Gareth Thomas MP

From Harrow, For Harrow.

Archives

ARTICLES FROM 2011 - 2013

 

02.05.13 - "Is the shine coming off the Boris bandwagon?"

Read more here.

 

 

23.04.13 - Article for 'Eastern Eye'

 

Despite well-publicised Ministerial visits to India, since David Cameron took office in 2010 the number of Indian students wanting to come and study at Britain’s top universities has been falling. The number of students from India coming to do their first degree fell almost 4% but it was the drop at postgraduate level which was truly eye-watering.

Figures revealed in a series of Parliament Questions show that in 2010/11 24,000 Indian students were studying for postgraduate qualifications in English universities. Just one year later in 2011/12 only 17,400 were doing postgraduate qualifications in the same universities – a breathtaking 27.5% drop.

So what’s gone wrong? Well Ministers at one level appear very relaxed. The drop in Indian students is made up for by an increase in the number of international students from China. But universities are less happy. Many experts in higher education believe that the Government’s hardline policy on visas for non-EU residents has put off many Indian students from even considering an application. Visa applications for studying at higher education institutions are flat-lining according to Home Office figures. But when you put this in the context of a rapidly growing and highly competitive international market and the Government’s commitment to sustainable growth in the higher education market, a key British export – the drop in Indian students ought to be a major cause for concern.

There is further evidence to suggest the UK is becoming less attractive as a destination of study. Overseas education agents are the brokers for many would-be foreign students; helping them to consider what courses in which countries to apply for. The number of such agents saying the UK is ‘a very attractive’ study destination has fallen in stark contrast to for example Canada which has seen a 15% rise in a 4 year period.

The market for international students is becoming increasingly competitive. Canada and Australia are making concerted efforts to increase their share of the international market and Britain’s 13% share of the market for international students in 2010 is under serious challenge.

The reduction in Indian students has other consequences too – it means that Britain is getting less access to the brightest and best brains in the next generation of India’s talented students. Whilst we must make every effort to ensure that British students receive the best possible standard of teaching and access to groundbreaking research, it is important too that British students get the opportunity to mix with, and build relationships with, students from around the world, including, importantly, students from India. This will only cement further the future relationship between the UK and India. However if the number of Indian students continues to decline that will pose questions about British influence with future Indian governments, business, science and other walks of life.

It is clear that David Cameron and George Osborne need to get their act together to ensure that the mutually beneficial relationship between Britain and future generations of Indian students is maintained. We need to see a reversal of the declining number of Indian students choosing to study here before more damage is done to the UK/India relationship and before the finances of English universities - already reeling from massive cuts in undergraduate funding and reduced numbers as a result of sky-high tuition fees - lose out again.

Gareth Thomas
MP for Harrow West

 

 

30.01.2013 - "Cutting the cost of housing"

Read more here.

 

 

27.12.12 - MP challenges PM over frontline police cuts

Gareth Thomas MP asked the Prime Minister to explain why frontline police have been cut by almost 20% in Harrow. Read the full article by the Harrow Observer here

 

21.12.2012 - "Shadow Minister for Civil Society Back's Britain's Charities"
Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West and Shadow Minister for Civil Society is supporting 'Back Britain's Charity' campaign. 
 
Gareth Thomas MP said: 
 
"I’m supporting the Back Britain’s Charities campaign and calling on everyone to do their bit and stand up for charities. A vibrant charitable sector strengthens communities across Britain, and many of the most vulnerable people in our society depend on the services that charities provide. It is extremely worrying that some of these services are now under threat.
 
The Back Britain’s Charities campaign is playing a vital role in raising awareness of the challenges facing charities during this difficult economic time, and giving those charities who are struggling a voice. I applaud the work of CAF and NCVO and I am proud to support this campaign – I urge others to do the same and Back Britain’s Charities.”

To read the article in full, please click here.

 

20.12.12 - Doctors urged not to send patients to overwhelmed A&E departments

The Harrow Times has reported that Harrow doctors were urged not to send patients to A&E departments sparking fresh concerns over casualty closures. Gareth Thomas MP believes that this exposes the pressure the NHS is under. Read more here

 

13.12.12 - Harrow has lost 100 police officers, claims Gareth Thomas MP 

Gareth Thomas MP has uncovered data which proves Harrow has lost 100 police officers in the last two years, the Harrow Times reports. Mr Thomas says that David Cameron must explain why Boris has allowed so many police to be cut. Read more here

 

13.12.12 - Met response to MP's claim that 100 officers have been cut: "We must change in order to make savings"

The Metropolitan Police responded to claims made by Gareth Thomas MP that police numbers had been slashed by 100 since 2010. The Harrow Times reports that Metropolitan Police has said "the force must change in order to make savings." Read more here

 

11.12.12 - MP Gareth Thomas: 4,000 fewer Met Police officers in 2010

BBC News London has reported that Gareth Thomas MP has uncovered data that suggests there are 4,000 fewer police officers working on the front line in London's borough's than there were two years ago. Read more here

 

11.12.12 - 'Thousands fewer officers in Met' since 2010

Gareth Thomas MP has obtained figures suggesting officers in the Met' have been cut by 4,000 since 2010. To watch a news report by BBC News London, please click here

 

07.12.12 - Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas visits Choices 4 All

The Harrow Times has reported that local MP, Gareth Thomas has visited Choices 4 All. Choices 4 All is a Harrow charity that helps people with learning disabilities into work. To read the full article, click here

 

06.12.12 - Marchers protest about disability benefits cuts 

Marchers on 'The Hardest Hit' demonstration sent a message to the Coaliton Government about how reductions in disability welfare benefits are an attack on citizens with mental and mobility difficulties. Read more here

 

05.12.12 - Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas claims NHS cuts are causing patient suffering 

Gareth Thomas MP has said that patients in Harrow are being forced to bear the brunt of Cameron's cuts to the NHS. The Harrow Times has reported that Harrow West MP claims NHS cuts are causing patient suffering. Read more here

 

November Articles 

 

23.11.12 - Government eases rule for Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme 

The Third Sector has reported that the Government has softened the eligibility criteria for charities to make claims under the forthcoming Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. Sajid Javid, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury said he would re-examine the matching ratio after Shadow Minister for Charities, Gareth Thomas sought to scrap the matching clause in the Bill. Read more here

 

23.11.12 - Umbrella bodies welcome victories over Small Charitable Donations Bill 

Chancellor George Osborne proposed to increase the gift aid matching ratio and reducing eligibility criteria. However, Civil Society reports that Shadow Minister for Civil Society, Gareth Thomas MP is opposing the matching proposal. Read more here

 

17.11.12 - Shocking state of the NHS: Half a million patients forced to wait 30 minutes on trolleys before admission to A&E

The Mail Online has reported that the number of seriously ill patients who are forced to wait on trolleys and in ambulances before being admitted to A&E has risen by an astonishing 300% in the last 12 months. The figures emerged following an FOI request by Gareth Thomas MP. Read more here.  

 

12.11.12 - 2,000 people line the streets of Harrow for Remembrance Day parade 

The Harrow Times has reported that 2,000 people in Harrow paid their respects to those who have died in combat since 1914. Labour MP, Gareth Thomas laid a wreath for those who died. Read more here.  

 

11.12.12 - Middle class pupils shun University as fees rise 

Gareth Thomas MP has uncovered statistics that show middle class pupils are shunning University due to the fee increase. The Guardian reports that in some parts of the country, applications have fallen by almost a quarter. Read more here.  

