Jim Cunningham MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Coventry South

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Jim_Cunningham_MP.jpgThe MP for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham has told the House of Commons that the Government's recent budget is “from a Government that has run out of ideas and is lacking in imagination.”

Jim Cunningham said;

“The reality is that there was nothing in this budget that will help ordinary working people. Under seven years of a Tory Government, we have seen wages fall, the inequality gap grow and now we see public and private investment falling as consumer and business confidence in the UK is shaky at best.

“This is a budget that does almost nothing for ordinary hard working people in Coventry South. It failed on housing, because developers are still in control, it failed on income deciding to keep low pay for thousands of my constituents and it failed on Brexit, offering to pay more to the EU but failing to set out what our future relationship will be.

“This is a Government no longer fit to govern. The sooner they give it up and admit it’s been a bad job, the better. Coventry can’t stand much longer of this Tory Government.”

 

Coventry South’s Labour MP, Jim Cunningham slams a budget that fails Coventry

The MP for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham has told the House of Commons that the Government's recent budget is “from a Government that has run out of ideas and is...

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Coventry South MP, Jim Cunningham, has written to Culture Minister, John Glen MP, asking him to bring the City of Culture title to the Midlands and to name Coventry as UK City of Culture 2021.

In a joint letter, signed by Jim, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and a host of other local and regional MPs, Jim Cunningham MP says “The Midlands has never hosted the UK City of Culture or the European City of Culture and we believe that now the time is right.”

The letter goes on to say that the MPs and new Mayor believe that Coventry’s bid is a unique opportunity because it:

  • Delivers an ambitious £40 million programme of cultural activity, from the RSC at Coventry Cathedral to digital art commissions projected on the city’s iconic architecture and the first UK Streets of Culture project
  • Brings together the diverse communities of the West Midlands, the youngest and most diverse city of all the candidates, with hundreds of planned community activities.
  • Will generate a huge cultural legacy, encouraging a new generation of cultural audiences and participants and showcasing the revival of a city that was once the capital of England.
  • Draws support from Coventry and wider West Midlands region: the private and public sectors working together, led by the cultural sector, with funding secured from over 110 local businesses and philanthropists.

Culture Minister, John Glen MP, is set to decide which city will be the UK’s next City of Culture on Thursday this week (7th December). Coventry is through to the final round of the competition with Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea.

Commenting on the letter and his support for Coventry’s bid, Jim Cunningham MP said:

 “The time is right for the Midlands to host the next UK City of Culture.

“A win for Coventry would be a win for the whole of the region, and would bring millions to the local economy and help to put the Midlands well and truly on the map.”

“Hull has had a great year this year as city of culture, Londonderry was the last city to host City of Culture, and both Glasgow and Liverpool have reaped the rewards from their Capital of Culture titles. But, the Midlands has never won before. Now is our time!

“I’m proud to be backing Coventry as the UK’s next City of Culture. Our city is great, now its time to make it official by crowing us City of Culture.”

Jim Cunningham MP tells Minister to bring City of Culture to the Midlands

Coventry South MP, Jim Cunningham, has written to Culture Minister, John Glen MP, asking him to bring the City of Culture title to the Midlands and to name Coventry as UK...

Jim_Offical_Photo_Small.jpgJim Cunningham, Coventry South’s representative in Westminster has taken the fight to protect Greenbelt in Coventry.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, Jim Cunningham MP said, Although we have consistently heard this (Conservative) Government say that they want to protect Greenbelt land for future generations, Government policy means Coventry City Council’s hands are tied, and they must develop on this land.

“There is an argument that Coventry City Council have used an incorrect formula, or have got the number of houses that needs to be built wrong, but if this were the case, the Government would not have approved this plan. Unless the Government is going around approving Local Plans that are indeed incorrect, in which case we have a very serious issue of a Government that is not fit to govern.

“We have a situation where developers are currently sitting on hundreds of thousands of plots with planning permission, the big four developers accounting for over 75% of those. I believe it is far more important to get developers building on sites they have permission for, rather than allocating yet more land to developers.”

