MP Update – 24th May

MP Update No.300!NEWS AND COMMENT FROM CHRIS LESLIE Thursday 24th May 2018

(for more news also see my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chrislesliemp)

 

Eight years ago, when I was first elected your Member of Parliament for Nottingham East, I promised to keep in touch as often as I could with how I vote, the issues that need championing and my work representing our community in Westminster.Back then I started something new – a weekly email update for constituents covering local, national and international news. Eight years (and three hundred editions!) later, I find that your thoughts and feedback are more useful than ever. Keeping in touch genuinely does help me get a sense of your priorities. We don’t always agree, but I think it is a good way for you to keep me accountable and for me to consult with you.In this 300th edition, it is the right time for me to get a sense about what more (or less!) you want from these email updates. I’ve pulled together a very short one-minute questionnaire at the link below and would be fascinated get your views.CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE SHORT SURVEY!

Nottingham News

  • In June Nottingham Trent University will become the first university to get awarded ‘Purple Flag’ accreditation by the Association of Town and City Management, since the organisation decided to include Universities in the scheme in 2017. The Purple Flag scheme recognises the safety and variety of nightlife and originally only gave accreditation to town and city centres. Professor Eunice Simmons, deputy vice-chancellor, said: “We’re thrilled to be paving the way for our students by providing an environment which has been recognised for its safety, as well as the diverse culture and experiences on offer”. Many of us recall the horrendous racist abuse hurled at NTU student Rufaro Chisango earlier this year, so if stronger procedures are now in place and a safer environment is being recognised, this is to be welcomed.
  • A licence will be required for street traders, including ice cream vans, to sell food on 42 streets under plans introduced by the city council. These roads will include zones around 17 Nottingham schools and it is hope that the introduction of this scheme, which is unlikely to take place until December, will reduce congestion and make increase road safety in these areas.
  • Plans for a development, involving 73 new homes, on Trent Lane have been approved by the City Council. The development will be a mix of two and three storey houses and a four storey block of flats and will be built on a disused industrial site on the east side of Trent Lane.

 

National & International News

  • Congratulations to Nottingham’s own Sheku Kanneh-Mason for his magnificent cello performance at last weekend’s royal wedding. For those of us who tuned in to watch it was a beautiful service – breaking with some of the fustier royal traditions – but particularly good to have this local connection for the whole world to see, and I wish Sheku every success with what will undoubtedly be a very successful career ahead.
  • Households are already more than £900 worse off this year because of the Brexit vote, according to new analysis by the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney – and economic growth is currently two percent lower than was forecast before the referendum. Britain lags well behind similar economies in Europe and around the world who are doing far better than us, in spite of our cut in interest rates after the referendum. And that means a drop-off in tax revenue of £300 million every week; that promised pot of money for the NHS is getting smaller by the day!It’s clear, then, that the economic pain inflicted by Brexit is no longer a minor issue. Grim forecasts once written off as ‘project fear’ are coming true for families in Nottingham and across the country – and this is only a foretaste of the problems that lie in wait if we crash out of the Single Market and Customs Union. Surely the time has come to ask whether, in the end, the price of Brexit is just too high. We have a fantastic opportunity to mitigate some of its worst effects when the common-sense amendments passed by the House of Lords this month are voted on by MPs. Even Conservative MPs are now prepared to rebel against the Government by voting in favour of EEA/Single Market membership, so it is essential that Jeremy Corbyn is persuaded to do the right thing and support continued EEA Single Market participation if the vote happens in the next few weeks.
  • This afternoon Parliament debated the Government’s handling of the East Coast mainline franchise. The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced last week that the joint venture between Virgin and Stagecoach – initially contracted to run the line until 2023 – would be scrapped early, with operations taken back into public hands. This represents the third time in ten years that the East Coast contract has been terminated early, and follows an earlier decision by the Government to end the current franchise in 2020, enabling the companies to renege on £2 billion in contracted payments at the taxpayer’s expense. Mr Grayling insists that this new phase of public management will be as brief as possible – but in view of the troubled history of East Coast, I think this is a premature promise to make. Decisions about the long-term future of the line need carefully to weigh the interests of passengers and taxpayers; but it is clear that this Government have struggled to manage this whole saga effectively.

 

What do you think?
Knife crime remains a persistent problem across the UK and this week the Commons debated the Government’s ‘Serious Violence Strategy’. In 2009 there were 700,000 violent incidents across the UK and in the past year there have been 1.3million.There are a number of measures that can make a difference – and I am convinced that investment in neighbourhood policing has to be part of this. Early prevention work including awareness in schools, visibility of police at night, alternative activities for young people all have a role to play. The link across the drugs and alcohol is also where more work should be done. But I also believe that wider steps to deter individuals carrying knives without justification need introducing, including a system similar to the existing mandatory sentence for firearm possession which had a big effect on reducing gun crime. A clearer mandatory sentence for carrying knives without good cause should be therefore be considered – and I’d be interested to know your views on this and other measures that ought to be taken.Sadly, knife crime has been a persistent problem locally and this week’s BBC story at the link here reminds us that, two years since the fatal stabbing of Aqib Mazhar in Russell Road in a knife attack, while some have been convicted of association with this crime, the individual holding the knife has still not been found. Crimestoppers have issued a £10,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction and anyone with any information should contact them on 0800 555 111.

 

Regards

Chris Leslie

Labour & Co-operative Party MP for Nottingham East

PS: Ahead of the changes in GDPR rules, I usually send these emailed MP Updates each week as a way for local residents to keep track of my work and thinking as the local MP for Nottingham East. You will receive this following email correspondence we have had in the past. If, however, you’d rather not receive these then I entirely understand – simply reply with the word ‘unsubscribe’ and I will amend the circulation list. New arrangement for subscribing will be in place from 25th May 2018.

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