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Parliamentary Newsletter – February 2016

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WELCOME NOTE

Welcome to my first newsletter of 2016. This newsletter goes through some of the most recent developments and initiatives I have been campaigning on including protecting funding for the Birmingham-based Illegal Money Lending Team who prosecute backstreet loan sharks and calling for the safeguarding of local council’s rights to ethically invest.

Also in the news are the ongoing council ward boundary proposals and forthcoming news on the EU. In addition you can find out about my ongoing work as a Labour Spokesman on Transport and the other work I’m doing locally including about the future of Birmingham’s post-16 years education and the proposals to build housing on the North Worcestershire Golf Course. I am also promoting fundraising efforts by a number of local champions across Northfield. Read more

PUTTING OUR COMMUNITY ON THE MAP

As you may have heard, the national Boundary Commission has been reviewing the numbers of Councillors there should be on Birmingham City Council in the future and the boundaries of the areas from which they should be elected to represent. Those areas are known as “wards” as I am sure you know.

I wrote an article recently for the Bromsgrove Standard, but I wanted to write another piece to tell you what is happening and to ask you to let the Boundary Commission have your views. Don’t delay, though. All comments have to be received by the Boundary Commission by February 8.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 ‘Don’t Stand By’

Today, the 27th January, marks Holocaust Memorial Day and the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The day provides us all with an opportunity to remember the millions who were killed in and affected by the Holocaust and other genocides.

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Council Ward Boundary Change Proposals

Here’s a test for you. Is Rubery in Birmingham or in Bromsgrove? And if Rednal is in Birmingham, what about Rubery-Rednal? And are Rubery and Rednal in Longbridge or is Longbridge in Rubery and Rednal? Or are they all next to each other? Confused? You should be. It all sounds a bit like one of those riddles you used to get at school, doesn’t it?

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Government Cuts to Maintenance Grants

Yesterday I met with a number of student representatives to show my support for their opposition to the government’s student finance changes. The Tories have said they will be completely cutting the availability of maintenance grants to students, effective from September 2016.

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These maintenance grants are in place to support students from the poorest backgrounds and more than half a million English students currently receive them. Under the current system, means-tested grants of up to £3,387 a year are available to students from families with incomes below £25,000. Under the government’s new plans, students will be entitled to between £5740 and £8,200 (depending on location), but all of this will be as a repayable loan and without a penny of a grant. Read more