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Slough’s Fiona Mactaggart supports apprenticeships at Heathrow

Fiona showed her support for Heathrow’s apprenticeship scheme at a parliamentary event in Westminster.

The Heathrow Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme and The Heathrow Academy have placed thousands of people into apprenticeships, and have invested more than £4 million in the growth of the Academy. The Government’s decision to expand Heathrow will see the number of apprenticeships double to 10,000 and Slough council’s support for expansion will be rewarded by guaranteeing a minimum number of opportunities for local people.

Fiona said “This is an exciting time for Heathrow. The third runway will open up new jobs, new opportunities and more money for Slough and the UK. I enjoyed meeting apprentices who are learning, earning and building a career at one of the largest employers in this area.”

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Fiona Mactaggart stands up for schools in Slough

Fiona Mactaggart MP warned in parliament that schools in Slough have already experienced funding cuts, and every single local school faces additional significant cuts to funding under the Government’s proposed National Funding Formula (NFF).

The Government’s so-called “fair funding” proposals transfer funding away from schools in slough to other parts of the country.  On top of this, the Government’s policy of freezing overall funding per pupil and requiring schools to pay increased costs for employees’ pensions and National Insurance as well as contributing to an apprenticeship levy will impose further cuts in schools.  Figures published by the NUT nationally show the massive extent of the losses facing schools as a result of the new funding formula and the overall funding freeze.

Fiona said “At the general election, this government promised schools would see an increase in amount of money given per pupil. They are now breaking that promise. Schools in Slough have already seen spending cuts and are set to see even more in the future. Yesterday the government minister did not even answer my request for a formula for every pupil, not just the ones who arrive before the budget is announced.”

Reallocating inadequate levels of overall funding will not address the funding crisis in education.  Cutting funding to local schools will make matters locally even worse.

Fiona Mactaggart launches Slough Women's Network

Fiona has helped to set up 'Slough's Women Network' a space for women in Slough to support each other and build resilience to challenges they may face in their lives.

There are two meetings each month when there will be talks on a variety of subjects as well as a professional available from a local service who can give advice and guidance and sign-post to relevant help. 

For more information please visit here

These meetings provide opportunity for women to meet other women for friendship, comfort and alliance and if you know of any women who might benefit, please tell them about the group and the meetings (first Wednesday lunch time and first Thursday evening of each month).

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Fiona goes sober for October

Fiona Mactaggart has signed up to a fundraising campaign organised by Macmillan Cancer Support.  The charity is calling for ‘Soberheroes’ to take part in their campaign for ‘Go Sober for October’, the funds raised will go towards Macmillan Cancer Support’s work helping change lives of cancer patients

 Fiona said ‘As a Cancer survivor, I want to support Macmillan Cancer with this campaign.  I am proud that I have already almost met my initial target of £1000, from on and offline donations.  I have decided to aim higher and try to raise £3100, one hundred pounds for every day of the month.

 I don’t usually go in for sponsored events, but this campaign does more than raise money for Macmillan and the great work they do, it is also an opportunity to highlight how drinking alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, especially mouth, throat, bowel and breast cancer.

 I had ovarian cancer 10 years ago, but I recovered and am now completely well, but I know how scary and painful this illness can be. I want to reap the health benefits of going sober for 31 days. I hope people in Slough will support me, perhaps sponsoring me at http://www.gosober.org.uk/users/fiona-mactaggart or joining in.  I am told participants are likely to experience increased energy, improved liver function and lower blood pressure, as well as less risk of developing diabetes – which is widespread in Slough.

Let Slough be Slough Says local MP slating boundary changes that seek to put Chalvey into Windsor

 

Slough’s Member of Parliament, Fiona Mactaggart, has today criticised Boundary Commission proposals that seek to move the Chalvey neighbourhood of central Slough into the Windsor Parliamentary constituency for the next General Election.

