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Dear Reader,

Welcome to my latest newsletter.

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

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

Ongoing Survey

Faisal Rashid MP's Warrington South Traffic Survey 2019

Have Your Say

I am regularly contacted by constituents who tell me they are fed-up with the intolerable levels of traffic congestion in the town.

Congestion in the town is leading to significant delays travelling even the shortest of distances in the town. And this isn’t just affecting travel time to and from work. It can mean missed hospital appointments or delays for parents dropping off and collecting their children from school or childcare. My constituents tell me they want to see action taken to tackle the traffic misery.

To get a better understanding of the problems and how local people are affected I am conducting a traffic survey. As part of the survey I am asking Warrington South constituents for ideas on how traffic congestion in the constituency can be relieved.

I will be feeding the comments I receive on to Warrington Borough Council as part of the Council’s consultation on the Draft Fourth Local Transport Plan (LTP4).

The survey is running until Sunday 5th May.

March 2019 Highlights

A summary of some of my work this month.

FAISAL RASHID MP STATEMENT ON INDICATIVE VOTES

I am sure you share my deep disappointment and frustration at parliament’s inability to reach a conclusive outcome in last night's indicative votes on Brexit. While the Tories refuse to back their own Prime Minister’s botched Brexit deal, they have also refused to support any credible alternative.

My position has been clear: I was not elected to make my constituents poorer and will not vote to do so by supporting no deal or the Prime Minister’s deal. But I also want to respect the result of the 2016 referendum by finding a compromise solution to leave the European Union with support across parliament. That is why I voted in favour of amendments which would allow us to leave the European Union while protecting Warrington’s existing jobs and living standards. It is also why I voted in support of amendments which protect us from the threat of no deal and a damaging Tory Brexit.

Sadly, by sticking to impossible red lines and running down the clock, the Prime Minister has created nothing but parliamentary deadlock and division. Last night, she announced her planned resignation – not to the public or to parliament, but to a closed meeting of Tory MPs in a desperate bid to get her failed deal over the line. This epitomises her opportunistic and embarrassing handling of the Brexit negotiations, failing time and time again to act in the national interest and work towards a successful compromise.

The British public deserve better than this tiresome display of bitter Tory infighting and amateur political leadership.

This is why I have also supported amendments which allow a confirmatory public vote on any agreed Brexit deal. If there is not sufficient support in parliament for any outcome and the Prime Minister refuses to work towards a compromise, then I believe we are left with no choice other than putting a vote back to the public.

I understand the strength of feeling among my constituents on both sides of this debate. Whether you voted to leave or remain, you have been let down by this Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit.

I will continue to work for an outcome which puts Warrington’s jobs, rights and living standards first.

The amendments I supported in last night's votes were:

M - Confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal.
L - Revoke Article 50 to avoid No Deal
K - Labour’s alternative Brexit plan
J - Leaving with membership of the Customs Union
D - Common Market 2.0

Faisal supports #Backto60 Campaign

Proud to support the #Backto60 campaign on behalf of all #WASPI women impacted by this govt's unfair deferral of state pensions.

I will continue to fight for #WASPI campaigners and champion their cause, in Warrington South and across the UK.



You can read more about Faisal's work in the constituency here:

https://faisalrashid.com/women-against-state-pension-inequality-campaign-waspi

26th Anniversary of IRA Bomb Attacks

Today we remember the terrible events that took place 26 years ago, which killed 3-year-old Johnathan Ball and left 12-year-old Tim Parry to die from the horrendous wounds he suffered. 54 other people were injured including Bronwen Vickers who lost a leg in the blast and died a year later.

On this dark day in our town’s history my thoughts and prayers are with Wendy and Colin Parry, and with everyone who was affected by the terrible tragedy.

26 years ago, our town was changed forever. Yet in response to the tragic loss of their son Tim, Colin and Wendy have worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation. Their determination to make Tim's memory a driving force for peace should inspire us all.

This year's anniversary is particularly poignant as we reflect on the awful atrocities that have taken place in New Zealand.

In the face of such terror and heartache, we need to find positive solutions to bridge the divisions in society.

We must use this anniversary as an opportunity not only to reflect, but to recognise that whilst great steps have been made towards peace, we must redouble our efforts to make the world a safer place to live.

