MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

A BREEZY March afternoon with grey clouds in the sky perhaps doesn’t do some of Fylde’s fantastic areas justice.

But I know Charles Hendry MP, the Minister of State for Energy, was still impressed as I drove him through the borough as part of his Ministerial visit to Fylde last Friday.

In town to visit the shale gas drilling site in Singleton and meet with local energy companies, business people and farmers, Charles was reminded of his last visit to Lytham as a shadow business minister.

“We were campaigning to keep open Lytham’s post office,” he told people, referring to Warton Street post office which almost closed back in 2008. “And I’m pleased to see it’s still open today.”

The day was good fun but there was a very serious message behind it, picked out by the Minister during an interview: “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

It was a great opportunity for the Minister to meet and understand a bit more about some growing local firms in the energy sector like Global Energy Systems, Inenco and British Independent Utilities.

What I’m sure the Minister will now be looking at is how to help companies like those in Fylde to grow and, importantly, try to cut red-tape that can often impede them.

Later that day I met with representatives of Fylde Youth Council to discuss ways I can assist their works and get more young people interested and engaged in politics.

They had some interesting questions on everything from local matters like the local transport network, which I know is crucial to many students, and national policy.

But one very interesting idea to come out of the meeting was a proposal to hold specialist surgeries for young people to discuss the problems they face.

I hold regular constituency advice surgeries which no doubt some of you have been to.

But as yet I have yet to see almost anyone under the age of 30.

I think it is very important young people should have their say on political matters and this could provide an ideal forum.

I hope to engage with interested schools soon and put this idea into practice.

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