Dear reader, welcome to my latest newsletter.

I am pleased to share my latest e-newsletter for June 2019 with news about some of my work in Westminster and in Warrington South Constituency as your MP.

All the best,
Faisal Rashid MP
Member of Parliament for Warrington South

June 2019 News & Highlights

A quick summary of the latest updates and news.

Faisal pays visit to Richard Ratcliffe at Iranian Embassy

Recently I had the privilege of speaking with Richard Ratcliffe outside the Iranian Embassy.

Many constituents have been in touch to ask me to visit Richard and show my support for him and his wife, Nazanin. It has been moving to see the level of support he and Nazanin have received over the last few years.

Richard is not alone - we stand with him in the fight for his wife's freedom.


Faisal joins Warrington residents in London for Climate Change protest

Fantastic to see so many of my constituents who travelled down to London this month for the Climate Change Lobby! It was great to be out there with them fighting on this important issue.

The Labour Party led the way in Parliament to declare a climate emergency back in May and the message taken from the protest was loud and clear: the time for talking is over... it is now time to take serious action!

Faisal and other local MPs write letter to Minster about the restricted access to NHS treatments.

NHS info-graphic.
I was happy to co-sign this letter with local MPs Helen Jones MP, Derek Twigg MP and Mike Amesbury MP about the restriction of access to NHS treatment in our area. The Minister must reverse his disastrous policies that are preventing patients from getting the treatment they need.

Warrington and Halton Hospital Trust 'My Choice' services controversy

Warrington Hopsital
Last week reports emerged that Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust have been advertising a price list for operations that were once free on the NHS.

Vital procedures such as hip and knee replacements cost up to £18,143, cataracts £2,368 and hernias £7,719, way outside most ordinary people’s budgets.

I spoke up in the Houses of Commons and asked the Leader of the House if the Government will make an urgent statement and allow MPs to debate this scandalous privatisation of NHS services.

Later that afternoon, Warrington and Halton Hospital announced that they would be suspending the services for the time being. I welcomed this news very positively. It is outrageous that people should be expected to pay an extortionate fee for life saving operations.

It is very clear that the pressures the NHS are facing from Central Government due to underfunding are forcing trusts everywhere to set up services like ‘My Choice’ in Warrington.

Vulnerable people are soon going to be backed into a corner and forced to pay to be able to live well. We cannot let this happen, everyone should be entitled to live a healthy life, not just those who can afford treatment.

Even though the outcome from last week was a huge achievement, this is only a suspension, which is why we need to continue to clamp down the pressure on the Government.

My colleagues and I will write to the Secretary of State voicing our major concerns and we will continue the fight to stop the privatisation of the NHS.

The Government can no longer continue to ignore this issue and we cannot let vulnerable people suffer as a consequence.

Warrington Guardian Column | The importance of Trade Unions

Trade union 2
The first meeting of the Trade Union Congress took place back in 1868, just up the road in Manchester, then the engine of the industrial revolution. Those who met that day formed a national and united voice to defend trade unions and fight for the rights of every worker – creating the first real political representation for the working people of this country.

Since then, the British workplace has changed almost beyond recognition. If you’re a working person in the UK, you have something to thank our trade unions for. Unions have fought to give us the minimum wage, parental rights, holidays and sickness pay. But despite these hard-won victories, the role of our trade unions remains critical.

Workers today face a wave of new technological change, a culture of inadequate management, and a pressure not to exercise their workplace rights. In-work poverty is on the rise and zero-hours contracts are widespread. Under existing legislation, huge multinational companies can employ legions of low-paid, insecure staff, often in terrible working conditions – all whilst turning record-breaking profits. To make matters worse, these companies often pay very little tax at all in this country by using legal loopholes and tax havens registered overseas.

It is boom time for large multinational companies, but this success is not passed down to its employees, with British workers facing an uncertain and exploitative job market. Some workers have recounted urinating in bottles for fear of being disciplined for a toilet break. Heavily pregnant women report being refused permission to sit down for a break during twelve-hour long shifts. How can we allow this to happen in the UK in the twenty-first century? At times, the working conditions of the 19th century do not feel quite so unrecognisable.

