John Spellar MP

Member of Parliament for Warley

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The Black Country is set to benefit if Coventry wins the competition to be the UK’s next City of Culture, according to local MP, John Spellar.

The MP joined fellow West Midlands MPs in Parliament to show his support for Coventry this week, following the official launch of the competition by Culture Minister Matt Hancock in Hull.

Commenting on the competition, John Spellar MP said:

“I’m proud to be backing our fellow Midlands town Coventry as the UK’s next City of Culture – a city that has reinvented itself on many occasions over the centuries and now stands as a modern, diverse city.

“Coventry and our wider region have so much to offer in terms of culture and this title would be a win for the whole of the region.

“It would bring millions to the local economy and help to put the West Midlands well and truly on the map.”

The DCMS set out the process for bidding for UK City of Culture in 2021 earlier this month but Coventry has been preparing to bid for more than a year.

David Burbidge, the chair of the City of Culture Trust, said: “Coventry has moved people by car, by jet plane and bicycle over the years and continues to do so through culture. We have learned much about what the city has to offer during the past 12 months but also the many issues we believe City of Culture can help to tackle.

“Winning would bring so many benefits to the city and the West Midlands. Places like Glasgow, Manchester, Hull and Liverpool have shown how perceptions of the north can be changed. The time is right for the Midlands to stand up and deliver.

“We are inspired by Hull which has kicked off its year so dramatically and so positively, attracting 340,000 visitors to its first event.

“And for Coventry, which once stood as the capital of England, this is a great chance to take centre stage once again.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, Pertemps and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are all Bid Development Sponsors.

For more information please go to: www.coventry2021.co.uk

“Coventry City of Culture would be a boost for the Black Country” says John Spellar MP

The Black Country is set to benefit if Coventry wins the competition to be the UK’s next City of Culture, according to local MP, John Spellar. The MP joined fellow...

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John Spellar MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

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AGEING SAFELY IN WARLEY

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Sandwell MP John Spellar today said that proposed Government changes to Housing Benefits for people in supported housing were putting local pensioners at risk.

The Government’s proposals that Housing Benefit payments for people in supported housing be capped in line with Local Housing Allowance levels from 2019/20 received a warning from Bruce Moore, Chief Executive of local non-profit housing provider Housing & Care 21. He expressed concern that those in supported housing may be “unable to afford and continue to live in these much needed forms of housing.” He explained the H&C21 would be hit by a £182,920 annual shortfall for schemes in the Warley constituency.

He added: “The LHA cap proposals appear to bring older people prematurely into the remit of current welfare reforms linked to the introduction of Universal Credit even though they were previously excluded from other welfare reform provisions”.

Mr Spellar said: “Theresa May had an opportunity to ditch Iain Duncan Smith’s failed Universal Credit scheme. That she hasn’t shows she has the same careless attitude as him.

“Should this Government consultation go ahead it will have a damaging impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society – all her rhetoric about shared society is meaningless nonsense.”

“During 6 years of Tory rule the number of families accepted as homeless has risen by a third since 2010 and recorded rough sleeping has doubled in the last six years and has risen by 30% in the last year alone. These, combined with unnecessary and vindictive policies like the Bedroom Tax, demonstrates the Tories are piling misery on poorer communities.”

John Spellar MP: Tory welfare reforms put Sandwell pensioners at risk

Sandwell MP John Spellar today said that proposed Government changes to Housing Benefits for people in supported housing were putting local pensioners at risk. The Government’s proposals that Housing Benefit...

This week (29th November) Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, invited a host of MPs and Peers to celebrate its 125th anniversary at its annual House of Commons reception hosted by Neil Parish MP and attended by John Spellar, MP for Warley.

Dogs Trust, or the National Canine Defence League (NCDL) as it was formerly known, was founded in 1891 by socialite Lady Gertrude Stock and a small group of fellow dog lovers. Dedicated solely to helping “protect dogs from torture and ill usage of every kind”, the charity has been instrumental in campaigning for dog welfare for the past 125 years.

From its early years campaigning against the widespread use of dogs for vivisection and the persecution of stray dogs following rabies scares, to opening shelters for stray dogs and most recently, successfully campaigning to make microchipping compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales, Dogs Trust has long championed the cause of the nation’s four-legged friends - something it continues to do to this very day.

With 125 years of successful animal welfare campaigning under its belt, Dogs Trust is now looking to the future, and to help raise awareness of the issues the charity will be focusing on over the next year, MPs and Peers were invited to pose for a photo in the ‘driving seat’ of a 1920’s Dogs Trust animal ambulance. Seventy-two MPs and Peers came along to take the wheel of the retro ride, and pledge their support to Dogs Trust as it continues on the road to driving change for dogs over the next year and beyond. Lord Gardiner also spoke at the event highlighting some of the improvements to be made in dog welfare over the next 12 months.