Speaking after the debate Jim said,

“This Government are to blame for the loss of green belt in this city. They might try to pass blame onto the Council but the reality is, this is Government policy being forced on our city. It’s time we got a grip of the housing crisis in this country. Granting developers more planning permissions in the vain and misguided hope that this will mean the market reduces prices is frankly a huge gamble with housing for future generations.”

Coventry MP takes greenbelt fight to Westminster

Jim Cunningham, Coventry South’s representative in Westminster has taken the fight to protect Greenbelt in Coventry. Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, Jim Cunningham MP said, “Although we have consistently...

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Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham has called on the Government to lift the cap on housing benefits. Alongside 30 homeless charities including Shelter, faith leaders, MPs, and housing sector organisations, Jim has called for the government to abandon the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in order for low-income families to avoid homelessness.

LHA is the support that low-income families receive for private rented homes and it helps around 1.2 million households to keep a roof over their head. Since 2011, Conservative led governments have seen the amount of money people can access for housing costs decrease. Meanwhile whilst rents have continued to rise.

Coventry MP Calls for an end to the Housing Allowance freeze

Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham has called on the Government to lift the cap on housing benefits. Alongside 30 homeless charities including Shelter, faith leaders, MPs, and housing sector organisations,... Read more

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Cllr Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council's Cabinet Member for City Services, today visited Wolverhampton City Council's taxi bosseswith Coventry South's, Jim Cunningham MP.  The visit was organised by Jim Cunningham's office and was designed to tackle the problem of Uber Taxis working in Coventry, despite the company not being licensed in Coventry.

Jim Cunningham MP and Cllr Jayne Innes were accompanied by Unite Trade Union Official Alan Lewis.  They met with Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for City Environment Cllr Steve Evans, and Chair of Licensing Committee Cllr Alan Bolshaw.  Officers working in Wolverhampton's Taxi Licensing Office were also present.
Coventry South MP, Jim Cunningham said;
"The issue of UBER operating in our city has been raised with me time and time again. It's vital that our taxi drivers are not undercut and that the process they go through in terms of getting a license is not undermined by drivers being able to by-pass this process. 
"It was useful to hear about how Wolverhampton operate and I'm grateful to them for meeting with us. I'm delighted that working with the Council here in Coventry that some progress seems to be being made although it is actions not words that will make the difference."
Cabinet Member, Cllr Jayne Innes said:

"I think everyone in Coventry now knows that Uber is not licensed to operate taxis here in Coventry.  Here in Coventry we have black cabs, a gold standard delivering the very best taxi service for local people, in addition to being a powerful symbol of our nation.

"Here in Coventry we place tight rules and regulations on our taxi drivers.  We require them to have excellent local knowledge, good standards of English, to undergo disabilities and child sexual exploitation training, and to have their vehicles checked on a 6 monthly basis.  It goes without saying they also need to be DBS cleared.

"Our taxi licensing process is based on repeated face-to-face contact.  This is one of the ways we differ from Wolverhampton, where there is only the need for one face-to-face meeting between the Council and each driver.  In Wolverhampton most of the application process takes place online, and it is possible for a new taxi driver to be taking fares just 2 weeks after first accessing the website.

"I am fighting for safe professional taxis here in Coventry.  It is frustrating that taxi law has not kept pace with technological advances.  It is now possible for customers to use a phone app for taxi bookings, and this means taxi drivers can effectively adopt a 'flag of convenience' to operate outside the rules.  This places drivers who play by the rules at a disadvantage.

"I'm delighted Coventry MP Jim Cunningham is working hard on behalf of Coventry's taxi customers and taxi drivers to lobby Government to change the law. 

"The meeting was pretty frank at points, and lasted 2 hours.  Wolverhampton City Council admitted that they license 241 taxi drivers with addresses in Coventry.  And they acknowledge these drivers work in the Coventry area, and not Wolverhampton.

