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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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Jon Ashworth MP thanks local people for helping Make Christmas Special and delivers gifts at the Leicester Royal Infirmary

Friday December 21 2012

This Christmas Leicester's Hospitals and Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland joined forces to raise awareness of those elderly patients who will be too ill to leave hospital and celebrate Christmas.

Local people were asked to buy a small gift to donate to the Hospitals older patients so that they have a gift to open on Christmas morning.

Jon Ashworth, who lent his support to the campaign, said: “I'd like to thank everyone for being so generous and donating so many gifts. The support of local people has been magnificent and shows that the true spirit of Christmas is still strong in Leicester. I am pleased to be able to help out and deliver some of the gifts to patients in the Royal Infirmary.”

Jon spent time on the wards at the Leicester Royal Infirmary delivering and handing out gifts to elderly patients, including a gift he donated to the appeal.

Tony Donovan, Executive Director at Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland said: “Christmas is a time for giving and for so many local people to give so generously to older patients they don't even know and will probably never meet is heart-warming.

Nobody wants to spend Christmas in a hospital bed but for some there's no option. We will at least be able to bring some seasonal cheer to the wards on Christmas Day thanks to the hundreds of gift bags brought into Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland shops and Leicester Hospitals.”

Director of nursing, Carole Ribbins, added: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of local people, including our own staff, it's tremendous. This Christmas we expect that there will be about 600 patients over the age of 70 in our hospital beds, and many of them wouldn't have received any gifts on Christmas Day.

Jon delivers gifts to the wards

Thanks to everyone's generosity they will now have something to open, which I know will mean so much.”

Jon presents a gift to Doris Murray, along with (left to right) Jessica Smith and Tracy Bolton.
The photo left shows Jon arriving to deliver the gifts. Photo above, Jon presents a gift to Doris Murray, along with (left to right) Jessica Smith and Tracy Bolton.
Click any photo to see enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP presents a prize to the winner of his annual Christmas card competition

Friday December 21 2012

Jon visited Holy Cross Catholic Primary School on Friday 21 December to present a prize and a signed certificate to the winner of this year's competition.

The winning picture that is on the front cover of Jon's Christmas Cards is by Brogan Redshaw, Aged 8, who will receive a book donated by The Reading Shop, Oadby.

Jon said: “Brogan's winning picture captures the happiness and spirit of Christmas. Brogan has drawn snowmen, Father Christmas, a Christmas tree, presents and a Christmas pudding and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. It is ideal for my Christmas Card this year.”

The designs by the two runners up, Katie Drury and Helen Morgan, both aged 8, are shown on the back of Jon's card.

Jon commented: “I want to thank all the children that entered my competition his year. All the pictures were excellent and it was a hard decision to pick a winner. I hope all the staff and children at Holy Cross School have a very happy and Merry Christmas.”

During the visit Jon presented certificates to all the children that entered this year's competition.

Miss Christy, the Headteacher at Holy Cross, said: “We thank Jon for this opportunity to take part, to share our enjoyment and happiness as we prepare for the celebrations of Christmas. I am proud of all the children who took part and congratulate Brogan, Katie and Helen who were winners. It has been an opportunity to share our happiness and joy as part of our Christmas celebrations.”

Jon and Headteacher Julia Christie handing out school certificates to children at Holy Cross Primary School
Jon with Brogan Redshaw, handing out his own certificates to all the children who entered his Christmas card competition
Jon with competition-winner Brogan Redshaw, and Headteacher Julia Christie
The winning card by Brogan Redshaw, Aged 8
The Christmas cards above are by left, runner-up Helen Morgan, and right the Christmas card by runner-up Katie Drury

The Christmas card top is the winning card by Brogan Redshaw, Aged 8. The cards bottom, are by left, runner-up Helen morgan, and right, by runner--up Katie Drury.

Photos left. Top, Jon and Headteacher Julia Christie handing out school certificates to children at Holy Cross Primary School.

Middle, Jon with Brogan Redshaw, handing out his own certificates to all the children who entered his Christmas card competition.

Bottom, Jon with competition-winner Brogan Redshaw, and Headteacher Julia Christie

Click any image for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP wraps presents for donation to the homeless

Friday December 14 2012

On Friday 14 December 2012, Jon Ashworth MP wrapped Christmas presents at an event organised by Moonwalkers Youth Group (MWYG), which is a youth project of the Islamic Society of Britain.

