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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 2016

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, urges carers to find out about their rights

Friday November 25 2016
Today is National Carers Rights Day and local MP, Jonathan Ashworth, is encouraging unpaid carers in Leicester to find about their rights

National Carers Rights Day is led by Carers UK which urges people caring for older, ill or disabled loved ones to find out about the financial and practical support they are entitled to.

There are around 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK who provide care and support to family, friends and neighbours, saving the country an estimated £132 billion each year - the cost of a second health service. 

Jon stated: “Here in Leicester there are around 30,000 carers, with 10,000 in my Leicester South Constituency. People providing unpaid care for loved ones make a huge contribution to our society, yet too often go without the support they need because they simply don’t know what support is available or don’t see themselves as a carer.”

“We must all play a role in helping to identify and support people who are looking after ill, older or disabled loved ones and making sure they get the right information and advice about the support they are entitled to as early as possible.”

 

“As well as Carers UK we have CLASP The Carers Centre in the City where people can access support and advice.”

Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots said
“Caring will touch all of our lives at some point. Every year, millions of people begin caring for a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one, yet for many it is ‘just something you do.’ Not recognising they are carrying out a caring role is a real barrier to accessing vital support.”

“We know getting the right information at the right time can make a big difference to carers’ lives. Carers Rights Day is about ensuring that carers don’t miss out on the financial, practical and emotional support they are entitled to, as well as recognising the huge contribution to our society that carers make.”



For more information and advice about
caring go to
www.claspthecarerscentre.org.uk or
www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice


 
Jon speaking in parliament
Jon speaking in parliament
Click photo for enlargement

For information about Carers UK’s Carers Rights Day campaign go to

www.carersuk.org/carersrightsday

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, demands additional funding for Leicester’s Schools

Monday November 21 2016
Jon Ashworth MP warns that schools in Leicester face significant funding cuts, even under a new funding formula, unless the Government increases school funding overall

Jon Ashworth has called on the Chancellor to commit to additional financial resources to schools when he delivers his Autumn Statement to Parliament on Wednesday 23 November.

Jon stated: “Without additional resources the already desperate funding situation in schools will only get worse. I am calling on the Chancellor to invest in education and protect funding for children and young people in Leicester.”

The Government's policy of real terms cuts in school funding will sweep away any funding gains from a new funding formula.

Figures released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) show that overall school funding in Jon’s Constituency of Leicester South is projected to fall from £67,724,000 this year to £61,978,470 in 2020.

 

Jon commented: “This is a £396 cut per pupil or an 8% average cut per school in Leicester South. I have been contacted by teachers at Moat Community College which faces a budget cut of £860,514 in real terms over the next four years, and from Uplands Infant School that also faces a budget cut of £196,155 over the same period.”


To see what the cuts could mean for local schools check out the website
www.schoolcuts.org.uk
 


 
Jon speaking in parliament
Jon speaking in parliament
Click photo for enlargement
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, calls for more to be done to increase breastfeeding
Thursday November 17 2016
On Wednesday 15 November the first “World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) UK Report” on policies and programmes in infant feeding was launched in Parliament.

Jon stated: “This report is the first that measures how well the UK is doing in protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. Although the report reveals that there are good infant feeding policies and programmes across the UYK England scores very poorly.”

“The reasons for this low score in England is the lack of leadership in that there is no national breastfeeding committee or coordinator, and the reduction of support services in recent years so that access to skilled support is too often a postcode lottery.”

The WBTi UK Working Group consists of nearly 20 organisations, including government agencies, health professional bodies, and voluntary groups.

The Report demonstrates that there are pockets of excellence in support services around the country, but many essential peer support programmes have been cut. As a result women with complex needs do not always have access to skilled specialist support. Inconsistency of training and a lack of support are letting mothers down, leading many women to have to stop breastfeeding before they wanted to, which can have a real impact on a mother’s own wellbeing.


 
Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of The Institute for Health Visiting stated: “The authors of this amazing piece of work are to be commended for all the work which has gone into it and the understanding it brings on how each country can improve its breast feeding rates.