 

October Articles

 

31.10.12 - "Gareth Thomas MP supports Trustees week"
Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity's work. Trustees' Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference. Trustees’ Week 2013 is 4–10 November and this website will be regularly updated with news and information throughout the year.
 
Gareth Thomas MP said: 

"It is a pleasure to support Trustees' Week, now in its third year. Trustees do such a huge amount of good work in our communities. They provide vital help to some of the most vulnerable people and they donate their time and effort freely to improve society. I encourage anyone who wants a real sense of achievement to get involved in running a charity."

 

31.10.12 - Winners of Film The House competition announced

The winner of the first annual Film The House competition was announced by industry experts in an awards ceremony at the House of Commons. Mr Patrick Ryder, a Harrow West constituent took first place after he was nominated by Gareth Thomas MP. Read more from Film News here

 

29.10.12 - Harrow Means Business expo proves a success 

Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West sat on the panel at the Harrow Means Business expo. The event was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pick up some hints and tips. Read the full article by the Harrow Observer here

 

22.10.12 - Charities might have to read 100 pages of guidance to use new Gift Aid scheme 

Gareth Thomas MP has warned other MPs that making claims under the planned Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme could be difficult for small charities. Read more from the Third Sector here

 

19.10.12 - Director's £50 Harrow film shortlisted for Parliamentary award  

 South Harrow resident, Patrick Ryder has entered his short film Cerberus to 'Film The House' competition. Gareth Thomas MP said he was overwhelmed by Patrick's enthusiam for film making when he met him. Read the full article by the Harrow Times here

 

08.10.12 - War on workers: Chancellor George Osborne plans to take away employees' rights...in return for shares 

George Osborne was criticised today for proposing workers rights should be taken away in return for shares. If this was to come into force, it would mean workers could hire and fire at will. Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West and Chair of the Co-op Party said the plan was a con which could leave employees' with nothing if their company went bust. Read the full article by the Mirror here

 

08.10.12 - Harrow rail crash remembrance service held at Harrow and Wealdstone station 

A remembrance service for those who died at the Harrow and Wealdstone train crash was held on 8th October 2012. Gareth Thomas MP attended the service. Read the article by the Watford Observer here

 

04.10.12 - Final stage of Rayners Lane Estate revamp approved 

Harrow Observer has reported that a £100m scheme to revamp Rayners Lane Estate has been given planning permission. Gareth Thomas MP praised the revamp saying it would transform the lives of everyone living in the area. Read more here.  

 

08.10.12 - Survivors return to Harrow and Wealdstone train crash horror scene to mark 60th anniversary 

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the worst peace-time rail crash in the UK met to show their respect to those who lost their lives, the Harrow Times reports. Gareth Thomas MP was also in attendance. Read more here

 

04.10.12 - Football fans should have bigger say in running their club 

Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West and Chair of the Co-operative Party has said supporters of football teams should have greater power in deciding how their clubs are run. Read the full article by the Evening Standard here

 

04.10.12 - Wealthy football club owners ruin chance for fans' influence in game, insists Co-operative Party Chairman

Gareth Thomas MP slammed rich individuals for attempting to make more money from clubs rather than taking an interest in fans. Read the full article by 'MancunianMatters' here

 

04.10.12 - Social value legislation could be missed opportunity, Labour conference hears 

Hazel Blears MP tells a fringe event at Labour conference that the wording of the Public Services (Social Value) Act is weak and many local authorities will not pay attention to it. To read the full article by Third Sector here

 

September Articles 

 

25.09.12 - Analysis: Labour and the sector 

Ahead of Labour's Party conference, Gareth Thomas MP tells David Ainsworth about some of the new ideas being fleshed out in opposition. To read the full article by the Third Sector, click here

 

25.09.12 - Labour considers requiring banks to lend in deprived communities 

Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West and Shadow Minister for Civil Society has said that banks could lend themselves or do it through credit unions or community development finance institutions. To read the full article by the Third Sector, click here

 

21.09.12 - Thousands more patients endure four-hour waits in casualty units 

Gareth Thomas MP has obtained figures that reveal thousands of patients have to wait for four hours or more in A&E. Mr Thomas has said the figures show a disturbing decline in the speed of care within London's A&E departments. To read the full article in the Evening Standard, click here

 

19.09.12 - Tamil deportees and torture issue raised in UK Parliament 

Gareth Thomas MP made an emergency point of order in the House of Commons to raise his concerns about the Human Rights Watch report which suggested that Sri Lankan deportees have been tortured on their return from the UK. To read the full article by Colombo Telegraph, click here

 

20.09.12 - British MP in House of Commons raises issue of Tamil deportees' torture in Sri Lanka 

Gareth Thomas MP has raised the issue of how some Tamil deportees' have been victims of torture on their return to Sri Lanka. To read the full article by Eelam Nation, click here

 

 19.09.12 - Kodak regeneration has the potentional to 'damage' Wealdstone, says Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas 

Harrow West MP has told the Harrow Times that the developers of the Kodak site needed to work with Harrow Council to and the residents living nearby to make sure the huge scheme backed by the Government benefits the community rather than hurting it. Read more here

 

19.09.12 - Gareth Thomas MP raises Tamil Human Rights Watch report in House of Commons 

The British Tamils Forum has reported that Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West has made an emergency 'point of order' in the House of Commons raising his concerns about the Human Rights Watch report on Sri Lanka. Read morehere

 

19.09.12 - British MP raises issue of Tamil deportees' persecution in House of Commons

Gareth Thomas MP made an emergency point of the order in the House of Commons to raise the issue of Tamil deportees' being tortured. Mr Thomas said that the Government needed to take allegations of torture more seriously than they are. Read the full article on TamilNet here

 

19.09.12 - Sri Lanka: British MP raises issue of Tamil deportees' persecution in House of Commons 

Zimbio has reported that Gareth Thomas MP has raised the issue of Tamil deportees' persecution in the House of Commons. To read the full article, please click here

 

19.09.12 - Tamil deportees' and torture issues raised in UK Parliament 

Gareth Thomas MP raised the issue of Tamil deportees' torture in the House of Commons. The MP for Harrow West also tabled three Parliamentary questions. To read the full article on the Colombo Telegraph, please click here

17.09.12 - The Small Charitable Donations Bill should be index-linked 

Gareth Thomas MP has said that the Government has no power under current rules to increase the payout. To read the article by the Third Sector, click here

 

14.09.12 - £500m in three years: what you paid to send diplomats' children to school 

Gareth Thomas MP made a Parliamenatary inquiry into how much the Government has spent on sending children of diplomats and military personnel to school. Mr Thomas said that there was a lack of transparency. To read the full article by the Independent, click here

 

12.09.12 - Harrow Police cells will remain 'open'

Harrow Observer has reported that a campaign run by Gareth Thomas MP has saved Harrow's custody suites from closure. Gareth Thomas MP said it is the right decision. To read more, click here

 

09.09.12 - Victory as Met drop 'taxi service' plans to close police cells in Harrow 

The Harrow Times has reported that Harrow's custody suites will remain open. Gareth Thomas MP who began the campaign against the closure said that police would have had to spend their time running a 'taxi service' for criminals. Read more here

 

07.09.12 - Police U-turn over closure of Harrow cells 

Gareth Thomas MP raised the proposed closure of Harrow's custody suites in the House of Commons when plans were lodged in May without any consultation. The custody suites will now remain open. Read the article by the Harrow Observer here

 

07.09.12 - Set an agenda for co-operative change, urges Co-op Party Chair 

Co-operative News has reported that Co-operative Party Chair, Gareth Thomas urged members to create an agenda for co-operative change. Read more here.  