The event at Knighton Parish Centre was organised in partnership with the Islamic Society of Britain's ‘Eat N Meet' project. The ‘Eat N Meet' project aims to help the homeless and vulnerable in Leicester by offering a safe, warm place for people to rest and meet others. It offers a hot meal and bag of essential food, toiletries and clothing to all those who use their service.

This event encouraged people to donate gifts, which were then wrapped and presented to homeless and destitute people in Leicester. In cold winter months, Moonwalkers and ‘Eat N Meet' request that people donate items such as hats, gloves, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste and chocolate.

Jon, who donated a hat, gloves and socks, said: “This is a good scheme to try to help those who are less fortunate in Leicester. Homelessness is a real problem that needs to be tackled in our cities, and with the winter months now upon us, it is now more than ever that those who are homeless and destitute require our help.


I am pleased to see that Moonwalkers Youth Group have teamed up with ‘Eat N Meet' for this project. I know how important it is for people to be safe and comfortable during winter, and hopefully these gifts will go some way towards helping people in Leicester. I would encourage others to donate whatever they can to make this Christmas easier for those suffering such hardship.”

Seema Ahmad, Coordinator of Moonwalkers Youth Group, commented: “Taking care of the vulnerable is an important value that unites many of our faiths. We planned this event after learning about the plight of the homeless. By bringing the community together for this worthy cause, the children will learn an important lesson in becoming the good, caring citizens of tomorrow.”

This year, the donated gifts will be distributed at a drop-in session at St James the Greater Church, St James Terrace, on Saturday 22 December 2012.

Photo above right : Jon Ashworth wrapping Christmas presents with Seema Ahmad (left) and Moonwalkers Youth Group children, bottom right, Jon wrapping presents with Moonwalkers Youth Group children 
Jon Ashworth wrapping Christmas presents with Seema Ahmad

Jon wrapping presents with Moonwalkers Youth Group children

Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP reminds people to make use of the Royal Mail's Christmas Stamp Scheme

Thursday December 13 2012

The Christmas Stamp Scheme assists customers in receipt of Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit to purchase stamps at least year's prices.

Jon said: “This is a great scheme for people and I encourage those eligible to buy their 36 stamps. At Christmas time every penny counts, especially with the extremely high energy bills people will have to pay over winter.”

“The Scheme runs until December 24 and every household should have received a leaflet. If you have lost your leaflet then call the Royal mail to get a replacement voucher which you need to claim your stamps.”


The Christmas Stamp Scheme allows customers in receipt of the above benefits to buy a total of 36 First and Second Class stamps at last year's prices – 46p for First Class and 36p for Second Class.

Customers have to bring the voucher on the reverse of the leaflet to any Post Office along with their proof of benefit to get their reduced price stamps.

Jon Ashworth MP met with residents at Garendon Street play area

Friday December 7 2012

Jon was recently contacted by residents who are concerned about the condition of the play area and the volume and speed of traffic using Maidstone Road.

Jon stated: “Since I was contacted by Mr Vohra I have written to the City Council to raise his concerns. But I want to see the play area for myself and hear first-hand from residents about the park and the nearby traffic.”

“I have asked local Councillors to join me at this visit as it important for my constituents to have access to me and their local Councillors.”

The play area on the corner of Garendon Street and Maidstone is used regularly by children who live in the area and the pupils from the nearby pre-school and primary school.


Imran Vohra, a concerned local resident, commented: “The park is a centre-point for the residents of the locality, by way of its position and usage. A re-vamp would go a long way in brightening the place up and allowing the children to enjoy their time there.”

“As a result of the park, there are children regularly using Maidstone Road unsupervised. This road is a well-known 'rat-run' whereby drivers can get to Nedham Street from Berners Street. There are no traffic speed control measures in place and many drivers fail to slow down after building up a high speed on Maidstone Road coming towards the park area."

Photos right : Imran Vohra, Jon and
Councillor Aqbany
Click any photo for enlargement
Imran Vohra, Jon, Councillor Aqbany

Imran Vohra, Jon, Councillor Aqbany

Jon Ashworth MP pays tribute to Ugandan Asians for contribution to Leicester

Thursday December 6 2012

Today in the Commons Jon Ashworth MP paid tribute to the Ugandan Asian population of Leicester during a Backbench Business debate which marked the 40 th anniversary of their expulsion from Uganda.

