PRESS-RELEASEV2

Greater emphasis needed on academic standards

A study showing that 90% of secondary schools in Redcar and Cleveland have worse than expected progress scores demonstrates the need for greater emphasis on academic standards, said local MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

The findings have emerged through new ‘Progress 8’ statistics following the 2016 GCSE results. Progress 8 is a measure of average pupil progress in attainment in eight subjects.

“It is, of course, disappointing to see that Redcar and Cleveland have scored so badly but teachers across Teesside tell me that they have to focus too much on paperwork,” said Mr Arnott, a former teacher.

“Many are working as much as 60 hours a week to make sure they get their paperwork right, but they feel the additional time spent on paperwork isn’t actually benefiting the education of the pupils they teach. Every parent wants their child to do well and so do the teachers, otherwise they would not have entered the profession, but they are under tremendous pressure in completely wrong directions.

“Government reforms keep moving the goalposts and making it harder for teachers to give their pupils the best possible education they can. The reality is that schools are terrified of what Ofsted is going to do. They concentrate on getting the paperwork immaculate to prepare for inspections, but those inspections should actually be concentrating primarily on how well pupils are progressing.”

Mr. Arnott’s comments on teacher workload echo those of the National Union of Teachers, whose ‘eight steps’ programme provides suggestions for reducing unnecessary paperwork.

“This data in the annual school performance league tables for secondary schools will serve as a wake-up call for schools deemed to have made insufficient progress. But it should also be a wake-up call for the government to make sure that they get the emphasis right in teaching standards and ensure sufficient funds are put in, particularly in working class areas.

“Teachers across Redcar and Cleveland work incredibly hard to do the best they possibly can for pupils. We should praise the work that they do, but also trust them as the professionals they are and provide them with the tools they need to get on and do the job”, said Mr Arnott.

PRESS-RELEASEV2

Drug companies fines should go to NHS

Local MEP Jonathan Arnott is urging the government to divert the £89.4 million fines levied for drug overcharging from the Treasury to the health service.

“Considering the financial constraints facing the NHS in in the North East, as well as the rest of the country, I think it would be an appropriate use of the fines to provide more doctors and nurses, extra training places or keep under-threat units open,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of the Competition and Markets Authority fining drug giant Pfizer £84.2 million for over-charging the NHS for an epilepsy drug and fining drug distributor Flyn Pharma £5.2 million for the 2,600% overnight price increase for the drug in 2012.

“I appreciate that the companies intend to appeal the CMA’s decision but if it is upheld or even if smaller fines imposed I think the money should go to the NHS,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.

“If this money goes, as planned to the Treasury, I fear it will just disappear and the public will not feel any tangible benefit from what it is really an unexpected windfall.

“Every day we read more horror stories about patients, including particularly vulnerable pensioners, lying on trollies in hospital corridors or ambulances lining up outside with no available beds for those they have brought for urgent treatment so also wasting paramedic resources.

“Given the overall picture of lack of funds in the NHS these fines are really a drop in the ocean but they would help and I have no doubt at all that my North East constituents would far rather it went there than anywhere else,” he added.

Figures show government failure over immigration

Latest figures showing that net migration has remained near record levels  shows the government has failed miserably in its promises to cut immigration, said local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

“These figures reveal that net migration at 335,000 was the second highest number on record and the number of EU citizens coming to live in the country at 284,000 is a record,” he said.

“The EU accounts for only 6% of the world’s population, yet almost half of all immigration to the UK. Everything UKIP has said on immigration is coming true, yet still some people try to maintain the fiction that we can control immigration without leaving the EU,” said Mr Arnott.

“The overall figures mean a city the size of Newcastle-on-Tyne being added to our population from net immigration alone each year – which puts increasing pressure of our already struggling NHS, education system, housing and infrastructure.

“We have voted to leave the EU and the fact that so many of those moving here are from that bloc shows that Brexit should be fast-tracked not delayed at every twist and turn,” said Mr Arnott.

