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.
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.
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.
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”.
Many local residents will be aware that National Express have announced changes to some bus routes in and around South Birmingham. These changes will come into force from Sunday 22nd July and include small changes, such as timetable amendments, as well as some larger route changes.
National Express believe these changes will help to provide faster, more reliable, and more punctual journeys. However, many residents will undoubtedly be concerned about the impact that some of the changes will have on their local bus routes and ability to get around.
You can visit the National Express West Midlands website using the link below to see route-by-route information about what’s happening in the coming weeks. I have also been told by National Express that all of their buses operating in the local area will have leaflets which include details of the service changes, and that information will be provided on bus stops that are affected by the service changes. It is important that those without internet access are made of aware too of these changes so please share news of the service changes with relatives, friends and neighbours who are unable to access the changes online.
Local residents should also continue to submit their comments about the service changes. You can submit any comments, complaints and questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or Customer Relations National Express West Midlands, 51 Bordesley Green, Birmingham, B9 4BZ. Likewise you can contact their Customer Care team on 0121 254 7272. I will similarly be in regular contact with National Express to share the concerns and comments of constituents.
I know how important these bus routes are to local residents and, along with local Labour Councillors, I will be stressing to National Express the importance of reviewing the changes to see where things are not working as well as they should be.