January 2010

Here you can find information on some of the key parliamentary motions that I signed in January 2010.

EDM 745 – Value Added Tax on Memorials
EDM 727 – Legality of Hunt Monitoring
EDM 726 – Crystal Palace FC
EDM 718 – European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
EDM 714 – Adult Autism Strategy
EDM 707 – Aiming High for Disabled Children Programme
EDM 699 – 60th Annuversary of Indian Independence
EDM 696 – Ivory Trade (No. 2)
EDM 693 – Greater Manchester Fire Service search and rescue work in Haiti
EDM 689 – Licensing Act 2003
EDM 687 – I’m Backing The Pub Campaign
EDM 681 – Public expenditure and the deficit
EDM 679 – Takeover of Cadbury
EDM 675 – Compensation payments for service personnel killed in action
EDM 667 – Clearance of roads and pavements
EDM 663 – Older People, Housing and the National Housing Federation
EDM 662 – NHS charity money
EDM 656 – Bill McLaren
EDM 653 – Home Heat Helpline
EDM 643 – Mortgage Repossession (Protection of Tenants Etc) Bill
EDM 627 – 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain
EDM 616 – Stop and Search
EDM 609 – Haitian Earthquake
EDM 600 – Cyclists’ Safety and Heavy Goods Vehicles
EDM 590 – Beating Bowel Cancer’s Be Loud! Be Clear! Campaign
EDM 588 – UK Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty
EDM 574 – Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda
EDM 559 – Cold Weather and Winter Fuel Payments
EDM 558 – Holocaust Memorial Day 2010
EDM 556 – Student Finance England
EDM 533 – National Lung Cancer Audit
EDM 531 – Speculative Banking
EDM 529 – Al-Muhajiroun Demonstration
EDM 520 – Noise from modified car exhaust systems
EDM 518 – Independence of NHS Charities
EDM 513 – England’s 2018 World Cup Bid
EDM 506 – Talking Buses Campaign
EDM 502 – Law and Human Rights
EDM 498 – 400th Anniversary of Bermuda’s links to Britain
EDM 496 – Below-Cost Selling
EDM 489 – Voting Age of 16

EDM 745 – VALUE ADDED TAX ON MEMORIALS

I placed this parliamentary motion to condemn the use of Value Added Tax on the erection and maintenance of memorials to the deceased. The use of VAT in this regard is simply unnecessary, and is an insensitive measure that disregards relatives of those who have passed, simply wanting to honour the memories of their loved ones. It calls on the Government to ensure that a tax refund scheme that currently applies to memorials erected by charities and faith groups is extended to all memorials, and calls on them to raise at the European level the possibility of abolishing these taxes all together.

EDM 727 – LEGALITY OF HUNT MONITORING

This EDM notes with dismay attempts by the Countryside Alliance to get round laws that ban illegal hunting, by claming that evidence collected by hunt monitors working for organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports is illegal. It welcomes the Crown Prosecution Services guidance that all such evidence is legal, and supports the work of hunt monitors. It is important that the Hunting Act of 2004 is properly enforced, and this is a cause which I fully support.

EDM 726 – CRYSTAL PALACE FC

In this motion members of the House wish Crystal Palace FC the best of good fortune in its efforts to re-emerge from administration. Its disappointing how many football teams are currently faced with financial difficulties, and I hope Crystal Palace are able to come through this period as unscathed as possible.

EDM 718 – EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN TO END THE SIEGE ON GAZA

Members of the house who have signed this notion support work of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, who recently arranged for a delegation of parliamentarians from 13 European countries to visit Gaza on the 15 and 16 January 2010. It is an important to show solidarity with the Gazan people who are suffering from constant shortages of food, medicine and electricity, and calls for the lifting of this siege and reopening of all borders. It further calls on the Government to support the findings of the Goldstone Report, and ensure the perpetrators of war crimes relating to this are held to account.

EDM 714 – ADULT AUTISM STRATEGY

That motion notes the imminent publication of the Adult Autism Strategy and its importance for improving the lives of people with autism who routinely struggle to access the specialist services they need. It commends the Government for agreeing to implement in full the recommendations made by the National Audit Office and by the Public Accounts Committee. It now calls on the Government to fulfil its commitment and to ensure the delivery of an effective strategy and robust guidance that will result in significant change for people on the ground.

EDM 707 – AIMING HIGH FOR DISABLED CHILDREN PROGRAMME

This EDM congratulates the Government on its previous commitment to provide £430 million over three years for improving the services that disabled children and their families receive through the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme until 2011. However it notes members concern that disabled children and their families remain a very vulnerable group, susceptible to high rates of family breakdown and exclusion from school. Therefore it calls on the Government to make a longer commitment to this cause beyond 2011, securing sustained investment in the services and resources that AHDC has provided.