As they say this must happen at many levels.  The report lays bare the most important actions to take from policy down. I hope that its findings will be picked up by journalists and shared with the wider public who can then also play their part in supporting breast feeding mothers.”

The Report is a ‘Call to Action’ which targets issues where the UK does not meet internationally agreed levels, are evidence-based and have broad support, thereby helping policy-makers and commissioners to use resources more effectively.

Jon commented: “It is clear that action is needed at every level - from communities and local government, in the health system, and at government level. In my own Constituency I have supported Leicester Mammas which is a Breastfeeding Peer Support programme for families in Highfields and Evington.”

 

 
Jon with Leicester Mammas
Photo, Jon with Leicester Mammas
Click photo for enlargement
“Leicester Mammas has trained over 60 local mums to help new mothers and their babies. They can offer help in over 30 languages and are from all Leicester's faith groups and communities. Mammas has two helplines, offers home visits, provides activities and meetings for new mums and their babies, and works alongside midwives, health visitors and Children's Centres.”

Breastfeeding Peer Support is recognised as an important and effective service to help new mothers and families to understand the needs of their new baby and to breastfeed happily for as long as they want to.
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, visits Leicester Roryal Infirmary
Monday November 14 2016
Jon with Matron Jane Spiers
Jon talking with Deborah
Photo top, Jon with Matron Jane Spiers, bottom, Jon talking with Deborah
Click any photo for enlargement
 
Jon with nurses in the Emergency Department
Jon chatting with Constance
Photo top, Jon with nurses in the Emergency Department, bottom, Jon chatting with Constance
Click any photo for enlargement

 

 

Jon visited the LRI today to listen to the views of patients and staff.

Jon stated: “The NHS is one of the greatest achievements, if not the greatest achievement, of the Labour Party. As the Shadow Secretary for State for Health I wanted to hear for myself what patients and staff think of the NHS.”

Jon started his visit at the hospital’s Emergency Department which is one of the busiest in Europe.

“I visited the Emergency Department on a Monday morning and it was clear to see the pressures that the Department faces – pressures that could well increase as the winter takes hold.”

Jon commented: “My morning at LRI was very interesting and informative. It was clear that the staff are extremely hard working and dedicated to the NHS, and that patients value the high quality care that they receive.”

Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, re-opens the Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre
Friday November 11 2016
Jon officially re-opened the Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre, which has been re-fitted and refurbished earlier this year
Jon re-opens the centre
Jon officially re-opened the Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre, which has been re-fitted and refurbished earlier this year.

Jon, who visited the Therapy Centre in January this year, stated: “I was so pleased that Kim Bradshaw, a constituent of mine, told me about the Centre and asked me to visit. I really enjoyed my visit and I learnt a lot about Multiple Sclerosis and the therapies that are offered at the Centre.”

“Since my visit in January I have been supported the Centre where possible and kept in regular touch with the Manager, Jo. I’m honoured to be asked to re-open a much needed Centre.”
 

The Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre is one of about 60 Centres in the UK that offers a number of therapies to those with Multiple Sclerosis and their families. It also offers their services to people suffering from other conditions such as stroke and cancer.

The renovation of the Centre has included removing a pillar in the centre of the room and thereby creating more space; new toilets with emergency pull cords and a small kitchen area. This has created a brighter, more inviting area, with more space for wheelchairs to move around.

Jo Hill, the Centre Manager, said: “The Centre members are very grateful to the fund raisers and people who have donated their time, professional skills and support to make this refurbishment happen.”

Around 100,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with MS and can experience various physical symptoms when any parts of the motor and sensory system become impaired. MS can also affect memory and thinking, and have an impact on emotions.

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.

The Centres operates as a drop-in and is open Monday – Thursday 9am – 4pm and Friday 9am -2pm.

 

 
Jon and Jo Hill cutting the cake

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 officially re-opened the Leicestershire MS Therapy Centre, which has been re-fitted and refurbished earlier this year.

Jon, who visited the Therapy Centre in January this year, stated: “I was so pleased that Kim Bradshaw, a constituent of mine, told me about the Centre and asked me to visit. I really enjoyed my visit and I learnt a lot about Multiple Sclerosis and the therapies that are offered at the Centre.”

