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Funding cuts have forced Citizens Advice York to halve the number of days that it is able to offer help to people in our city, from four days a...

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York Labour Party is calling for an immediate end to fracking in York. Fracking is not safe, not economically viable, and not wanted near York homes. It industrialises rural areas,...

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Labour’s recently elected councillor for Micklegate ward, Jonny Crawshaw, has scooped a national award for his campaigning work on education.

The National Union of Teachers Award recognises the efforts of those outside the trade union who’ve campaigned tirelessly on education issues. 
 
Launched in 2008, the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award has been previously awarded to journalists Fiona Millar and Melissa Benn, for championing the benefits of state comprehensive schooling, to Michael Rosen, the respected award winning children’s author, for his work on education campaigning and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls education campaigner who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012.
 
Jonny Crawshaw was added to this illustrious list for his work in campaigning for children’s right to a decent education over a number of years. 
 
Jonny is a founder member and spokesperson for the national parent-led organisation ‘Rescue Our Schools’ and has spoken on behalf of children and teachers at events both locally and nationally. He says he fundamentally believes in the ability of properly resourced comprehensive schools to deliver the best possible education for all, rather than the increasingly fragmented, competition-led system that has developed in recent years.
 
Jonny comments:
 
'This is huge honour and I’m very grateful to the NUT here in York for nominating me for this prestigious award. To follow some of the names previously given the award is very humbling. 
 
“The last couple of years have seen grassroots campaigns spring up both here in York and all across the country as parents see the changes happening in the education system. Groups such as Rescue Our Schools have highlighted the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, the real-terms funding cuts and the flawed logic of the current testing regime, which benefits neither pupils nor teachers and in some cases just makes them unwell. 
 
'Education should be broad ranging, stimulating and fulfilling but sadly schools are being pushed away from providing this breadth of experience due to an obsession with increasingly narrow measures of success and less and less support being made available. Successive Education ministers having lost sight of what a real education looks like but parent-led groups like Rescue Our Schools and the More Than A Score coalition are challenging the conventional wisdom and fighting back'.
 
Jonny’s involvement locally for Rescue our Schools includes the first ‘Keeping Schools Creative’ campaign and the more recent ‘More Than a Score Yorkshire’ event.
 
He also helped to ensure the national funding of schools became a key election issue after coming up with the Twitter hashtag #schoolsjustwannahavefunds.  The problem of insufficient funding of schools was seen as one of the reasons people turned away from the Conservatives in last month’s General Election.
 
Jonny picked up the national award from NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney in London yesterday, before a swift turnaround to attend his first Full Council meeting as a Labour councillor in York last night.
 
Labour Group Leader, Coun. Janet Looker said:
 
'We’re extremely fortunate to have Jonny become part of York Labour Group and it’s little wonder with the work he’s been doing on education in Micklegate ward, that he was elected with such a strong majority.  We congratulate him on a well deserved award'.

York Labour councillor picks up national award

Labour’s recently elected councillor for Micklegate ward, Jonny Crawshaw, has scooped a national award for his campaigning work on education.

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Labour plans to see the council support Citizens Advice York (CAY) to return from two to four days of advice sessions are gaining support through an online petition, as councillors prepare to debate a motion on the same issue tomorrow (20th).

Labour says the rollout of Universal Credit in York, judged by the rollout elsewhere, means demand will increase on top of significant existing unmet demand for Citizens Advice York’s services.

CAY reduced its advice sessions from four to two days in April following a loss of project funding from external sources. But even with two advice sessions still running, CAY says that it has to close sessions 3 hours early due to being unable to meet the level of demand for its services.

Labour’s Deputy Leader, Coun. Stuart Barnes, who will propose Labour’s motion to council this Thursday, says the switch to Universal Credit will only increase the need for advice. He said:

'Labour will propose a motion that calls on the Conservative-Lib Dem Council to provide extra, temporary financial assistance to CAY so that it can support those residents moving from certain benefits onto Universal Credit. We encourage people to sign our petition to send a strong message to the council that Citizen’s Advice sessions are highly valued and desperately needed.