EDM 699 – 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE

This motion celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Republic Day of India Day, and acknowledges the success of the Indian government and India internationally. It also supports the important contribution made by the Indian community in Britain to our society and economy. I regularly visit the Ghandi Hall in Withington where members south Manchester’s Indian community often meet for various events, and recognise the important contribution that they make locally.

EDM 696 – IVORY TRADE (NO. 2)

This motion opposes the demands made by Tanzania and Zambia to temporarily lift the worldwide ban on ivory trading for a one-off sale. The illegal ivory trade has already had a devastating impact on elephant populations in central and west Africa, pushing them close to extinction, and the resumption of any trading increases the possibility of illegally-poached ivory being laundered through the legal trade, thus increasing the risk to elephants. It calls for the Government in this respect to take a clear stance in opposing any moves to weaken the ban.

EDM 693 – GREATER MANCHESTER FIRE SERVICE SEARCH AND RESCUE WORK IN HAITI

This is an EDM which I tabled myself, congratulating firefighters from the Greater Manchester Fire Service on their search and rescue efforts in Haiti as members of the United Kingdom Search and Rescue team. The Greater Manchester team is led by Pete Stevenson with Simon Cording, Andy Roughley, Martin Fisher, Martin Foran, Vic Kopicki, Dean Nankivell, John Hughes, Mick Dewar and search dog Echo. It praises the lifesaving rescue work carried out by the Greater Manchester team, including the rescue of Mia, a two year-old girl from under piles of rubble in Port-au-Prince, and extends its deepest sympathies to the people of Haiti on the enormous loss they have suffered.

EDM 689 – LICENSING ACT 2003

Members of the House in this motion support the cultural value of live performances in enriching and entertaining communities, and welcomes the Governments move to hold a consultation regarding an exemption for venues with audiences of 100. However, it believes that an exemption for crowds of 200 would be more effective in tackling the negative impact of the act on small venues hosting live performances.

EDM 687 – I’M BACKING THE PUB CAMPAIGN

This motion welcomes the I’m Backing the Pub Campaign which is supported by a range of organisations from the Campaign for Real Ale to the Confederation of British Industry. Pubs lie at the heart of many communities, employ more than half a million people countrywide and play an important role in terms of national income. It calls for the Government, industry and local authorities to work together to reverse the decline of these institutions, with more than 50 pubs closing each week in Britain.

EDM 681 – PUBLIC EXPENDITURE AND THE DEFICIT

This EDM notes that in a recent interview with the Financial Times, the Chancellor announced a planned policy cut of around 17% in public expenditure and the early withdrawal of the 50 pence tax rate and an end to tax on bonuses. It therefore judges that ordinary citizens will be the ones who bear the brunt of the economic crisis, which was not of their making, and many of those responsible for the crisis will walk away unscathed and able to return to casino style economic practices.

EDM 679 – TAKEOVER OF CADBURY

This motion notes with concern the decision taken by the board of Cadbury to recommend the bid for the company by Kraft, and that given the latter have serious debt issues fears that the takeover may result in plant closures and job losses. It urges the Government to examine takeover legislation, with an aim of providing some security against predatory takeovers.

EDM 675 – COMPENSATION PAYMENTS FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL KILLED IN ACTION

This addresses concerns that payments made by the Ministry of Defence to families regarding relatives who have been killed in action are counted as income by the Department of Work and Pensions, and therefore included in calculations such as income support and other income related benefits. This can result with families suffering from financial difficulties as a result of this and negate the impact of receiving compensation. Members who have signed this motion believe that the these payments should not be regarded as income for surviving relatives.

EDM 667 – CLEARENCE OF ROADS AND PAVEMENTS

This EDM commends the work of individuals, public bodies and businesses who ensured that the paths and roads were clear of snow and ice in the recent period of extreme weather conditions. However, it states concern that such work may render individuals responsible for damages, should anyone be injured after a space has been cleared or partially cleared. It therefore calls on the Government to bring forward legislation that would clarify the situation, so that those who carry out this important community service at times of bad weather are not threatened with legal action as a unjust reward for this.

EDM 663 – OLDER PEOPLE, HOUSING AND THE NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION

Members of the house in this EDM acknowledge the important role that quality housing can play in allowing older people to live independent and well. It agrees with the National Housing Federation that older peoples housing care and support must be fully recognised in local housing strategies, ensuring long-term certainty over the provision of older people’s support.

