PRESS RELEASE ARCHIVE

March 2000 - March 2001

29/03/01 MP PRESENTS GOOD DEED DRIVER AWARD AND CALLS FOR LOCAL GROUPS TO NAME OTHER OLDER VOLUNTEER "HEROES"

13/02/01 MP CHAIRS LAUNCH OF MAJOR NEW WEBSITE ON MENTAL HEALTH

23/01/01 BIRMINGHAM COUNCIL TENANTS LOBBY PARLIAMENT

04/01/01 MP AND LOCAL SCHOOL SUPPORT BLUE PETER STAMP AID APPEAL

21/12/00 LOCAL MP BACKS AGE CONCERN’S CAMPAIGN ON NHS COMPLAINTS REFORM AND CALLS FOR RETENTION OF A ROLE FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCILS

19/12/00 SACKED NURSING SISTER NOT THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME FOR ‘REIGN OF TERROR’

18/01/00 WIFE OF BRITISH MAN IN SAUDI JAIL TO MEET FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER

07/12/00 MP WELCOMES GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS FOR ARMS CONTROL LEGISLATION BUT SAYS THEY MUST GO FURTHER

06/12/00 MP WELCOMES PROPOSALS IN QUEEN’S SPEECH FOR THE REGISTRATION OF "BOUNCERS"AND CALLS FOR KERB CRAWLERS TO RISK ENDORSEMENT OF THEIR DRIVING LICENSES

15/09/00 MP URGES BIRMINGHAM DRIVERS: "TAKE CARE THIS AUTUMN"

22/06/00 MP HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO TACKLE NHS LABORATORY STAFF SHORTAGES

22/06/00 MP TAKES UP CHURCH COMPLAINT ABOUT RACE-HATE PROPAGANDA
20/06/00 SELECT COMMITTEE BREAKS NEW GROUND

07/06/00 MPs PROTEST AT BRITON’S 12 MONTH DETENTION WITHOUT CHARGE IN SAUDI ARABIA

14/04/00 MP SUBMITS EVIDENCE TO THE COMMISSION ON THE SCRUTINY ROLE OF PARLIAMENT

31/03/00 MP CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT MINISTER ON FINANCING OF PROPOSED REPLACEMENT FOR SELLY OAK AND QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITALS

30/03/00 MP LAUNCHES INTERNET PENSIONS DEBATE

07/03/00 GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DIABETES AND DRIVING LICENCES: – ILLOGICAL AND INCONSISTENT SAYS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

02/03/00 MP PRESSES MINISTER FOR ACTION ON STUDENT HOUSING

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Embargo 4.30pm Thursday 29 March 2001

MP PRESENTS GOOD DEED DRIVER AWARD AND CALLS FOR LOCAL GROUPS TO NAME OTHER OLDER VOLUNTEER "HEROES"

 

Speaking as she awarded her constituent, Jeremiah Walls with his Co-operative Insurance Society’s Good Deed Driver Award, Lynne Jones welcomed a further initiative to emphasise the importance of volunteers for the well-being of our community.

The MP is supporting the International Year for Volunteering 2001 Older People’s Groups search for older volunteer ‘heroes’. She is calling on local organisations in South Birmingham to identify older people who are the ‘heroes’ of local volunteering. And those who are identified will be presented with a Certificate and an invitation to visit the House of Commons.

"Many older people have been volunteers for years - helping in our hospitals or with children and young people or like Mr Walls just being a good neighbour, offering lifts to disabled and infirm people - and helping themselves to keep active well into old age."

"These are the heroes of our community, and we need to celebrate their contribution."

"And now that more and more people are retiring early and enjoying many years of good health, we should invite them to play an important part in the community."

