Jim Cunningham MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Coventry South

Home

Recent Activity

Jim_Offical_Photo_Wide.jpg

Despite the myth that MP’s take a long summer holiday during a Parliamentary Recess, the reality is very different. It’s been a busy few weeks in Coventry South as I use the time to catch up with local groups and organisations to hear about the work they are doing for local people across the city. 

This recess I’ve also used the time to deliver on some of the pledges I made during the General Election on schools, education, housing, policing, Brexit and the greenbelt.

A few weeks ago I met with Whitefrairs to discuss their plans to build more social housing in the city, as well as ensuring that they are doing all they can to improve the properties they have. I regularly receive correspondence from constituents who are Whitefrairs tenants about issues of anti-social behaviour and sometimes poor living conditions. I continue to speak to Whitefrairs on a regular basis about their plans. 

Building new homes does not however mean building on our green belt. I’ve been a strong and vocal opponent of Warwick District Council’s plans to build on Kings Hill and earlier this summer I joined over 100 local residents to show our opposition to the plans that would not only destroy part of our green belt but would also cause additional pressure on our roads and overstretched public services.

Education was a key part of the election campaign. I campaigned against the damaging Conservative cuts to our schools and their plans to raise tuition fees even further, putting working class kids at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to higher education. Prior to the recess I met with a number of Head Teachers and the Council to discuss how we could work together to stop these cuts to school budgets and whilst the Government has now backtracked slightly, ask any Head Teacher if they are confident the money coming from Government will cover their costs in the years to come and the answer will be a resounding no.

On Higher Education I met with Warwick University’s new Vice-Chancellor to hear about the exciting plans afoot for one of our two world class universities in the city. It’s fantastic that Coventry, a population seven years younger than the UK average is able to boast about two brilliant Universities now both in the top 12 nationally!

I was back at Warwick to welcome hundreds of young people to the Biology Olympiad where they came together to celebrate the huge achievements of this sector over the last few years. Not only were these people at Warwick University, they were in Coventry and it’s another example of how much the wider city benefits from our world class universities. 

It’s our world class universities that are key to our City of Culture 2021 bid and I was delighted to meet with the bid team earlier this month to talk about how we can work together to deliver Coventry the crown when the results are announced at the end of this year. I’m hosting a Westminster Hall debate on September 5th followed a week later by a reception in the House of Commons as we look to drum up support for this exciting venture. 

Last week I had the honour of visiting Acorns Childrens Hospice in Birmingham. It’s one of the most humbling experiences you have as an MP, visiting those in unthinkable situations but seeing the compassion shown to them by staff and volunteers. It’s the best and the worst of our world coming together. Hospice’s play a vital role in health care and what’s most shocking perhaps is they are too often reliant on fundraising rather than NHS cash. It’s something that we as a country must look at, whether it’s a hospice for adults or children, as we live longer and as medical advances occur the need for hospices will only grow.

Later this week I’m meeting with the Superintendent for Coventry and then with David Jamieson, our Police and Crime Commissioner. Fear of crime was an issue raised with me time and time again during the election campaign and although money is tight, I’m hopeful we can secure more resource for Coventry. In Parliament, I’m battling the Tories to give us the cash we need in Coventry to provide more Police on our streets. Their cuts to the Coventry Police since 2010 have been scandalous and Labour have opposed them every step of the way. 

And as we head back to London in September, the diary is already filling up with a meeting scheduled in with West Midlands Trains firs up, the new rail company who won the recent franchise bid.

As ever, my office remains open throughout the summer and you can contact us through telephone, email and the post. 

An update on Coventry issues. What I've been up to.

Despite the myth that MP’s take a long summer holiday during a Parliamentary Recess, the reality is very different. It’s been a busy few weeks in Coventry South as I use...

Age_Champions_2017-66.jpg

Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry, met with older people from across the country at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Age UK.  

 

The Age Champions event was the charity’s annual summer reception and highlighted the challenges of an ageing population and opportunities in later life.

 

MPs heard how they can tackle issues affecting older people in Coventry South and across the country, including loneliness and isolation, social care and ‎the importance of a decent income.