 

05.09.12 - Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is given job in Government by David Cameron 

Former Conservative Party Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft has been appointed as the Prime Minsiter's "special representative for veterans' transition." Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, told the Telegraph that Lord Ashcroft is an extremely controversial figure. Read more here

 

August Articles 

 

29.08.12 - Cancer patients' experience in North West London Hospitals NHS Trust fifth worst in England

Hospitals in North West London are the fifth worst in the country for the experience of cancer patients, according to a charity's analysis, the Harrow Times reports. Gareth Thomas MP said the results were worrying. Read more here

 

23.08.12 - Harrow loses six emergency cars after cuts 

Data released after a Freedom of Information request by Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas, shows that the number of vehicles available in the borough has gone down from 40 to 34 since May 2011 - a 15% drop. Read more here

 

22.08.12 - Spending  cuts hit emergency response police cars in riot zones 

The Evening Standard has reported that police spending cuts have forced the Met to axe up to a third of its emergency response vehicles in areas hit by last year's riots. Gareth Thomas MP who obtained the figures through an FOI request said these secret cuts would make it harder for police to cope with disturbances. Read more here

 

20.08.12 - MPs tell of pride in lobbying for Olympics

Local MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas and MP for Brent North, Barry Gardiner have told of their pride in lobbying for the London Olympics. Read more by the Harrow Observer here

 

16.08.12 - Labour policy chief admits 'my ideas won't win votes' 

Jon Cruddas, the head of Labour's policy review has said the party would become unelectable if they put his own personal ideas in the manifesto. Mr Cruddas also praises Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West for convincing then Prime Minster, Tony Blair to make the Olympic bid. Read more here

 

17.08.12 - 'It's all talk and no action': David Cameron's Big Society plans blasted after 7,000 charities were forced to close last year 

David Cameron's plans for a Big Society were branded 'hot air', the Mail Online reports. It has emerged that over 7,000 charities had been forced to close last year. Shadow Charities Minister Gareth Thomas MP said attempts to encourage more charity work on the back of the Olympic legacy were in jeopardy due to funding cuts. Read more here

 

17.08.12 - Big Society blow: More than 7,000 charities close in one year 

David Cameron's Big Society plans were ridiculed yesterday as it emerged more than 7,000 charities went under last year. Shadow Charities Minister, Gareth Thomas MP said that Olympic legacy was to encourage more charity work not hinder it. Read the full article by the Mirror here

 

16.08.12 - Labour says UK banks should disclose lending to charities 

Civil Society has reported that Labour want UK banks to be required to publish data on their lending to charities and social enterprises to help grow the community and charity banking market. Gareth Thomas MP said banks must consistently disclose the data. Read more here

 

13.08.12 - DWP gives reasons for refusing to publish Work Programme risk register 

Following a Freedom of Information request by Gareth Thomas MP, the Department of Work and Pensions has said they cannot publish its risk register. Read the full story by Civil Society here.

 

09.08.2012 - "Labour publishes policy document on banking transparency"
With the Government’s failed economic policies pushing Britain into a double-dip recession, urgent action is needed to create jobs and growth in the economy and to secure longer-term reforms which bring the banking system back into a supportive role for households and businesses.
 
The document published today explains how Labour’s Policy Review is looking at how to encourage good banking practice, which ensures our banks are more open about what and where they are lending.
 
To download a copy of the policy review document please click here.
 
It also explores examples of good practice in this area from the United States, where banks have dedicated teams who publish lending data and work with community banks, credit unions, charity banks etc to ensure all areas where they operate have access to financial services.
 
Knowing where bank lending is happening, and crucially where it is not happening, could help national, regional and local policy-makers better shape support for small and medium-sized businesses, and to tackle poverty and financial exclusion.

 
It would also give those who want to invest their savings, borrow money and use other banks’ products, information which will better help them make financial decisions.
 
Stronger joint working between mainstream banks and other parts of the financial services industry such as community banks and credit unions is also required.
 
Gareth Thomas, Shadow Civil Society Minister and Harrow West MP, said:
 
"Consistent disclosure by the banks of anonymised data on what they lend, to whom and where; and stronger incentives to work in all communities including with community ‘banks’ could help banks become more accountable to the communities they serve. Over time it could also help government, banks themselves, community banks and the third sector plug the gaps in the market for access to financial services.
 
It is right that a banking sector which has benefitted from around £1 trillion of capital and guarantees provides greater transparency."
 
Chris Leslie, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
 
“Greater openness by the banks isn’t only needed because some neighbourhoods are excluded from access to basic credit; it is essential that all customers have a proper choice of banks who have to work harder to win their business. If there isn’t any competition and one or two banks dominate in a particular area, then small firms and local residents won’t get the affordable and quality banking services they deserve. Shining a spotlight into the patterns of banking activities across the country should help shift the balance between banks and consumers.” 
 
To read more about this topic on the Guardian website, click here.

 

09.08.12 - Labour demands publication of bank lending figures 

Labour has said that banks should be forced to publish figures showing their loans to businesses and individuals in different areas of the country to reveal the 'lending deserts' where customers are being denied access to credit. Gareth Thomas MP told the Guardian website that a similar request in the US disclosed which banks weren't lending. Read more here

 

09.08.12 - Community banks can fill weak spots of traditional lenders 

MPs Gareth Thomas and Chris Leslie set out their wish for greater transparency in the banking sector. including more space for credit unions. Read more on Guardian Blog here

 

09.08.12 - UK banks should give geographic lending data, Labour says 

UK banks should be forced to publish detailed information on their lending to encourage activity in deprived areas. Gareth Thomas MP says this data should be available as it is in the US. Read the full article by Bloomberg here

 

09.08.12 - UK banks must expose credit deserts 

Labour's Gareth Thomas and Chris Leslie have said that UK banks disclosing their lending data would expose lending deserts. To read the full article by Press TV, click here

 

08.08.12 - The first torchbearer

The New Statesman has reported that a former Blair adviser praises Labour MP Gareth Thomas as the driving force behind the London 2012 Olympic bid. Read the full article here

 

05.08.12 - Serco set to take charge of 'big society' initiative 

A leading private contractor, Serco, is in line with to win a multi-million pound contract to run the National Citizen Service. It was proposed by the Prime Minister's as as 'big society', non-military version of national service for youngsters aged over 16. Gareth Thomas MP said he had concerns that private firms were proving to be the winners from the big society agenda. Read more here

 

05.08.12 - Tories plot private service 

The Morning Star has reported that controversial privateer Serco is bidding to secure a multimillion-pound contract to run one of David Cameron's flagship 'Big Society' schemes. Gareth Thomas MP said that Cameron is going back to his roots and creating a privatised society instead. Read the article here

 

01.08.12 - Net gains for women's football as team GB lead the way

The Times has reported that Team GB took on Brazil and won at Wembley Stadium. Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West tweeted his delight. Read more here

 

July Articles 

 

31.07.12 - Gareth Thomas: give empty seats at Olympic football matches to schoolchildren

PoliticsHome has reported that Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West has said that empty seats at Olympic football matches should be given to schoolchildren. Read more here

 

28.07.12 - How energy co-operatives could help keep bills down

Gareth Thomas MP has written an article for the New Statesman discussing the benefits of energy co-operatives. Read the full article by Mr Thomas here

 

20.07.12 - Running into trouble: David Cameron wanted permission to jog through Olympic venue

David Cameron has asked whether he can jog through one of the main Olympic venues, and if his wife and children could cycle through it. The venue is not open to the public but Cameron has asked for special permission for his use. Gareth Thomas MP said it should not be one rule for the Prime Minister and one rule for everyone else. Read morehere

 

18.07.12 - Operation cancellations rise at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust in Harrow

The Harrow Times has reported that last-minute cancellations of operations at a Harrow hospital trust have risen by 7%, figures reveal. Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas has said that it is a worrying sign. To read the full article, please click here.

