Category Archives: Constituency news
Immediate Release – News from Liam Byrne MP – 24/11/2015
Byrne highlights how Britain’s drinking hotspots are getting worse
Liam Byrne MP has released new House of Commons Library figures which reveal how alcohol related A&E admissions are soaring across two thirds of England.
The figures reveal the number of alcohol related A&E admissions rose in 225 local authorities across England between 2009-10 and 2013-14.
Commenting on the figures Liam Byrne said:
“These figures show that the problem of alcohol abuse is getting worse and worse. Behind these figures are tens of thousands of children struggling to cope and feeling very alone. That’s why I have launched my campaign today to say that the Government can and must do more to support them.”
Byrne has released these figures as he launches a major campaign in Parliament to secure more support for Britain’s 2.6 million innocent victims of booze.
For the first time in public, the Hodge Hill MP has been telling the story of growing up and helping support his father – who inspired him into politics – but who battled alcohol for the last thirty years.
Byrne has teamed up with the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), and a host of alcohol campaigning charities to demand a major Government programme to support the one in five of Britain’s children who live with a hazardous drinker.
Byrne’s campaign has three key demands for the Government:
1. Concrete steps to identify Britain’s children of alcoholics to ensure they know they are not alone, that their parents’ drinking is not their fault – and that help, like NACOA’s helpline, is available
2. A major public information campaign aimed at heavy drinking parents, designed to let them know the damage they are doing to their children – with advice on how to get help
3. New investment in treatment services, so when parents seek help, help is on hand
1. You can read about Liam’s personal story and the campaign in his piece in today’s Daily Mirror here.
2. The Telegraph also covered today’s debate here
3. As part of his campaign Liam is highlighting the work of the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) and their excellent helpline. You can find more details on NACOA’s website and the helpline for children of alcoholics.
4. Please find attached figures showing the change in alcohol related A&E admissions in all 326 local authorities in England between 2009-10 and 2013-14.
5. In today’s debate in Parliament Byrne highlighted:
- Harm from alcohol now costs Britain £21 billion a year – and is now the third biggest public health risk after obesity and smoking, with a million A&E admissions for alcohol problems each year.
- 2.6 million children – one in five – now live with a hazardous drinker – including 705,000 who live with a dependent drinker – and suffer from a range of mental health problems.
- Children of alcoholics are five times more likely than others to develop eating disorders – and three times more likely to consider suicide. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of child protection cases – and 74% of child mistreatment cases.
- Crucially, children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Indeed, just under half of children of alcoholics become alcoholics themselves – that could mean hundreds of thousands of today’s children of alcoholics – becoming alcoholics themselves tomorrow.
- Byrne will point out that the Coalition Government’s Alcohol strategy, published in 2012, failed to mention children.
You will have seen the news that the West Midlands Combined Authority has announced it’s deal with the Government to see more powers and funding brought to our region.
You can read the Birmingham Post coverage of the news by clicking here:
I have today released a statement on behalf of myself and a number of other Birmingham Labour MPs. You can read our statement below:
“We want to congratulate our Council leaders who have fought hard and won big – in fact they’ve won the biggest devolution deal in England.
We will never cease campaigning to stop this Government short-changing us on Council, Police and Fire Service budgets – but we welcome our Council leaders taking a hard-headed view about what is best for the West Midlands.
We believe it would be have been much better if the Government let the region work out its own plans for governance – but we know our Council leaders, ultimately had no choice about accepting a Metro-Mayor in order to get the best deal for residents.
This is a good step forward but it cannot only be the first step. It finally puts powers and money in the hands of local people and local Councillors who know what our communities need far better than faceless officials in Whitehall. It finally gives us the chance to rebuild the West Midlands as the workshop of the world.”
Statement coordinated by Liam Byrne MP on behalf of:
Richard Burden MP
Jack Dromey MP
Roger Godsiff MP
Jess Phillips MP
Khalid Mahmood MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
Gisela Stuart MP
I thought I would share with you all some figures I recently received from the House of Commons Library.
The total number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency in October 2015 was 3,921.
This represents a rate of 8.7% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 4th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.) The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.4%.
This includes 3,274 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and 647 people who were claiming Universal Credit but were not in employment. Some of these Universal Credit claimants may no longer be seeking work.
The total number of claimants (both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit) is 821 lower than in October 2014 and 52 lower than in September 2015.
Meanwhile there were 1020 claimants aged 18-24 in Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency in October 2015, 255 lower than in October 2014. (Figures for 18-24 year olds are rounded to the nearest 5.)
These data are not seasonally adjusted.
All the best
Three of our secondary schools in Hodge Hill (Saltley, International and Rockwood), have all appointed new Head Teachers over the last few months.
Over the last fortnight it’s been a pleasure to drop by and meet them all – to ask what I can do to help them succeed.