John Spellar MP for Warley said,

“I am very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the current issues facing the nation’s dogs. Dog welfare is something I feel very strongly about, and I commend the incredible efforts Dogs Trust has gone to in a bid to improve the lives dogs across the country over the past 125 years. I pledge to help do my bit to drive change for dogs over the next 12 months and beyond.”

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Over the coming 12 months one of the main focuses for Dogs Trust will be the issue of irresponsible breeding. There is currently little to no enforcement on the breeding and sale of dogs in the UK and this is something which needs to change.”

“Looking forward, Dogs Trust is calling for a registration and licensing system to ensure better enforcement and traceability of anyone breeding, selling or transferring the ownership of dogs. We believe that anyone selling a single dog or a single litter should be registered with their Local Authority and that anyone breeding two or more litters a year should be licensed as a breeder. These measures should help give prospective puppy buyers more confidence, as well as providing local authorities with a definitive list of individuals involved in this trade.

“We are delighted that the recent EFRA Committee report has made this one of their recommendations along with a call for puppies entering the UK from abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme to be at least six months of age, a move we hope will bring about the end to illegal puppy imports. We are also encouraged that the Committee has recommended that the PAAG Minimum Standards be made mandatory for all classified websites advertising pets for sale. I hope that Government will enshrine these recommendations in law with all due speed.”

Over the past 125 years, Dogs Trust has achieved a number of important advances in dog welfare including;

  • 1891: Dogs Trust was founded as the National Canine Defence League
  • 1908: Dogs Trust introduced the Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill
  • 1912: Our first rehoming centre opened its doors; we now have 20 across the UK and one in Ireland.
  • 1928: The Dogs (Amendment) Act made it an offence to find a stray and not endeavour to trace the owner or deliver it to the police.
  • 1937: Dogs Trust guidelines resulted in the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act, preventing cruelty to dogs in the making of films.
  • 1967: Dogs Trust’s non-destruction policy was introduced, since then we have never put a healthy dog to sleep.
  • 1997: Dogs Trust successfully campaigned for the removal of mandatory destruction of dogs found guilty under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
  • 2001: Dogs Trust created the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG)
  • 2003: Dogs Trust successfully campaigned for the Fireworks Act to become law, controlling the noisiest fireworks and limiting availability to certain times of the year.
  • 2006: Dogs Trust played an instrumental role in the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act, which ensures all animals’ welfare needs are legally required to be met by their owner.
  • 2016: Compulsory microchipping was introduced from April 2016, something Dogs Trust had for a long time lobbied governments to do. 

Dogs Trust has made so many improvements to the lives of the nation’s dogs over the years, but there is still work to be done. Over the coming 12 months, the charity will continue to work towards the day when all dogs can be free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. The charity will be focussing on;

  • Legislation to protect racing greyhounds in every aspect of their lives
  • A government action plan to address abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme
  • Updated and strengthened legislation on dog breeding and sale
  • A ban on electric shock collars and other aversive training devices

To find out more about Dogs Trust and our achievements over the past 125 years, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk

John Spellar MP to help drive change for dog welfare

This week (29th November) Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, invited a host of MPs and Peers to celebrate its 125th anniversary at its annual House of Commons...

The Government abandoned its controversial ‘pay to stay’ policy, which would have imposed crippling rent hikes on working council tenants.

 

In Sandwell, the proposal – dubbed the ‘tenant tax’ – would have seen the rents of those affected rise by an average of £1,553 a year.  

In a statement, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “Social housing has a crucial role to play in supporting those in most housing need. To that end, powers were provided for in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to introduce an income based rents policy, requiring local authorities to set higher rents for higher income council tenants.

“Since the summer, the Government has been reviewing this policy. We have listened carefully to the views of tenants, local authorities and others and as a result, we have decided not to proceed with a compulsory approach. Local authorities and housing associations will continue to have local discretion.”

Responding to the announcement local MP John Spellar said:

“I am pleased that this disastrous proposal has been ditched, as it would have had a devastating impact on the people of Sandwell.

“29,410 people would have been subject to the rent hikes, putting a strain on their finances and in all likelihood forcing many out of their homes. 

“That is why Labour has opposed this plan from the outset and I strongly welcome this change of heart from the Government.” 

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey added:

“This welcome u-turn is a victory for Labour’s year-long campaign against the ‘tenant tax’ which was set to hike rents for thousands of middle income households.

“Having recognised this move was a big mistake, Ministers must now re-think the rest of their failed housing decisions over the last six years.

