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Best Small Shop Competition

Small and independent shops in and around Northfield are an important part of the character of our local area. They provide employment for many local people and are a vital part of our economy locally.

So I am asking Northfield’s small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops Competition 2018 which celebrates the creativity of small shops and the central role they play in their local communities. I would also encourage local residents to consider the contribution that small shops make to their local community by making their favourite shopkeepers aware of how they could take the prize of Britain’s Best Small Shop.

The competition is open to any small shop operating in the UK and is free to enter. Shopkeepers can nominate their business until Sunday 9th September via www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. A panel of representatives from the independent retail industry will then shortlist 25 of the most impressive applications who will be invited to a Parliamentary Reception to crown the Best Small Shop for 2018.

Small shops are part of what makes our area tick and it would be great to see some local business from Northfield receiving the recognition they deserve at the national level.

Rail fares to rise again

The Government yesterday confirmed that rail fares will increase by up to 3.2% in January. Local rail users will understandably be frustrated and angry at the news of yet another increase in the price of fares on our railways.

The amount by which train companies can raise regulated fees is the responsibility of the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He has the power to cap regulated fare rises at a lower rate of inflation but he’s choosing not to.

It’s time for the Government to wake up to the pressure that rail fare hikes are putting on hard-pressed family budgets. Labour would bring our railways into public ownership to make sure that passengers are put at the heart of decision-making on our railways.

https://www.theguardian.com/…/uk-rail-fares-to-rise-commute…

Funding opportunity for young people

Local colleges, universities and community groups have the chance to apply for a £100,000 funding opportunity from the National Express Foundation. The National Express Foundation supports disadvantaged young people by providing funding to use towards projects and bursaries that help young people to succeed in life.

I would encourage local community groups, colleges and universities to make the most of the funding opportunity and apply for some of the £100,000 that is available, to help young people in the local community.

It is important that local young people have the chance to benefit from this funding opportunity which could make a real difference in helping with their costs whilst a student. Organisations will have to act quick however because the deadline for applications in Friday 24 August. You can find out more information and how to apply here.

July Parliamentary Newsletter

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter! If you think a friend or family member may be interested in receiving my regular updates they can sign up here.

Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues I have taken up as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on the South Birmingham bus network, Brexit and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.

I hope you all have a lovely and restful summer.

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Statement on Israeli Knesset’s passage of Nation State Law

The action taken yesterday by the Israeli Knesset is discriminatory and formally creates a two-tier system of rights within Israel. It formalises as second-class citizens any non-Jewish community, particularly the 20% of the population who are Palestinian Arabs. The new law also allows for the creation of communities based on religion, something that raises worrying parallels with apartheid.

Jerusalem is a city of unique significance to the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In referring to the city exclusively as the capital and home of one of those religions, the new law jeopardises inter-faith understanding. It also recklessly prejudices the prospects for peace in the Middle East by undermining the long-established international agreement that the future status of Jerusalem can only be decided through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is the latest in a string of laws passed by the Knesset designed to strip Palestinians of their rights bit by bit. It also goes hand-in-hand with the Israeli Government’s destruction of the prospects for a viable Palestinian state through the demolition of Palestinian homes and the ongoing construction of illegal settlements.

Yachad, who work in the British Jewish community for a secure and peaceful future for Israel are right to describe this law as “counter to Israel’s Declaration of Independence” and a law which “turns minorities in Israel into second class citizens”.