"As Wolverhampton is granting licenses to taxi drivers that it will be up to Coventry City Council to manage on a day-to-day basis, the fees paid by Coventry taxi drivers are essentially subsidising Wolverhampton's taxi office. 

"I explained this subsidy is not acceptable, and Wolverhampton City Council has agreed to provide enforcement of Wolverhampton-licensed taxis in Coventry.

"Wolverhampton City Council has also agreed to contact their Coventry-based taxi drivers with any messages Coventry City Council needs to communicate.  We need to issue messages to local drivers on a variety of occasions through the year, e.g. when there is a big event in the city, or when there are major road works.

"Wolverhampton Council has also agreed to ask Coventry-based applicants to consider choosing to license in Coventry instead" concluded Jayne.

Jim works with Council and UNITE to support local taxi drivers

Cllr Jayne Innes, Coventry City Council's Cabinet Member for City Services, today visited Wolverhampton City Council's taxi bosseswith Coventry South's, Jim Cunningham MP.  The visit was organised by Jim Cunningham's...

Picture1.pngJim Cunningham, Coventry South’s representative in Westminster has today called on the Government to scrap the public sector pay cap for NHS Workers.

Jim Cunningham MP said,

The Government’s public sector pay cap has been a disaster for the NHS. We are 10,000 GPs, 3,500 midwives and now 40,000 nurses short of the number we need.

“Today Labour are calling on the Government to scrap the cap and make sure our NHS staff get a fair days pay for the lifesaving care they provide to millions of people a week.

“The Government’s derisory offer to Police and Prison Officers yesterday just doesn’t cut it. Across the public sector we need to end austerity and ensure those people who protect us and save our lives, are paid enough money to live on so that the stories of nurses using foodbanks are a thing of the past.”

Coventry MP Calls for NHS Pay Rise

Jim Cunningham, Coventry South’s representative in Westminster has today called on the Government to scrap the public sector pay cap for NHS Workers. Jim Cunningham MP said, “The Government’s public...

coventry_branch.jpgCoventry businesses are being called on to provide an insight as to how migrant workers are feeling after the Brexit vote last June.

Companies across the city are being asked by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to their share views on the employment situation.

The Chamber is hearing anecdotally that many migrant workers are planning to leave the country or have already left since the vote last year and this could have a significant impact on employers.

The call was sent out during the quarterly meeting of the Coventry Branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, which was held at The Welcome Centre in Parkside.

Martyne Manning, senior policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber needs the help of businesses in Coventry to find out more about what is happening with migrant workers.

“We have heard of many leaving the country or planning to leave since the Brexit vote and we want to actually gauge what is happening out there.

“It seems that the reason could be because the pound is weak or that they are worried about what will happen once we leave the European Union.

“But if this is happening, it could have a massive impact on employment within the city and the wider Coventry and Warwickshire region. So we want to assess the situation now and be prepared to advise businesses appropriately.”

Coventry South MP, Jim Cunningham, attended the meeting and heard a range of issues raised by firms.

These included the lack of employment land and space for firms of all sizes and sectors and improving Coventry city centre to try to attract more visitors to the area.

Jim Cunningham said: “I always appreciate meeting the Chamber and its members as it lets me know exactly what businesses are thinking and feeling.

“It proved very interesting and the points raised are ones that seem to be arising more and more at this time.

“All of the businesses that attended the event are passionate about Coventry and making sure that it can be a thriving city.

“It is very much a case of if you go looking for doom, you will find doom. If you go looking for light, you will find light and I appreciated the fact that these members were looking at ways to boost Coventry and raise its profile, which was very encouraging.”

Businesses who would like to pass on any details about migrant workers can do so through the Chamber by emailing policy officer Martyne Manning at martynem@cw-chamber.co.uk

Jim meets with Coventry Chamber

Coventry businesses are being called on to provide an insight as to how migrant workers are feeling after the Brexit vote last June. Companies across the city are being asked...

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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...

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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 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... Read more

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...

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