John Spellar

Labour MP for Warley

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Warley MP John Spellar is supporting urgent calls from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for greater protection for elephants which are being decimated for the ivory trade.

Elephant populations are at an all-time low with the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year. 

John Spellar attended IFAW’s Westminster launch of a new report on the illegal ivory trade across Europe, (Ivory seizures in Europe, 2006-2015), which found that the European Union is still a destination for illegal ivory, a major transit route between countries and a key exporter of antique ivory to South East Asian markets.

IFAW is calling for a UK ban on the ivory trade as well as a European-wide ban. It is also running an ivory surrender, with members of the public being invited to surrender their own ivory which will be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save the iconic elephant from the threat of extinction.

John Spellar said: “I am very pleased to support IFAW’s campaign to increase protection for elephants as a matter of urgency. I also encourage members of the public to stand up for elephants by rejecting ivory which should only be valued on a live elephant.

“IFAW’s research shows that the UK and Europe as a whole do play a role in the illegal ivory chain and reinforces the need for an ivory ban here in the UK and right across Europe to close these markets and help save elephants in the wild.”

New polling recently released by IFAW revealed that the vast majority of the UK public want to protect elephants with a UK trade ban and do not wish to purchase ivory themselves. An overwhelming 95% of respondents polled by YouGov stated that they would not be interested in purchasing antique ivory*.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We thank John Spellar for his valuable support for our campaign. The legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants. As a nation of animal lovers it is clear that most people in the UK have already rejected ivory as something they wish to own, recognising more and more that every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant.

“Similarly, we are heartened by the strong political will to increase protection for elephants. However, with time running out for these animals we need the Government to announce an ivory trade ban now. With the UK’s largest ivory seizure to date in 2015 at Heathrow Airport weighing an incredible 110 kilos, it is clear the UK plays a significant role in the illegal ivory trade, as well as the legal trade.”

Defra is expected to announce a consultation on a UK ivory ban in the very near future and IFAW will be asking Members of Parliament to respond to the consultation to establish the most effective ban possible. China and the US have both recently made strong moves to tackle their own domestic ivory markets.

Warley MP pledges his support for elephants

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Warley MP John Spellar has joined with representatives of the UK's beer drinkers, pub goers, brewers and publicans to urge the Chancellor to keep pubs afloat in the Autumn Budget.

Spellar was one of over 50 MPs to add their voice to the campaign, calling on the Chancellor to give serious consideration to introducing an annual £5,000 business rate relief for pubs in England as well as a freeze in beer duty for the rest of this Parliament.

John Spellar MP said: "Pubs and clubs are a force for good in Warley and across the UK. Pubs are at the heart of our communities and the local economy, but they are struggling under the weight of a growing tax burden, with each paying nearly £140,000 on average in tax every year.

"In Warley we have 42 pubs and the industry supports over 840 jobs. These establishments need all the help they can get, which is why I’m asking the Chancellor to do whatever he can to support them in the Autumn Budget.”

 

Reviews of business rates across England mean many pubs are being hit with a massive new financial burden, which in some cases could only be covered by them selling thousands of extra pints of beer every year. The Government introduced a welcome one-off £1,000 discount scheme for some pubs in the latest Budget, but more action is needed to keep pubs afloat.

Taxes now make up a third of the cost of a pint, and UK beer duty is among the highest in Europe. Recent research carried out by YouGov [1] for CAMRA found that 55% of people who expressed an opinion believe beer duty is too high at 54p per pint. 

Spellar said: “The £1,000 business rates relief introduced this year has been a valuable lifeline for many pubs but it’s clear this is not enough to secure the long-term future of our valued pubs. I urge the Chancellor to go further and show more support for this important industry”.  

John Spellar MP calls on Chancellor to Keep Pubs Afloat

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After years of Tory inaction and failure to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, Government proposals purporting to close tax loopholes in the upcoming Finance Bill do not go far enough - having gaping omissions and even creating more loopholes.

 

Despite Tory rhetoric about proposals to address non doms, as it stands the Government have actually gone out of their way to preserve the non-dom status of off-shore trusts and increase tax give-aways for non doms.

 

Meanwhile, the HMRC lacks the necessary resources and capacity – and yet there are potentially even more cuts on the horizon.

Labour is proposing a Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme to root out tax evasion and clamp down on tax havens. We will end the era of government turning a blind eye to the scandal of tax avoidance and work in partnership with leading tax experts to root it out.

 

Only a Labour Government will stand up for tax payers.

 

Only a Labour Government will by tough on tax dodgers, tough on the havens of tax dodgers!

 

John Spellar MP said:

“Tax avoidance costs us all. By allowing the super-wealthy tax dodgers to operate, the Tories ensure that billions of pounds, dollars and euros are lost to the public finances. As a result, in places like Sandwell schools are not refurbished and jobs are lost.

People in Sandwell and across the Black Country need a real commitment from Government to an overarching strategy that provides genuine legal teeth to tackle the millionaire tax dodgers and the advisers surrounding them.

Labour will be tough on tax dodgers, tough on the havens of tax dodgers.

Under a Labour Government there will be no loophole left open and no place left for tax dodgers to hide.”

John Spellar MP calls for action to tackle tax dodgers – tough on tax dodgers, tough on the havens of tax dodgers!


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