Our teachers and pupils are working incredibly hard but I’m determined that we have the best school results that we can get.
I’m delighted that our new Head Teachers share this ambition and I will continue to do all I can to support them.
All the best,
Here’s a report back from our summit with the Coronor, and senior officials from the city council, the registrars and Heartlands hospital:
First of all it’s clear that the Coronor and others are fighting to provide the absolute best service they can. They care. They’re compassionate. And they want to be the best. But what’s also clear is this: everyone is frustrated with some big problems – and things need to change!
Crucially – the Coronor’s office is dealing with a 15% increase in requests for inquests (that’s 5,000 people this year) – but is taking huge cuts to it’s budget – with more cuts to come. Our challenge is that in Birmingham we have lots of specialist medical services which means that our hospitals take care of people from all over the country. In addition our registrars are having to register births from a very wide area around Birmingham – but don’t get any extra money to help provide this service. For instance 30% of birth registrations are for children born outside the city.
Here’s the summary of the problems we’ve uncovered – we’ll post our action plan once we’ve had a chance to regroup and discuss next steps. It’s important we get this right.
1. Costs of burials. We had a long debate about the unacceptable cost of burials in the city. We were told that money needed to be raised to help fund the new cemetery at Sutton New Hall. But it is also very expensive for families to buy concrete chambers for their loved ones graves. This is because the approved contractor for providing the services charges a great deal of money. We will have to thrash out with Birmingham city council the options for reducing these costs dramatically.
2. Scanners for post mortems. There is a scanner service available at Sandwell (which costs £600) and while this does not speed up the process it does mean that an invasive post-mortem is not needed. The problem with the Sandwell service is that it does not include angiography. This is often required in post-mortems. The only service like this nearby is in Oxford. So we will have to explore with the health service how we could get a service like this put in place in Birmingham.
3. Weekend registration service. There is a limited Coronors service at the weekend – but not really a weekend registration service. There is a solution which the Coronors and registrars are exploring – and we need to speed this up and campaign for the money to be put in place to deliver it.
4. Lack of doctors availability at weekends. Signing a death certificate often needs a discussion with the doctor who last saw the patient. But the relevant doctor is often not on shift at the weekend. There is a solution possible: the Medical Examiner Scheme – but again this needs new money – so we’ve asked how quickly this could be set up – and what resources it would take.
5. GPs. There appear to be innocent mistakes being made by GPS when certifying tests and this often causes delays. We will have to work with GPs from across the city to work out how we can get rid of this kind of error. It will probably require a lot more training.
The final point we discussed is how we put in place a community representative matches I have in Leicester to speed up discussion between people in the city and the corners and registrar service. In conclusion we were impressed with the ambition of the coroner and the registrars to provide the absolute best services in Britain. As MPs we now committed to helping change the system so the team can deliver the world class service we all want.
This Sunday will be Remembrance Sunday, a chance for our nation to pause and remember the sacrifices made by our brave Service men and women. I will be attending the Remembrance Service Church Service, March and Cenotaph Service at All Saints Church in Shard End. The full details are below.
- 10:45am Sunday 8th November
- Remembrance Service at the church with members of the local Royal British legion and uniformed organisations. After the service, parade and march to the British Legion (Hurst Lane) for Cenotaph Service.
- All Saints Church, Ownall Road, Shard End, West Midlands, B34 7AJ
We all owe our brave Service men and women a great debt of gratitude and Remembrance Sunday is an important opportunity to reflect upon their sacrifice. We have a duty to honour their memory by making sure our children, and our children’s children, understand the depth of sacrifice that has been made to preserve and defend our British values and way of life.
I do hope you can join me on Sunday morning.
With all best wishes
I thought you might be interested to see the Birmingham Mail’s coverage of today’s summit to end the scandal of second class burial services in the city. You can read their article below and here.
Families turn to pay day loan companies to meet funeral bills of £6,000
Grieving families are having to turn to crowdfunding or even pay day loan companies to pay for crippling funeral costs of up to £6,000, it has emerged.
A Birmingham MP has called a summit of health and council bosses to address the ‘scandal’ of spiralling burial delays and charges.
Meanwhile some Muslim families are being left in serious distress as delays in releasing their loved ones bodies mean that they are unable to have a funeral within 24 hours in line with Islamic tradition.
Founder of crowdfunding site Flendr, Sue Welland told the Mail that desperate families are sometimes turning to payday loans to pay for funerals, which have hiked in price by 80 per cent in the last decade.
Sue said: “A death in the family is not only distressing and a shock, but suddenly there is the funeral to pay for and costs have gone up by 80 per cent since 2004.
“You don’t want to scrimp at a time like that, but where does the money come from? No-one should be thinking of PayDay lenders.”