History has shown us that trade unions are a perfect tool to make these workplaces fairer. With nearly 6.5 million members in the UK, they remain our largest voluntary, democratic organisations.

It doesn’t have to be like this – and I want to help fight for an alternative. That is why I have tabled a Bill in parliament which would expand the access rights of trade unions to the workplace.

We have seen the positive impact of laws like these in New Zealand, where unions have far greater access to workplaces. This has led to higher union membership, higher wages and more just and fair workplaces.

By strengthening our trade unions, we can restore dignity and respect at work and put an end to the exploitation and misery we see on the rise today.

Faisal delivers letter to Number 10 asking for an end to cuts in children and young people's services

No cuts
I recently delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister to end cuts to services for children and young people. Despite being the 6th largest economy in the world, 3.7 million of our children currently live in absolute poverty. This is absolutely disgraceful. Councils up and down the country are struggling to provide essential services - they continue to face a funding gap of £8bn by 2025. The Prime Minister must act now. 

No investment in children and young people means no future.

Faisal challenges Government Minister on Local Council Funding cuts

Info - website
On Monday 17th June it was Communities and Local Government Questions.

The question I put to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was “What recent assessment he has made of the effect of changes in the level of Government funding for local authorities on the adequacy of the services that they provide.”

Many people in my constituency and nationally are being severely affected by the cuts to Local Council funding. I found his response to be awfully inadequate and therefore also asked:

We know only too well by now that central Government underfunding of local authorities has devastated many of our constituents through cuts to many essential services. Perhaps the most dismal funding failure of all from this Government has been on housing, with the building of social housing at its lowest level since world war two. When will the Government wake up and realise that our housing is in crisis and at breaking point?

Watch the video in full to see the Ministers response.

Latchford West Roving Surgery

On 15th June I was in #Morrisons #StocktonHeath #LatchfordWest holding my Roving Surgery with excellent councillors Cllr Maureen McLaughlin and Les Morgan.

It was very clear to me after meeting with many of my constituents that people want to talk about education, housing, policing, NHS, transport, infrastructure, poverty, jobs, economy, climate change, rising homelessness, zero hours contracts etc etc.

The only solution now is to have a Labour government and implement its excellent manifesto for a better future of this country and for the many.

Faisal responds to Warrington Borough Council's Local Transport Plan Consultation

Local Transport Plan InfoGraphic (002)
Please take your time to read my response to Warrington Borough council’s Fourth Local Transport Plan (LTP4). It is a well thought, logical, comprehensive, meaningful response.

To read my full response, please click here

Faisal responds to Warrington Borough Council's Local Plan Consultation

I have tried my best to cover all the issues in draft local plan on behalf of my constituents. It is well thought, logical, comprehensive, meaningful response. It is 24 pages response so take your time.

To read my response please click here

Faisal calls on the Government to introduce free bus travel for those under the age of 19

I am aware that for many people, especially those who are younger, bus services are a lifeline.

The Government has stated that it recognises that public transport is of particular importance to young people. Yet, it has no plans to implement a national bus concession for young people.

I have recently asked the Government the following written question: ‘To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will fund local authorities to provide free bus travel for people under the age of 25.’

As MP, I have also written to Warrington Borough Council to raise a number of issues that I believe need addressing in order to create a service that meets the needs of everyone who lives in and around our town. I hope that Warrington can introduce progressive plans that central government is not willing to do.

Faisal Rashid: Exploitation is on the rise. That's why I'm fighting to improve trade union access (Politics Home Article)

Working conditions at some companies today are reminiscent of the deplorable practices of the 19th century. We must restore dignity at work and put an end to this exploitation, writes Faisal Rashid

Every day, trade unions are on the frontline – fighting poverty, fighting inequality, fighting injustice and negotiating a better deal for working people. At present, there are almost 6.5 million trade union members in the UK, making them this country’s largest voluntary and democratic organisations. The role they play has never been more critical than today, as in-work poverty is on the rise and zero-hours contracts are widespread. But after a barrage of anti-trade union legislation, workers have found their ability to organise and take industrial action to challenge these injustices greatly restricted.