 

17.07.12 - Number of special advisers employed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg soars

The Telegraph has reported that Cameron and Clegg now employ 81 ministerial 'spads'. This comes after the Coalition Agreement which set out the Government's commitment to reduce the number of special advisers. Gareth Thomas MP said that this increase in Government spending when everything else is being cut is typical of Cameron. Read the full article here

 

17.07.12 -  Hunt aftermath: PM asked to abandon ministerial shield

Downing Street should relinquish its power to trigger investigations into ministerial misbehavious, MPs have accepted. The Minister's did not contest a backbench motion, politics.co.uk has reported. Gareth Thomas MP has said that he had an open mind on the proposal. Read more here

 

12.07.12 - Consumer-owned banks could help ease City crisis - Labour MP

Gareth Thomas MP has told the Guardian that Britain must look to the US in order to revolutionise its financial services and banking culture. To read the full article, click here.

 

10.07.12 - Power to the people: the energy co-operative with 42 million customers 

Co-operative energy has become more popular in the US. To read an interview with Gareth Thomas MP about his recent visit to the US to witness first hand the benefits of such a system, click here.

 

June Articles 

 

18.06.12 - Gareth Thomas MP: King's fed my interest in politics 

Gareth Thomas MP studied for his History MA at King's College London. Click here to read his alumni interview on the KCL website.

 

13.06.12 - Ministers accused of 'sneaking' out controversial policies just before long holidays 

The Telegraph has reported that Ministers are being accused of sneaking out a "disproportionate" number of discussion papers on controversial Government policies just before long holiday periods. Gareth Thomas MP said that by issuing consultations on the eve of holidays they are avoiding scrutiny by Parliament. Read the full article here

 

09.06.12 - How firms with eye on welfare budget promised to get jobless back to work

The Guardian has reported that the Work Programme in crisis as private firms struggle to profit from squeezed welfare system. Shadow Charities Minister, Gareth Thomas MP said that this is a tragic story entirely of ministers' making. Read more here

 

06.06.12 - Hundreds of people celebrate Diamond Jubilee

Hundreds of people celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in celebrations in Harrow, the Harrow Times reports. Gareth Thomas MP was in attendance. To read the full article, click here

 

01.06.12 - Charity tax axed: Government makes 34th U-turn in just two years

The Mirror has reported that the Chancellor made the U-turn as Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt fought for his political life at the hearing. Gareth Thomas MP criticised George Osborne for trying to bury bad news. Read the full articlehere

 

01.06.12 - City cheers U-turn on charity tax

City leaders yesterday welcomed the Government's decision to scrap the proposed charity tax. Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society said that the policy has already done "considerable damage." Read the full articlehere.  

 

May Articles 

 

31.05.12 - Osborne retreats on charitable donations

The Financial Times reports that George Osborne has reversed his unpopular decision to put a cap on tax reliefs for charitable donations. Gareth Thomas, Labour's Shadow Charities Minister, said the policy had already done "considerable damage" which "could have been avoided. Read the full article here.

 

31.05.12 - Government confirms U-turn on charity tax

George Osborne has announced his third U-turn over his budget this week by scrapping "charity tax" proposals that sought to remove tax breaks from wealthy donors to good causes, the Guardian reports. Gareth Thomas MP said that the government "are not delivering the money for charities that minsters once promised". Read the full article here.

 

31.05.12 - Government U-turn on charity tax relief plans

The Treasury has announced the cap on tax relief for charitable donations proposed by George Osborne is to be scrapped, according to Sky News. More than 1,000 charities signed up to a call by the Charities Aid Foundation for the Government to think again. Gareth Thomas MP said the government "has been responsible for the toughest year in a generation for Britain's charities and community groups. Read the full article here.

 

31.05.12 - U-turn on charitable giving tax relief cap

Channel 4 News reports that George Osborne has written to a number of charity sector representatives to inform them that the cap wuld be scrapped. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour's Shadow Charities Minister, who had been arguing against the cap, said "this decision has already done considerable damage." He added that "if ministers understood the work charities did ... this policy mess could have been avoided." Read the full article here.

 

31.05.12 - Government U-turns on charity tax relief cap

The government has buckled to pressure from the charity sector and dropped its plans to limit tax relief on charitable giving announced in march's budget, report Civil Society. Gareth Thomas MP said that "the decision has already done considerable damage". read the full story here.

 

31.05.12 - Major coalition u-turn as George Osborne scraps another tax plan

The London Evening Standard reports that George Osborne staged his biggest u-turn yet on the budget, by scrapping the hated charities tax. Gareth Thomas MP said, "we have the spectacle of George Osborne trying to bury bad news on the day one of his rivals is in hot water at the Leveson Inquiry." Read the full story here.

 

31.05.12 - Free art show at Harrow Open Studios

Harrow Open Studios will showcase a range of art, from painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. The event will be opened by the Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Nizam Ismail, and Gareth Thomas MP. Read the full story in the Harrow Times here.

 

29.05.12 - Two-thirds of large charities will cut frontline services

Civil Society reports that three-quarters of large charities have already, or will be making redundancies in the next year, and two thirds will be cutting services. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour's Shadow Charities Minister, said "This is further grim evidence that ministers are not providing the leadership charities need." Read the full story here.

 

29.05.12 - Millionaire Ministers: Combined wealth of Cabinet is more than £70m

The Mirror reports that a new Cabinet "rich list" shows that more than two-thirds of the Cabinet - 18 out of 29 ministers - are millionaires. Labour MP Gareth Thomas, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said "no wonder David Cameron and George Osborne are so out of touch with just how tough the rest of the country is finding the rising cost of living". Read the full story here.

 

28.05.2012 - "An Airport in the Thames Estuary is a distraction, not a solution"
Gareth Thomas MP scrutinises plans to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary, raising concerns that it will lead to increased airspace congestion and environmental challenges, and that it may hinder London's economic recovery. Read more here.

 

27.05.12 - Millionaire list shows ministers' true worth

David Cameron is worth more than £4m according to a new analysis that estimates the combined wealth of the Cabinet at nearly £70m, according to the Telegraph. Gareth Thomas MP said: "no wonder David Cameron and George Osborne are so out of touch with just how tough the rest of the country is finding the rising cost of living." Read the full story here.

 

27.05.12 - Welsh to fight promotion decision

The Independent reports that London Welsh are waiting for the detail of why the Rugby Football Union board and their independent auditors ruled that the club had failed to meet the minimum standards criteria (MSC) for promotion to the Aviva Premiership. They have been supported by a Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons by Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas. You can read the full story

14.05.12 - MP Gareth Thomas to launch Save Our Cells campaign

The Harrow Times reports that local MP Gareth Thomas will launch his Save Our Cells campaign tomorrow. Mr Thomas said that proposals to transport arrested people out of the borough would leave Harrow with "less resources and capacity to fight crime." You can read the full story here.

 

13.05.2012 - "We need more community and co-operative ownership of energy."

