In a few months’ time people living in the Wirral will have the opportunity to elect a new Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region.
The elections will be taking place on the 4 May 2017 and Labour’s candidate is Steve Rotheram who is currently the MP for Liverpool Walton. The post of Metro Mayor is a new post and it will give those elected for the post new devolved powers.
Wirral is within the Liverpool City Region so whoever is elected will represent the Wirral along with other local authority areas including Liverpool.
The Bus Services Bill which is currently going through Parliament would give the new Mayor powers over the bus systems which operate in the region that they represent. This means they would be able to regulate more.
When the Bus Services Bill becomes law this will mean that the Liverpool City Region would be able to franchise their own bus services.
In terms of where the Bill is currently up to it has had its second reading on the 1 March. The Bill passed without a division. It will now move on to Committee Stage in the House of Commons.
Steve has made clear how important connectivity and transport is for our local economy during his campaign and has pledged that he will re-regulate the buses if he is elected.
The issue of the deregulation of buses has been around for a long time. In the 1980s the bus industry was de-regulated by the Conservative government except in London.
I am a huge supporter of the devolution of powers. To make, for example, buses really work well for everyone in a particular area needs an understanding of the area. Steve definitely has this understanding of the needs of our area.
If an elected Mayor is given the powers to regulate as part of a devolution process then I welcome this approach.
In a few months’ time people living in the Wirral will have the opportunity to elect a new Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region. The elections will be taking...
As regular readers of my column will know I am a proud supporter of the WASPI campaign for pension equality.
The campaigners have done a brilliant job in making WASPI a household name. The term is an abbreviation for Women Against State Pension Inequality.
Whilst they have made the campaign fun with excellent slogans and a vibrant approach the campaign is actually a very serious one. Women born in the 1950s have had their planned retirement snatched away from them.
Women who have been working hard for many years thought that they would retire at 60 but because of pension age changes based on life expectancy this was increased to be equal to the same state pension age of a man to 65 and it will continue increase in line with the male state pension age. The date you can claim your state pension will depend on the date of your birth.
The objective of the group isn’t actually against the state pension age for women being brought into line with and increasing at the same rate as the state pension age for men. The campaigners are calling on the government to make fair transitional arrangements because of the poor notification they received about the changes. They effectively planned for a retirement which would become robbed from them. This has resulted in financial hardship and a great deal of stress for the woman in this age group and their families.
I continue to have women contact my office with their own personal stories of the hardship this has inflicted on them. The government need to offer these woman the justice they deserve and have been fighting so hard for.
With the Chancellor delivering the budget on the 8 March the group are taking the fight to Parliament on budget day to make another loud and clear statement to the government to give them this justice and to consider them in the budget. I will continue to support the campaign and I won’t stop pressing the government until they do the correct thing.
As regular readers of my column will know I am a proud supporter of the WASPI campaign for pension equality. The campaigners have done a brilliant job in making WASPI...
Alison McGovern MP responds to this morning's news regarding the Vauxhall takeover deal
"I have visited the Ellesmere Port site many times. It is an incredible and very productive site with a dedicated and highly skilled workforce, who will be working on the current model until 2021. That is not changed by today's news. What is important now is the long-term future of the site in terms of employment, pensions and investment.
Vauxhall is a crucial employer in Wirral which employs many of my constituents. There will be understandable concern following this latest news. I do share this concern but I am focusing on the discussions which have already started with the Business Secretary Greg Clarke about the Ellesmere Port plant, alongside Unite the union, and these will obviously continue. I am will be working with local politicians including the MP for Ellesmere Port Justin Madders and others to protect the future of this site, whoever the owning group.
The Government must demonstrate that whatever the Brexit deal, the automotive sector has a strong future. I will be holding them to account for the commitment they have made to my constituents.”
Alison McGovern MP responds to this morning's news regarding the Vauxhall takeover deal "I have visited the Ellesmere Port site many times. It is an incredible and very productive site...
Bebington made the national news this week when it was named as the most desirable postcode in England to live in by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and the Royal Mail.
It is not the first time Bebington has been crowned as the best postcode in England to live.
Commenting on the news the MP for the area Alison McGovern said:
"It has been revealed this week that Bebington, in my constituency, is the top most desirable place to live in England. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone from the area, as there is plenty of open space such as beautiful parks and woodland areas, fantastic schools, and is in between two great cities, Liverpool and Chester. I am very proud to represent such a wonderful area."
Bebington made the national news this week when it was named as the most desirable postcode in England to live in by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and...
I led a debate in the Commons regarding unaccompanied child refugees.