Liam Byrne (Lab) MP has called the situation ‘unacceptable’, and will join fellow MPs Shabana Mahmood and Khalid Mahmood, local Councillor Ansar Ali Khan, and Birmingham’s Senior Coroner Louise Hunt at the summit, after thousands of local residents signed petitions on the issue.
“The death of a loved one is one of life’s most distressing experiences,” said the Hodge Hill MP.
“It is simply unacceptable that, whilst grieving, my constituents have to endure second class funeral services.
“I am regularly contacted by distressed residents who wait days on end for the coroner’s office to release the body of their loved ones.
“This cannot be allowed to continue. At the summit I will be taking the problem to the city’s council and health chiefs to get this situation resolved.
“My constituents must have 24-7 access to coroners who can certify and register deaths quickly and we need an urgent review into the spiraling cost of burial services. We will not settle for second best.”
At tomorrow’s summit Byrne will urge the Council and local NHS to radically improve burial services in Birmingham.
He will demand 24/7 access to coroners and health professionals who can certify and register deaths, as well as round-the-clock access to MRI scanners to speed up post mortem procedures where necessary and a review of rising burial costs in Birmingham with a view to reducing charges.
Cllr Ansar Ali Khan added: “This is an issue which has affected me personally in recent months.
“While a family is in mourning these kind of delays are unacceptable. I know of community members having to rely on the charity of strangers to meet the soaring costs of burial services.
“We must have access to MRI scanners to speed up the process and a review into burial service costs.”
**Immediate Release** 05/11/2015
Byrne holds summit to demand first class burial services for deceased loved ones
Liam Byrne MP will tomorrow host a summit of Birmingham’s senior coroner, health and council chiefs designed to end the scandal of second class burial services.
Byrne will be joined by fellow Birmingham MPs, Shabana Mahmood and Khalid Mahmood, local Councillor Ansar Ali Khan, Birmingham’s Senior Coroner Louise Hunt as well as other key figures from the health service and Birmingham City Council.
The current service too often suffers delays which leave Muslim residents unable to bury their loved ones for days on end – in contravention of the Islamic custom of burial within 24 hours. Meanwhile costs have soared; with some burials in Birmingham’s Handsworth Cemetery now costing near to £6,000.
The summit follows two petitions on the issue; one signed by 1,572 Birmingham residents which was presented to Parliament by Mr Byrne on the 16th September and a second petition signed by over 5,000 residents which was handed in to Birmingham City Council on the 27th October by Cllr Mariam Khan.
At tomorrow’s summit Byrne will urge the Council and local NHS to radically improve burial services in Birmingham. He will demand 24/7 access to coroners and health professionals who can certify and register deaths, as well as round-the-clock access to MRI scanners to speed up post mortem procedures where necessary and a review of rising burial costs in Birmingham with a view to reducing charges.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Liam Byrne said:
“The death of a loved one is one of life’s most distressing experiences. It is simply unacceptable that, whilst grieving, my constituents have to endure second class funeral services. I am regularly contacted by distressed residents who wait days on end for the coroner’s office to release the body of their loved ones. This cannot be allowed to continue. At tomorrow’s summit I will be taking the problem to the city’s council and health chiefs to get this situation resolved. My constituents must have 24/7 access to coroners who can certify and register deaths quickly and we need an urgent review into the spiralling cost of burial services. We will not settle for second best.”
Cllr Ansar Ali Khan added:
“This is an issue which has affected me personally in recent months. While a family is in mourning these kind of delays are unacceptable. I know of community members having to rely on the charity of strangers to meet the soaring costs of burial services. We must have access to MRI scanners to speed up the process and a review into burial service costs.”
Yesterday I sent a letter signed by 19 West Midlands MPs from across the political spectrum to Lord O’Neill, the Commerical Secretary to the Treasury, outlining the strong cross-party support for the negotiation of a significant devolution deal for the West Midlands.
You can read a copy of the letter by clicking on the image below:
Today I tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament calling on the Government to include compassion on it’s list of ‘fundamental British Values’.
‘That this house notes the list of British values published in the Prevent Strategy 2011 includes democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs; believes that ‘compassion’ is a fundamental British value which our government should affirm and our schools seek to actively promote; and calls for the Government to add ‘compassion’ to the official definition of British values.’
Speaking after tabling the EDM Liam Byrne MP said:
‘In multi-cultural Birmingham, people hold the same values dear as the rest of the country; freedom, equality, diversity ‘tolerance’, and ‘respect’.
‘But all my research tells me, the government is missing something fundamental from the list: good old fashioned British compassion.
‘In our surveys on ‘British’ values, kindness, compassion, ‘looking after the needy’ – and indeed looking after one another – is something people think makes our country special.
‘It’s why in poll after poll on our favourite institutions, up there with the Queen and our magnificent armed forces is the amazing NHS. It’s compassion in action’.