Gareth Thomas MP outlines his Energy Generation (Planning and Right to Invest) Bill, which would give communities the right to invest in new energy generation projects and to takeover ownership of their local electricity grid supply.Read more here

 

10.05.12 - David Cameron failed to declare meeting with Rebekah Brooks two days after Andy Coulson quit

The Daily Telegraph reports that David Cameron failed to declare two new meeting with News International chief Rebekah Brooks. Gareth Thomas MP said "This shows that David Cameron has nto been clear with the country and with Parliament about the full extent and terms of his meetings." You can read the full story here.

 

09.05.12 - Gareth Thomas: No wonder David Cameron isn't turning up to his own charity summit

Gareth Thomas, Labour's Shadow Minister for Civil Society, responding to reports that the Government is scaling back its 'Giving Summit' said: "No wonder David Cameron isn't turning up to his own charity summit - his Government has made such a mess of charity policy that what should have been a flagship event has turned into an embarrassment. Read the full story here.

 

 08.05.12 - Interview: Gareth Thomas

Labour's shadow minister for civil society argues in Third Sector that the coalition does not champion the sector effectively. You can read the full interview here.

 

08.05.12 - One in five advice charities faing closure

Civil Society reports that nearly a quarter of advice charities are in danger of closure as a result of funding cuts. Gareth Thomas MP said that the results of the survey of advice charities proved that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne are "out of touch". You can read the full story here.

 

08.05.12 - Civil Society ministers go head-to-head in live 'question time' debate

Civil Society Media is to host a live question time-style debate with Nick hurd, Gareth Thomas and Sir Stuart Etherington. You can read the full story here.

 

04.05.2012 - "Where are the compassionate Cameroons now?"

Gareth Thomas MP discusses the reality of David Cameron's so-called ‘big society’, as the charity sector faces huge cuts of up to £5.5 billion in direct government funding. Read more here.

 

April Articles 

 

30.04.12 - Gareth Thomas: Hunt allegation is about misleading Parliament

Gareth Thomas told BBC Radio 4 today that ne of the main allegations against Jeremy Hunt was about misleading Parliament over emails around the BSkyB bid. You can read the full story here.

 

27.04.12 - Harrow MP demands answers from Met Police Commissioner over cells closure

The Harrow Observer reports that Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas has sought answers about the future closure of Harrow Police Station's custody suite from the man at the very top of the Met. Mr Thomas asked the commissioner: "Will there be consultation with residents in Harrow or indeed with local Members of Parliament and the local authority?" You can read the full story here.

 

24.04.12 - 'Bonfire of quangos' to save £1bn less than hoped, says watchdog

The Daily Telegraph reports thatthe Public Accounts Committee has "substantial reservations" that axing hundreds of quangos will save £2.6bn.  Gareth Thomas, Labour's Shadow Cabinet Office minister said that "David Cameron and his ministers have failed again to deliver what they promised." You can read the full story here.

 

23.04.12 - Closing custody block will weaken policing, warns MP

Former Minister Gareth Thomas MP has criticised plans to shut the custody suite at Harrow Police Station, reports the London Evening Standard. You can read the full story here.

 

20.04.12 - Kodak development: Only a few days left to submit comments

Local MP Gareth Thomas is urging residents to take part in a 'community conversation' on the future of one of the biggest regeneration projects in Harrow for a generation. Mr Thomas said it was important to "take part and hold the developers to account otherwise we will not see a scheme that is in the best interests of Harrow." You can read the full story on the iHarrow website here.

 

19.04.12 – Submit comments about Kodak site by Monday

The Harrow Times has reported that comments about the Kodak site should be submitted by Monday. Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West has encouraged residents to submit their views. To read the full article, please click here.

 

18.04.12 – Tax-free charity giving threshold set to be lifted to appease furious philanthropists

The Daily Telegraph has disclosed that the cap on tax-free charity will be lifted due to philanthropists threatening to cut off funding for good causes. Gareth Thomas MP has said that it has been a terrible year for Britain’s charities who have been “hit hard by Government funding cuts.” Click here to read the full article.

 

18.04.12 – MP Gareth Thomas slams proposals to close Harrow custody suites

Gareth Thomas MP has slammed proposals to close Harrow’s custody suites and merge them with Brent. Mr Thomas said the proposals are a “disaster” because police will spend more time out of the borough interviewing suspects. To read the full article by the Harrow Times, click here

 

17.04.12 – Charity U-turn hope as Cameron bows to pressure and announces talks

The Mirror has reported that David Cameron bowed to intense pressure and announced a formal consultation on controversial plans for a charity tax. Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West has said that it has been handled badly. Read the full article here.

 

16.04.12 – Back benches in no mood to be generous to PM over charity cap

The Times has reported that David Cameron and George Osborne have returned to Parliament to face opposition from Government MPs over plans to limit tax relief on charitable donations. Read the full article here.

 

14.04.12 – Nick Clegg to go on charm offensive amid fury over charity tax cap

The Guardian has reported that charities are enraged about the charity tax cap. Nick Clegg has also hastily set up a philanthropy event which has been slammed by critics as damage limitation. Gareth Thomas MP has said that David Cameron needs to stand up to his Chancellor. Read the full article here.

 

14.04.12 – Third of top civil servants have quit

The Independent has reported that a third of civil servants have quit since 2010. The high turnover is partly attributed to redundancies. The figures were released by Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West. To read the full article, click here.

 

13.04.12 – Civil service exodus sees one third of senior officials leave

The Guardian has reported that more than a third of Britain’s most senior civil servants have left their posts since the Coalition Government took power in 2010. The figures were released in a series of Parliamentary answers to Labour MP Gareth Thomas. Read the full article here.

 

13.04.12 – A quarter of senior civil servants quit Whitehall under Coalition

It is understood that civil service unions have said the high rate of turnover is due to low morale the Telegraph reports. Some ex senior civil servants have also gone into more lucrative paid jobs in the private sector. Gareth Thomas MP unveiled the figures through a series of parliamentary questions. To read the full article, click here.

 

13.04.12 – Charity tax will hit recovery of schools, warns millionaire Tory donor

Lord Harris, a Tory donor and philanthropist has attacked the proposed cap on charitable tax relief, the Evening Standard reports. Lord Harris told the Standard that if he gave a school £100,000 – they would get only £80,000, losing a fifth. Gareth Thomas MP said that George Osborne clearly didn’t think this through. To read the full article, click here.

 

12.04.12 – Gareth Thomas MP: Charities face prospect of philanthropists being unwilling to donate

Politics Home has reported that MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas has said that charities face a triple whammy. Read the full article here.

 

12.04.12 – Charity tax grab u-turn: Cameron to hold talks over tax relief grab

The Mirror has reported that the Prime Minister has signalled a retreat on plans to squeeze charitable donations, after a furious backlash from MPs. Cameron also admitted he had learnt his lesson over pasty tax and granny tax. Gareth Thomas MP said that Cameron and Osborne were insulting those who give generously to charities. Read the full articlehere.

 

12.04.12 – A bit of give? Coalition set to retreat over charities row

Ministers are set to retreat on plans to cap tax relief on charitable donations, politics.co.uk reports. Over half of senior charity bosses said they expected their income to fall by 20%. Read the full article here.

 

11.04.12 – Cameron ‘will listen’ to charity concerns over tax relief

BBC News has reported that David Cameron has said he will “listen very sympathetically” to concerns from charities about the impact of a planned cap. Read the full article here

 

11.04.12 – Cameron’s attack on philanthropists is the latest nail in the Big Society coffin

Left Food Forward has reported that the Prime Minister was not content with undermining the voluntary sector, so he has now taken to insulting people who give generously to charity. To read more, click here.

