IPSA – the body set up to administer Parliamentary expenses – has recently published the latest details of claims made by MPs.
Claims made by MPs for items that include accommodation, travel and some office expenses are published on a bi-monthly basis.
And IPSA (the independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) has recently published claims made by MPs between June and July 2013.
Published 14th November 2013.
IPSA – the body set up to administer Parliamentary expenses – has recently published the latest details of claims made by MPs. Claims made by MPs for items that include...
It has been a busy few weeks in Parliament as the post conference row around energy prices rumbles on.
For those who don’t already know I was promoted to the role of Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the recent frontbench reshuffle, and it is an exciting time to join the team.
Ever since Ed Miliband announced his pledge for a 20 month freeze on energy prices at Labour Party Conference last month, energy has not been out of the news.
Ed captured the nation’s attention, set the agenda, and shifted the debate on to the cost of living, where Labour has a clear advantage over the Tories.
We have demonstrated that we are on the side of ordinary people who are suffering with the cost of living crisis, and we are not afraid to step on some toes in the search for solutions.
People regularly cite rising gas and electricity bills as one of their central financial concerns.
There is a general feeling that they are not getting a good deal from their energy suppliers. Prices only ever seem to go up, and when one company does it the rest seem to follow suit.
This goes much deeper than the short term pressure of rising bills. We are dealing with a textbook case of market failure that has resulted in a handful of large companies being able to regularly overcharge their customers safe in the knowledge that nobody will stop them.
This is fertile territory for the Labour Party and our message is simple; we will take strong action against powerful vested interests who are acting with impunity at the expense of households and businesses.
The point of the price freeze is to give people a break whilst we push through much broader reforms to the energy market. We need more transparency so we can prevent the energy giants from hiding their true costs and profits by generating energy and selling it on to themselves.
We also intend to create more competition so that smaller firms can challenge the oligopoly of the Big Six.
The price freeze pledge has put the Tories on the back foot. They are still struggling to come up with a response and David Cameron has begun to panic. He’s determined not to appear as if he is giving in to Labour pressure, but knows he needs something to say.
In desperation he has decided that he wants to cut back so called “green taxes” which help to fund a range of environmental and social policies, opening up fresh divisions within the coalition.
This is his attempt to look as if he has something to say, but in reality he still has no ideas on how to get people’s energy bills down.
He is unwilling to stand up to the energy giants and ordinary people are paying the price. I suspect that this issue is not going to go away anytime soon with more price rises likely in the coming weeks.
I am glad that I will have a role to play in it all as part of the frontbench team. If we continue to get this right I suspect we will someday look back on it as the point at which David Cameron lost all credibility as a leader.
It has been a busy few weeks in Parliament as the post conference row around energy prices rumbles on. For those who don’t already know I was promoted to the...
Tameside Council, together with Tameside College, this week announced an ambitious plan to invest in further education facilities in the borough.
This is a bold plan that will change Tameside for the better and impact on people throughout the borough - creating jobs and investing in new educational facilities.
However, this is not simply about new buildings and saving money, it is part of a broader effort to make our town centres stronger and more resilient during difficult times.
This is something that matters greatly to me because I believe that town centres play a central role in helping facilitate a sense of community and well-being.
That is why I am delighted that in the run up to Christmas, the local Town Teams across our local area are working closely with business forums to ensure that there is a wide variety of events that will help bring families and local residents back into their town centre.
In Stalybridge, on the 31st October, there will be the first ever lantern parade which should be a great occasion for children and adults alike.
This event follows on from a hugely successful craft market organised by Katherine Brookes from My Wonderful Little Designs where over 1700 people attended the event on the day. And let’s not forget about the Christmas lights switch-on on the 30th November with a special visit from Santa, organised by Stalybridge Business Forum with support from the Town Team.
In Hyde, the Town Team and business forum will soon be launching the new ‘I love Hyde’ magazine which will offer information about local shops, the indoor market and community events that will be happening in Hyde.
One such event is the Halloween on the 26th October in the Civic Square. This will be followed by the annual Christmas lights switch-on on the 15th November with an ice rink visiting the Civic Square on the 23rd November.
And in Mossley, the Town Team have been working hard to secure a Christmas market with more details of the event hopefully being released in the near future. This builds on efforts to develop an art trail in conjunction with the local Heritage Society.
All of the Town Teams are made up of volunteers from all parts of the community including local businesses, community and faith leaders, residents, councillors and officers from the local authority.
It is this sense of cooperation that continues to endure across all of our local town centres and I am looking forward to what promises to be an exciting run up to Christmas this year.
Tameside Council, together with Tameside College, this week announced an ambitious plan to invest in further education facilities in the borough. This is a bold plan that will change Tameside...