The debate followed the announcement that the government have decided to close the Dubs scheme which would have allowed more lone children to enter the UK to seek refuge.
As the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Syria, I pressed the government during the debate about their decision and I urged them to take in a greater number of children who are fleeing persecution and danger from their home countries. This matters to my constituents who have got in touch and told me that they are unhappy with the government’s actions on this especially as they had earlier indicated their support for the Dubs amendments.
Article 50 votes
This month parliament voted on the Bill giving Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU. Last night parliament voted on the Bill giving Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU.
The final vote came after three days of debate on amendments that Labour had tabled to try to make sure Britain does not head for a calamitous Tory hard Brexit.
I accept the result of the referendum and I voted to give this Bill a second reading last week so that I could work with other MPs to try to add these amendments.
But the final Bill promises only a destructive Tory hard Brexit and denies parliament and real say over the final deal.
I couldn’t vote for something that I believe is so clearly against the values I hold and the interests of the people I represent so I voted against triggering Article 50 last night.
Article 50 will now be triggered in March and I will continue to do what I can to oppose this destructive hard Brexit as the negotiations continue.
Donald Trump’s travel ban
I delivered a speech in Parliament about the ban implemented by Donald Trump to ban citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The ban shocked the world and I attach my response to the appalling action taken by the US president. Constituents have contacted me to express their anger at this ban.
Opening of Bebington Police Station
I was delighted and honoured to unveil a plaque to officially open the newly refurbished police station in Bebington. I was joined by Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke and representatives from the local authority along with other invited guests. The station looks great and it is going to benefit the community by providing residents with the level of service that they deserve. The event attracted a lot of local press coverage and I was delighted for everyone involved that the opening event was such a success.
Visits to local schools
It was such a pleasure to visit Town Lane School this month. I went there to talk to the Year 2’s about their work around the UN convention on the Rights of a Child. We talked about politics and they were very engaged and for their age very knowledgeable. After our talk we played a game where I ask the pupils to mimic House of Commons debates. I think it’s really important that as well as the core subjects that they are taught in school that they also learn about their rights, society and politics. It is important that children know that they have a voice too. I also paid a visit to Bebington High School to visit their onsite farm. Bebington High School have received media attention since creating their own farm in which students rear the animals for local product sourcing. The farm is part of the student’s Land Based Science learning. The farm project teaches students about farm to the fork message and they are supplying local restaurants. Teaching school children skills in addition to core subjects I believe is a good idea. It provides them with more skills and can give students consideration to a possible career in the farm industry.
Car Parking Charges
Having previously stated my opposition to the car parking charges proposals put forward by the council I want to respond to the newly revised proposals which withdraws parking charges at New Brighton and in town centres. This is a relief I am sure for businesses which is one of the main things I had concerns over. However the revised charges do still include a charge to park at Wirral’s country parks including at Eastham County Park. This is at a reduced rate to what was proposed originally. Instead of being a flat rate charge of four pounds the new proposals are now to introduce fifty pence for one hour; one pound for two hours and two pounds to park all day. In my response to the initial proposals I did express concern about residents being charged to park at Wirral country parks. I will also be calling for the council to review the charges after six months to find out if the planned savings are being achieved and I will be monitoring the situation as it progresses.
Unilever and Vauxhall Motors
There has been cause for concern this month about the Vauxhall Motors plant at Ellesmere Port and also about Unilever. Although Vauxhall Motors is not in the Wirral South constituency it employs constituents and I have visited on many occasions. The concern came after the news that Peugeot could take over Vauxhall. At around the same time as the Vauxhall takeover news was announced, Unilever also made the news when it was revealed that Kraft Heinz had made an offer. It has emerged since that the offer has been withdrawn by Kraft Heinz. Unilever like Vauxhall is vital to the local area and people’s jobs rely on them remaining in the Wirral. Unilever is in my constituency and also employs my constituents. I am obviously monitoring both of these situations and have liaised with ministers. Justin Madders MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston recently asked an Urgent Question in the House of Commons regarding Vauxhall to business secretary Greg Clarke to seek assurances over the site.
Planning issues for the local area
I am pleased to report that a planning application has been submitted to the local authority for what was the site of the Archers Pub in Bromborough. I have been working alongside local councillors for the area to devise a plan for the site because of the visual and anti-social behaviour problems it was creating for the community. The planning application that has been submitted is for 36 affordable apartments with associated parking. Whilst I am happy that there is a vision for this site, I would still like to hear the views of local people regarding this application.