 

04.04.12 – Yet another Big Society relaunch

David Cameron has once again re-launched his ‘big society’ idea with Big Society Capital. However, Gareth Thomas MP argues that as charities continue to suffer from drastic government funding cuts, it will take more than simple rebranding for the ‘big society’ to materialise. Read the full article here

 

March Articles 



24.03.12 – Top Tories admit: We got it wrong on third runway at Heathrow
The Guardian has reported that Ministers are to rethink decision to rule out runway after warning that trade will move elsewhere unless airport expanded. According to senior sources, Cameron and Osborne have been convinced of the need to act. Read the full article here.


20.03.12 – Comment: Travel firms are a scapegoat for profiteering campaigners
‘Travelweekly‘ responds to comments made by Gareth Thomas MP regarding the high price of travel during school holidays. To read the full article, click here.

19.03.12 – Travel firms challenged over high prices during school holidays
Gareth Thomas MP is taking up the fight against travel companies that raise their prices during the school holidays, the Evening Standard has reported. Mr Thomas has said that taking children out of school during term time cannot be condoned, but he sympathises with parents. To read the full article, please click here.

14.03.12 – MP wants locals to be more involved with energy firms
The Harrow Observer has reported that new companies would have to offer to sell shares to community cooperatives if a new bill introduced by a Harrow MP becomes law. To read more about the proposed bill, click here.

 13.03.12 – MP accuses Government of “diverting money away from frontline services” after Northwick Park cash boost.
Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West has accused the Government of “diverting money away from frontline services” after Northwick Park Hospital was given a £20.8 million funding boost last week. To read the full article on the Harrow Times, click here.

07.03.12 – MP looks to introduce new measures to support community energy plans
Clickgreen.org.uk has reported that local MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas wants to create a new right for communities to invest in new energy generation projects and to take over ownership for their local electricity grid supply. Click here to read more.

06.03.12 – Labour MP publishes community energy bill
Parliament is due to debate a new bill designed to establish a new right for communities to invest in green power projects, amongst other things. Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas introduced the bill to Parliament. To the full article by Utility Week, click here.

06.03.12 – Analysis: Lottery refunds “won’t begin until mid 2020’s”
The Third Sector has reported that charities are angry at the timescale of ‘Olympic raid’ cash. Local MP Gareth Thomas said he has raised the issue with Olympic Minister, John Penrose because of fears about the charity funding climate. To read more, click here.

05.03.12 – Councils are passing on disproportionate cuts to charities, says leaked report
Councils are passing on disproportionate cuts to charities according to a leaked report written last year by the chief executives body of Aveco. To read more from The Third Sector, click here.

05.03.12 – Cuts hit charities in 25 most deprived areas, says leaked report
The ‘charitytimes.com’ has reported that a document leaked to Gareth Thomas MP has revealed that the Government has known for a long time that charities and community organisations were set to lose at least £1 billion and possibly as much as £5.5 billion this year as a direct result of Government cuts. To read more, click here.

05.03.12 – Gareth Thomas MP proposing Community Right to Invest in Energy Companies 
Harrow West MP and Chair of the Co-operative Party, Gareth Thomas, is introducing a bill that would create new rights for communities to invest in new energy generation projects. To read more from the Co-operative Party, click here.

05.03.12 – ACEVO report warns of £5.5bn sector cuts
ACEVO has warned that civil society faces funding cuts of between £1bn and £5.5bn in the current financial year, according to Civil Society magazine. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow minister for civil society, said: “David Cameron's claim that in his Big Society we're all in it together was never credible, but this leaked report confirms that ministers were being given independent evidence showing that charities were going to be hit very hard by funding cuts.” You can read the full story here.

05.03.12 – North East charities face Government cut
Charities in the North East could face considerable local and national government cuts, report the Newcastle Journal. Shadow Charities Minister Gareth Thomas MP said that the report was evidence that charities are taking a big hit. Your can read the full story here.

05.03.13 – Shadow Charities Minister visits city charity
Shadow Charities Minister, Gareth Thomas MP, popped into Bletchley on Thursday to visit Toybox, the city-based charity that helps street children in Latin America, reports the Milton Keynes Citizen. Mr Thomas joined City Labour Spokesperson, Andrew Pakes, for a tour of the Toybox office where they met staff and learnt more about the work of the charity and some of the current challenges facing the international development sector. You can read the full report here.

04.03.12 – Deprived pay price of charity spending cuts
Politics.co.uk reports that Britain's deprived areas will suffer the most as a result of funding cuts to charities, according to a leaked report. Shadow charities minister Gareth Thomas said: "David Cameron's claim that in his big society we're all in it together was never credible, but this leaked report confirms that ministers were being given independent evidence showing that charities were going to be hit very hard by funding cuts” You can read the full report here

04.03.12 – Charities ‘could face cuts of up to £5.5 bn’
BBC News has reported that a leaked report suggests the charity sector is facing local and national government funding cuts of between £1bn and £5.5bn in the current financial year. Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society said charities had taken a disproportionate hit in funding. Click here to read the full article.

04.03.12 – True impact of brutal Tory cuts revealed – charities lose billions
The Mirror has reported that David Cameron’s brutal spending cuts could cost charities as astonishing £5.5bn this year. Voluntary groups say David Cameron’s “Big Society” is dead in the water. Click here to read the full article.

03.03.12 – Charity funding cuts hit deprived areas hardest
The Observer has reported that charities working in the most deprived areas of the country, particularly those working in the fields of training and education, are being hardest hit by government spending cuts. Gareth Thomas MP, the Shadow Minister for Civil Society said the report is being ignored by Ministers. Read the full article here.

02.03.13 – Flagship ‘Big Society’ charity closes due to lack of funds
The Mirror reports that MyGeneration – one of the Prime Minister’s pivotal Big Society charities – has closed due to lack of funds. Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Gareth Thomas said the failure of the charity showed the flaws in the Prime Minister’s Big Society agenda. You can read the full story here.

February Articles 

 

29.02.12 – MP meets Norbury School parents and pupils about tackling absenteeism
The Harrow Observer reports that parents of children at the 510-strong Norbury School in Welldon Crescent, Harrow, spoke to Gareth Thomas Labour MP for Harrow West, at a question and answer session held on Friday to address how to tackle pupils' unauthorised absenteeism. You can read the full story here.


29.02.12 – Call to end scandal of pension charges
An MP has called for new laws to tackle “the scandal of high hidden charges in private pension funds”, reports The Times.  Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, will tomorrow launch a draft Bill in Parliament which would force pension providers to disclose all charges and costs paid by investors, some of which are currently hidden or difficult to find.  You can read the full story here.


16.02.12 – Civil servants’ union chief says tax schemes must stop
The Guardian reports that the head of the union representing senior civil servants has said that pay deals for officials that could reduce their tax liability need to stop and are widespread across Whitehall. The emails handed to the Guardian also show senior civil servants at the department discussing the possible reputational damage to the department and seeking to avoid ways of revealing the nature of the payments, information about which was sought in a written question last December by Gareth Thomas, the shadow Cabinet Office minister. You can read the full storyhere.


16.02.12 – Health department joins tax-saving pay row
The Department of Health has admitted that 25 senior staff have been paid through limited companies, despite previous denials that this was the case, reports the Financial Times. The revelations appear to contradict assurances given to Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP, that “it is not the department’s policy to allow staff to pay themselves by way of limited companies”. You can read the full story here.


16.02.12 – 25 Whitehall staff are accused of setting up pay deals via private companies
The Daily Mail reports that more than two dozen senior officials at the Department of Health are being paid their salaries via private companies in an attempt to avoid tax. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Gareth Thomas last night demanded an explanation from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. You can read the full story here.


