Nic Dakin MP heard about the importance of talking buses at the Labour Party Conference this week.
He heard about the experiences of a guide dog owner who had missed their stop and been left stranded on a bus because they were unable to know where on the route they were.
Sadly, this is not an isolated experience: 7 in 10 passengers with sight loss have been forgotten on a bus. Talking buses, which are buses that provide “next stop” and “final destination” announcements, are essential for people with sight loss to live independently. Worryingly, only one fifth of the UK’s buses are talking, 97% of which are in London. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially dangerous.
The MP for Scunthorpe supports Guide Dogs’ proposal to make buses accessible for everyone and will be writing to the Transport Secretary urging him to put a requirement for talking buses in the Bus Services Bill, which is going through Parliament at the moment.
Labour politicians have already made an amendment to the Bill in the House of Lords to put in a requirement for talking buses, saying it is the ideal opportunity to make buses accessible.
Nic Dakin MP commented:
“I was shocked to learn when speaking with the charity Guide Dogs how often people are left on buses because they do not know where they are. The Bus Services Bill is the biggest reform of buses since the 1980s so it is a unique opportunity to make sure that blind people can use buses safely too.”
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:
“Talking buses give independence to people with sight loss, enabling them to travel on their own and reducing stress and anxiety. They also help other travellers including tourists and infrequent bus users to reach their destination safely.
“To ensure talking buses become the norm across the UK, we are asking politicians like Nic Dakin to use the Bus Services Bill to make sure all new buses are talking buses.”
Nic Dakin MP heard about the importance of talking buses at the Labour Party Conference this week. He heard about the experiences of a guide dog owner who had...
Nic Dakin has joined forces with some of the country’s biggest businesses in the fight against pregnancy and maternity discrimination that affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year, by forming a new alliance to show employers how to attract, develop and retain women at work.
Major household names including Barclays, Royal Mail and BT Group are leading a coalition of businesses in the initiative ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights’, aiming to inspire other organisations to follow their example by working to eradicate discrimination from their businesses and make the best use of their female workforce.
The high-profile founding members will encourage businesses in their supply chains to sign up to the coalition and pledge to make their workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and new mothers. The founders will share their knowledge, experience and good practice with businesses who sign up, as well as highlighting the economic benefits they get from retaining the talent and experience of their female employees.
The campaign also has the backing of influential business bodies such as the CBI, Institute of Directors (IOD), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
With over 15 million women active in the UK labour market at any time, women make up half of the UK workforce. However, research shows more than two million women who are not working want to work and over one and half million women in work would like to do more hours. According to the Government’s own statistics, women's participation in the labour market increased to roughly the same as men’s, it would add 10% to the size of the economy by 2030.
’Working Forward’, set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, follows its recent landmark research, carried out in conjunction with the former Department from Business, Innovation and Skills which highlighted that while the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, three in four (77%) mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.
David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said;
“I am delighted that Nic has pledged his support to encourage businesses in the Scunthorpe constituency to sign up to this initiative to commit to delivering equality and ensure working environments benefit everyone. We can no longer accept women being unfairly treated at work because they are pregnant or on maternity leave.
“Attracting, developing and retaining talent, regardless of gender, is absolutely critical for the UK economy and for our businesses. Companies that show a real commitment to this are not only doing the right thing but can also gain a competitive edge.
The founding members are all recognised for leading the way in attracting, developing and retaining women in their workforces by adopting positive practice and progressive maternity policies.
Nic Dakin has joined forces with some of the country’s biggest businesses in the fight against pregnancy and maternity discrimination that affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each...
Well we live in very interesting times! Whoever would have guessed that the most successful Conservative Party leader would be out of office and out of parliament less than 18 months after an historic general election victory?
England gave a very clear message by voting for Brexit. People in my constituency voted two to one to leave.
It was a wake up call to the political mainstream and the establishment to go back to basics; listen and respond to the people we represent.
In its simplicity the referendum decision was also deeply complex. When the prime minister says ‘Brexit means Brexit’ she allows everyone to believe it means whatever they want it to mean.
So my most vocal constituents are confident that it means ‘taking back control’ and doing something about immigration.
As an MP with a significant rural area it’s important I listen to the voice of farmers and the food industry. The NFU understandably want the best possible access to markets inside and outside the EU as well as steps to ensure that British farmers are able to access the labour they need.
Lincolnshire and Peterborough Federation of Small Businesses gave me a similar plea. They want to retain access to the single market and have ease of access to EU labour.
Both organisations also asked for some confidence about the future of EU funded schemes. Helpfully the government has now confirmed that EU schemes in place before the Autumn Statement will go ahead.
But the questions around future schemes, the single market and access to labour remain unanswered.
They are big and complex – they will take some time to unravel.
So are those great membership organisations in denial about what Brexit means as they try to reflect their members’ views and do their best by them?
I don’t detect from people in my area any buyer’s remorse in voting for Brexit.
Or a willingness to accept this is complicated and will need care to navigate.
On the contrary my sense is that the majority of voters are happy with their choice. They want to come out but they don’t want to lose out. And they have a big hearted English confidence.
They believe in our ability to rise to the challenge. It’s the Dunkirk spirit or Drake at Plymouth Ho.