"In this year above all, the International Year of Volunteers, I’m pleased to be asking local organisations to nominate the older volunteers that they value and appreciate. I’m doing so at the invitation of the IYV2001 Group on Older Volunteering who want all of us to help celebrate the International Year of Volunteers"

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Note to Editors:

For more information about IYV2001 Older People’s Group:

After 1 April 2001 at Help the Aged 207-221 Pentonville Road London N19UZ Tel 020 7278 1114

or: Janet Atfield on Tel: 020 7278 2659 or email janetatfield@hotmail.com

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13/02/01

MP CHAIRS LAUNCH OF MAJOR NEW WEBSITE ON MENTAL HEALTH

emental-health.com

A new website www.emental-health.com was launched today at the House of Commons at a meeting chaired by Lynne Jones MP. The site is a development of schizophrenia.co.uk created by Dr Tonmoy Sharma from the Institute of psychiatry in 1999 which was so successful that it attracted 200,000 hits a month. In response to demand, emental-health.com has now been developed to cover depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. It gives high quality information useful to anyone with either personal or professional experience of mental health problems and creates a virtual meeting place to debate hot topics and offer support. Emental-health.com offers a unique opportunity for people who use mental health services to share their experiences.

According to a recent MORI poll carried out for emental-health.com, which was presented at the meeting, 6 out of 10 people have experienced mental health problems either directly or in someone close to them. Yet the stigma associated with mental illness means that many people are reluctant to discuss their problems openly.

Summing up the meeting, which included a contribution from a service user, Lynne Jones emphasised the point made by several speakers that the more informed people are about mental illness, the better the outcome for sufferers. She said "It is shocking that due to ignorance, stigma and fear, the average time lapse between the first signs of schizophrenia and medical intervention is 18 months – causing lasting damage to sufferers. As one in three people use the internet, this new website will create enlightenment, helping bring mental illness out into the open".

 

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BIRMINGHAM COUNCIL TENANTS

LOBBY PARLIAMENT

23/01/01

On Wednesday, Lynne Jones MP will be meeting constituents Lobbying Parliament to "Defend Council Housing" and calling for a fair deal for council tenants.

Lynne Jones said: "A lot has gone wrong with council housing over the last 20 years, but this is not surprising given the deliberate discrimination against council tenants during that time. Whilst housing associations have been given taxpayers’ money to build and renovate homes and also allowed to raise additional borrowing for investment, local authorities like Birmingham City Council have even been prevented from raising their own finance to invest in council homes.

The City Council commissioned the ‘KPMG Report’ to look at alternatives to stock transfer. The Report demonstrates that these are not viable. It will, no doubt, be used at the forthcoming Council meeting on 6 February to argue that the only way forward is stock transfer. This is not a valid conclusion since KPMG were not asked to subject stock transfer to the same rigorous analysis as the other options. Had they done so they would have had to identify the enormous waste of taxpayer’s and rent payers’ money to pay the large financial penalties from the early redemption of debt necessary for stock transfer.

Understandably, when working to their brief, KPMG take as read that there are no prospects of loosening central government controls on housing investment carried out by local authorities (controls which do not apply to housing associations even though their spending can have a greater cost to the public purse). Also the Report does not consider the "daylight robbery" that takes money from the rents collected from tenants to save the Government housing benefit costs? If this was stopped, there would be an extra 8 - 12 million a year for repairs.

It is clear from the feedback that I have had from councillors that they are not happy with the privatisation of the Council’s housing stock but feel that there is no alternative. But there is and tenants are leading the way with tomorrow’s lobby. Tenants will be holding the Government to its commitment to bring all council housing up to a decent standard by 2010 so that tenants can have a genuine choice about the future management of their homes.

In arguing the case for a level playing field between local authorities and housing associations when it comes to investment and public subsidy, I am not accepting that the dysfunctional management of council housing in Birmingham should be allowed to continue. There is merit in the devolved management arrangements proposed under stock transfer. The 10 shadow Registered Social Landlords could potentially form the basis for devolved budgets, devolved management and a devolved housing repair service. Tenants and councillors should oversee the management of council housing in their area. Under stock transfer, the interest of private financiers will be paramount.

 

Council tenants say that if the Government is willing to "write-off" up to 850 million of the Council’s debt and redemption charges if stock transfer goes ahead, it should be possible to make the same money available to Council Housing. I agree with them and it would be money more effectively spent.

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MP AND LOCAL SCHOOL SUPPORT

BLUE PETER STAMP AID APPEAL

04.01.00

Lynne Jones MP has joined pupils of Hawksley Church Primary School in supporting the Blue Peter Stamp Aid Appeal. The MP has been saving stamps from her postbag to add to the stamps saved by the children. The money raised will be used to develop community health networks for the Quechua people of Peru. The Quechua live high in the Peruvian mountains and were caught up in a terrible civil war that lasted for 13 years. Although the civil war finished in 1992, people are still having to live with the results. At present basic health services are only available after a two day trek down the mountains.

