local community. Saffron and Eyres Monsell have a community spirit that cannot be bettered in this City.”


 
Jon with SAFTA Award winner May Jones


Photo above, Jon with SAFTA Award winner May Jones, top right, Councillor Cutkelvin and Jon, bottom right, Jon with Councillor Cleaver
Click any photo for enlargement
 
 
Councillor Cutkelvin and Jon
Jon with Councillor Cleaver

Jon Ashworth MP welcomes staff smoking areas at LRI

Wednesday April 9 2014

Following a campaign by Angie Beales, from the St Andrews Tenants and Residents Association, and Jon Ashworth, the Trust today agreed to provide smoking areas on site for staff.

As reported previously in the Leicester Mercury, there have been on-going problems with staff from the LRI taking cigarette breaks over the road on the St Andrews Estate.

(www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Residents-near-Leicester-Royal-Infirmary-abused/story-20594686-detail/story.html)

Having raised this with the Trust on more than one occasion, a meeting was arranged between the Trust’s Chief Executive, John Adler, Angie Beales and Jon for Friday 11 April, but today Jon was told that the Trust will provide discrete external smoking areas, as opposed to shelters, on site for staff.


 

Jon said: “I’m really pleased that the Trust has listened to its neighbours and will provide smoking areas for its staff. The residents of St Andrews have put up with this problem for too long, but now an end is in sight.”

It is understood that the smoking areas will be in place within three months.

Angie Beales commented: “I welcome this decision of the Trust and I hope that it will solve the problems we have been experiencing on St Andrews.”


Photo right: Jon with Angie Beales discussing the problem last year
 
Jon with Angie discussing the problem last year

Jon Ashworth MP welcomes Labour announcement on
Localism and Regional Ministers

Tuesday April 8 2014

Earlier today, in a speech in Birmingham, Labour leader Ed Miliband announced plans for the biggest devolution of powers to England’s towns and cities in a hundred years.

The speech set out the interim conclusion of Lord Andrew Adonis’s Growth Review, which recommends the end of a century of centralisations by at least doubling the level of devolved funding – handing control of the equivalent of more than £20 billion to cities and countries over the course of a Parliament.

Devolution is announced as the next stage in tackling the cost of living crisis, allowing Local Authorities, universities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to work together more closely in creating growth, investment and jobs.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jon Ashworth said: “I welcome this announcement and I fully support Labour’s plans to devolve power to local levels. For too long policies have been decided by people in Whitehall, when really it’s local experience and expertise that’s needed to decide which policies to support and which projects to fund.”


 

To complement the speech made by the Labour leader, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Dugher also delivered a speech today to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) – the only Westminster think-tank to have another office outside of London.

Michael Dugher announced Labour’s plans to bring back Regional Ministers. These Regional Ministers will help shape Government policy around regional interests, with a view to correcting the regional inequalities that have arisen in recent years.

Commenting further, Jon said: “Take Leicester as an example. We have expertise in Leicester City Council, at the two Universities, within the businesses at the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership – these are the people who know where we can create more apprenticeships, where we’re likely to have more job creation, and how we can increase local trade and investment. It’s about giving more power to people locally, and I welcome these measures.”

 
jon ashworth

Jon Ashworth MP in first speech at House of Commons Despatch Box

Thursday April 3 2014

Jon Ashworth MP made his first speech at the Despatch Box on Thursday as part of a Parliamentary debate on reform of the Civil Service.

Speaking as the front bench voice of Labour, Jon spoke in the debate in his capacity as Shadow Cabinet Office Minister.

The debate was on the Civil Service, which is currently under-going a series of reforms under the present Government. In 2012 the Government published its ‘Civil Service Reform Plan’, and last year it published a follow-up ‘One Year On’ report on the matter.

 
Jon speaking at the Despatch Box on Thursday April 3

 

 

To read the full debate and examine all the issues raised, please follow the link below:

www.publications.parliament.uk/


 
 
Jon speaking at the Despatch Box on Thursday April 3
Click any photo for enlargement
 
 
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