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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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NOVEMBER 2014

Jon Ashworth MP visits the Leicester Royal Infirmary

Friday November 28 2014

Jon visited the Royal Infirmary on to see the Emergency Department and to discuss the Trust’s plans for winter.

Jon said: “At the moment the state of the NHS is a top concern for many constituents across Leicester South. As the local MP I visit the Leicester Royal Infirmary regularly but I’m especially keen to see the work of the Emergency Department during the difficult winter months. As well as meeting with senior managers at the Trust I want to hear from the frontline staff about the issues they face on a day to day basis.”

After being met by the Chief Executive, John Adler, Jon was accompanied on his visit by the Chief Operating officer, Richard Mitchell.

Jon had a walk through the Emergency Department and at the same time had the new Emergency Floor and the Trust’s winter plans and patient flow explained to him. This included a visit to the new Modular Wards which have been erected between the Windsor and Osborne to give the hospital extra capacity. 


 
Jon with Richard Mitchell (Chief Operating Officer) and Ben Teasdale (Emergency Consultant)
Photo above, Jon with Richard Mitchell (Chief Operating Officer) and Ben Teasdale (Emergency Consultant)
Richard Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer at Leicester’s Hospitals, commented: “We are pleased that Mr Ashworth is able to visit us at the Royal Infirmary again.  I look forward to meeting him and showing him around our Emergency Department with the head of the department, my colleague Ben Teasdale.   I know Jon is interested in our plans for a new Emergency Floor, so Ben and I will talk through those plans and explain how the new department will help us deliver better care to the 160,000 people that we treat every year.”

 
Jon with members of the Maternity Team
Photo above, Jon with members of the Maternity Team
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“Jon has also expressed an interest in how we are ensuring that we are prepared for the challenges of winter. As part of those plans, I will be showing him the new ward that we are opening to give us extra capacity. Before he leaves he will also get to see the improvements we have made to the maternity unit and I am sure he will be impressed.”

Jon’s visit will conclude with a tour of the maternity unit where he will see the new birth centre and pool, and a new delivery suite room.

Jon Ashworth MP wraps presents and asks for more donations for
The Toys on the Table
charity

Friday November 28 2014

Jon Ashworth MP wrapped presents at Matrix House.

Jon said: “The Toys on the Table charity does fantastic work in providing new toys for children of all faiths who may not receive anything during Christmas and the holiday season. As people will soon be starting their Christmas shopping, if you can please buy an extra gift for Toys on the Table”

The charity receives only new gifts from donors or funds which can be used to purchase new gifts. This year Jon donated a ‘Playdoh Diggin Rigs’ for over three year olds.

Jon commented: “Every year since being elected as the MP for Leicester South I have been involved with Toys on the Table. Sadly, now more than ever there is a need for this amazing campaign.”

“I encourage everybody in Leicester to buy a gift, go to their nearest drop-off point, and make the holiday season that bit more special for families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet in these tough economic times.”

 
Jon and Terry wrapping Jon’s donated toy.
Photo above, Jon and Terry wrapping Jon’s donated toy. Photo right, Jon and his donated toy with Terry Watts

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Jon and his donated toy with Terry Watts

Jon Ashworth MP asks more questions about the Highfields Medical Centre

Wednesday November 26 2014

Following the closure of the Highfields Medical Centre last month, Jon met with patients outside the practice on Melbourne Road and accepted a petition.

After this meeting and writing to NHS England, Jon said: “After raising the patients’ concerns with the Director of NHS England Regional Team, and receiving a reply that was not entirely helpful, I met with the landlord of the premises on Melbourne Road.”

“I was very interested to discover at this meeting that NHS England were aware of the difficulties over the lease of the premises as early as June 2014. What is more, NHS England were informed of the stalemate between the landlord and the Partnership in August of this year.”

“I have therefore written to NHS England again to ask why patients received less than two weeks’ notice of the closure of the Highfields Medical Centre, and what work NHS England undertook before the closure to ensure patients were left without a doctor.”

 

“I believe that the closure of the Medical Centre needs to be looked into thoroughly and I have asked for a meeting with NHS England, the landlord of 71 Melbourne Road, Partners of the Practice that moved to the Merlyn Vaz Centre and local Councillors”

Although there was a special meeting of Leicester City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Commission on 25 November, this could only look at the lessons to be learnt from the relocation of the Practice and consider if there is a better way to deal with such issues in the future.