EDM 662 – NHS CHARITY MONEY

In this motion members note their concern that changes planned by the Treasury will result in donations to NHS charities effectively being nationalised, by removing their separate status. This move has no real benefits for the NHS, and may have the unintended consequence of discouraging donations to hospitals, if contributors think that their money will simply be spent on day-to-day running costs. This motion specifically supports The People newspapers campaign to exempt NHS charitable donations, such as those made to the Christie hospital in Manchester Withington, from these new regulations.

EDM 656 – BILL MCLAREN

Members of the House in this motion note their sadness at Bill McLaren, the voice of rugby, recently passing away. It notes that he was an iconic figure in world rugby, and in many ways the Richie Benaud for his sport for nearly 50 years, and notes that he is already much missed.

EDM 653 – HOME HEAT HELPLINE

This motion welcomes the important work carried out by the Home Heat Helpline, in advising people who are worried about the cost of heating their homes. Given the recent period of cold weather, and the rising costs of energy bills, their work is extremely important.

EDM 643 – MORTGAGE REPOSSESSION (PROTECTION OF TENANTS ETC) BILL

This EDM notes with concern that some tenants in private rented accommodation can be evicted with little or no notice when their landlords are repossessed, and backs provisions made in this bill to given tenants up to two months to find alternative accommodation and avoid homelessness. It urges all members to support this bill through all its stages.

EDM 627 – 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Members of the House note that 2010 marks 70 years since one of the most iconic episodes in British military history, and the one of the most important for the Royal Air Force, the Battle of Britain. They wish to honour all the brave aircrews who battled and gave their lives for a British victory, and recognises the debt of gratitude that is owed to them.

EDM 616 – STOP AND SEARCH

This motion welcomes the ruling by the European Court of Human Right’s that stop and search without suspicion, exercised under section 44 of the Terrorism Act, is illegal under the European Convention of Human Rights. Stop and search powers are used in a far too often in a random way, and believes that such powers should be used with more discretion while the Government appeals this ruling.

EDM 609 – HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE

This EDM notes with shock the tragic earthquake that occurred on the 12 January 2010 in Haiti, and the horrific death toll which has already passed 100,000 people in Port-au-Prince alone, and could reach as high as half a million. It fully supports the efforts made by the Government, people of the UK and other countries to support Haiti, and calls for an increase and acceleration of aid supplies to the state.

EDM 600 – CYCLISTS’ SAFETY AND HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES

Members of the House in this motion draw attention to the problem of cyclists being killed in accidents with heavy goods vehicles, with 7 out of 12 cyclists deaths in London last year being a result of these incidents. To ensure the safety of cyclists and to help support this environmentally friendly form of transport, this motion calls for more action to mitigate the dangers caused by lorries – such as cycle awareness training for drivers and side-sensors on vehicles.

EDM 590 – BEATING BOWEL CANCER’S BE LOUD! BE CLEAR! CAMPAIGN

This motion welcomes progress made by the NHS in regards to bowel cancer screening, as such moves help to combat a illness that takes 37,500 lives each year. Here members of the House congratulate the Beating Bowel Cancer charities ongoing work with cancer patients, and calls on the NHS to help increase levels of uptake in the screening programme and calls on the Government to extend the age range from 60 to 79 year olds to include 50 to 59 year olds as well.

EDM 588 – UK NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY

This EDM notes that under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the UK is committed to closing down its nuclear capability, with the end aim of complete disarmament. Members who have signed this motion call on the Government to therefore ensure that the UK’s nuclear arsenal is entered into nuclear disarmament negotiations as soon as possible.

EDM 575 – ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL IN UGANDA

In this motion members of the House of Commons call on the Government and the European Union to press the Ugandan Government into not proceeding with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which violates the provisions set out Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a horrendous law that would lead to severe discrimination against homosexual persons in Uganda, with the death penalty a possibility for those who repeat homosexual acts.

EDM 559 – COLD WEATHER AND WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS

This motion calls on the Government to increase cold weather and winter fuel payments for pensioners and vulnerable households, and notes warnings from charities such as Age Concern that not enough is being done to prevent a soaring death rate among older people. Given the significant rise of energy bills in recent years, it is important that these payments can keep pace with these, especially with the added impact of the recession.

EDM 558 – HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2010

This EDM notes that on the 27th January 2010, people in the UK and will mark Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It celebrates the work of members of the Holocaust Educational Trust, where survivors recount their stories of bravery and persecution, and help to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for future generations.