The Boundary Commission for England today published its first proposals to reduce the number of Parliamentary seats from 650 to 600, and to make all constituencies broadly the same size.

Although the existing Slough constituency is the correct size for the Commission’s criteria, it is at the upper end of tolerance, and because Windsor constituency is currently too small the Commission is proposing putting the whole of Chalvey ward into Windsor constituency to make Windsor bigger.

Responding to the proposals, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart said:

 

“This is an offensive plan which is an assault on the town I am proud to represent. This proposal is a careless ‘fix’ for a Windsor problem that damages the integrity of Slough and will almost certainly leave Chalvey residents with a parliamentary representative lacking a clear understanding of their needs and local issues.

 I say to the commission let Slough be Slough and don't force a centre of town ward which includes our town hall and part of Slough high street to be represented by a Windsor MP

There are other ways to increase the size of Windsor constituency that do not take a bite out of central Slough and remove one of the oldest parts of the settlement of Slough to group it with a neighbouring town. Slough constituency is already the correct size proposed for a 600-seat parliament on its existing boundaries, and this proposal disrespects our town’s integrity to solve a problem in Windsor.

I will be writing to the Boundary Commission to object to this proposal and suggest workable alternative plans. I would urge Chalvey residents to make representations to the Commission expressing their concern as well.

Anyone wishing to see the Commission’s proposals, that have been published today, can do so at:http://boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/2018-review/ and anyone wishing to oppose this proposition and express their concern should email my office at Fiona.Mactaggart@gmail.com so I can send them further information to help them make representations to the Parliamentary Boundary Commission.”    

Slough MP and head teachers Press Minister on teacher recruitment

Fiona Mactaggart led a delegation of head teachers from Slough schools to press the Minister of State for Education to help schools in Slough to recruit and train the teachers we need to give every child the best chance of learning. While the minister resisted requests to give Slough schools the same resources as similar schools just a short distance away who pay London weighting. He did agree to consider ways to help Slough schools to train teachers in subjects where there is a local shortage of qualified teachers and to discuss with the home office removing some of the barriers to recruiting teachers from places like Canada.  The delegation presented a number of practical ideas to help them recruit and retain well trained teachers.

Fiona said "We have great schools in Slough they work well together but good learning depends on great teachers, at the moment with rocketing house prices and competition from London boroughs who pay more, schools are struggling. The minister spent time listening to the challenges faced by Slough schools I look forward to his response which I hope will help our schools tackle this difficult problem.

Fiona Welcomes HMRC U turn on tax credits

Just hours after Slough’s MP Fiona Mactaggart successfully persuaded the House of Commons business committee to table a debate on the performance of Concentrix, (the company which has been employed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check tax credits entitlement) their contract was ended.

Fiona Mactaggart said “I called for a debate because this company has bullied people who depend on tax credits, they target single mothers many of whom have had their tax credits stopped without notice.  The company has been paid by results, which means they have a financial incentive to stop payments; their decisions are frequently made on the basis of wrong information; people who depend on tax credits to make ends meet are left without funds for weeks while the error gets corrected.  I was especially worried about people who may not know that if they contact an MP or advice centre wrong decisions can be overturned. HMRC have at last realised that the way the company were pursuing people was inefficient and unfair and have made a U turn… I am glad that pressure from me and other MPs has led the tax authorities to rethink their approach”

HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jon Thompson, said:

We want to reassure customers who have had their tax credits stopped that we will prioritise their cases, and make sure that they are processed as quickly as possible.

“While it’s right that we ensure that tax credits customers only receive the money to which they’re entitled, it is vital that those customers have a high level of service.

“That’s why we have decided not to extend our contract with Concentrix and HMRC is redeploying 150 staff so that customers can get through to advisers and resolve any issues about their claim.”

Fiona Comments– Jo Cox

“Jo Cox showed that politics can be a force for good.  She defended her constituents in Batley and Spen as fiercely as she defended the refugees fleeing war and terror in Syria, she got results...

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