PRESS-RELEASE

Brexit vote having positive impact on the North East

Figures showing a staggering 20,000 drop in the North East unemployment rate, with just 79,000 now out of work, demonstrates that the Brexit vote is already having a positive impact on the region, said UKIP’s local Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott.

The figures represent the fastest fall in the United Kingdom, with the North East having halved the gap between the UK and the national average in just a few months.

“The disconnection between establishment politicians trying to sabotage Brexit and the impact we’re already seeing here is phenomenal,” he said.

“The bottom line is that we have more people in work. I’ve been pointing out for years that the gap between the North East and the rest of the country has been growing, but something big has changed since June.

“We’ve got used to seeing an unemployment rate hovering around 8%, and today’s news puts it at just 6.1%. We’ve seen a string of businesses keen to invest here, and that’s really making a difference.

“Whilst our politicians in Westminster lament the weaker pound, it has been absolutely vital for our beleaguered manufacturing industry in the North East. It’s provided the shot in the arm that our economy so desperately needed. We are a manufacturing region, and Brexit is making our manufacturing more competitive.

“Let’s remember that the Remain campaign predicted immediate economic disaster over the summer. They couldn’t have been more wrong. But I’m yet to hear a single one of our Labour MPs admit that, in fact, the vote has already proved to be fantastic news for the North East.

“We’re seeing winds of change amongst working-class people here; since the Brexit vote there is genuine hope in our communities which have been abandoned and ignored for years by an out-of-touch Labour Party.

“Today’s news means food on the table and money in the bank for local families, a fantastic boost as we get closer to Christmas. Not all of our economic ills can be cured overnight, but this is a massive step in the right direction.”

The drop in the North East was higher than any other region in the country, and accounted for more than half of the total national fall in unemployment.

We must ensure that our government gives our veterans all the support and resources that they require and deserve

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter on Armistice Day, while observing the traditional silence at 11am I could not help but think about just how many people made sacrifices so that our nation could remain free and secure.  Indeed, many of those people live and work alongside us today.

I would simply like to take this opportunity to thank all of your readers who have served in our armed forces over the years.

Sadly, the last few decades have seen the UK get involved in numerous wars and whilst we must never forget the sacrifice of the soldiers who fought in the wars of the 20th Century, we must also ensure we do not overlook the sacrifice of those who have most recently died and fought in our armed forces.  Since the turn of the Millennium we have lost many brave soldiers and to this day countless others continue to deal with injuries suffered while serving their country.

We must never forget this sacrifice and we must ensure that our government gives our veterans all the support and resources that they require and deserve.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

PRESS-RELEASEV2

Money saving proposals rejected by EU

Proposals by UKIP which would have saved more than €3.4 billion taxpayers money have been thrown out by the EU.

“This is how the European Union operates – spend, spend, spend and to hell with the cost, as it not coming out of over-paid bureaucrats’ pockets,” said Jonathan Arnott, UKIP’s North East MEP.

“We put 33 eminently sensible money saving proposals forward to the budget committee and one by one they have been rejected. Sadly this came as no great surprise as the EU’s ethos is to keep expanding as it is a money-gobbling machine on the road to destruction.

“Our proposals included cutting MEP salaries, travel expenses and their assistants budget  – so no great shock that they got the thumbs down!”, he said.

The other cost saving suggestions included – scrapping the Economic and Monetary Union propaganda campaign; cutting commissioners salaries; scrapping the EU House of History; cutting the Monnet professor budget and cutting funding for more countries to join the EU, e.g. Turkey.

“The Parliament’s attitude to the proposals is further proof – not that we really need more – that the UK’s vote for Brexit was absolutely the right decision.

“Some people ask these days what is the point of UKIP now we have had the referendum and the answer is we must hold the government’s feet to the fire to make sure that Britain’s exit from this failing bloc happens sooner rather than later. Every day that goes by continues to cost us £55 million a day,” said Mr Arnott.