Jim Cunningham MP said:

 

"This new Parliament offers a great opportunity for us to work together with organisations like Age UK to ensure that every older person can live with dignity and enjoy a fulfilling later life, especially in the wake of the social care crisis and Tory austerity that has hit older people very hard"


Speaking at the event, Age UK Chief Executive, Tom Wright CBE, said:

 

“I am delighted to say that we now have over 130 Age Champion MPs from all sides of the House and I hope that many others will want to join as this Parliament proceeds”

 

“This new Parliament offers a great opportunity for policymakers to work together with organisations like Age UK with a view to ensuring that every older person can live with dignity and enjoy a fulfilling later life”

 

“Issues like the fragility of our social care system and the chronic loneliness that affects too many are not going away and our older population badly needs us to find solutions for them”.

 

Throughout the event MPs learned more about how Age UK can help them to improve the lives of older people in their constituencies and make the most of their role as an 'Age Champion'. 

 

Jim pledges to speak up for older people

Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry, met with older people from across the country at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Age UK.     The Age Champions event was...

Screen_Shot_2017-05-25_at_16.19.22.pngBelow is the contribution I made to the Queens Speech debate on Tuesday of this week:

I have visited a number of schools in my constituency, and the message has been the same at each one: they may have to make teachers and classroom assistants redundant. I believe that every child should receive every possible opportunity to succeed in life, regardless of their background. I am therefore disappointed that no clear education legislation is outlined in the Queen’s Speech. There are only vague commitments to allow children to attend good schools.

I hope that the Government have finally dropped their vanity project of introducing more grammar schools. That policy would have served only to increase the divisions in society. Instead of trying to create new schools, we should be focusing on our existing schools to ensure that they are sufficiently funded. That is what will give our children the best opportunities in life. However, despite having pledged to ensure that every child gets the education they deserve, the Government proposed in their manifesto to remove free school meals. I am pleased that that policy has been scrapped, but we must not forget that they tried to introduce it in the first place.

It is under proposals from this same Government that schools are having their funding cut for the first time in 20 years, which will mean teachers losing their jobs and our children being taught in supersized classes. In Coventry, over £29 million will be cut from the local authority’s education budget, which will mean, on average, £600 less per pupil. One school in my constituency is facing a reduction of £1,600 per pupil. That is simply not good enough. Our children deserve better.

We have seen time and again that this Government are failing the people of this country, whether children at the start of their lives or people at the other end of their lives—for example, by threatening to scrap the pensions triple lock, or by letting down the women who have seen their state pension age increase but received inadequate transitional arrangements.

I will now move on to local services. We have seen a shift in focus, with responsibility moving from central to local government. It is important that local authorities can shape their service provision, but they are having to do so in the face of constant budget cuts. Since 2010, Coventry Council has lost £106 million a year, which represents a 50% cut in Government grant funding. By 2020, the Government will have cut £655 million from the council’s budget. When people have increasingly complex needs, especially in areas such as adult social care and mental health services, Coventry and Warwickshire local authorities expect a deficit of £33 million by 2020-21 in social care. Although we have, I hope, seen the back of the Government’s proposed dementia tax, more must be done urgently to tackle the crisis in social care, and there was no specific mention of that in the Green Paper.

The Chancellor said in his Mansion House speech that,

“people are weary of the long slog”

and that the Conservatives are listening to people after the election. But is he really hearing what the people of this country need? It is simply staggering that the Government are continuing to pursue an agenda of austerity. Other vital local services are still being cut. The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the closure of 108 sites by March 2018, including the Tile Hill jobcentre in Coventry, which means that claimants will now have to travel for up to an hour to get to a jobcentre. That will be incredibly difficult for many of the more vulnerable users of the jobcentre.

At a time when the gap between rich and poor is widening, it is more important than ever to ensure that we are caring for those who need it the most. Therefore, while I welcome the mention in the Queen’s Speech of the very important issue of domestic violence, let us not forget that 17% of specialist women’s refuges have closed since 2010. That means that women will have been unable to get the help and support they so desperately need. Some 20,000 police officers have been cut, and much has been made in the national press of the consequences. While the Government say one thing, their policies seem to do the exact opposite.

Queens Speech Debate

Below is the contribution I made to the Queens Speech debate on Tuesday of this week: I have visited a number of schools in my constituency, and the message has...


View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.