Lynne Jones said today:

"It would be great if as many viewers as possible could donate their stamps to the appeal. It will only take 200, 000 people collecting 100 stamps each to support three villages, which is the Blue Peter target. If only a few more people in every community joined in, even more villages could be helped."

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‘SPEAKING OUT’

LOCAL MP BACKS AGE CONCERN’S CAMPAIGN ON NHS COMPLAINTS REFORM AND CALLS FOR RETENTION OF A ROLE FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH COUNCILS

21/12/00

Lynne Jones MP today joined forces with Age Concern by signing an Early Day Motion supporting calls for the NHS complaints system to be reformed, after older patients spoke out about their experiences in a new Age Concern report, ‘Speaking Out’.

MPs from all parties are now demanding that the government acts to ensure that the health service learns from its mistakes, that the complaints system is made more accessible, that there will be no recriminations against those who complain, and that those who complain have independent support. They also urge the government to acknowledge that ‘if it develops a complaints system which respects and acts on the views of older people, it will help to build a health service which is better for all’.

Age Concern have heard from over 2000 people, writing to tell their story, since the beginning of their campaign to raise awareness of age discrimination in the health service. Over a third of these people specifically raise the problems they have faced when making complaints, while some say they wanted to complain but would not because they feared recriminations.

 

Speaking Out quotes many more older people on how they have battled against secrecy, intransigence, incompetence and time-wasting which can last for three years or more – and in many cases still fails to provide satisfactory answers or outcomes. They identify four areas of the complaints system which must be addressed in order for the system to work. They want:

  • To make sure what happened to them never happens to others.
  • The system to be clearer, easier and more accessible
  • No fear of recriminations
  • Independent support

cont…/…

 

Lynne Jones MP said: "The Age Concern findings are totally consistent with my own experience supporting constituents in their complaints about NHS shortcomings. Access to independent support for complex cases is absolutely essential which is why I support the retention of the patient advocacy role of Community Health Councils"

 

Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern England, said: "We are delighted that so many MPs have given their immediate support to this campaign. What is clear is that people make complaints in the hope that their voices will be heard. They need to see that the health service has listened and will learn."

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Notes to editors:

  • EDM 75: OLDER PEOPLE AND THE NHS COMPLAINTS SYSTEM. 11.12.00

That this House welcomes the new 'Speaking Out' report compiled by Age Concern highlighting the failings of the NHS complaints system in relation to older people; calls on the Government to act on older people's concerns by reforming the system to ensure that the health service learns from its mistakes, that the system is made more accessible, that there will be no recriminations against those who complain and that complainants have access to independent support; and urges the Government to acknowledge that if it develops a complaints system which respects and acts on the views of older people, it will help to build a health service which is better for all.

As of 15.12.00 the following MPs had signed: John Austin, Mr David Amess , Mr Peter Bottomley, Mr Paul Burstow, Dr Vincent Cable, Mr Martin Caton, Mr John Cummings, Mr Jim Dobbin, Mr Ronnie Fearn, Mr Andrew George, Sandra Gidley, Dr Norman A Godman, Mr Lindsay Hoyle, Ms Jenny Jones, Lynne Jones, Mr Richard Livsey, Mr Paul Marsden, Mr Edward O'Hara, The Reverend Martin Smyth, Dr Jenny Tonge.

  • Last year the NHS received 86,013 complaints about hospital and community health services in England alone.
  • Age Concern is running a high profile campaign against ageism in the NHS. This has included the publication of evidence by older people themselves (‘Turning your back on us: Older people and the NHS’), research showing that over three quarters of GPs believe age-based rationing occurs (Age Concern/NOP, May 2000), and evidence of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ decisions being made without the involvement of patients.
  • Case studies may be available. Please call Alice Hunt or Katey Karam in the media unit on 020 8765 7200.
  • Radio producers please note: Age Concern England has an ISDN facility.
  • Visit the Age Concern website at www.ageconcern.org.uk.

Click here for a copy of Lynne Jones’ letter to the Secretary of State for Health on NHS reforms, including the role of Community Health Councils

 

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19/12/00

SACKED NURSING SISTER NOT THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME FOR ‘REIGN OF TERROR’

 

I have secured an adjournment debate into the management of the Birmingham Specialist Community Health Trust on Wednesday 20th December.