Warrington Guardian Column

International Trade Deals

International Trade deals can sometimes
feel abstract and remote, far removed from our everyday lives. Ironically,
nothing could be further from the truth.

Trading relationships determine our
living standards, jobs and access to resources. Britain’s prosperity has always
been tied to how we do business with the rest of the world.

Healthy trading relationships are key
to shared prosperity and economic growth. But trade is not only an important
source of wealth creation. When tied to an open, rules-based system, trade can
also be a great driver of human rights and social justice.

As a member of the International Trade
Select Committee, I am a staunch advocate of promoting trade that is fair, just
and sustainable. Trade agreements should never undermine human rights and
labour standards.

Too often, profit-making has taken
precedence over workers’ rights and public services in international trade
deals. Just last week, I asked International Trade Secretary Liam Fox if he
will guarantee that our NHS is not put up for sale in any future trade deals
post-Brexit. The government has repeatedly failed to provide sufficient
assurances on this and I will be keeping up the fight to protect our NHS from
private interests.

I have had many conversations with
constituents and local businesses about the sorts of trading arrangements we
want to see here in the UK. It is crucial that we support and engage with our
local businesses – they create jobs and wealth which help our town prosper.
That is why, during my time as Mayor of Warrington, I developed the original
concept of Warrington Business Exchange, then called Circle the Future. I am
delighted that this initiative has been taken forward.

I am always working to explore new
opportunities for Warrington South. I want to create opportunities which
include access to a range of skilled and well-paid jobs.

Trading internationally is crucial to
achieving this outcome by enabling us to promote British exports in overseas
markets. Exports of goods and services currently account for around 30% of the
UK’s GDP, and millions of jobs depend on continuing access to foreign markets.
One in four British SMEs are involved either directly or indirectly in
exporting overseas. I see supporting these industries as central to my work as
an MP: since my election in 2017, I have founded and chair All-Party
Parliamentary Groups on Trade Justice, Business Support and Engagement,
Healthcare Infrastructure, the Belt & Road Initiative and China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor.

As always, I welcome the views of my
constituents and want to promote trading relationships that most closely
reflect the values and needs of our community. By supporting a system of international
trade which is fair and open, I believe we can secure a better future for
Warrington and a better future for Britain.

Remembrance for victims of the New Zealand Mosque attack

We are blessed with so many lovely and kind people in Warrington.

Thank you everyone who managed to come this evening at Warrington Islamic Association Centre to remember 50 innocent people who were killed in an horrific terror attack in New Zealand. We must work together to eliminate this evil of hatred. Thank you everyone at Warrington Islamic Association Centre for organising.

Let’s spread the message of peace, kindness, acceptance and love together to every part of our communities, cities and country.

Faisal joins Warrington Schoolchildren in Climate Change Protest

I was thrilled to see young people out in Warrington today to demand more action on climate change. By taking to the streets to make their voices heard, they are teaching us the importance of tackling climate change for future generations.

The Labour Party are listening to young people. When we go into government, we will take strong action on climate change.

It is time we stood up to the threat of climate change to fight for our children’s future.You can read more about the Protest in the Warrington Worldwide news article here: https://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2019/03/15/children-strike-together-for-global-movement/

Faisal's Statement on Warrington Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan

As the MP for Warrington South I have a duty to ensure that the views of every community I represent are heard. Since my election in 2017, I have always spoken out on the issues that matter to my constituents.

I have strongly opposed development of our Green Belt land. I have objected to inappropriate planning applications on behalf of my constituents. I am opposing plans for Port Warrington because I do not believe this plan will benefit our people and town. I represented the views of my constituents in response to the Council’s Preferred Development Option.

Warrington Borough Council is now consulting on its Draft Local Plan, the Council’s proposed blueprint for Warrington’s development for the next 20 years which covers housing, business space, transport infrastructure and community facilities.

Given the scale of the Plan, understandably there are strong views on this issue.

I appreciate the challenges that the Council face in producing a Local Plan. The Government has placed a statutory duty on local authorities to produce a ‘Local Plan’ to identify land for future housing and economic growth. If the Council fails to produce a Plan which meets Government approval it will be thrown out. This would mean that the Council loses control of the planning process, leaving our open spaces at the mercy of developers free to cherry pick our green spaces for new housing and commercial build.