Jon commented: “It is important that the fiasco that happened with the Highfields Medical Centre is not repeated in the future, but I also want to know why NHS England and the Practice gave so little notice to their patients and my constituents.”

“As I have always said, the massive top-down re-organisation of the NHS undertaken by this Tory led Government not only wasted £3 billion, but is clearly letting down the patients the NHS is meant to serve.”


 
Jon Ashworth MP asks more questions about the Highfields Medical Centre
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Make sure you receive your cold weather payments

Wednesday November 26 2014

Jon Ashworth MP is encouraging Leicester residents to check that they have received their cold weather payments.

A Department of Work and Pensions Cold Weather Payment was triggered this week, 24 November 2014, for eligible residents in the LE1, LE2, LE3, LE5 and LE7 areas of Leicester.

Jon said: “With the very cold weather this week many people would have had the heating on more than usual, so it is important that those who are entitled to receive help actually do.”

Cold Weather Payments are made to certain people who receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather.


 

Jon commented: “These payments were increased to £25 per week by the Labour Government, which will help people pay their gas and electric bills especially with the recent rises in energy bills.”

“Cold Weather Payments are automatically paid to people who qualify for them, but it is worth checking that you have received the payments. If you think that you may be entitled and have not received a payment then contact the Pension Service, Disability and Carers Service or Jobcentre Plus.”

“Labour would also freeze energy bills until 2017 to help tackle the rising cost of energy.”

 
 
jon ashworth cold weather payments

Jon Ashworth MP backs Labour’s new £3 million National Refuge Fund

Tuesday November 25 2014

Local MP Jon Ashworth has welcomed Labour’s £3m pledge to back women’s refuges under threat of closure. His backing follows Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper’s call for urgent change as part of this year’s 16 days of action against violence against women.

This follows research from Women’s Aid, which estimates that 155 women and 103 children are turned away from refuges every day. Many refuges are using their reserve funding to stay open, and some areas now have no refuge accommodation at all. 

Jon said: “Domestic and sexual violence in Britain is little short of a national scandal. Two women a week are still killed by their partner or an ex-partner. At least 750,000 children a year are witnessing violence in their own home, and I’m concerned that the national network of refuges is starting to crumble before our eyes.”


 

Refuges provide a vital safe-haven to help families rebuild their lives after suffering domestic violence, and this is an issue Jon has worked on locally. He has previously met with SAFE, a refuge in Leicester, and domestic violence help as an issue of concern is regularly raised in his public meetings for women.

Jon commented further: “I’ve seen how important refuges are at a local level, and I know that, sadly, many women in Leicester rely on them for safety. It’s important that they get the help they need, and I’m proud to be backing this measure.”

 

Photo right: Jon supporting the White Ribbon Campaign, a campaign by men to end violence against women

Click photo for enlargement
 
Jon supporting the White Ribbon Campaign, a campaign by men to end violence against women

Jonathan Ashworth MP on the beat in Eyres Monsell

Friday November 14 2014

Jon Ashworth spent time on Eyres Monsell Estate with police officers.

Jon said:  “Last month I wrote to residents in the area of Eyres Monsell where I’m going on the beat. Over 55% of the residents that responded stated that crime and anti-social behaviour is a problem in the area, so as their Member of Parliament I’m going to look round the area myself.”

Jon was joined on the patrol by the local Councillor, Rory Palmer. Speaking before the visit Councillor Palmer stated: “The neighbourhood policing team do an excellent job in Eyres Monsell. Our local police officers and PCSOs are known across the community and have the confidence of local residents. The policing team in Eyres Monsell illustrate the strength and importance of neighbourhood policing.”

As part of Jon’s recent local survey residents were asked if there should be more police on the streets. A staggering 92% of residents stated that there should be more police in the area.

 
Jon with Sue Munroe, Government and Politics teacher and Course Leader for Citizenship
Jon commented: “Unfortunately the Government does not agree with this point of view. In Leicestershire we lost 258 police officers in the first three years of this Government, which is a loss of 11% of our local police”

“With fewer officers on the beat, we risk deteriorating the strong neighbourhood policing that Leicestershire Police has worked so hard to build up. And, it is highly unlikely that the people in Eyres Monsell will get the extra police in the area given the cuts the Leicestershire Police have to make.”
 
