MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I met Bev Sykes from Just Good Friends at home in Fylde.

Bev and her group are some of the most driven people I know. Their work to combat loneliness is exemplary.

There are more than 300 members of the group now, meeting up to five times a week and going on trips. Not only is this organisation helping people meet new friends, it is also helping ensure those in need of help are signposted to the right places.

I’m delighted to have been asked to be a patron and I look forward to further helping Bev and the Just Good Friends family in future.

Bev’s work ties in with the Government’s decision to build on Jo Cox’s legacy with the announcement of the first ever minister for loneliness. I will be writing to the minister this week outlining the great work that Bev has done here in Fylde.

I also visited Barratt Homes’ Cottam Meadow development in the east of the constituency.

It was interesting to see the company’s ‘Built for Life’ development which aims to ensure a home can be easily adapted to meet the owner’s changing needs over time, such as spaces for lifts and easy wet room conversions.

I’m also pleased to see the entire development, on Homes and Communities Agency land, is a freehold initiative, stopping any potential for leasehold abuse we have seen at so many developments around the country.

Work this week to install a footbridge at Kirkham and Wesham Railway Station is a real sign of the progress being made on our railways, and we will soon have a fit-for purpose accessible station which I have campaigned for since I was elected.

Transport for the North (TfN), has launched its first transport plan for the Northern Powerhouse and the centrepiece is its rail plan.

It will better connect us all in the North, meaning we will go from 10,000 people being able to reach four northern cities in under an hour to 1.3 million, and many times more than number able to do so in an hour and a half.

That gives us a labour market equivalent to that which benefits London. I’m pleased to see this level of investment – TfN’s vision will cost between £2bn and £2.3bn a year, working out at £150 per northern citizen a year. That’s £50 a head more than what would otherwise have been spent.

And finally, this week saw the conclusion of the Commons work on the EU Brexit Bill, It has been a marathon session the likes of which I have never seen before in Parliament.

Now it’s over to the Lords.

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