'The experience elsewhere means we know the move to UC is going to cause problems for those residents who receive it, whether that be waiting up to 12 weeks for their first payment or the seven days at the start of a claim where recipients receive no benefit. These things are incredibly tough for people who often don’t have the financial flexibility to wait.

'We want to see the council recognise this problem and step up its support to CAY to enable it to return to four days of advice sessions, which are so badly needed at this critical time for those moving to UC'.

Nationally, Citizens Advice has 23,000 volunteers donating £114m worth of hours, helping to solve 2 out of every 3 problems discussed with them. For every £1 spent, clients benefit to the tune of £11, according to a national Citizens Advice impact report (attached).

Labour’s housing spokesperson, Coun. Fiona Derbyshire, will second Labour’s motion. She said the move to UC was leading to rent arrears in other parts of the country, and that providing timely advice, as well as an ‘early warning system’ to signpost tenants in arrears, could reduce the negative impact of UC’s implementation. She comments:

'Rent arrears are increasing nationally as a result of the rollout of UC so we are proposing measures that will help before the situation gets critical and tenants are at risk of eviction. There is clearly a financial incentive for the council to ensure this national trend isn’t repeated in York, and a contribution to CAY could be minimal relative to the collection of rents it supports. It’s important tenants struggling are supported and that efforts are made to prevent rent collection rates continuing to fall, as they have been doing in recent years here in York'.

Labour’s motion also proposes making the York Financial Assistance Scheme – for those in desperate financial circumstances - more visible and accessible through online applications, with advocacy groups being able to make applications on others’ behalves.

Download Citizens Advice Impact report here

Download Citizens Advice York Statitistics 2016-17 here 

Sign our petition here

Labour presses for return of advice sessions

Labour plans to see the council support Citizens Advice York (CAY) to return from two to four days of advice sessions are gaining support through an online petition, as councillors...

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Rachael Maskell MP for York Central was named as the ‘Best Parliamentary Species Champion’ due to the work she has done to promote York’s unique Tansy Beetle, the species allocated to her by Buglife, the charity devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates.

Not only is the Tansy Beetle - an iridescent green beetle that lives on the Tansy Plant along the River Ouse in and around York - a beautiful species in itself, but it also highlights why conservation of our natural habitat is so important. The beetle population grew to 40,000 last year, having survived the winter floods, and Rawcliffe Pond off Rawcliffe Meadows is a great location to spot one.

Rachael has spent time at the University of York learning more about the species and has used Parliament to raise its importance. The coalition of partners involved in the Species Champion scheme are using this project to promote the importance of our natural world, but also to highlight how species are sensitive indicators as to what is happening to our climate and environment, issues very important to Rachael Maskell MP.

Rachael Maskell MP says:

“It is a huge honour to have been named as Parliament’s Species Champion, who has done the most to champion their species. I have really enjoyed getting acquainted with the Tansy Beetle, and learning so much about it, as well as using this as a means of promoting York’s natural assets and speaking up for the city in Parliament.

“The reason I became involved in this project, is from a lifelong love of nature, and the miraculous wonders it unfolds. I want all children and adults to take a little time to explore the beautiful species which are on their doorstep, whether plants or animals, or little beetles, and learn through this experience about their responsibility to our natural heritage and why it is so important to act now against the causes of climate change.

“As I continue to follow the developments of the Tansy Beetle, I will also look for more opportunities for people across the city to access natural habitats.”

RACHAEL MASKELL MP – PARLIAMENT’S BEST SPECIES CHAMPION

Rachael Maskell MP for York Central was named as the ‘Best Parliamentary Species Champion’ due to the work she has done to promote York’s unique Tansy Beetle, the species allocated...

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