Monthly Archives: July 2011

MP SLAMS GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO WITHDRAW THE COACH CONCESSIONARY TRAVEL SCHEME

Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – has criticised the Tory-led Government’s decision to withdraw the Coach Concessionary Travel Scheme, which could potentially cause a reduction in coach services in Coventry.

The Coach Concessionary Travel Scheme – which is different from the free bus pass scheme, but nonetheless very popular – provides half price coach travel for disabled people and those over 60 in England and Wales.

According to analysis undertaken by National Express, 52,700 passenger journeys which begin or end in Coventry are made using the half price concessionary fare.  52,700 is equivalent to 14% of all journeys which begin or end in Coventry.

Andrew Cleaves of National Express said:

“The scheme’s withdrawal could not only affect the ability of those currently eligible to travel, but also have a knock-on effect on the viability of some existing services which currently serve Coventry.  A reduction in existing service levels would, of course, affect many more passengers than those who directly benefit from the concessionary scheme”.

Bob said:

At a time when transport costs are rising, thanks to the government’s decision to allow eye-watering hikes in rail fares and increase VAT on fuel, the coach is a lifeline for many people and often the best value and most viable form of public transport available to them. The loss of a coach service can mean the loss of the opportunity to stay on in education or access employment, and can leave the elderly and vulnerable isolated. 

“The Government has clearly not considered the full impact of the withdrawal of the Coach Concessionary Travel Scheme and they urgently need to work with industry to mitigate the impact of their decision on the most vulnerable people in society”.

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STATE PENSION AGE TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR 3,000 WOMEN IN COVENTRY

Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – has called on the Government to act fast to protect 500,000 women hit by plans to accelerate the state pension age increase – before it is too late.

MPs have been inundated with messages from women affected by the plans. But despite thousands of people signing a petition, a mass lobby of Parliament, thousands of emails, and a series of questions to the Prime Minister, the Government have not delivered on their promise to produce plans for ‘transitional arrangements’ to ease the burden for those most affected. 

The Government’s plans to accelerate the state pension age increases mean that 500,000 women will have to wait for more than a year longer before receiving the state pension, leaving many women aged 56 and 57 robbed of their pensions.

300,000 women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 October 1954, will have to wait an extra 18 months, and an unlucky 33,000 will have to wait an extra 2 years, before being entitled to their state pension.

The majority of these women will already be well underway in their plans for retirement, with many already working reduced hours in order to care for grandchildren or elderly parents.  Yet they are now being forced to make significant changes to their financial plans, with just 5 years notice before the changes kick in.

The unlucky 33,000 born between 6 March 1954 and 5 April 1954 are set to lose around £10,000 in lost state pension, with less than 7 years to attempt to accommodate the change.

During the debate in the House of Commons on the Bill the Government repeatedly said they would look at ‘transitional arrangements’ but have failed to deliver.

Bob said:

“I’m calling on the Government to change their plans now to protect the 3,000 women in Coventry who are being made to wait up to two years longer for their state pension.  Many of these are women who have juggled working lives with raising a family, and who have very little retirement saving to fall back on.  The lack of warning of these changes means they do not have enough time to adjust carefully thought-out retirement plans.”

Labour’s Shadow Pensions Minister, Rachel Reeves MP said:

“Time is running out for 500,000 women: the Government must act now. The women hit by these changes are the back-bone of our families.  They are the mums who took time off work to bring up children, the daughters who are helping their parents as they get older, and the grans who are providing childcare for their daughters’ children to help them balance work and family life.  Those women most affected deserve certainty and fairness as they approach retirement.”

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Bob writes foreword for National Strategy paper

Bob has written the foreword for Bernard Jenkin MP piece for the Henry Jackson Society entitled “The Tipping Point: British National Strategy and the UK’s Future World Role”

25 July 2011

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Bob Ainsworth joins The Children’s Society in calling for greater support for young runaways

Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults – has backed calls for greater support for the country’s young runaways.

Bob pledged his support for this vital cause following the launch of The Children’s Society’s new report, Make Runaways Safe, which reveals that children as young as eight are running away from home or care. In most cases they are not being reported to the authorities by their parents and carers when they go missing.

The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to provide greater support for the 100,000 children who run away from home each year.

The report found that many young runaways fall into grave danger and are at risk of harm, physical abuse or sexual exploitation. 

The leading children’s charity is working more with “pre-teen” runaways – the average age had previously been 13 and 14, yet it is supporting increasing numbers of 11 and 12 year olds. It is also working with a rising numbers of boys.

The Children’s Society is calling for a national safety net to be put in place for every child who runs away.

This would include the government drawing up a national runaways’ action plan to significantly boost help and support for everyone involved, the charity argues.

 Bob said:

 “The situation faced by children who run away in this country is simply unacceptable. They must be given a greater level of support and this must be a priority for government.”

 The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive Bob Reitemeier said:

 “Every child who runs away should run to safety. Society is failing young runaways, condemning tens of thousands of children to misery and danger by failing to provide an adequate safety net to break their fall.”

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ADVICE SURGERY DETAILS

Bob Ainsworth, Member of Parliament for Coventry North East, will be holding an advice surgery for his constituents on Saturday 16th July 2011 at St Paul’s Chambers, 459 Foleshill Road, Coventry, (Opposite St Paul’s Church) between 11:30am and 12:30pm.

Local Councillor Tariq Khan will also be at the advice surgery to assist on any Council matters.

Strictly by appointment only to avoid any unnecessary queuing.   Please call Bob’s Constituency Office on 02476 226707 or his London Office on 0207 219 4047 to book an appointment.

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