John’s Monthly newsletter December 2016
Happy Christmas to Everyone
As I send you my newsletter for December let me wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.
I would like to thank you for all the friendship, support and goodwill you have shown me over the last, at times, turbulent year.
No matter how challenging the national political scene has been in 2016 it's been a great comfort to me that I have always been able to return to the heart of our local community and it's warm support.
Best wishes to you all,
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
Campaigning in Sleaford 1st
I visited Sleaford to campaign with Jim Clarke, our brilliant local candidate in the upcoming by election. The dedication shown by our members, who’ve been out campaigning day in, day out, has been fantastic. Sadly this wasn’t reflected in the result
Harlington Hospice Fundraiser 2nd
I enjoyed carols and mince pies in aid of Harlington Hospice at the Harlington Library helping raise funds for the wonderful services the hospice provides to their patients and their families and friends.
I had a fantastic visit to the RSPCA to help launch their Christmas appeal. The staff and volunteers at the Centre do an excellent job all year round looking after all the animals and it was a pleasure to drop in to support the work that they do.
Neighbourhood Food Collection
I visited the Hayes Extra store in Yeading to see the Neighbourhood Food Collection in action. This was their ninth Neighbourhood Food Collection. As a result of the ongoing partnership with the Trussell Trust and FareShare, the generosity of our community, the hard work of colleagues in-store, and Tesco’s top up donation, the last collection was a huge success and more than 2.8 million meals were provided to people in need. This means that since their first Neighbourhood Food Collection in December 2012, 38 million meals have been donated to help FareShare and The Trussell Trust support people in need across the UK.
I spoke at a packed meeting of the Cambridge Labour Students Club about Labour's economic analysis and strategy. The students were impressive in their questioning on both economic policy and political strategy for winning the next election. Whilst I was in Cambridge I also spoke at the local Trades Council rally in support of local trade union campaigning.
National Federation of Confederation Operators Meeting
I spoke at the National Federation of Confederation Operators Meeting about the economics of co-operation now". Our aim is to at least double the scale of the co-op sector in this country, enabling people to have greater control over the economy in this way and to expand the number of jobs in this thriving sector.
Small Business Saturday
I thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Salieri, a little Italian restaurant in Soho on Small Business Saturday. It’s the very last family business on the Strand. It’s been there for 4 decades and like many of our small business is struggling to survive. Small businesses are the life blood of our economy providing 6 out of 10 jobs, adding life & diversity to local high streets.
ASLEF District Council meeting 5th
I spoke to a meeting of around 40 delegates of ASLEF branch secretaries, local representatives and equalities representatives in south London and the south of England at the Waterloo Action Centre. They were interested in how we turn our economy round and the role of infrastructure investment.
Pop-up food bank outside 8th
I joined fellow MPs outside Parliament to support of Unite’s Hope not Hunger Christmas appeal which has already raised thousands of pounds in donations for Trussell Trust foodbanks from union members across the country. Figures released on Friday 2nd December revealed that during December 2015, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network provided 133,734 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 56,779 of these went to children. It’s a disgrace that we have a Government at the moment who can’t even feed its own people. One million food parcels were given out last year by the Trussell Trust alone which is a very alarming situation.
3rd Runway meetings 8th & 9th
I have convened a series if local public meetings to discuss the threat of the Third Runway. The meetings have been packed. Last month was the Harmondsworth meeting. This month At a meeting held at Harlington Baptist Church Hall on Thursday 8 December, around a hundred locals spoke about the threat to Harlington that a new runway would bring. Being situated at the end of the runway, bringing unbearable new noise levels to the village were the main concerns. The focus of concern for the 200 West Drayton residents who packed the main hall at Yiewsley & West Drayton Community Centre on Friday 9th was increased traffic congestion and the toxic pollution levels that would result from the area being brought closer to the border of the expanded airport, with the new boundary just 200 metres from some West Drayton residents.
