MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

IN last week’s budget, among a raft of measures designed to help boost the UK economy, was the Chancellor’s announcement that Sunday trading hours are to be relaxed during the Olympics this summer.

This, as you may recall, was an idea I put forward as part of Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons last year.

With my background in retail, and following talks with a number of companies, it was felt that the UK was missing out on hundreds of millions of pounds in potential revenue from the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will be coming to the UK.

Unfortunately, following some opposition in the Commons, the Bill did not progress.

However, it is very clear that the Government were listening to the suggestion very carefully and I’m delighted the proposal has been taken up.

Let me be very clear though, this is a temporary measure and I fully recognise the importance of keeping Sunday’s special which many people, particularly religious groups, feel is very important.

This is a practical step which is a welcome boost for the UK economy in a time of need and when retail is struggling.

It may also help to create jobs for young and lower paid workers.

Elsewhere this week I attended a hugely uplifting event – the unveiling of a foundation stone at the new Fylde Scout HQ.

The former scout headquarters was, of course, wrecked in a cowardly and disheartening arson attack while a second attack poured on further misery.

It’s been a huge struggle for the scouts to get back on their feet but their fund raising efforts and the support of Fylde’s community for these tremendous young people has been nothing short of incredible.

The foundations of the building are now all there and I would like to personally thank all of the people and businesses who contributed to this sterling effort.

Further fundraising is needed, however, to complete this miraculous transformation.

The scouts’ ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign is going well, I believe, and we now need to kick on to ensure that this wonderful community organisation, which helps so many young children, continues to thrive.

For more information or to donate visit www.fyldescouts.org.uk

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