EDM 556 – STUDENT FINANCE ENGLAND

Members of the House of Commons in this motion condemn Student Finance England for its failure to handle with applications from students in an effective manner, causing unnecessary hardship for many individuals and families due to late loan payments. It calls on the Government to step in and penalise those responsible for this mismanagement.

EDM 533 – NATIONAL LUNG CANCER AUDIT

This motion is in response to the publication of the National Lung Cancer Audit in 2009, which identified variations in the treatment of lung cancer and availability of specialist lung cancer nurses across the country. It calls on the Government to work with the UK Lung Cancer Coalition and its members to help deliver the aim of doubling lung cancer survival in the UK, by improving services such as prevention and awareness and diagnosis and treatment.

EDM 531 – SPECULATIVE BANKING

This EDM recognises that large amount of damage that the international banking crisis has inflicted on all areas of life, from job losses to negatively effecting some of the world’s poorest people. Given a substantial part of this crisis was a result of speculative, casino-style banking investment, it recognises the need to separate this from traditional retail banking, to avoid the future necessity of taxpayers having to rescue a combined bank. So it calls on the Government to bring forward banking legislation that separates speculative from retail banks, and encourage a similar approach at the international level.

EDM 529 – AL-MUHAJIROUN DEMONSTRATION

This motion calls on the Home Secretary, Wootton Bassett Town Council and Wiltshire Police to step in and invene to stop the planned march through the town by the group Islam4UK. The group is planning to march through the town bearing empty coffins in protest at the war in Afghanistan. In my view any such march would be grossly offensive and disrespectful to men and women who have died in the conflict and the Home Secretary should act immediately to prevent it.

EDM 520 – NOISE FROM MODIFIED CAR EXHAUST SYSTEMS

In this EDM members of the House note their concern with the current level of noise that is emitted from modified car exhaust systems and the anti-social impact this has on peoples lives. Therefore it calls on the Government to tighten regulations in this area, to ensure that exhaust systems remain in good working order and do not make excessive noise. It also asks that the Government considers banning the sale of exhaust attachments that create a noise nuisance.

EDM 518 – INDEPENDENCE OF NHS CHARITIES

This motion is concerned with changes that will come into effect in 2010 relating to NHS charities, that could lead to the consolidation of their funds into the public accounts of parent NHS bodies. Such a move could undermine the amount of donations to institutions such as the Christie hospital in Manchester, as it opens the way for charitable donations to simply be used to fund the day-to-day running of such facilities. This motion then calls on the Treasury and Office of the Third Sector to act to ensure that the independence of NHS charities is maintained.

EDM 513 – ENGLAND’S 2018 WORLD CUP BID

In this EDM members of the House of Commons welcome the announcement of the host cities for England’s bid for the world cup in 2018. It congratulates all those applicants that were successful and hopes that we can now move forward and make a successful bid for the tournament. It is especially pleasing that both Manchester’s major stadiums, the City of Manchester Stadium and Old Trafford, are a key part of this bid.

EDM 506 – TALKING BUSES CAMPAIGN

This EDM supports the Talking Buses campaign, calling for the Government to amend the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations, so that bus companies are required to equip their services with audio and visual information to improve services for disabled people. I have recently been in contact with Manchester bus providers about introducing such measures, to help ensure that public transport can be accessible to all members of the community. But as they seem reluctant to take such steps voluntarily, I am supporting calls for Government action in this area.

EDM 502 – LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS

This parliamentary motion argues that universal jurisdiction for human rights abuses is essential to bring to justice those who commit crimes against humanity, and opposes any legislation that would restrict this power in UK courts.

EDM 498 – 400th ANNIVERSARY OF BERMUDA’S LINKS TO BRITAIN

This early day motion commemorates the 400th anniversary of links between Britain and Bermuda, celebrating the lasting economic and cultural ties between the peoples of Bermuda and the UK. A particularly notable Bermudian citizen is former Manchester City legend Shaun Goater, who was the team’s top scorer to four consecutive seasons.

EDM 496 – BELOW-COST SELLING

In this motion members of the House of Commons recognise the negative impact that below-cost selling has on the food industry. When retailers sell below-cost this can lead to them shifting costs to their suppliers which can result in worsening employment conditions. It calls on the Government to introduce greater regulation to deal with big retailers in this regard and protect the food industry and small manufacturers and producers.

EDM 489 – VOTING AGE OF 16

This EDM welcomes the Prime Minister confirming that he would support lowering the voting age to 16 years. In the eyes of the law young people aged 16 can get jobs, pay taxes and become parents, and it seems sensible that they should also get the opportunity to vote on laws that affect them. In addition to this, recent polls that suggest a majority of 16 and 17 year-olds want the voting age lowered, adding to arguments for reform.

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