Jon with Chloe and Darren
Jon answering the students questions
Photo left top,Jon talking with Councillor Palmer, PC Duncan Tebbatt and PCSO Deb Smith, photo above top, Jon on patrol with Councillor Palmer, PC Tebbatt and PCSO Smith. photo above,Jon on the Beat with PC Tebbatt and PCSO Smith
Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP discusses politics at Regent College

Friday November 7 2014

Jon Ashworth MP met with Citizenship and Politics Students to answer questions on the work of a Member of Parliament.

Jon covered such issues as the role of MPs in representing their constituents, how the House of Commons works, the work of a shadow Minister and what it is like to ask a question at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Speaking before the visit, Jon said: “I’m looking forward to visiting Regent College again. I regularly visit colleges and schools in my Constituency and I hope I can contribute to the students’ learning and understanding of Parliament during my visit. Although, based on my recent experience with students, I’m bracing myself for some tough questions!”

David Griffiths, teacher at Regent College, said: “Jon has always been very helpful in coming to college and talking with students. This has served to provide a useful experience for students, not just in approaching their exams but also in broadening their appreciation of the wider world.”


 
Jon answering questions
a massive selfie

Photo above top; Jon answering questions, photo above bottom, a massive selfie, photo right, Jon with a student

 
Jon with a student
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Jon Ashworth MP serves food for National Langar Week

Friday November 7 2014

Jon Ashworth served food to worshippers at Guru Amar Das Gurdwara for National Langar Week celebrations, which will see Gurdwaras across the country celebrating the Sikh concept of Langar.

‘Langar’ is a term that commonly describes the free kitchen and food served to all visitors at Gurdwaras. The concept celebrates community togetherness in preparing, sharing and eating food together.

The practice was set up by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, and has wider spiritual connotations for many Sikhs; Langar is a reminder that all people are equal, regardless of religion, gender, social status or other dividing lines.

The week-long celebration of Langar comes at a timely point in the year, when people across the county prepare for Remembrance Sunday. Sikh soldiers fought in large numbers for the British army during World War One, making this overlap all the more important.

Speaking before the visit, Jon said: “I’ve been to Langar before and it’s an incredible thing to be part of. I served Langar at the Gurdwara on East Park Road, and sharing food is a great way to bring people together. I’m very proud to be a part of this, more so because it comes at a time when we’re remembering others and marking a major historical event.”

 
“The generosity of Langar is definitely to be commended, but I’m concerned that more and more people feel they have to turn to it as a way to survive. With the rise of food bank demand across the country, it’s worrying that for some people Langar can sometimes be their only source of food.”

The demand for food banks have increased rapidly over the last year. In 2013-14 913,138 people received emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks, nearly triple the previous year’s figure of 346,992. These figures do not take into account food banks across the country that are not part of the Trussell Trust, meaning the actual numbers of food bank use are much higher.

Amandeep Rai of the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance commented: "Many people still do not know about the concept of Langar, even in these most difficult of times.  The Sikh community nationally took a decision to get the message out there through 'National Langar Week'.  Gurdwaras up and down the country are involved and we really hope that more individual/families in need begin to partake in Langar."

Photo top right, Jon serving food to the President of Guru Amar Das Gurdwara, Sewa Singh, bottom right, Jon eating with the President, Sewa Singh

 
Jon serving food to the President of Guru Amar Das Gurdwara
Jon eating with the President, Sewa Singh
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Jon Ashworth MP reveals growing gender pay gap

Tuesday November 4 2014

Jon Ashworth MP reveals growing gender pay gap where women in East Midlands work for free until 31 December - 3 more days than last year.

New analysis of official figures by Labour shows that women in the East Midlands are being paid 79p for every pound a man earns – the second worst region for equal pay across the country.

The revelation comes as Equal Pay Day - the day that women across the UK effectively start working for free due to the gender pay gap - comes three days earlier this year because the pay gap is back on the rise under this Government. That means that from today women will work for free for the next 57 days.

A Labour Government would ask big companies with over 250 staff in the East Midlands to publish their average hourly pay gap each year, exposing whether men and women are being paid differently for doing the same work, and whether too few women occupy senior positions.

 
Jon commented: “These shocking figures show the full extent of the gap in pay between men and women in the East Midlands. In David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s Britain, not only do women get paid less than men, but things are getting worse. Only Labour will require companies to publish the hourly wage pay gap of their employees so that together we can take the steps to deliver equal pay for women and men across the country.” 

“I meet so many workers across Leicester, and it’s outrageous that the female workers I meet are paid less than 80 per cent of what their male colleagues get.”
 
Jon Ashworth speaking in Parliament
Photo above: Jon Ashworth speaking in Parliament
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