MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Having a background in retail means I know just how important it is for traders that people shop locally when the time comes for buying Christmas presents.

The festive shopping period is now upon us and it is one on which a large number of retailers depend to get them through the leaner months when their takings may not be as good.

Since becoming Member of Parliament for Fylde I have always tried to do the majority of my gift shopping in local stores as it is important I support local businesses, and I always urge others to do the same.

This weekend’s Christmas Lights Switch On in Lytham brought hundreds of people into town to watch the beautiful displays being lit for the first time and I hope local traders had the first of many boosts to till receipts they will experience over the coming weeks.

This week, I was asked to lend my support to St Annes Kite Festival after the organisers requested I write a supporting letter to go with a funding bid to help extend the popular event.

The kite festival has grown from strength to strength over the last three years and more and more people seem to be talking about it as one of their favourite events on the summer calendar.

I was delighted to write in support of the festival, which now not only attracts local people but brings in visitors from around the country who flock to see the brightly-coloured creations flying above Fylde’s beautiful sands.

There was some good news concerning Blackpool Airport this week after it was revealed that the current operator was seeking to partially reopen the airfield, which closed last month.

As regular readers will know, I have been working hard to see this happen and recently held a debate in Parliament on the subject, as well as having meetings with the Airports Minster and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I was delighted with the news that operators would now be able to continue flying into Blackpool and that a number of those jobs which had been lost, in areas such as air traffic control, maintenance and the fire and rescue services, are now being re-advertised.

With the correct investment and support this could be the first step towards seeing passenger services resuming from the site.

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