March

John’s Monthly Newsletter March 2015

This is a selection of my constituency activities over the last month while I was still your member of Parliament.

Maximus Protest 2  

maximus_3.jpgI have supported the campaign by Disabled People against the implementation of the Work Capability Assessment which has caused so much worry and suffering for people with disabilities. Maximus, a private company, has taken over the administration of this system, after ATOS, the previous company, pulled out of the contract. I have had many constituents who have been maltreated by this system and have called for the scrapping of the WCA and the end of private companies making profits out of our benefits system.

Lake Farm School Cross Country 5

I was starter for the cross country event for the primary schools at Lake Farm yesterday. Well done to everyone & to our Wood End and Cranford primaries

Ken Loaches Film  6 

Over 150 people turned up at The Social Centre, Botwell Lane, Hayes, to listen to Ken Loach introduce his film "Cathy Come Home" & discuss how to tackle the housing crisis.The ground-breaking film, first broadcast in 1966, is a seminal work and widely described as among the most important British works ever produced. It was pivotal in the launch of the housing charity Shelter and instrumental in changing the law regarding homelessness.

Following the screening of the film, chaired a discussion with Ken on the film, the current housing crisis and need for local homes campaign.

The Time to Act Climate Demo 

Heathrow_Ralley.jpgI spoke at a massive climate change march to urge support for our campaign against 3rd Runway. I was moved by such amazing solidarity

 

Meeting with Jeremy Hunt re Hillingdon Hospital 9

I lead a delegation of local MPs and health officials to meet Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to secure more resources for Hillingdon Hospital.

Unite the Union West London Retired Members Branch Retired Members West London 10th

I spoke to local retired Unite members about the threat to pensions and trade union rights if the conservatives get re-elected. John said “I fear for pensioners if the Tories get in, especially for benefits like the Freedon Pass and the Winter Fuel Allowance”.

Jagjit Marathon11th

I hosted a reception to celebrate local councillor Jagjit Singh’s wonderful achievement of running 150 marathons for charity. Jagjit is an absolute phenomenon and deserves our thanks for the work he undertakes for charitable causes. This is just a small way of saying thank you and honouring him.

Ali Khan’s funeral 20th

I attended the funeral of Ali Khan, a wonderful member of our local community who served as a volunteer in my office, supporting our work for the local community.

Labour Hall Launch 20

We held an opening ceremony for our new labour hall in Pump Lane and named the hall after the chair of our local Labour Party, Peter McDonald. Peter has served our community as a local councillor and campaigner on numerous local community campaigns to improve the quality of life of local people. As chair of the Labour Hall Trustees it has been through his hard work and inspirational leadership that we have been able to build a new hall and office on our Pump Lane site. The Labour Hall will be named the Peter McDonald Community Rooms.

Meeting with SERGRO 24

I met with the new owners of the Nestles site to discuss their proposals for the future development of the site.

Highways Agency Meeting  27

I convened a meeting with residents, councillors and the Highway Agency to discuss the widening of the M4 usage.

Compassion in Care lobby 11 

downng_st_whistleblower.jpgI hosted a meeting in the House of Commons in support of Edna’s Law to protect whistle-blowers representing all sectors including prison, social services finance, NHS and social care. We then delivered the petition to number 10 which included damning evidence from more than three thousand whistle-blowers.

 

 

 

Blacklisted book Launch 12  pic

blacklisted_book_launch.jpgI chaired a packed meeting to officially launch 'Blacklisted' by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain published by New Internationalist. The event highlighting the “heroic campaign” undertaken by all those involved with the book and stated that Blacklisted will help “right some of the wrongs” individuals fighting for justice have faced for many years. 

The book exposes the illegal blacklisting scandal orchestrated by the largest multinataional construction companies in the UK including Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion, Costain, Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Kier. The book provides previously unseen documentary evidence about the role of undercover police spying units in colluding the blacklisting conspiracy. http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

Transport For London Bill 16

I blocked Boris Johnson’s TFL Bill which John described as a “speculators’ bonanza.” The Bill aimed to give the Mayor wide-ranging powers to enter into deals with developers and speculators to develop TFLs’ sites.