“Since my visit in January I have been supported the Centre where possible and kept in regular touch with the Manager, Jo. I’m honoured to be asked to re-open a much needed Centre.”

 

Photo top left, Jon re-opens the centre, photo above Jon and Jo Hill cutting the cake
Click any photo for enlargement
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, on the streets of St Matthews
Friday November 11 2016
Today, Jon held a multi-agency patch walk in St Matthews

Jon was joined by the Chair of the local Tenants and Residents’ Association, representatives of City Council Housing and Parks Services, the local City Warden and Police Sergeants.

Speaking before the patch walk, Jon said: “I have been contacted about on-going anti-social behaviour on St Matthews and issues to do with the general upkeep of the area. I have arranged this patch walk to see for myself what is happening and to meet local residents.”

“I understand that an access gate has recently been fitted in Everest Court which will help to reduce the anti-social behaviour in the court yard, but it is important to see at first hand other issues in the area.”

Jean Williams, Chair of the Tenants and Residents’ Association, commented: “I’m looking forward to showing Jon around St Matthews and the problems faced by the residents. St Matthews is a great community which Jon will see when walking around the area. It is good that local people can meet their MP and chat with him.”


 
Jon on the patch walk next to Paresh from City Council Housing

Photo: Jon on the patch walk next to Paresh from City Council Housing
Click photo for enlargement
 
With Jon (left to right) Mark from Parks, Paresh from Housing, local City Warden Mohammed and Jean
Photo: With Jon (left to right) Mark from Parks, Paresh from Housing, local City Warden Mohammed and Jean
Click photo for enlargement
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, demands action to tackle child poverty in Leicester
Tuesday November 8 2016
In a report published today by the End Child Poverty Coalition, new figures reveal that there are over 10,000 children living in poverty in Leicester South Constituency which represents nearly 37% of children.

The figures for the other two City Constituencies of East and West are broadly similar at 34.3% and 36.7%.

Jon stated: “These figures are clearly far too high and the Government needs to take action now to reduce the number of children in poverty. To begin, the Chancellor in his upcoming Autumn Statement should end the freeze on children’s benefits and reverse the sharp cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.”

“It is a sad indictment when you are encouraged to work and then you are penalised by the cuts to Universal Credit.”

 

Leicester City Council is in the top 20 local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty in the UK with 35.9% of children in poverty after housing costs.

Jon continued: “The Government has to address the freeze on child benefits, as it means that low income families will find it increasingly difficult to pay for the same basic essentials as prices rise.”

The constituency of the Prime Minister Theresa May (Maidenhead) is among the 20 with the lowest child poverty rates.

 

Photo: Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box’

 

 
Jon speaking at the Dispatch Box
 
Click photo for enlargement
 
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, visits Springfield Road Health Centre
Friday November 4 2016
Jon visited Springfield Road Health Centre to see at first hand the issues faced by GPs, and met with Professor Prasad and members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) of the Willowbrook Practice.

Jon stated: “As Shadow Secretary of State for Health it is essential that I meet with GPs and listen to their concerns. Access to GPs is clearly an important issue, but one that Professor Prasad and his colleagues are seeking to alleviate with innovative solutions.”

The Triage System introduced at Willowbrook Medical Centre enables more people to be contacted by the Practice and receive medical advice the Practice.

 

Jon commented: “The need for more General Practitioners for primary care was clear from my visit, which was very informative. I would like to thank Professor Prasad and members of the Patient Participation Group for taking the time to meet with me.”

 

Photo: Jon with (left to right) Brian Russell, Chair of PPG, and Professor Prasad
Click photo for enlargement

 

 
Jon with (left to right) Brian Russell, Chair of PPG, and Professor Prasad
Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, demands no more cuts to further education
Thursday November 3 2016
Jon Ashworth has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on behalf of Leicester College and the Association of Colleges that has submitted a range of recommendations to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement which will take place on November 23

Jon said: “It is important that the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes these recommendations into account, particularly as the Government has imposed cuts on Further Education Colleges over the last few years.”