It seems there’s something incredibly Churchillian about the English that means we are at our best when things look most challenging.
Strangely, despite deep scepticism about politicians in general, there is a confidence that the country will find the political leadership it needs to take us through the choppy waters we are now in. And we will be the better for it.
So that’s the challenge to the MPs of Lincolnshire and beyond.
Take back control but don’t damage our access to the single market or our access to the labour we need to run our businesses.
It’s our job to square the circle!
Well we live in very interesting times! Whoever would have guessed that the most successful Conservative Party leader would be out of office and out of parliament less than 18...
To help prevent breast cancer, we need to look after our environment. The number of people who are currently living with cancer is in the region of 2.5 million. It is predicted that by 2030 over four million of us will be living with the disease.
This is a truly alarming number. The cost to the NHS alone is enormous – let alone the broader less quantifiable costs to society. There is no doubt about it, we all need to do more to help prevent people from getting this disease in the first place.
So what can we do to reverse this trend?
The recent NHS Cancer strategy (Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2020) highlighted a number of priorities - including reducing the number of people who smoke, and a national action plan on obesity. These are all important and we think that by making these lifestyle changes a person can reduce the risk of getting breast cancer by around 30%.
According to the World Health Organisation, however, 19% of cancers worldwide could be attributable to our environments. Air pollution, in particular, exposes us to a wide range of carcinogenic and hazardous chemicals, and has been linked to respiratory infections, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Those who live in deprived communities suffer disproportionately from the poorest air quality.
It is obvious that our health and the health of our environment are closely linked. An unhealthy, polluted environment makes it harder for us to live healthy lives.
However, how we tackle pollution and make our environment cleaner and healthier is a complex problem that reaches across government departments and policy areas. It links policies on public health, the environment, energy, business and transport. It requires measures to tackle immediate threats, such as a ban on plastic microbeads, but also requires a longer term strategy, that shapes future policies in a range of areas to ensure that our future will be cleaner, greener, and healthier.
Despite the complexity, significant progress has been made on improving our environment in recent decades, and there are opportunities for further gains. On air pollution, for example, we need a new Clean Air Act, to improve our air quality and ensure we don’t slip backwards once we leave the European Union.
If we are going to tackle the rising incidence of breast cancer, we must not only encourage people to live healthy lives, but also to ensure that they are living in a healthy environment. That is why I am supporting Breast Cancer UK’s breast cancer prevention week.
To help prevent breast cancer, we need to look after our environment. The number of people who are currently living with cancer is in the region of 2.5 million. It...
Two years after the first ever parliamentary debate on pancreatic cancer, Scunthorpe County MP Nic Dakin is still working to improve the lives of people with the disease, which 781 people in Yorkshire and the Humber are diagnosed with each year.
After losing her husband to pancreatic cancer, September 2014 saw local Scunthorpe resident Maggie Watts submit a petition calling for better awareness, swifter diagnosis and more research funding for pancreatic cancer, which achieved more than 106,000 signatures.
The petition led to the first ever debate about pancreatic cancer in parliament, which was co-sponsored by Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pancreatic Cancer and local MP, Nic Dakin.
Two years on the APPG, spearheaded by Chair Nic Dakin, continues to work tirelessly to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer. Since its formation in 2012, the APPG has published two reports setting out a series of recommendations aiming to keep pancreatic cancer high on the political agenda and to influence policy to improve the lives of patients.
The most notable of the recommendations implemented so far has been the development of a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline and Quality Standard of pancreatic cancer care by medical professionals. The guideline will positively impact on patient experience and treatment and set a standard that anyone with pancreatic cancer should be able to expect, it is expected to be published in January 2018.
The APPG has also recommended that there is still a need for a significant increase in research funding for pancreatic cancer. While funding levels have increased from £7 million in 2014 to £10 million in 2016, only 1.4% of total cancer research spend is dedicated to the disease.
Nic Dakin said that while he has seen an improvement in the awareness and recognition of pancreatic cancer in the past two years, there is still plenty that needs to be achieved.
“Pancreatic cancer survival rates have barely improved for the past 40 years, with only a shocking five per cent of patients living for five years or more after diagnosis. For the 781 Yorkshire and the Humber residents who are diagnosed with the disease each year, we need to continue campaigning for better access to treatment, support and an increased investment in research. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far, but remain determined to continue working to make a real difference to people with pancreatic cancer and their families.” Mr Dakin said.
Head of Policy and Campaigns at Pancreatic Cancer UK, Preth Rao, said the determined campaigning of the APPG has been crucial to ensure pancreatic cancer remained on the political agenda and in the forefront of people’s minds.
“Pancreatic cancer is tough to diagnose, treat, research and survive, but we are taking it on by campaigning for change; for better care, treatment and research. The involvement of the APPG has been paramount in helping us to be a voice for everyone affected by this dreadful disease. It’s only by bringing together MPs, people with the disease and their families, researchers, and healthcare professionals across the UK that we can truly on this disease.” Ms Rao said.
Nic Dakin attended the most recent APPG meeting took place on September 14 and focused on pancreatic cancer treatments.
Two years after the first ever parliamentary debate on pancreatic cancer, Scunthorpe County MP Nic Dakin is still working to improve the lives of people with the disease, which 781...