“After disastrous figures last week showing that the number of new affordable homes for social rent has fallen to the lowest level since records began, top of the list must be reversing the forced sale of vital council homes and the huge cuts to investment in new genuinely affordable homes.”

 

John Spellar MP welcomes u-turn on ‘pay to stay’ policy that would have hiked local rents by an average of £1,553 a year

The Government abandoned its controversial ‘pay to stay’ policy, which would have imposed crippling rent hikes on working council tenants.   In Sandwell, the proposal – dubbed the ‘tenant tax’...

This week is Respect for Shopworkers Week which, at the start of the very busy Christmas shopping period, aims to remind customers that retail staff are real people who do not deserve to be abused, threatened or assaulted.

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw organises the annual respect week, this year’s is 14 - 20 November, when Usdaw reps and members will be campaigning as part of the union’s Freedom from Fear Campaign. Whilst talking to shoppers about the issues, they will be surveying retail staff about incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violent attacks at work.

John Spellar MP said: “I pledge my wholehearted support to this vital campaign by Usdaw to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse. It showcases the very best of what trade unions do for working people.”

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said: “Every minute of every day another shopworker is threatened, assaulted or verbally abused. No one should have to put up with violence or abuse at work.

“Respect for Shopworkers Week is an opportunity for our members to talk to the public about abuse at work and to ask customers to keep their cool and show respect for shopworkers.

“The week also highlights the important work Usdaw does negotiating with employers for safety and security improvements in stores, and lobbying the governments across the United Kingdom to tackle retail crime and anti-social behaviour in shopping areas and provide improved legal protection for public facing workers who are assaulted during the course of their jobs.”

John Spellar MP backs USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ campaign

This week is Respect for Shopworkers Week which, at the start of the very busy Christmas shopping period, aims to remind customers that retail staff are real people who do...

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John Spellar MP joins British Pub Week celebrations

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IT’S Time to stand up for children who have been abused and get them the crucial support they need, John Spellar MP has said.

More than 30,000 people signed the NSPCC’s It’s Time petition calling on the Department of Health and NHS England to count children who have been abused and are in need of mental health support.

At the moment, it’s difficult to work out who needs help and how to commission services to help young people. This means some children are left without any help at all.

Every year the equivalent of two children in every primary school class experience abuse. Research has found up to 90 per cent of children who are abused at an early age will develop mental health problems by the time they are 18.

The charity’s petition is aimed at counting the number of children who’ve been abused and need support in a bid to deal with the gap in crucial mental health services.

John Spellar MP attended an NSPCC event in Parliament on Monday, October 10 to support the It’s Time campaign and to meet with young people who shared why the campaign matters to them.

It’s Time has already made important progress:

  • Over 16,000 supporters contacted their MP to raise the profile of support for children who have been abused
  • Nearly half of the Police and Crime Commissioners who were elected in May pledged to use their victim’s fund to improve support for children and young people who have been abused
  • The Education Select Committee supported our call for children entering care to receive an automatic mental health assessment from a trained professional

John Spellar MP said: “We tend to take it for granted that the Government has data on everything that is important.

“But right now, they are not counting the number of children who have been abused and need support.

“We need ‎this data so that the current gap in services can be addressed, to ensure children get the therapeutic services they need to help them overcome the trauma of their abuse.”

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “If we don't know exactly how many children are missing out, we can't do everything we can to help. So it's essential we find out.

“We know how life-changing the right support can be. It can make the difference between a life defined by abuse or a child reaching their potential.

“So we have handed to No. 10 Downing Street this petition calling on the Government to collect local data from health professionals, social workers and the police, on the number of children who need help.

“It’s time to stand up for children who have been abused. It’s time to give them a voice.”

John Spellar MP: “It’s time to give a voice to children who have been abused”

IT’S Time to stand up for children who have been abused and get them the crucial support they need, John Spellar MP has said. More than 30,000 people signed the...

Over 100 students from Our Lady and St Hubert’s School in Oldbury told Prime Minister Theresa May that: “we believe all children from all around the world should have the right to an education” in a letter writing campaign.

John Spellar MP, who handed their letters to the Prime Minister, said that: “it is great to see that so many young students care about the vital issue of access to education for all children across the world – especially those from poorer countries.” He also urged the Prime Minister to reply, saying that: “a reply from the Prime Minister to their campaign is something students will remember for the rest of their lives and further encourage their participation in our democratic process.”

Sandwell School urge PM to focus on education in deprived countries

Over 100 students from Our Lady and St Hubert’s School in Oldbury told Prime Minister Theresa May that: “we believe all children from all around the world should have the...

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