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, has been promoted to the role of Shadow Climate Change Minister in today's reshuffle of the Labour frontbench.
Mr Reynolds, who has been the MP for Stalybridge and Hyde since 2010, will be taking over the Shadow Climate Change brief from Luciana Berger MP.
Mr Reynolds said: "I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this role. Climate Change is a hugely important issue and represents one of the most significant challenges of our time. It is a challenge Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are determined to meet, and I know this is an area of considerable personal interest to Ed.”
”In addition, the role comes with a wide-ranging list of responsibilities, and I will be seeking to do all I can to hold the Government to account for not easing the cost of living crisis in Britain.”
Until his appointment as a shadow minister, Jonathan served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ed Miliband since 2011, and was previously an Opposition whip.
Published 8th October 2013
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, has been promoted to the role of Shadow Climate Change Minister in today's reshuffle of the Labour frontbench. Mr Reynolds, who has been...
I recently went to Ewan Fields, the home of Hyde FC, for the launch of their new community newspaper, Community Matters.
The paper, which they intend to deliver to around 5000 homes around Hyde and Hattersley, has been funded by a grant from the Football Conference Trust to enable local football clubs to engage in their local communities.
This project is running in conjunction with the clubs youth academy, and the paper itself will be produced by the academy students.
Some of the students that have been involved with the project came along to the launch to explain their involvement and it was clear that they were strongly engaged with the work that they are doing, and are clearly learning some valuable new skills in the process.
They will also be selling advertising space in the paper to raise money that will help pay for a community coaching programme with local schools, allowing the academy students to develop their own skills further whilst having a real impact on their local community.
This is something that Hyde FC has always been keen to do and I hope that this latest project is a great success.
I recently went to Ewan Fields, the home of Hyde FC, for the launch of their new community newspaper, Community Matters. The paper, which they intend to deliver to around...
One of the groups I am proudly involved with in Parliament is the “Save the pub” All Party Group.
It is a cause that I personally feel very strongly about and it is an issue I know that countless local people feel strongly about too.
For generations pubs have been right at the heart of our communities.
They are somewhere we go to meet friends, to socialise, to host important family events, and to unwind after a hard week at work.
In many places they serve as an important part of the areas character, appearance, and the local economy. In certain parts of the country their decline, alongside the decline of many high streets, has come to symbolise the problems our communities face in coping with the effects of economic downturn and its impact on our civic life.
Helping pubs survive the downturn is important if we want to create and maintain communities where a sense of pride and belonging can be retained, and because without them, I think our towns and villages would be poorer.
Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale, and Dukinfield all have good local pubs that have survived in hard times and help put our area on the map.
Not only does Stalybridge have the Guinness Record for the pubs with the shortest and longest names, it is also home to the fabulous Buffet Bar, which has been a unique part of the areas character for a very long time.
And to top it off, the Good Beer Guide, an annual publication from the Campaign for Real Ale, now includes four of Stalybridge’s finest pubs - the Buffet Bar, the White House, Society Rooms, and Stalybridge Labour Club!
Last week I had the privilege of visiting Tickety Brew, a local brewery ran by husband and wife team Duncan and Keri Barton, who have decided to make Stalybridge the home of their fantastic bottled ales.
Tickety Brew isn’t the only brewery in the area either. Millstone Brewery of Mossley has been doing well for a number of years, and we were even able to get some of their beer on sale in one of the bars in the Houses of Parliament!
All of these are great examples of the work being done locally to preserve the role of our pubs and are something we should all be extremely proud of.
One of the groups I am proudly involved with in Parliament is the “Save the pub” All Party Group. It is a cause that I personally feel very strongly about...
One of the nicest things about being an MP is that you are welcomed to a wide variety of events in the community where cake and cups of tea are rarely in short supply.
All of these events share a common theme - they showcase the people in our communities who regularly dedicate themselves and their time to worthwhile causes, and they are excellent places for friends and neighbours to come together in a social setting.
At the end of September people like this from all around the country worked in unison to create the world’s biggest coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Events w ere arranged all around the country and thousands of pounds were raised for a fabulous charity. Local groups in Tameside made a fabulous contribution, organising events in virtually every town.
I was able to get to events at Pinfold Primary School, Hollingworth Methodist Church, and the Hub in Hattersley. Everyone involved did a marvellous job and I was happy to go along and show my support.
One of the nicest things about being an MP is that you are welcomed to a wide variety of events in the community where cake and cups of tea are...
Party conference season is once again coming to an end, and I think everyone in the Labour Party will agree with me when I say that it has been a good one for us.
Ed Miliband’s speech on Tuesday has already shifted the political debate on to our territory and began to lay the foundations for the next Labour manifesto.