Following an incident in which a brain-damaged patient, Peter Collins, was refused bowel care for six and a half hours, further issues relating to maltreatment of patients and intimidation and bullying of staff were drawn to my attention. An Independent Inquiry was eventually set up on the working practices and organisation of Hillcrest and Ward 3 at Moseley Hall Hospital in Birmingham.

During the course of their Inquiry, the Panel, chaired by Professor McLellan of Southampton General Hospital, were so worried about the possibility of maltreatment of staff and patients that they felt obliged to tell the Chief Executive of their most acute concerns. As a result of this information the Nurse Manager was suspended. In their full report, the Inquiry Team recommended that the Nurse Manager’s suspension should be confirmed and she should be formally investigated for oppressive and unprofessional practices. They also recommended that the post of Clinical Manager should be discontinued and that Dr Jim Unsworth should be replaced as Clinical Director of the Unit whilst continuing in his role as Director of the West Midlands Centre for Rehabilitation, of which the Unit is a key component.

As a result, two female staff were suspended from work and Dr Unsworth from his role as Clinical Director. A formal disciplinary inquiry then began. The outcome of this was that the Nurse Manager was dismissed and the Clinical Manager (who had no clinical training) was given a final written warning and redeployed. A modified "Annex E" or intermediate procedure was commenced to investigate and advise on matters involving professional conduct or competence in relation to three senior members of staff. These were Dr Unsworth, Rick Roberts, the Acting Chief Executive of the former Southern Birmingham Community Health Trust, who had initiated the Independent Inquiry and Dr Imad Soryal, a consultant in rehabilitation medicine who, as on-call consultant, had intervened to get proper care for Mr Collins.

The adjournment debate I have initiated on management of the Birmingham Specialist Community Health Trust will explore how, in the words of the Inquiry Report:

 

"the nurse manager could have established such an effective regime for suppression of innovation and taken it to such extremes without the unwavering and ill-judged support of Dr Unsworth and the clinical manager"

The debate will also address the impact of the actions of the incoming Chief Executive of the new Birmingham Specialist Community Trust which was formed following the amalgamation of its predecessor with its Northern Birmingham counterpart.

Further matters relating to the inadequacy of two internal inquiries, conducted by Dr Alistair Main, the role of the Regional Director of Public Health and health ministers will also be raised during the debate.

Mrs Lorraine Collins, the wife of the patient that was the subject of the maltreatment that brought these various matters to light is willing to talk to the media about her husband’s experiences.

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18 December 2000

WIFE OF BRITISH MAN IN SAUDI JAIL TO MEET FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER

 

This Wednesday morning, Lynne Jones MP will accompany her constituent Shaheen Chaudhry, to the Foreign Office to meet with Baroness Patricia Scotland to discuss the case of her husband Mohammed Chaudhry, who has been imprisoned without charge in a Saudi jail for 18 months.

The meeting follows yet another disappointment when the offer by a Saudi guarantor to give a personal guarantee for bail was refused on Monday by the Saudi authorities even though they had indicated to the British Embassy that appearance only bail would be accepted. Once more the Saudis are demanding an unlimited financial guarantee, which is impossible to give. This is the third time that hopes have been raised that Mr Chaudhry would be released on bail, only to see those hopes dashed.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Lynne Jones said:

"My constituent has been in jail for over a year and a half and still no charges have been brought. We will be calling on the Minister to step up diplomatic pressure on the Saudis including if necessary, summoning the Saudi Ambassador to the Foreign Office."

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/12/00

MP WELCOMES GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS FOR ARMS CONTROL LEGISLATION BUT SAYS THEY MUST GO FURTHER

 

Lynne Jones MP has welcomed the export control bill promised by the Government in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech but has raised concerns that the proposed legislation does not go far enough. Lynne Jones said:

"I am pleased that the Government have announced their intention to publish a Draft Bill to bring tighter controls on the arms trade but as they currently stand, the proposals do not provide for proper Parliamentary scrutiny of arms exports. I would like the Government to hand the power to look at applications for arms export licences to a House of Commons Select Committee. This has been called for in many submissions to the Government’s Green Paper, including my own from November 1998 where I stated:

 

‘a new Select Committee should be established, empowered to monitor military export controls, co-operation among Government departments and the compliance of companies involved in arms exports, [and] its findings included as a commentary on the Government's own report.’