In the debate I expressed my strong concerns that this would mean huge risks for Londoners if these deals went ‘pear shaped’ and could result in the loss of a large number of sites which could be needed in the future for extending and improving London’s transport network.

Cost of Living Crisis Book Launch 16

I hosted the book launch of The Cost of Living Crisis’ written by Michael Calderbank

The Cost of Living Crisis clinically exposes the gross injustice of the austerity programme and calls for it to end, advocating a positive programme to replace austerity by curbing excessive profits, taxing the obscenely rich and stimulating the economy by increasing the spending power of all wage earners.

The book details how states and corporations have combined to exploit, oppress, and impoverish millions of people, whilst enriching the already rich and is an invaluable weapon in the hands of all those refuting and rejecting the imposition of austerity.

In launching the book Michael Calderbank has called forthe Conservative Government to be held accountable for the consequences of the pernicious and unjust austerity agenda:

Shaker Aamer Lobby 17

shaker_Aamer_demo.jpgI led the Shaker Aamer debate in Parliament on 17th March which resolved unanimously to call upon US government to release him from his imprisonment in Guantánamo Bay and allow him to return to his family in UK.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that an innocent man continues to be to be subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in absolute denial of his human rights remains in Guantanamo. The continued incarceration of Shaker Aamer on US territory, without charge and against who unspeakable atrocities have been committed shames both our Governments and is an international outrage” 

Down’s syndrome Awareness Week  pic

John_McDonnell_with_DSA_pledge_and_LOTS_OF_SOCKS.jpgI attended the Launch of Down’s syndrome Awareness Week, which was supported by the Down’s Syndrome Associationon 17th March. The campaign which encourages and supports people with Down’s syndrome to take part in activities they enjoy in their local community.  It also identifies and advises on barriers to inclusion.

 

 

‘No-one Turned Away’

I wholeheartedly supports Crisis’ campaign calling for the law to be reviewed to ensure that all homeless people who approach a local authority are given the help they need.

Crisis is the national charity for single homeless people. Their purpose is to end homelessness. Crisis helps people rebuild their lives through housing, health,

education and employment services.  

‘Turned Away’ the recently published report by Crisis investigated the treatment of single homeless people by local authority homelessness services in England. www.crisis.org.uk/nooneturnedaway

Launch of Media Reform Manifesto 18th

I spoke at launch of Manifesto for Media Reform which reported back on the progress on protection of journalists & their sources in new legislation

 

Below is a list of the interventions I have made on the floor of the House of Commons this month. Please click the link below to take you to the debate set out in the Hansard.

Trade Union Reform (Civil Service Bill) 10th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150310/debtext/150310-0001.htm#15031024000487

Deregulation Bill

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150310/debtext/150310-0003.htm#15031029000693

Transport for London Bill (Lords) 16th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150316/debtext/150316-0002.htm#15031621000105

Counter-Terrorism Statutory Instruments

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150316/debtext/150316-0001.htm#1503167000093

Shaker Aamer 17th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150317/debtext/150317-0003.htm#15031763000454

Prisoner and Staff Safety

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150317/debtext/150317-0001.htm#15031747000276

Local Newspapers 19th

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150319/halltext/150319h0001.htm#15031931000291

Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150320/debtext/150320-0002.htm#15032054000740

 

Written Questions I have asked recorded by the date the answer was received.

Ministry of Justice 27th February

Victim Support Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what government funds are available for victims' support organisations in England and Wales.

Answered by: Mike Penning

This Government is committed to supporting victims, by ensuring that they have access to high-quality, effective and timely support. We have made more money than ever before available for this purpose, increasing the contribution offenders make to the costs of providing support, and more than doubling the victims budget to over £92million for 2015/16.

Locally accountable Police and Crime Commissioners are now responsible for the provision of support services in their areas and will receive the bulk of the available funding with which to do so. This was £63.15m in 2015/16.

