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To-Let Boards Campaign Success

Sandyford

Nick has welcomed the news that To-Let Boards are to be banned from parts of Newcastle where they cluttered streets all year round. The ban includes Jesmond, Sandyford, Heaton and Shieldfield in Newcastle East, which is due to come into force in January 2015. Nick said “I have raised the issue of the proliferation of lettings boards on a number of occasions in Parliament and have continually pressed the Government for powers to deal with this problem. I hope we can now move towards ensuring the news rules are properly enforced.”

All Party Parliamentary Group for Speedway

 

Nick with representatives of the British Speedway Promoters Association in Westminster

 

Following the AGM for the All Party Parliamentary Group for
Speedway in July, Nick has remained as Chair of the Group for a further year.

The Group was set up by Nick and other supportive MPs in 2013 as a way of showing support for Speedway in Parliament and taking up any issues that arise.

Nick is a regular visitor to watch the Newcastle Diamonds race at Brough Park in Byker.

 

New Homes in Walker

Nick took part in the ground-breaking ceremony at the latest housing development in Hibernia Village. The new homes at Caledonia Court will provide much needed affordable housing in Walker.

Nick at the ground-breaking for new homes in Walker

Walkergate Metro Station Renovation

Nick with the Walkergate Councillors trying out the new lift at Walkergate Metro Station

Nick was joined by the three Labour Councillors for Walkergate to mark the opening of the refurbished Walkergate Metro Station. The new station has improved access, new seating and better lighting, as well as a lift onto the platform for the first time.

Nick commented “It is great to see the Metro modernisation programme delivering for passengers. This work was carried out as part of the Metro’s £389m investment package approved by the last Labour Government. As the Regional Minister at the time I am pleased to see the decisions we took having a positive impact today.”

Supporting NHS Workers

Nick with Glenn Turp, Regional Director of the RCN and health workers at the Freeman Hospital

Nick joined the Royal College of Nursing and frontline NHS staff outside the Freeman Hospital in support of their protest against the Government’s rejection of a 1% pay rise for nurses and many other health
workers.

In comments to the local press, Nick stated: “The Government’s continuing public sector pay restraint is not fair and not sustainable. It is particularly unfair on nurses and other low paid workers in the NHS. I completely support the Royal College of Nursing, hospital staff look after us in our time of need and we must stand up for them. It is important that the public understands just how shabby the Government is in treating key health service workers.”

Nick’s Budget Debate Speech 2014

Nick speaking during the Budget Debate

Nick took part in the Budget Debate on the 19thMarch and used his opportunity to speak to raise some of the big structural questions facing the UK Economy. Nick talked about rising income inequality, covering the tax burden on individuals, the growth of an ‘internationally mobile’ class of people and the decline in real wage growth for the majority of people over the last 30 years.

Nick also talked about the importance of the manufacturing sector to the UK, the economy’s productivity problem and the continuing problem of unemployment in the North East of England. He warned about the size of the international shadow banking sector and the decline in corporate tax revenues.

Nick concluded with a call for the Government to take a lead role in helping to create a better regulated international economy to tackle cross-border issues like tax avoidance, stating that ‘Our country has an important role to play as part of the transnational attempts to deal with transnational offenders.’ He also argued for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of government expenditure and of the Bank of England in its role monitoring future risks to the financial system.

Nick’s full budget speech can be read here

Probation Service

Nick accepting the petition against the changes to the probation Service from Megan Elliot of NAPO

Nick has voiced his concerns over the Government’s privatisation of the Probation Service. The Government’s plans involve outsourcing all low and medium risk offenders to private and voluntary groups without any proper pilot of the proposals. Nick spoke in Parliament against the proposals and submitted a petition collected by the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) against the plans.

Nick said “The Probation has had a good record throughout its 106 year history. Every single Probation Trust in England and Wales is rated ‘Good’ or ‘Exceptional’. The Government’s plan risks breaking all this up.”

Nick’s speech in Parliament can be read here, and his submission of the petition here.

Nick Forces Debate on Threat to Local Cadet Forces

Nick used a Commons debate last week to stand up for popular school cadet schemes in Walker and Heaton which could be under threat because of policy changes made by the Government.

Nick visiting the local TA Centre in Walker

He said: “Involvement in cadet units and work on the associated BTEC teaches participants the ethos of public service, as well as beneficial life skills, such as discipline and organisation. Not every pupil encounters those virtues outside the school environment.” But he added, there were continuing problems for teachers wishing to back the cadets.

Mr Brown, who has been a school governor in Walker since 1980, said: “Resources are restricted. The school has to prioritise and it has to prioritise those courses that count towards its evaluation, yet the uniformed public services qualification work is doing so well for the school.”

The Defence Minister who replied for the Government said he agreed the Department for Education should give the cadet course credit for its hard work.

He said: “In the Ministry of Defence, we recognise that a BTEC in public services can be life-changing for some young people, with it either being the only qualification they receive or the additional qualification that allows them to fulfil their ambitions.

The Evening Chronicle lent their support to Nick’s campaign today.

Nick writes to Newcastle City Council over Budget Proposals

Nick has today written to the City Treasurer regarding Newcastle City Council’s three year budget proposal, acknowledging the difficult funding decisions that are being considered and stressing the unfair distribution of cuts to local government by the Tory-Lib Dem Government.

In his letter, Nick has stressed the need to ensure people can fully understand and interpret the Council’s figures and has asked a number of questions, for the purposes of clarity.

Nick’s letter to the City Treasurer can be read here

Joint-Newcastle MPs’ Statement on Council Funding

Nick with Catherine McKinnell speaking to Equity Union members at the Live Theatre

Dan Jarvis, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Culture, has come to Newcastle to see for himself the impact of central Government public expenditure cuts on local arts and libraries provision.

Overshadowing Newcastle’s present difficulties is the unfair distribution of the cuts burden by the Government. Newcastle is facing funding cuts of £218 per head. The national average cut is £134 and Tory Councils like Wokingham lose just £27. The difference is striking. The much higher demand in Newcastle for services such as adult social care and looked after children puts the Council budget under even greater pressure. The Government ignores this fact.

As the City’s MPs, we are committed to speaking up for Newcastle in Parliament and to continuing to make the case to the Government for a fairer deal for our City. If the Government’s cuts were distributed fairly across the country the Council would not be forced to cut local services so drastically.

None of us want to see essential services being lost and our city’s cultural reputation damaged. We want to work with all residents to make sure the Council’s budget consultation is meaningful and that everyone who feels strongly about this has the chance to make their views heard.

By engaging constructively with the Council on the details of the proposals we must all work together to find a way through for arts venues and libraries, as well as for other essential public services, so that Newcastle remains the vibrant, attractive city that it is. Our challenge is to do this in the face of the unfair cuts imposed by the Government, and we pledge to work together to this end.

Nick Brown MP, Newcastle upon Tyne East

Chi Onwurah MP, Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Catherine McKinnell MP, Newcastle upon Tyne North