A growing number of people want to live, work and run businesses in Warrington and that is good news. It is right that we meet those needs and that we act to ensure our local economy prospers. However, due to past and projected growth across the town, my constituents have very valid concerns about the big changes proposed in the Draft Local Plan and how they may transform the landscape of the town.

The final plan must respond to the needs and the wishes of our residents. It must deliver good quality jobs and high-quality housing, which includes social housing and homes for first time buyers. And of course, a good standard of living for all.

During my time as the local MP, the greatest concerns raised with me by my constituents have been about the need for better road infrastructure and action to tackle the intolerable problems we have with traffic congestion. As it stands, our roads are not fit for purpose and the problems we have with congestion are only set to get worse. We need real and workable solutions to these problems.

The publication of the Draft Local Plan follows the Council’s 2017 consultation on its Preferred Development Option (PDO) which looked at Warrington’s development needs for the future. In response to the PDO consultation, I provided a detailed response to the proposals on behalf of my constituents and worked hard to ensure that everyone who wanted to comment was given the opportunity to do so.

I called on then Council Leader Councillor Terry O’Neill to extend the consultation period and arranged for an additional consultation event to be organised. I attended this event and fed back the comments I received as part of the consultation process.

In response to the PDO, I criticised proposals to remove land from the Green Belt for development and called for the land to be protected. I made it clear that I wanted to see a brownfield first approach taken to development in the town. In response to those concerns, and concerns from many Warrington South residents, the Council has reduced the amount of Green Belt that could be released for development.

However, my view on this issue remains unchanged. I believe that development of our local Green Belt land is the wrong approach to take to meet development targets set out by the Government. Green Belt land should only be developed in the most exceptional of circumstances and it must be protected from development wherever possible.

I have and continue to take positive action to help ensure a brownfield first approach to development in our town. I have backed infrastructure proposals that will improve access and help to reduce congestion in and around the town centre. I am also supporting a number of funding bids to rejuvenate the town centre, helping to strengthen its future viability.

I have also made it clear that it is crucial a recycling provision in the south of the town is included in the Local Plan. Following my discussions with Professor Steven Broomhead and Councillors Russ Bowden, Terry O’Neill and Judith Guthrie, I am delighted that the provision of a community recycling centre in the south of the town will be enshrined in the Local Plan.

In the interim, concerns have been raised with me about the closure of the current Stockton Heath facility and the impact that the loss of the Centre could have on the local area. Although the Stockton Heath site is the smallest of Warrington’s three recycling centres, it is considered by many to be the busiest. Residents from Stockton Heath, Appleton, Grappenhall, Thelwall, Walton, Stretton, Hatton and Lymm use the Centre.

Throughout my discussions with the Council on this issue, I made it clear that whilst I welcome the Council’s commitment to deliver a new recycling centre in the south of the town, there should be no gap in provision for residents. The Stockton Heath site is well-used and therefore I believe it must remain in operation for as long as possible to ensure that communities in the south of the town do not experience any disruption to their recycling services. Following my intervention, plans to close the Stockton Heath site were halted. Discussions on the future of the site are ongoing.

I have several concerns which I intend to raise as part of the consultation process. These include:
• Serious concerns about the loss of Green Belt land for development.
• Warrington Western Link and Port Warrington.
• The need for improvements to local infrastructure to meet current and future needs.

On 25 March, Warrington Borough Councillors will vote on whether to approve the Draft Local Plan for public consultation. If approved, the public consultation is due to start in April.

I will be providing a comprehensive response to the Draft Local Plan consultation on behalf of my constituents in due course. And as with the consultation on the Preferred Development Option, I will be working to ensure that the views of my constituents are fully represented. I believe it is essential that local people are given the maximum opportunity to have their say on the future of where they live, work and run businesses.
Ultimately, the final Plan must reflect what local people want and need: it must be driven by local communities and not imposed on them.

I encourage all residents to have their say on this issue.

Faisal's Statement on EU Withdrawal Bill Amendments (14th March)

After a long week of Brexit votes and parliamentary division, I want to update my constituents on this weeks’ votes and outline my position in more detail.