I have now called upon the Government to publish the results of its consultation."

The Selly Oak MP recently accompanied three students from Birmingham University who handed in a petition to the Prime Minister calling for tighter controls on the export of arms.

ends

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

06/12/00

 

MP WELCOMES PROPOSALS IN QUEEN’S SPEECH FOR THE REGISTRATION OF "BOUNCERS"

AND CALLS FOR KERB CRAWLERS TO RISK ENDORSEMENT OF THEIR DRIVING LICENSES

 

Plans for the regulation for the private security industry announced in the Queen’s Speech were welcomed today by Selly Oak MP, Lynne Jones who, as long ago as 1998, tabled a Common’s motion calling for a national registration scheme for door supervisors, commonly known as bouncers.

Reputable entertainment companies who are members of the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association have also been calling for this measure for some time. Whilst the majority of door supervisors are professional and responsible, without a national registration scheme, the few who have demonstrated violent, racist or other criminal behaviour continue to tarnish the reputation of workers in the entertainment's industry.

In Birmingham there are over 300 premises licensed for entertainment and it is estimated that around 3000 door supervisors are likely to be employed in the City. Although Birmingham City Council has its own registration scheme, requiring pubs and clubs granted entertainment licences by the Council to maintain a register of door supervisors, the scheme lacks legal backing. At last the Government is putting this right with the setting up of a Private Security Industry Authority which will licence all those who provide private security services and ensure that standards within the industry are maintained and improved.

Lynne Jones also welcomed the proposal to make kerb crawling an arrestable offence. This was first proposed in the 1996 report of the Parliamentary Group on Prostitution, which the MP helped author. However, so far, the Government has not responded to the Group’s recommendation that kerb crawlers should risk having their driving licences endorsed. The Government’s proposals also fall far short of the comprehensive review of the laws on prostitution that was called for.

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

15/09/00 

 

MP URGES BIRMINGHAM DRIVERS:

"TAKE CARE THIS AUTUMN"

 

Lynne Jones MP is urging road users in Birmingham Selly Oak to take extra care this autumn, traditionally a time when accident levels soar.

Children have now returned to school after the summer break, and with 20% of morning rush hour traffic caused by the school run, there is an even greater risk of danger. Lynne Jones MP is urging young people to develop safer and healthier ways of getting to school through the RAC Grass Routes Challenge.

In line with the Government’s commitment to cutting child deaths and serious injuries by 50%, the Challenge encourages young people to come up with safer ways of getting to school, by reducing the number of car journeys. The Challenge, which also promotes healthier and greener modes of transport, offers schools the chance of winning 4,000 to implement the Travel Plans they design.

Lynne Jones said:

"Increasing levels of traffic, particularly around schools, can cause a greater risk of accidents to young people and drivers alike. Autumn in particular is a time when extra care needs to be taken, as the weather becomes wetter and the nights draw in.

"The RAC’s Grass Routes Challenge is a great way of encouraging young people to develop safer, healthier and greener ways of getting to school and involving the whole community. I am therefore urging schools in my constituency to take up the RAC’s Challenge to develop School Travel Plans and help reduce the risk of accidents.

"Whilst the emphasis of the RAC campaign is on road safety, we must all learn from events of the past week that we, as a society, need to reduce our dependence on the car. This sort of campaign can only be the beginning of such a process"

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Notes to editors

  1. Schools can request an introductory competition by calling 0870 010 4443 or registering online at www.rac.co.uk
  1. The top prize, awarded for the most innovative Plan is 4,000.
  2. 20% of morning rush hour traffic is caused by the school run.
  3. 53% of secondary school students travel to school on foot - down from 61% in 1975.
  4. 2% of children cycle to school compared to 6% in 1975.

More than 300 schools have already signed up to the Challenge

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

01/09/00 

MP HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO TACKLE NHS

LABORATORY STAFF SHORTAGES

 

In the euphoria over the NHS Plan and the extra money that has been given to the NHS a Birmingham MP has issued a plea to Ministers not to overlook the shortages of crucial laboratory staff in NHS trusts.