16.02.12 – Health Department sorry for tax ‘misunderstanding’
The Department of Health paid 25 advisers through limited companies - a practice which can allow staff to pay less tax - according to reports. This is despite health minister Simon Burns telling Parliament last year that no Whitehall health staff were paid by this method. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Gareth Thomas asked the Department of Health last year if any of its paid workers used this salary arrangement. You can read the full Sky News report here.


16.02.12 – Whitehall paid staff via ‘limited companies’
The Daily Telegraph reports that More than 25 senior Department of Health officials, some earning more than £250,000 a year, have had their salaries paid to limited companies, enabling them to reduce their tax bill. Gareth Thomas, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister said he would seek clarification from Andrew Lansely, the Health Secretary. On Wednesday night a DoH spokesman apologised for the misleading information. You can read the full story here.


15.02.12 – Department of Health apologises over tax deal ‘misunderstanding’
The Department of Health has apologised after documents sent to the Guardian showed that contrary to assurances given to parliament, more than 25 senior staff employed by the department are paid salaries direct to limited companies, with the likely effect of reducing their tax bills. You can read the full story here.


02.02.12 – Student loans chief’s tax deal sparks public sector review
The Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander, has torn up a deal sanctioned by the Inland Revenue and the business department that had allowed the head of the student loans service to avoid paying tens of thousands of pounds in tax. The Labour MP Gareth Thomas raised questions about why written answers provided to him by the business department failed to highlight the arrangement. You can read the full Guardian report here.


02.02.12 – Ministers in the dark over loan chief’s tax dodge
Ministers are under pressure to explain why they allowed a top civil servant to be paid his salary through a company, allowing him significantly to reduce his tax bill, reports the Financial Times. Gareth Thomas MP said: “Business ministers appear to have misled the House of Commons and I have written to Vince Cable [the business secretary] to demand an explanation for this mistake.” You can read the full story here.


02.02.12 – MP pays tribute to work of Holocaust survivors
An MP for Harrow has spoken about the “incredibly moving” moment he signed the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment in Parliament, reports the Harrow Times.  Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, signed the book on Friday to pay tribute to Holocaust survivors who educate young people about their experiences through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme. You can read the full story here.


01.02.12 – “Expressions in interest” to buy Thamesteel
The BBC reports that more than 20 "expressions of interest" to buy the Kent company Thamesteel have been made, according to its administrators. The steel firm in Sheerness went into administration last week, putting 350 people out of work. The Labour MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas, has called on the government to do more to help find a buyer. Mr Thomas, a former business minister, has tabled a Commons motion, calling on the Business Secretary Vince Cable to meet a delegation of workers and union officials. You can read the full story here.


01.02.12 - Fears that RAF Northolt could become Heathrow’s third runway by stealth
The Harrow Observer reports that concerns are growing in Harrow that the sale of military base RAF Northolt could be used to push through the expansion of Heathrow sending commercial flights over the borough. Last week, Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas raised concerns about the stealth expansion of the major airport in the House of Commons, stating that a flight path could impact on many living near the site in the south of the borough. You can read the full story here.

 

January Articles

 

31.01.12 – Labour hosts children’s charities summit
Civil Society magazine reports on the Labour Party holding a summit of charity and voluntary sector groups to discuss the impact of the current government’s policies on children’s charities and their services. Click here to read in full. 

31.01.12 – Rayner’s Lane housing development has ‘transformed lives’
Harrow MP Gareth Thomas said regeneration in Rayners Lane has ‘transformed the lives of every family in the area’ as he unveiled new homes, reports the Harrow Observer. The MP for Harrow West was joined by Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Mrinal Choudhury, for a tour of the homes at the Spectrum development on Friday, January 20. You can read the full story here.

30.01.12 – Lloyds Banking Group drops charity credit card scheme
Lloyds Banking Group will discontinue its charity credit card scheme, which has raised £18m for three charities over the past 23 years, because of limited demand, according to Third Sector. Click here to read more. 

24.01.12 – National Audit Office raises questions over Work Programme
The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced the Work Programme quickly, in just over a year, and this has had benefits, but the speed with which it was launched has also increased risks, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report, reports the Charity Times. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow minister for Civil Society, said: “The Work Programme was billed as the great solution to the funding crisis facing charities and community groups as Ministers promised 40% of referrals would go to voluntary sector organisations. You can read the full story here.

24.01.12 – National Audit Office suggests survey of Work Programme subcontractors
Civil Society magazine reports on the National Audit Office’s recommendation that the Department for Work and Pensions should look at surveying subcontractors on the Work Programme to be assured that adequate standards of management by prime contractors are being met. Gareth Thomas MP said “The revelation that terminating existing welfare to work contracts cost the taxpayer £63m is particularly shocking when so many charities and voluntary groups are struggling to keep their heads above water.” You can read the full story here.

21.01.12 – Charity slams David Cameron’s Work Programme for the unemployed
The Observer reports that David Cameron's Work Programme is facing a crisis after charities involved warned ministers they may pull out over concerns of "profiteering" by private firms. Gareth Thomas, shadow minister for charities, said: "Government claims that winning contracts such as the Work Programme would be a solution to huge funding cuts have turned out to be a mirage." You can read the full story here.

16.01.12 – UK lawmakers call for pension fund managers to lower charges
U.K. opposition lawmakers are calling for pension-fund managers to cut their fees in order to boost the amount of money savers set aside for their retirement, according to Bloomberg. “Hidden costs in pension and savings funds are the City’s dirty secret,” said lawmaker Gareth Thomas. “They risk making Britain less competitive than our major competitors.” You can read the full story here.

13.01.12 – Big Society committee lapses into inertia
The Financial Times reports that the committee of ministers set up to organise the Big Society agenda has not held a meeting for nearly a year in another sign of David Cameron’s big idea failing to take off. Gareth Thomas MP said he was astonished that the committee had been inactive, saying it suggested the idea was “not being taken seriously” by the government. You can read the full story here.

13.01.12 – Big Society ministerial committee has not met for 10 months
Shadow charities minister Gareth Thomas says this shows the agenda is 'not taken seriously' by the government. You can read the full Third Sector story here.

12.01.2012 - "Where do we go after the millennium development goals"

As we approach the 2015 deadline for the millennium development goals to be achieved, Gareth Thomas MP makes a stand in Parliament to drive forward the debate on a post-2015 agenda.
Read more here.

 

09.01.2012 - "The impacts of cuts in legal aid" 
Gareth Thomas MP says that government funding cuts and plans to remove welfare benefit cases from legal aid eligibility will see a number of individuals refused the legal advice they need. It is feared that this will penalise vulnerable groups in society, including an estimated 78,000 disabled people who will be among those affected by these reforms. Read more here.

 

09.01.12 – Charities scared to speak out amid cuts, says report
The Guardian reports that charities that provide public services are increasingly reluctant to speak out against social injustice because they fear they will lose their funding, according to a report. Gareth Thomas, the shadow charities minister, said: "David Cameron's big society agenda was always a mirage but these powerful reports underline the gap between his rhetoric and the reality for community groups and charities of big funding cuts, significant job losses and lost independence." Read the full story here.

07.01.12 – Ken Clarke team’s 85 official photos since 2010
The Sun reports that KEN Clarke is Whitehall’s vainest minister. The Justice Secretary has had a staggering 85 official photos taken of himself and his team. Labour’s Gareth Thomas, who uncovered the official figures, said: “It’s time David Cameron told Ken Clarke to get his priorities right and stop wasting taxpayers’ time and money on photos.” You can read the full story here.

