This year’s Christmas card competition prize giving event was another huge success; with more schools and children taking part than ever before. There were also more business sponsors this year than ever which allowed Jon and his team to make the competition prizes bigger and better than ever before. The overall winner Kamila Andziulyte from Marsh Green Primary School was asked what she wanted for Christmas up to £250 – she chose a top of the range 16gb Samsung Galaxy Tablet PC.

Earlier this year Jon Cruddas secured the implementation of a resident parking scheme on both Melville and Cowper Road in Rainham Village. Since then the residents of the roads have been contacting Jon’s office to enquire when work will start.

This Thursday 3rd December is International Day of People with Disability and will mark the 13th year of raising awareness in the borough. As this is the 50th anniversary of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham there will be a special theme for the day. This year will see the Barking and Dagenham Progress Project highlight 50 years of disability access, health and social care, benefits, education and sport.

Over the past few weeks Jon’s constituency office has been filling up with thousands of bright, creative and innovative Christmas cards designed by pupils from all over of the constituency. The standard of the cards has improved yet again this year and with such an outstanding array it has taken many days, and night’s deliberation for Jon to finally decide on a winner.

Earlier this week as part of George Osborne’s spending review, it was announced that nine new prisons would be built in England and Wales to replace the country’s Victorian jails. The modernisation of the prison estate will save an estimated £80m a year in reduced costs claims the Shadow Chancellor.

The plan is to sell the sites in order to build thousands of much-needed new homes. It is predicted that more than 3,000 properties could be built on the city centre sites of the old prisons.

Tax credit changes currently being debated in parliament are set to leave thousands of working people across Dagenham & Rainham £1,300 a year worse off. Last week local MP Jon Cruddas joined 294 other MPs in opposing the Tax Credit Bill, and last night (26.10.15) the House of Lords demanded major changes to the bill – however George Osborne is still trying to push the policies through.

The total number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in September 2015 was 1,527. This represents a rate of 3.1% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 191st highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.) The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.5%.

This includes 1,454 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and 73 people who were claiming Universal Credit but were not in employment. Some of these Universal Credit claimants may no longer be seeking work.

Where is the Care is an innovative family run organisation that seeks to raise awareness of how vulnerable elderly people and their families can find the help they need. The family launched the initiative in response to their own poor experience of care, and aim to help people through complaints procedures. The website is a great source of information regarding not only the negatives of poor care but also the best practice of where good care has benefitted families.

On September the 29th the Metropolitan Police Management Board was due to take a decision on the future of PCSOs in the capital. Since 2010 Boris Johnson has presided over harrowing cuts to London’s Met seeing 2,443 police officers and 3,170 PCSOs vanish from our streets. The impact is starting to show with a rise in violent crime of 24 per cent in the last 12 months.

The options facing the board are as follows:

This year the focus of World Mental Health Day will be ‘Dignity’ as set out by the World Federation of Mental Health. Helping to raise awareness this October 10th of what we can do to ensure that people with mental health issues can live with dignity.

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