Under existing legislation, huge multinational companies can employ legions of low-paid, insecure staff, often in terrible working conditions – all while turning record-breaking profits. British workers are faced with an uncertain and exploitative job market, while it is boom-time for large multinational companies.

It is no exaggeration to say that working conditions at these companies are at times reminiscent of the deplorable practices of the 19th century. From 2015-2018, a shocking 600 ambulance calls were made to Amazon warehouses. Workers in these warehouses have recounted urinating in bottles for fear of being disciplined for a toilet break. Heavily pregnant women report being refused permission to sit down for a break during twelve-hour long shifts. How can we allow this to happen in the UK in the twenty-first century?
'How can we allow this to happen in the UK in the twenty-first century?'

I have spoken to countless trade union officials who tell me that, despite the widespread desire for improved rights and conditions at work, efforts to unionise staff in these workplaces are often fruitless. In large part, this is because there are currently no rights of access for trade unions to enter the workplace and speak to workers for the purposes of recruitment. Workers at Amazon have had their shift patterns interrupted and randomised simply to prevent them from talking to union officials on the way in to work. Union representatives visiting McDonalds across the UK to speak to workers about the benefits of joining a trade union are being routinely thrown out of stores, having their presence reported to senior regional managers.

It doesn’t have to be like this: by expanding trade union access to workplaces, we can restore dignity and respect at work and put an end to the exploitation and misery we see on the rise today.

In New Zealand, this is already taking place. Under the 2018 Employment Relations Amendment Act, unions there have far greater access to workplaces. Workers in New Zealand can speak to union representatives in their place of work, leading to higher union membership, higher wages, and more just and fair workplaces.

Under this legislation, all that is required is that the union provides a short period of notice that they will be visiting the workplace, allowing for management to add the extra staff member needed for the duration of the visit. The situation is beneficial for all involved: disruption to the business is kept to an absolute minimum, whilst workers’ legal and human right to join and form a union is properly adhered to.

I want to see similar legislation adopted in this country. It is a myth that strong trade unions damage our economy: if strong trade unions drive down productivity, why has the UK long suffered from a ‘productivity gap’ – despite having the most restrictive trade union laws in Western Europe? In truth, a happy, well-respected workforce is also a productive one.

The stories I have heard from union officials paint the opposite picture – too many people in this country feel exploited and dispensable at work. If we are to transition away from a low-wage, precarious economy, increasing the collective bargaining power of our workers is critical. That is why I’m fighting to improve trade union access to the workplace: we need stronger trade unions and a better deal for working people.

Join Faisal in Supporting Armed Forces Day

Join me in supporting Armed Forces Day today. We should say a big thank you to all those who work tirelessly on a daily basis to keep our country safe.

Since joining parliament, I have participated in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS). The scheme exists to increase awareness and understanding of the role of the Armed Forces among MPs.

As part of the scheme, I have travelled to various army bases across the UK, meeting service personnel to find out about the different roles within our armed forces and witnessing first-hand the work that goes on behind the scenes. The work that I have witnessed over the past year has been remarkable - I have really enjoyed taking part in the scheme and getting to know our servicemen and women.

I would like to thank all of those who work hard to keep us safe and encourage you all to do the same.

Stockton Heath Roving Surgery

Today I was in Stockton Heath talking to many constituents about the issues that matter to them. It was encouraging to know that people were very happy with my work as their constituency MP.

I came into politics to make a difference and will continue to do what is in the best interests of my constituents and country.

Faisal in Stockton Heath

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Sent on behalf of Faisal Rashid MP, 1 Wilson Patten Street, Warrington, WA1 1PG

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