ARTICLES FROM 2011

 

DECEMBER ARTICLES


29.12.11 – MP visits premature babies at Northwick Park

A MOTHER whose son was born prematurely is trying to raise awareness about cuts to special care baby units. Mrs Evans met MP Gareth Thomas at Northwick Park hospital to show him the neonatal unit after a lobby event on behalf of the charity Bliss. You can read the full Harrow Observer story here.

28.12.11 – Science charities face funding cuts
The government has been warned that it is in danger of hindering Britain's economic growth after figures revealed that severe spending cuts are being imposed on science charities, according to the Guardian. Gareth Thomas, the shadow minister for civil society, said: "Despite David Cameron's pledge to protect the science budget, these are cuts to science funding by the back door.” You can read the full story here.

17.12.11 – Revealed: how city fees are eating into our pensions
The Guardian reports that highly paid City traders are depriving pensioners and savers of thousands of pounds through high management fees that are often hidden. Gareth Thomas, the Labour MP for Harrow West, said he feared that the government was reluctant to clamp down on the City's extravagant charges and practices. You can read the full story here.

14.12.11 – British politicians demand London drops Dow as Olympic Stadium sponsor
Leading British politicians, including Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas, have signed an 11,000-strong petition asking the London Olympic organisers to drop chemical company Dow as sponsors of the wrap around the main stadium, while new claims have been made that Parliament was misled about elements of the deal. You can read the full Daily Telegraph report here.

07.12.11 – Harrow MP gives Spectrum the seal of approval
Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West recently visited the new show home at Home Group’s Spectrum development in Rayners Lane, Harrow to see how the multi million pound 10 year regeneration scheme is transforming the area, reports EasierProperty.com. You can read the full story here.

 

NOVEMBER ARTICLES

 

28.11.11 – Social Value Bill: Social enterprise strategy amendments withdrawn
Civil Society magazine reports how the Public Services (Social Value) Bill passed through the House of Commons without amendments which would have seen a greater role for civil society organisations in public service commissioning. A series of amendments proposed by the shadow minister for civil society, Gareth Thomas, were withdrawn or not called in order to prevent a delay to the Bill, which Thomas's office says “would have effectively killed it”. You can read the full story here.

28.11.11 – Sector to discuss Work Programme crisis
Charity Times reports that Labour’s shadow charities minister Gareth Thomas MP and shadow employment minister Stephen Timms MP will host a summit of charity, social enterprise and voluntary sector groups to discuss the growing crisis in the Work Programme today. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow minister for Civil Society, said: “David Cameron and Francis Maude promised that charities and the voluntary sector would receive more income through the Work Programme … this has not materialised, showing just how out of touch ministers are with the reality facing charities today.” You can read the full story here.

24.11.11 – Charity Commission, NCVO and Acevo should be consulted on social enterprise strategy, says Labour
Amendments proposed by Labour to the Public Services (Social Value) Bill, which include a requirement for direct consultation with the Charity Commission, Acevo, NCVO and others, could provide greater safeguards for not-for-profit involvement in the public service contracting process, according to Civil Society magazine. Shadow Minister for Civil Society, Gareth Thomas MP, said: “As the cuts bite, given the extra social benefit they offer local people, our communities should be able to expect their local charity or social enterprise to be able to compete for contracts and new business on fair terms with the private sector.” You can read the full story here.

13.11.11 – Save our war memorials: heroes and ex-heads of the Armed Forces unite to back campaign
Senior military figures, war veterans and MPs today joined forces to back The Sunday Telegraph's campaign to save Britain's war memorials. Gareth Thomas, Labour's shadow minister for civil society, added: "War memorials are fundamental to marking the contribution of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You can read the full story here.

10.11.11 – War sites cuts rage
The Sun reports that ministers were blasted for slashing funds to key sites honouring Britain’s war efforts. The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as well as The Imperial War and National Army museums in London face budget cuts. The Royal British Legion called the funding “essential”, while Labour’s Gareth Thomas added: “It shows just how out of touch David Cameron is.” You can read the full story here.

09.11.11 – The collapse of Rise shows how fragile support is for social enterprises
Gareth Thomas MP outlines for the Guardian what should be learnt from the collapse of Rise, a social enterprise that helped other enterprises. You can read the full article here.

06.11.11 – Ministers pay consultants £2,000 a day while axing jobs
The Daily Mirror reports that ministers are paying consultants up to £2,000 a day while sacking -thousands of public sector workers. The figures were uncovered by Shadow Civil Society Minister Gareth Thomas, who said: “David Cameron and George Osborne are out of touch if they think this level of pay for this many consultants is acceptable. Click here to read the full story. 

05.11.11 – NHS Reforms: American consultancy McKinsey in conflict-of-interest row
The Guardian reports that a global consultancy firm seeking to profit out of the fallout from the shake-up to the NHS is being paid £250,000 a year by the government for advice on the transition towards health secretary Andrew Lansley's vision of the service. Gareth Thomas, Labour's shadow minister for civil society, said: "When the rest of the country is struggling to make ends meet and jobs are being axed, the government should be clamping down on excessive pay to consultants.” You can read the full story here.

03.11.11 – Public accounts: Now, where did we put those 127 laptops?
The Ministry of Justice has admitted that an astonishing array of hi-tech equipment has gone missing since May 2010, reports The Independent. It includes 127 laptops or hard drives, 71 BlackBerrys and "293 other items of IT equipment". Gareth Thomas, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, who obtained details of the losses, accused the ministry of complacency. Read the full story here.

01.11.11 – Ministry of Justice has lost almost 500 items of electronic equipment since May 2010
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly has admitted that between 1 May 2010 and 30 September 2011 the department run by Ken Clarke misplaced 127 computers, 71 BlackBerrys and 293 "other" items of IT equipment, reports the Huffington Post. Djanogly was responding to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Gareth Thomas. You can read the full story here.

SEPTEMBER ARTICLES

 

08.09.2011 - "London's commuter belt - the key to government?"
Gareth Thomas MP believes that winning back support in the South of England, particularly in London’s commuter belt, may be the key to a future Labour government and argues that convincing commuter belt voters, as well as the rest of the country, that a Labour government will lead to increased living standards should be a priority. Read more here.

02.09.2011 - "Back on track"
Gareth Thomas MP argues that Labour must prioritise winning back the support of those living in the London commuter belt in the build up to the 2015 elections. Read more here.

 

JULY ARTICLES

 

02.07.2011 - "The wrong call for the future of our country"
Government proposals to try and fix the big hole left in the university budget, caused by the surge in tuition fees, are threatening to damage the quality of higher education in Britain. Read more here.

 

JUNE ARTICLES
 
08.06.2011 - "Oxford no confidence vote should prompt a rethink"
Oxford academics have placed a vote of no confidence in David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, following the government’s policy to treble university tuition fees and to cut funding for universities by 80 per cent.Read more here.

 


MAY ARTICLES


26.05.2011 - "Postgraduate pool set to dry up as feverish coalition feels the heat"
The government’s controversial decision to increase university tuition fees has sparked widespread concern for the future of postgraduate education. It is feared that undergraduates, who now face leaving university with a debt of almost £40,000, will be reluctant to accrue more debt by embarking on further study. Read more here.

 

MARCH ARTICLES


29.03.2011 - "The government's university policy doesn't add up"
Gareth Thomas MP warns that increasing tuition fees to £9,000 will have dire long-term consequences, as many students will struggle to repay such high loans and will have to have their debt written off. Read more here.

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