On a separate planning issue, I have received contact from constituents about the plans for a retirement village in Thornton Hough. The development is being put forward by Leverhulme Estates and the land involved with the planned development is designated as Green Belt. I will be meeting with Leverhulme Estates in the near future to discuss these concerns. I have also attended the consultation which was held to share the plans with residents. In addition to this I will be meeting with the Thornton Hough Village Trust to hear about their concerns.
Labour’s Keep Wirral Green campaign
The Labour Party has started a petition which calls on the government to listen to Wirral residents about protecting our green spaces and how vital they are to our peninsula. The government need to think again about their Housing White Paper and consider the damage its targets would do to Wirral. Labour’s Keep Wirral Green campaign aims to make people aware of what the government propose. The government have asked Wirral to build 900 new homes per year. We need more houses but the government’s targets for Wirral threaten our beautiful green space. The government needs to help Wirral by regenerating our brown field sites. I’ve called on the government to help Wirral’s town centres such as New Ferry by investing in them. This should be what the government are focussing on for our area and they should be listening to the people of Wirral.
Child refugees I led a debate in the Commons regarding unaccompanied child refugees. The debate followed the announcement that the government have decided to close the Dubs scheme which would...
Alison is the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Syria.
Following the government announcing that it will end the Dubs Scheme which called for more unaccompanied refugees to enter the UK Alison led a debate on this. She urged the government to re-open the scheme which was put forward by Labour Peer Lord Alfred Dubbs. Alison has received contact from her constituents asking her to put pressure on the government to think again about the closure of this scheme. The government has previously showed support for the Dubs scheme so their recent announcement has come as a big disappointment to those who support Lord Dub's amendment.
Alison holds a debate urging the government to think again on ending the Dubs scheme and instead to commit to helping more unaccompanied refugees
Alison is the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Syria. Following the government announcing that it will end the Dubs Scheme which called for more unaccompanied refugees to enter...
I recently visited Town Lane Primary School in Bebington to meet the children there, and hear about their views.
It was a pleasure to talk about my work in Wirral and the workings of Westminster with the children. My visit was in relation to the work the children have been doing on learning about the UN convention of Children’s rights.
Whilst obviously subjects such as English, Maths and Science are very important for a child’s education and development, these days children learn a lot about how our local area and how our country is run. They learn about how they can make their opinions known and make a difference.
Some children I spoke to are members of the school council which provides a voice for them all. It allows the school council representatives to raise issues on behalf of the children at the school.
Children will be affected by decisions taken today and it is only right that at every opportunity that they should learn about how democracy works and be given a voice so as they get older they are a part of the political process.
I played an interactive game with the children in which they become the government and the opposition. Once they had their roles they would debate an issue and then vote on it.
I really enjoyed visiting and if other primary schools in my constituency would like me to come and talk about politics with pupils and play the House of Commons game then I would be happy to do so.
Just contact my office to arrange a visit.
I recently visited Town Lane Primary School in Bebington to meet the children there, and hear about their views. It was a pleasure to talk about my work in Wirral...
Alison McGovern MP encourages organisations in Wirral South to apply for a grant to commemorate the First World War
The Heritage Lottery Fund is making £2million of grants available for communities to mark the First World War but Wirral South is yet to receive money to form a project which would explore, conserve and share local heritage of what is otherwise known as the Great War.
Alison McGovern MP for the area is now urging organisations in her constituency to apply for a grant. The grants available range between £3,000 and £10,000.
Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund there are now 1.620 First World War projects taking place across the UK.
Speaking of the importance of marking the First World War centenary Alison McGovern said “All of us have ancestors who would have lived through the First World War which affected people all over the world and it is so important for our future generations to discover and learn more about the historic event which has shaped the world we live in today. It is a huge part of everybody’s history. Wilfred Owen, who lived in Birkenhead, was a leading poet during the First World War so Wirral has many interesting connections. I wouldn’t like to see Wirral South miss out and I would encourage people to apply.”
So far 83% of constituencies have been reached but the Heritage Lottery fund is striving to reach out to all UK constituencies.
If you have an idea for a project you can find out more applying for funding at www.hlf.org.uk
Alison McGovern MP encourages organisations in Wirral South to apply for a grant to commemorate the First World War The Heritage Lottery Fund is making £2million of grants available for...
Newly refurbished Bebington Police Station re-opens
Bebington Police Station has been officially opened by the MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern.
The station, based at Civic Way, has been shut to the public since early November 2013 whist it underwent a major upgrade.
Speaking about opening the new facility Alison said: “I was so impressed when I had a tour of the building and it was an honour to unveil the plaque to celebrate the opening of our new police station.”