Some services remain nationally commissioned. This includes support for families bereaved by homicide, support for victims of rape and modern slavery, and support for witnesses at court. National services have recently been competitively re-commissioned.

Criminal Proceedings 

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what procedures are in place to inform victims of the reasons for any delays in criminal matters being listed for court.

Answered by Mike Penning

Witness Care Units (WCUs) update Victims on information relating to their case. Under the Code of Practice for Victims courts have responsibility for providing information to WCUs about matters affecting the victim and WCUs then provide a single point of contact for victims throughout the duration of the case.

The Government has committed to creating a system that puts the highest emphasis on victims’ needs and set out their rights clearly in legislation. 

Criminal Injuries Compensation 2nd March 

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what costs may be incurred by a victim when applying for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

 

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many forms or documents need to be completed by people applying for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people applied for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many victims were granted compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014.

answered by: Mike Penning

According to latest figures, in the financial year 2013-14 we made payments totalling more than £242m to victims of violent crime.

We also aim to make our application process as simple as possible. Applicants need only complete one form when applying to Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and we have an online application service. Those who have no access to online services, or who need additional support, can apply by phone. Depending on the nature of the claim, applicants may be asked to provide evidence to support their claim, for example: medical reports or employment information.

In the last financial year 94 per cent of applicants we surveyed after receiving their decision, including people who were refused compensation, said they were happy with our service.

Where necessary, CICA will ask applicants to provide basic medical evidence to support their claim. Applicants are expected to meet the cost of a medical report up to the value of £50. If additional medical information is required this will be paid for by CICA. If an applicant cannot afford to pay for the initial medical report, CICA will pay and deduct this from any award of compensation made. There are no other charges associated with making a claim.

An application received in one financial year may not necessarily be resolved in the same financial year. Although we aim to make compensation payments as quickly as possible, we have a duty to the taxpayer to investigate claims properly while ensuring that the applicant gets the level of compensation they deserve. In some cases it may not be in the best interests of an applicant to finalise a claim before the long term implications of an injury can be properly assessed.

Question

2013

2014

(224448)

How many victims were granted compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

21,846*

16,238*

(22449)

How many people applied for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

33,574

32,297

*This is the total number of victims compensated and their claims concluded within those calendar years. 

Department for Transport 9th March

Railways: Franchises

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2015 to Question 222661, for what reason a copy of the contracted franchise payment profiles for all train operating companies until 2023 has not yet been placed in the Library; and when he now plans to place a copy of that document in the Library.

Answered by: Claire Perry

This was deposited into the Commons Library in February; ref. Dep 2015-0247 

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 9th March

Offshore Industry: Conditions of Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues in his Department on the level of compliance amongst oil and gas (a) companies and (b) contractors operating on the UK Continental Shelf with International Labour Organisation Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise.

Answered by: Jo Swinson

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 sets out the legislative framework in relation to our international obligations, such as the International Labour Relations Convention 87. There is no requirement to monitor the compliance of this legislation for any particular sector or company.

Offshore Industry: Conditions of Employment 

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment his Department has made of the level of compliance amongst oil and gas (a) companies and (b) contractors operating on the UK Continental Shelf with International Labour Organisation Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise since 2005; and if he will take steps to conduct a further such assessment.

 

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment (a) his Department and (b) predecessor departments have made during periods of low oil prices in the last 30 years of the level of compliance amongst oil and gas (i) companies and (ii) contractors operating on the UK Continental Shelf with International Labour Organisation Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by: Jo Swinson

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 sets out the legislative framework in relation to our international obligations, such as the International Labour Relations Convention 87. There is no requirement to monitor the compliance of this legislation for any particular sector or company.

HM Treasury 9th March

Tonnage Tax

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the change in tax liabilities for shipping companies in the tonnage tax scheme was in each (a) calendar and (b) financial year since the scheme was introduced; and what estimate he has made of the change in those liabilities in (i) 2014, (ii) 2013-14, (iii) 2015 and (iv) 2014-15.

Answered by: Mr David Gauke

The tables below provides estimates of the difference between accruals of tax liabilities for the UK Shipping Industry through tonnage tax and what they would otherwise have been under standard UK Corporation Tax since 2000 for (a) calendar year and (b) financial year.