Lynne Jones MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said today:

"I have been contacted by a constituent who had to wait 15 weeks for the results of her original cervical smear test which proved inconclusive. At her insistence the results of the repeat test have been marked as urgent. However, she has been informed that due to staffing problems, those who go in for tests now could have to wait for up to 22 weeks for the results. I know that Ministers at the Department of Health are aware of this problem and are working on a human resource strategy with the National Advisory Group for Scientists and Technicians (NAGST). However I remain concerned that this issue has not been given a high profile in the NHS Plan and improvements promised by Ministers are taking time to filter through. As the unacceptable delay highlighted by my constituent’s case shows, changes cannot come too soon."

This issue was brought to the Department of Health’s attention in April, when professional medical workers who are part of the MSF union lobbied Parliament to highlight the situation that whilst doctors and nurses are held in high esteem, the work that is carried out by medical scientists and technicians, often goes unrecognised. Lynne Jones MP said:

"I know from my visit to the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Trust last year that the laboratories there carry out as many as 45,000 routine tests a year but are also responsible for screening at-risk parents for rare genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis and thallasaemia. As many as 50 different tests can be carried out at the hospital. There are concerns that the qualified staff necessary for this work are simply not coming forward because of poor starting salaries.

"The problem is also outlined in a recent report by the Science and Technology Select Committee, Cancer Research – A Fresh Look, one of our recommendations was:

The introduction of a fast-track system for people suspected of having cancer will increase the demand on an already over-stretched service. Thus it must be matched by the provision of a greater capacity in radiology and pathology if the management of cancer patients is to improve

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

20/06/00 

 

MP TAKES UP CHURCH COMPLAINT ABOUT RACE-HATE PROPAGANDA

This Friday, Lynne Jones MP is to meet members of the congregation at Cotteridge Church and other constituents who have contacted her to express their serious concern about the way issues concerning the treatment of asylum seekers have been reported and in particular, the way some party political propaganda has pandered to racism.

The MP has written to William Hague asking him to dissociate himself from a particularly nasty piece of propaganda which gives the false impression that asylum seekers receive more benefits than pensioners, thus legitimising racism and encouraging racist attacks.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss how to raise awareness of the reality of life in Britain for those fleeing persecution and also to speak positively about the contribution made by refugees and economic migrants who have enriched our culture and contributed to economic growth.

  

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

20/06/00

 

SELECT COMMITTEE BREAKS NEW GROUND

 

The Science and Technology Select Committee breaks new ground tomorrow with the launch of a U.S.-style open witness session. An open-invitation was sent out to cancer charities and patient organisations to give oral evidence to the Select Committee who are conducting an enquiry into the organisation and funding of cancer research in the UK.

Twenty witnesses, all with valuable experience of cancer services, many cancer survivors themselves, have each been allocated 5 minutes to present key points of concern to the Committee.

Lynne Jones MP, member of the Select Committee has welcomed this fresh approach to Committee enquiries.

 

"We are so used to taking evidence from renowned experts it is easy to forget that many ordinary people have valid contributions to make. For the first time, a Select Committee in the United Kingdom Parliament has opened up the Select Committee system to the very people that will be most affected by the outcome of our enquiry".

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/06/00

MPs PROTEST AT BRITON’S

12 MONTH DETENTION WITHOUT CHARGE IN

SAUDI ARABIA

 

 

More than 90 MP’s of all political parties are supporting an Early Day Motion tabled by Lynne Jones MP highlighting the plight of her constituent Mohammed Masseh Chaudhry. A copy of the Motion, which will appear on the Commons Order Paper on 8 June, is attached. 

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

14/04/00

 

MP SUBMITS EVIDENCE TO THE COMMISSION ON THE SCRUTINY ROLE OF PARLIAMENT

Lynne Jones MP has responded to the Hansard Society’s consultation on the scrutiny role of parliament. In her contribution the MP made the following points:

1. Current Parliamentary scrutiny of the executive is not effective.

2. The purpose of scrutiny should not be to question the aims of Government policy but the effectiveness of a policy/piece of legislation in achieving those aims.

3. All legislation should be examined by committees set up by an independent body and selected from MP's who have expressed an interest in a particular policy area. The committees should invite written and oral evidence with the aim of assessing whether the legislation will achieve the aims set for it by the Government. A report should be produced following these deliberations making recommendations to which the Government should be required to respond, as for Select Committee reports. The same Committee should then go into "Standing Committee" mode.

