MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

On Sunday I appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme to discuss some of the important issues affecting the North West.

Chief amongst them was the impact that leaving the EU could have upon the UK’s car industry, which is particularly concerning for Vauxhall employees, manufacturing cars at Ellesmere Port.

The announcement that Nissan has committed to manufacturing two of its models – the Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV – at its Sunderland plant, which employs over 7,000 people, is extremely welcome news.

The government should be commended for taking decisive action in stepping in to reassure the company and to support those working in the UK’s manufacturing industry.

It shows that the government recognises the importance of upholding economic stability as it prepares for Brexit negotiations, and should give everyone confidence in the UK’s future outside the EU.

On the programme we also discussed planning policy and whether it is right that Greater Manchester has earmarked greenbelt land for future housing developments.

The government has made it clear that local councils should prioritise brownfield sites for future development but where, as in Fylde, developers have been allowed to construct new houses on greenfield land.

I am increasingly concerned that developers are sitting on land with planning approval, waiting for prices to rise before putting their shovels in the ground.

I am urging the government to prioritise the needs of local communities over the developers, who currently have too much power.

I was delighted to visit Westinghouse’s Springfields site to celebrate the production of its seven millionth Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) oxide fuel pin.

The site at Springfields is incredibly significant for the area, employing a large, highly-skilled local workforce, manufacturing the fuel for all AGR nuclear power stations.

After touring some of the site, I met with Westinghouse’s senior management to express my commitment to ensuring that the future of the plant is safeguarded for many generations to come.

In Parliament, the committee scrutinising the Digital Economy Bill has now concluded after four weeks in which my colleagues and I scrutinised the Bill line by line.

Thanks to considerable persuasion, I was pleased to secure government support for an amendment to the Bill that will toughen up the law against nuisance callers.

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