MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Christmas is traditionally a time for spending with your loved ones in the warm comfort of the family home.

So you can only imagine the devastation for those caught up in the floods which affected the North West so badly over the weekend, causing heartbreaking damage to homes and property.

When the rainfall expected for an entire month falls in a single day it is almost impossible to defend against but the authorities have done a tremendous job of protecting people as far as possible in the face of the onslaught. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the soldiers of 2LANCS, based at Weeton Barracks, who were deployed to affected areas on Christmas Day morning to help bolster flood defences.

And if one thing can be taken from this terrible situation, it is the way communities have come together to look after those most in need.

While flood defences across Fylde were under extreme pressure, I am told that they held out and the affected areas locally were mainly limited to farmers’ fields and a handful of temporary road closures.

Our neighbours in Wyre were not so fortunate and St Michael’s once again bore the brunt of the flooding after the river burst its banks.

Similar scenes from the east of the county and around the country remind us just how lucky we are.

As the Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border, the Floods Minister Rory Stewart MP is keenly aware of the issues and spent a great deal of his Christmas out with the Environment Agency and emergency services in Cumbria.

I am due to meet the Minister when we return to Parliament in the new year to impress upon him the importance of work to improve drainage in the area to the east of Lytham, which could threaten homes in the future if not resolved.

Having already invested £20m to improve sea defences at Fairhaven and Church Scar the Government will be aware of the issues in the area and I hope it will continue its support.

In closing, it has been great to be back at home in Fylde for Christmas and I have been pleased to see the amount of people out spending money in shops, pubs and restaurants, which I am sure is welcomed by local businesses.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all readers a happy New Year and all the best for the next 12 months.

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