4. A novel procedure might be to enable an interested person to submit oral evidence, perhaps setting aside half a parliamentary day, during which the public would be entitled to make, say, 5 minute statements. I understand this is done in Congressional hearings in the US.

5. Whilst there will always be a need for set piece, confrontational debates, the above procedures in committee might allow for a reduction in the amount of time for such, largely futile, exercises.

6. There should be more parliamentary time to debate select committee reports. Perhaps alternate question time sessions for a particular ministry should be set aside to allow questioning on select committee reports relevant to departmental ministers' responsibility. Question time sessions on particular subjects might be more productive than current free-ranging debate.

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

31/03/00

 MP CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT MINISTER ON FINANCING OF PROPOSED REPLACEMENT FOR SELLY OAK AND QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITALS

 

Lynne Jones MP has challenged the Government to ensure that the appraisal of the University Hospital Trust’s business case for the new hospital will include a valid comparison between the value for money of the proposed private finance route and traditional public financing. She also asked for public capital to be made available if this offered best value.

In his response to Lynne Jones’ question in Parliament this week, the responsible minister John Hutton ducked the issues. Lynne Jones has now written to the minister spelling out the inadequacies of his response and asking for straight answers. Her letter ends:

"Without this information, I will not be able to reassure my constituents, who remain concerned that there will be a loss of beds in the new hospital that is to replace the much-loved Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospitals."

  

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

30/03/00

 

MP LAUNCHES INTERNET PENSIONS DEBATE

 

On Monday the House will be debating amendments to the Pensions section of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill.

Lynne Jones MP has tabled a number of amendments and has also recently published articles on the subject in Tribune and Pensions Management.

Today, Lynne Jones MP launches a debate on pensions on her website www.poptel.org.uk/lynne.jones/ and invites constituents to feed back with their views.

 

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

07/03/00

 

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DIABETES AND DRIVING LICENCES: – ILLOGICAL AND INCONSISTENT SAYS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

 

Back in 1997, I was approached by constituents concerned that a new EU directive would make it illegal for 350, 000 insulin dependent diabetics to drive mini-buses and small lorries. After an exchange of letters with the Transport Minister if became clear that the Government’s interpretation of the Directive was not based on evidence. I asked the Science and Technology Committee, of which I am a member, to look at the development of policy on diabetes and driving licences as part of its general enquiry into the scientific advisory system.

That enquiry in now complete and the Report has been published today. I enclose a copy of a summary of the Committee’s recommendations and conclusions and our press release.

Whilst the Government will have to give its formal response to the Committee in due course, officials from the DETR have indicated that our Enquiry has prompted them to review this policy.

This is a good example of democracy at work. A few constituents lobbying their MP can lead to a change of policy.

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news from Labour

Issued by Lynne Jones MP

02/03/00

 

MP PRESSES MINISTER FOR ACTION ON STUDENT HOUSING

Lynne Jones MP today joined a group of Parliamentarians representing constituencies with high student populations in a delegation to Housing Minister, Nick Raynsford. MPs told the Minister of their concerns about the impact of students on the stability of local communities. Lynne Jones explained how the doubling of the student population at Birmingham University over the last 10 years has lead to a marked change in the character of the Bournbrook area of Selly Oak, highlighted in the recent Neighbours from Hell programme. Whole streets of terraced houses are now occupied mainly by students, causing problems for long-term residents.

Whilst the Government has already recognised the need for statutory licensing of housing in multiple occupation MPs were concerned that houses shared by three or four students count as single household occupation and may not be included.

MP’s pressed the Housing Minister to give local councils additional powers in defined student "zones" to deal with neglected properties and anti-social behaviour and to intervene to acquire properties to maintain balanced communities.

The Minister accepted the need for new legislation and promised to put forward proposals along the lines suggested by the MPs. It was hoped that there would be consultation on these measures "within a couple of months" with a view to legislation as soon as Parliamentary time can be found.

MP’s stressed the urgency of the need for action as some areas are declining rapidly and local schools becoming unviable as families move out.

Speaking after the meeting Lynne Jones said "I was pleased that the Minister recognised the special problems of student areas. I and the other eleven colleagues who attended the meeting will be writing to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister urging them to bring forward legislation in the next Queens Speech"

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