The message from these public meetings couldn’t be clearer: local residents are going to fight this runway all the way. A third runway at Heathrow is undeliverable and I believe we will stop it from ever being built. I’m also fairly certain that the legal action from a coalition of local authorities will be successful. The decision by this Government to build a third runway was shameful and remains a huge threat to local residents who face losing their homes, schools, community centre and village life. And when you add in the air pollution, noise and climate change concerns then it becomes even more obvious that this runway makes no sense.
London Labour Students Conference 10th
I was pleased to speak to the London Labour students merging which focussed on the development of Labour's economic strategy. The collapse of the dominance of neoliberal economic theory has opened up the opportunity for an alternative understanding of how our economy works to take hold. Young people are at the forefront of this debate.
Reclaim the Media -Media Democracy Festival
I spoke at the Media Democracy Festival about challenging media monopolies’ Over the past year we have become painfully aware that a handful of corporations control the UK’s TV channels, news outlets, radio stations, search engines and social media platforms. This has given wealthy individuals and organisations huge political and economic power and enabled them to distort the media landscape to suit their interests. The media democracy festival aims to build a movement for democratic and accountable media
Cricket Club AGM 11th
Hayes Cricket club continues to thrive and I was so pleased to attend the AGM and be re-elected patron of the club.
Report Launch: FMB & Local Government Information Unit 13th
I spoke at the launch of the joint research report that the Federation of Master Builders and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) have produced on how local authorities can bring forward more small sites for development at the House of Commons. Local members of the Federation from Hayes attended and we agreed that we could take forward locally the ideas set out in the report.
Southwark Pensioners Centre 14th
Debbie Abrahams MP, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and I joined a group of older people in a jewellery making workshop at Southwark Pensioners Centre. It was great fun. I took the opportunity to given a firm commitment to pensioners in Britain that the next Labour government will protect the triple-lock and pensioner benefits such as the TV license, bus passes and winter fuel allowance regardless of the Tories' shambolic handling of Brexit.
The OBR and Bank of England are projecting inflation to rise in the years ahead and with the Tory government all over the place on Brexit, there is too much uncertainty for those on fixed incomes such as pensioners. Those older people who voted for Brexit did not vote to see their incomes threatened as a result. Labour is instead committed to protecting pensioner incomes in our country, and we will provide the certainty that this government refuses to whether it is on the state pensions or the crisis in our care service.
Hillingdon Play Association Christmas Fest 17th
Yet again thanks to the hard work of our HPA volunteers and with the support of workers from Hasbro we had a wonderful Christmas Fest. The day was a real success with so many children coming to see Father Christmas, enjoy the cakes and orients and listen to a marvellous local choir. Well done to everyone involved.
Christmas visit to Local Royal Mail Depot
Each Christmas it's my tradition to visit the local Royal Mail Depot in Hayes to meet and thank the staff for all their hard work and excellent service to our community especially at this busiest time of year. They are a great team and it's good to see so many familiar faces of local postmen and women who serve us so well throughout the year.
I work closely with a number of trade unions to improve rates of pay and working conditions. I recently met with representatives from the Bakers Union who are campaigning against low pay. The Union's Fast Food campaign to raise pay levels in the fast food sector and to secure a £10 an hair living wage is truly inspiring.
Trade Union Co-ordinating Group
I helped set up the TUCG several years ago to bring together a number of trade unions to strengthen their lobbying and campaigning activities. I spoke at this year's TUCG reception in Parliament to highlight the union campions that are being undertaken at the moment to protect our public services and employment
In my role as Shadow Chancellor I have participated in a series of briefings on Brexit the Labour Party has convened. Labour Business has organised these intensive discussions about how we secure the best deal for our country.
SME's for Labour
I attended the annual SME's for Labour Christmas reception and was proud to receive from Martin Howe on behalf of SME's for Labour the award for Shadow Cabinet Member of the Year. Martin is an active officer in this group that assists in developing and promoting Labour's policies for SMEs. His local West London firm of solicitors is renowned for its success in pursuing often ground breaking civil liberties, human rights and employment rights cases.