As well as bringing forward the first few policies that will form the basis of our offer to the country in 2015, he has also sharpened our attack on David Cameron and the Conservatives, and made clear to the public that the next election will be a very clear choice between two competing visions for our country.
Now I know that political slogans and sound bites can sometimes make politics seem a little superficial, but Ed’s latest addition to the political lexicon is brutal in its sincerity: Britain cando better than this.
This is not about denigrating the country we all cherish; it is about acknowledging we have not had the leadership we deserve, and offering the hope of a brighter future.
In 1997 we didn’t win by relying solely on the public’s rejection of the legacy of Thatcherism, we won with optimism, and it is in that spirit that Ed addressed conference on Tuesday.
Freezing energy prices; building a million new homes; raising the minimum wage; increasing access to childcare for working families; and, of course, repealing the horrific bedroom tax.
These are not just policies that will please the party faithful - they are thoughtful solutions to the nation’s problems, and they are rooted in mainstream concerns.
They are a statement of intent as opposed to a full manifesto.
They give a flavour of what the priorities of a Labour Government would be and, most importantly, they tell the public whose side we are on.
They say that we are standing up for ordinary people - who are suffering the effects of an economic crisis they had no part in creating - against a right wing Government that is too busy worrying about those at the top.
As soon as Ed had left the stage in Brighton the Conservative Party wasted no time in trying to tell the public that Ed’s plan to reduce their energy bills would be a disaster for the economy.
Whilst I’m sure the energy companies will be very pleased to know they have a Government willing to defend their profits, I think that most people will be wondering why David Cameron is more concerned with helping the Big Six than he is about helping the millions of people struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills.
The answer is simple: it’s the job of the Conservative Party to stand up for those at the top and its Labours job to stand up for everyone else.
In Brighton, we started to set out how we would do that, and now it is up to all of us to make sure we get back to Government so we can start to deliver for the people we serve.
The next election is going to be one of the most important of our time and the Tories have already made it clear that they are willing to fight dirty to hang on to power.
Returning to Government after just one term is a big task, but I am confident that Ed Miliband and the Labour team are up to it, and after this week we have been given the first bit of ammo we need to get it done.
Party conference season is once again coming to an end, and I think everyone in the Labour Party will agree with me when I say that it has been a...
Stayley Cricket Club got some good news last week, when they were told that their application for money from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund had been successful.
The club are set to receive £50,000 to rebuild their changing rooms which were damaged in an arson attack in 2005.
Since then the club has had to rely on the use of a portable cabin to play their games, something the local cricket league only tolerated because of the special circumstances.
If their bid was unsuccessful they faced a realistic prospect of being banned from taking part in league games, which would have been a real blow to everyone involved.
The Inspired Facilities programme is linked to funding that is intended to ensure the 2012 Olympic Games left a lasting legacy of sporting investment throughout the country, something that Stalybridge will now be able to proudly display for years to come.
Stayley Cricket Club got some good news last week, when they were told that their application for money from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund had been successful. The club are...
Yesterday I attended the emergency recall of Parliament to discuss the Government’s motion with regards to the current situation in Syria.
I sincerely appreciate all of the letters and emails I have received regarding this matter in such a small period of time.
I condemn the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war unreservedly. The use of chemical weapons cannot be justified in any circumstances and I agree we should do all we can to prevent their proliferation and deployment.
However, I did not feel able to support the Government yesterday. I simply did not feel the Prime Minister sufficiently justified the use of military force or clearly spelled out what the objectives and strategy of any action would be.
Before Parliament reassembled, it was clear that the Prime Minister wanted the Commons to authorise military action in order for that action to take place this weekend.
When it became clear he could not win a vote in the Commons, he backed down but still stated that he regarded the vote as approval in principle of military action.
I simply could not vote with the Government on that basis.
I recognise Syria is an extremely complicated issue, where frankly there are no ‘good’ options for us to take. Yesterday, I felt the Government were too cavalier in their consideration of these problems.
Syria’s chemical weapons cannot be destroyed or secured from the air – this could only be done with substantial ground forces.
If our aim is to change the regime by siding with the rebels, we run the risk of bringing to power a regime aligned to Al-Qaeda, which would then gain access to the chemical weapons stockpile we are concerned about.
Our only hope of success with an intervention would be to engage in action which psychologically prevented the Assad regime from using chemical weapons again.
This is possible but the Prime Minister did not present such a case.
As a democracy and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we should be involved in helping find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
Following on from the Commons vote last night, there must be a renewed urgency to support the Syrian people at this desperate time.
Published August 30th 2013
Yesterday I attended the emergency recall of Parliament to discuss the Government’s motion with regards to the current situation in Syria. I sincerely appreciate all of the letters and emails...