Calendar Year

Reduction In Tax Liabilities1, 4

20003

£60m

20013

£65m

20023

£65m

20033

£80m

20043

£90m

2005

£95m

2006

£90m

2007

£135m

2008

£270m

2009

£95m

2010

£95m

2011

£120m

20122

£100m

20135

£100m

20145

£95m

20155

£95m

 

Financial Year

Reduction In Tax Liabilities1, 4

2000/013

£60m

2001/023

£65m

2002/033

£70m

2003/043

£80m

2004/053

£90m

2005/06

£90m

2006/07

£100m

2007/08

£170m

2008/09

£225m

2009/10

£95m

2010/11

£100m

2011/122

£115m

2012/135

£100m

2013/145

£100m

2014/155

£95m

Notes to tables:

  1. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest £5m,
  2. The latest tax returns data available are for 2012,
  3. Estimates for 2000-2004 should be treated as indicative only, due to insufficient data being available before 2005,
  4. Estimates are based on the assumption that without the introduction of tonnage tax in 2000, the level of affected UK shipping activities would have remained equal to that of 1999,
  5. For years after 2012, estimates are projections.

 

Ministry of Defence 10th March

Marchwood Military Port

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Written Statement of 3 March 2015, HCWS330, on Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre (Preferred Bidder), what estimate he has made of the annual (a) profits and (b) reductions in the cost of sea mounting that will result from the award of the contract to manage that centre; how long the contract with Solent Gateway Ltd will be for; and what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of that contract.

Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne

A focussed clarification phase between the Ministry of Defence and the Preferred Bidder is still ongoing. All information is deemed commercially sensitive and I am unable to release any further information.

Marchwood Military Port

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Written Statement of 3 March 2015, HCWS330, on Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre (Preferred Bidder), what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the announcement of a preferred bidder on the future capacity of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne

As a result of the Marchwood transaction there is no potential effect on the future capacity of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary 

Department for Work and Pensions 26th March

Employment and Support Allowance: Appeals

 

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time was that a claimant received payment of employment and support allowance pending appeal in the most recent period for which figures are available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employment and support allowance claimants have received payment of that benefit pending an appeal since October 2008.

Answered by: Mr Mark Harper

Published statistics show that between Q1 2009/10 (the earliest period statistics are available) and Q3 2014/15 (the latest period statistics are available), Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) received 1,096,732 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) appeals. Whilst the vast majority of these claimants would have chosen to continue to receive a payment of ESA pending their appeal, some did choose to remain on Jobseeker’s Allowance. As the latter information is not available it is not possible to provide an exact answer.

Historical information on the average length of time for appeals is not readily available. The most recently published HMCTS statistics state the average (mean) clearance time for Judge and Member ESA/Incapacity Benefit appeals was 22 weeks. Accordingly this would also be the average length of time of payment of ESA pending appeal. 

Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fit for work decisions overturned by mandatory reconsideration or appeal related to claimants with mental health difficulties in each month since October 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fit for work decisions were overturned by mandatory reconsideration in each month since October 2008.

Answered by: Mr Mark Harper

The information requested is not available.

DWP plans to look into what it might be possible to publish on mandatory reconsiderations in the existing regular statistical publications, including information on outcomes. Before decisions are made DWP statisticians need to make sure that the data is accurate and fit for purpose. When a decision has been made and as each publication is ready, we will pre-announce the improvements in 2015 in accordance with the UKSA release protocols. 

First Great Western

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the contractual terms of the directly awarded franchise agreement with First Great Western Limited to run passenger rail services on the Great Western line; whether the franchise agreement makes provision for the role of the guard on Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains; and what provisions for catering services on IEP trains are included in that franchise agreement in (a) first and (b) standard class

Answered by: Claire Perry

Following announcement of the Directly Awarded franchise on 23 March, the Franchise Agreement will be published on our website shortly, after the agreement has been through a redactions process consistent with the Railways Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Detailed provisions will be available upon publication.


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