In August 1972 Uganda leader Idi Amin expelled the entire Asian population in Uganda, giving around 60,000 people 90 days to leave the country. Following the announcement some 30,000 dual passport holders came to the UK, most of which were granted asylum.

Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire, Shailesh Vara, who secured the debate, spoke of the hostility with which the British met the Ugandan Asians. However, Mr Ashworth reminded Mr Vara that people like his predecessor and current Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, supported the influx of Ugandan Asians to the city.

Mr Ashworth also spoke of the strength, confidence and vibrancy that the Ugandan Asians brought and still bring to the city, which is well-known for its multiculturalism.

During his second intervention, which was made during Leicester East's MP Keith Vaz's speech, Mr Ashworth commended the work of Leicester City Council along with that done by local mosques, gurdwaras, temples and churches and organisations such as the Federation of Muslim Organisations and the Gujarat Hindu Association in making Leicester such a successfully diverse City.

Mr Ashworth said: “Idi Amin's decision to expel Asians from Uganda was abhorrent. The pain and suffering this must have caused is unthinkable and it is with great admiration that I think of those that came over and the dignity with which they carried themselves and assimilated into Leicester society.”
“Today you don't have to look far to see how much strength and confidence their presence has given to the city. Leicester is such a vibrant place and much of that vibrancy is owed to the Ugandan Asians. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for their contribution.”

Jon Ashworth MP speaking in the House of Commons during the Ugandan Asians Debate. You can view the full parliamentary proceedings for the day by
clicking on the Play button, and then skip to 12:38:10 for the start of the Ugandan Asians Debate. You can view Jon's contribution by skipping to 12:41:28,
and then again to 13:33:30.

  Jon Ashworth MP speaking on November 28 in a packed House of Commons, tackling the Prime Minister about unemployment in Leicester.

“Government failing while Leicester people feel the squeeze” says Jon Ashworth as Autumn Statement sees austerity extended by an extra year

Wednesday December 5 2012

Today Jon Ashworth MP spoke out against the Government's economic policy after the Chancellor George Osborne admitted to an extra year of austerity at this year's Autumn Statement.

This means the country will endure a total of 8 years of austerity, taking us up to 2018, rather the five years promised by the Chancellor when the Coalition government came into power.

In an Autumn Statement which saw the Chancellor admit that he will not meet his fiscal rule to get the debt down by 2015, it was also revealed that the government is set to borrow £212bn more than they had planned following low tax revenues and a growing benefit bill which have come from slow growth and high unemployment.

The fact that borrowing is forecast to fall this year is due to the Government adding the 4G mobile spectrum auction to its figures despite the auction not having happened yet. Take away the £3.5bn from this sale and borrowing would look to be £2bn higher this year than last year.

The Chancellor revealed that people on low and middle incomes will be hit hard with real term cuts to tax credits, job seekers allowance and child benefit while the government presses ahead with a £3bn tax cut for the highest earners in our country.

Mr Ashworth raised concerns that those on low and middle incomes, already feeling the squeeze, will pay the highest prices for the government's failure to meet its target to get rid of the deficit by 2015.

The news comes as new data from Visa Europe suggests that household spending is under pressure following job insecurity, high unemployment and inflation.

Mr Ashworth said:“A recent survey conducted by my office really says it all, 93% of respondents said they felt the local economy was suffering; a total of 55.5% of people don't feel secure in their jobs and 69% said they expected to spend less this Christmas than they did last year.”
A recent survey carried out in Leicester revealed that a total of 55.5% of people don't feel secure in their jobs
“The Government is failing on jobs and growth while the people of Leicester are feeling the squeeze. I am hugely disappointed that the Chancellor failed to include in his Autumn Statement a real plan for jobs and growth. We need a temporary VAT cut to get people spending; and a bank bonus tax to fund a jobs guarantee for young people.”
In the Leicester survey 69% of people said they expected to spend less this Christmas than they did last year.”
“The Chancellor failed to outline any long-term reforms to make our economy stronger, like proper reform to our banks, and he has monumentally failed to convince that “we're all in this together”, instead cancelling the tax cut for millionaires and leaving those on low and middle incomes to pay the price.”

“We need a change of course – a One Nation approach which sees an economy that grows, where everybody has a stake and where the rewards a fairly shared. That is just not going to happen under this Government, which continues to put its political pride above the economic needs of our country.”
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