Alison added: “It looks fantastic and I know everyone involved is very excited now it is officially open. A lot of hard work has gone in to it and it can now serve the local community with the level of service the residents deserve. The opening itself was a great event and I want to thank those who have been involved throughout the process. It will make a great difference.”
Alison was joined on the day by Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke along with a host of other guests including representatives from the local authority.
Newly refurbished Bebington Police Station re-opens Bebington Police Station has been officially opened by the MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern. The station, based at Civic Way, has been shut...
Alison's contribution to the debate "Changes in US Immigration Policy"
Monday 30th January
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Colchester (Will Quince), who made an excellent contribution. I, too, want to praise my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) and the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi). Both of them do their families very proud. I know that the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon spoke on behalf of all those in our country who have ever travelled abroad and felt that sinking feeling as they approached the immigration desk. It is not something we speak a lot about, but I know, sadly, that it is a common phenomenon. There will be people the hon. Gentleman will never meet, but who will feel comforted by the words he has said this evening. I want to make three brief points on Muslims in this country; on the importance of Syria and Iraq in the middle east; and on populism.
My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) made a very moving intervention about Holocaust Memorial Day, and on the poignancy and horror of what we witnessed over the weekend. The hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw (Marion Fellows) said that her own contribution would matter very little, but I profoundly disagree. What I have observed over this weekend is an outpouring of distress and dismay from all quarters. Of course, British Muslims will feel this most keenly, but all of us in this country—whatever our background, whatever our faith, or of no faith—stand with them whether they are British Iraqis, British Syrians, British Somalians or British people who are descendants from the affected countries. I say this to our friends in America: we are Brits, all equal, and we will not be divided on the basis of our faith or wherever we have come from.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Rushanara Ali) also spoke very movingly earlier. If anyone is questioning, wondering or thinking about whether these events have an effect on Muslims in this country, I would encourage them to listen to the tone of this debate. It is incumbent on all of us, Muslim or not, to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity and in the best traditions of my party, and show them our support.
That is particularly true for those who have been working recently on issues connected with Syria. When I heard about these events over the weekend, my first thought was for the brave and brilliant people whom I have had the honour to come to know as part of our campaign to protect human life in Syria. Many of them are Syrian nationals and would have good cause to want to travel to the United States in order to make representations on behalf of that humanitarian cause for vulnerable people in Syria. Where does this order now leave them?
I would like to ask the Minister for Europe and the Americas—I do not feel that the Foreign Secretary gave a very substantial answer to my earlier point—what representations the Foreign Office has made to the Americans about the need for those representing humanitarian causes to be allowed access to America. That applies whether they are Syrian nationals, Iraqi nationals or even US nationals who will now no doubt face equal trouble accessing places in Iraq, Syria and other areas affected by this ban. We should ask ourselves this simple question: does this Executive order help or hinder peace and security efforts in that troubled region? I think that the answer to that question is glaringly obvious and staring us in the face: it is a total disaster for peace and security in that region.
I understand that a gentleman who played a particular role in the referendum campaign has recently gone on the radio to say that this is just the cause of “loony lefties”. To those commentators who say, “Donald Trump is a perfectly fairly elected President of the United States who is entitled to do this”, I say that this issue will affect the security of each and every one of us, including some of the most vulnerable people on our planet, and it cannot stand.
Finally, on populism, the past year has been very difficult. I always believe that we should look to the future and think about what our values tell us about how to approach the modern world as it is, not as it once was, but unfortunately I feel that what we are witnessing in our world is an old, old story—that in times of economic trouble, there are always forces in our world, who I think of as the far right and the hard right, who want to turn up and tell ordinary working people in America, Europe or wherever and say, “No, your troubles and your wages failing to rise are not the fault of the economic system or Governments or companies or anyone else; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be Polish; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be Muslim; they are the fault of people who are just like you, but happen to be from another part of the world.”
That tendency and the susceptibility of people to want to believe an easy story when the truth is much more complicated is always exploited by the purveyors of hate. Those of us who stand against that cannot give in to populism. We cannot kow-tow to prejudice; we cannot say, “Yes, you are probably right, so let us try to do what you want.” We have to be very clear with people that we are all, underneath it all, fundamentally the same. We need the same ability to work together, to learn together and to have hospitals for when we are sick; it does not matter where people come from, they need the same things in life. No amount of populist rhetoric designed to divide us and make us fight each other rather than work together will change that.
For the full debate please click on this link-
Alison's contribution to the debate "Changes in US Immigration Policy" Monday 30th January It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Colchester (Will Quince), who made an excellent... Read more