“If the Prime Minister is serious in her aim of having good education for all and a country that works for everyone, the Autumn Statement will not see any further reduction in FE funding.”

“Leicester College, and other Further Education Colleges, offer a wide variety of courses and apprenticeships which young people can access. They are at the forefront of delivering technical and professional education and training to help Britain have a highly skilled workforce.”

In his letter to the Chancellor, Jon has stressed the importance of three of the top ten recommendations in the Association of Colleges’ report. In the short term, the Department for Education should review the English and Maths condition of funding and introduce new qualifications in these subjects.

 

.Secondly, in the long term, the Treasury should set a medium term target to increase spending on education and training to 5% of GDP and direct a share of the additional funding to post-16 education.

Finally, with regards to a system change, on the day that the UK leaves the European Union, VAT shouldbe removed from all publicly funded education for 16 to 18 year olds.

Verity Hancock, Principal of Leicester College, commented: “The vitality and financial health of further education, and Leicester College in particular, is critical for the economic prosperity of the City. I’m grateful to have the support of the City’s MPs in asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that colleges are properly funded for the very important job they do in equipping people with the skills for employment and success.”

 
Jon speaking before MPs
Jon, speaking before MPs
Click photo for enlargement
 
Jon Ashworth MP slams Health Minister over comments about
Leicester pharmacies
Wednesday November 2 2016
Jon Ashworth’s Shadow Heath Team slammed Health Minister David Mowat in The Commons during the Community Pharmacy Funding debate for his comments about Leicester.

Mr Mowat had used an article in the Times to justify his cuts to pharmacy budgets by claiming that there were too many pharmacists in Leicester and therefore some should close. Mr Mowat wrote “Walk along roads in Leicester and you will see 12 pharmacies within ten minutes of each other.”

Jon has worked closely with Leicestershire Community Pharmacies Committee and local community pharmacies to campaign against these massive cuts, including a visit to Moin’s Chemist and Wellbeing Centre on East Park Road.

Mr Mowart’s comment provoked a clear rebutall from Jon who said in the Commons: “He claims that if you walk “along roads in Leicester you will see 12 pharmacies within ten minutes of each other”. As the Member of Parliament for Leicester South, I walk along roads in Leicester every day. I do not know whether the Minister has actually walked along any of those roads; he has never told me that he has.”

“Let me therefore extend an invitation to him to come to Leicester, where he will see numerous community pharmacists in areas with a high proportion of black and ethnic-minority communities providing specialist services for families who have relied on them for 20 or 30 years, often dealing with elderly people and speaking to them in Gujarati, Urdu and Punjabi. Many of those people will have to go to GPs’ surgeries and A & E departments if the pharmacies are closed.”

 

“The Government’s assessment takes no account of the disproportionate effect that the cuts will have on black and ethnic minority communities in cities such as Leicester and Birmingham.

In the Spinney Hills area there is a cluster of 24 pharmacies within a mile of each other, and in Belgrave there are 13 pharmacies within a mile. All of these pharmacies are now at risk of closing in light of the funding cuts.

Ms Luvjit Kandula, Chief Officer of The Leicestershire and Rutland Community Pharmacies Committee, stated: “As a result of the continued campaigning efforts to support the sustainability and future of the community pharmacy network, we are pleased to see that we have full support from MPs from all parties, local government representatives, clinicians and most importantly our patients both locally and nationally.”

“As a profession, we will continue to remain unified, strong and focussed in our campaigning to save our local community pharmacies. We have a vital role in supporting patient care in our local communities, and urge the government to provide clarity and clear direction on proposed future models and services, such as integrated care and minor ailments scheme, to truly enable us to extend our role and support capacity and delivery of care in the NHS.”  

 
Jon with Community Pharmacists on College Green before the Debate
Jon with Community Pharmacists on College Green before the Debate’
Click photo for enlargement
 
Following the debate, Jon commented: “The Opposition Debate clearly demonstrated the support for community pharmacies on both sides of the House. Sadly the Minister was unable to give any details on how many pharmacies will close as a result of these devastating cuts.”

“Myself and the Shadow Health Team will continue to campaign for community pharmacies both nationally and here in Leicester.”
 
 
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