From the beginning of the Brexit process, I have always been clear in my desire to respect the result of the 2016 referendum while protecting existing jobs, living standards and rights from the danger of a no deal Brexit. In 2017, I was elected on a Labour Party manifesto pledge to accept the referendum result and put the national interest first. This means supporting an outcome that seeks to unite the country around a Brexit deal that works for every community in Britain. By this measure, the Prime Minister’s botched Brexit deal has failed miserably. On Tuesday, she suffered a second crushing defeat in parliament as her deal failed to secure anywhere near enough support from within her own party. A day later, the Government was handed another humiliating defeat as MPs worked across the house to act in the national interest and try to take no deal off the table. On each occasion, I voted against the Prime Minister’s bad deal and against a disastrous no deal.

The Government’s failure to negotiate a good deal has already led to huge uncertainty, stifling investment and putting jobs at risk. Manufacturing is now in recession, numerous employers have announced job losses, and food producers are in despair.

The Brexit Secretary himself has said that no deal would be “ruinous” for the UK economy. I have always been clear this is a completely unacceptable outcome for our country. The Government’s own forecasts suggest that a no deal outcome would knock 10% off the economy, and their own impact assessment of no deal says customs checks could cost business £13 billion a year in a no deal scenario.

Tonight, I voted to extend article 50. I recognise the need to apply for an extension of Article 50 in order to prevent no deal and allow time to find majority support in parliament for a different approach. But for the Prime Minister, extending Article 50 without a clear change of direction is not a solution. The Government needs to find a compromise solution which can command support in parliament. In the coming days, I will be working to support such an outcome: one which puts Warrington’s jobs and living standards first.

Faisal Rashid MP calls for more school funding

Last year, I surveyed 30 schools from across Warrington South. Every single one of the schools surveyed reported that they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current levels of funding.

Despite the best efforts of our hard-working school leaders to protect their pupils from budget cuts, this is becoming more and more difficult.

On Wednesday the chancellor will issue his Spring Statement. This is an opportunity for the government to listen to the concerns of teachers and parents across the country and substantially increase funding for our schools.

I want every child in my constituency and in our country to get the best possible start in life, but if the Government do not change their course, this simply will not be possible.

Warrington South MP slams Peel Ports for massive swing bridge delays

Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, has launched a scathing attack on Peel Ports for the massive delays in refurbishing the town’s three swing bridges. Many Warrington South residents have been calling for these works for several years, expressing anger and
frustration over the lack of action.

Towards the end of last year Faisal wrote to the Chief Executive of Peel Ports, Mark Whitworth, to raise concerns about the maintenance of the swing bridges in Warrington South. In his letter
Faisal said that the bridges were in a poor state of repair and in desperate need of painting. He asked for assurances that the work would be carried out, as had been previously promised.

Following receipt of Peel Ports’ response to his letter, Faisal held talks with Peel Ports and Warrington Borough Council to discuss a way forward with the works.

Faisal Rashid MP said:

“After years of delays, my constituents are utterly fed-up with the lack of any action from Peel Ports to improve the appearance of the swing bridges. I share their anger and frustration.

“Each of the three bridges, located on Chester Road, London Road and Knutsford Road, have been left in a poor state. They are in desperate need of attention and quite frankly I am disgusted that it has taken Peel Ports so long to act. Our town deserves better.

“At our recent meeting I managed to get Peel Ports to commit to action on this issue. Peel Ports have agreed to bring forward a project plan for the refurbishment, starting with the London Road bridge in Stockton Heath. However, they say that the work to paint and carry out full maintenance will take 6 months and will mean the full closure of the bridge during this period - including no access for pedestrians.

“I have real concerns about the proposed length of time that Peel Ports say the bridges could be closed during the refurbishment works. Given this I will be conducting a survey with local residents shortly to find out how they feel about the proposed disruption. I have also requested that the Council investigate this issue further to see whether the duration of the works can be reduced so as to mitigate any impact on local residents.

“Due to the timing of the work on the Centre Park Link, the Council have stated that they will be making their own enquiries including evaluating how long the work to paint the bridge will take, what impact the bridge closure will have on the area and how residents feel about the full closure. Given the likely impact of the works, it is absolutely crucial that Peel Ports and the Council get this issue right.

“Discussions on the logistics of the work are ongoing. However, I am pleased that following our talks, there is now a commitment to carry out these much-needed refurbishments.”
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Copyright © 2019 Faisal Rashid MP, All rights reserved.
Sent on behalf of Faisal Rashid MP, 1 Wilson Patten Street, Warrington, WA1 1PG

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