MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

It was great to get back to working in Parliament this week after a busy Christmas period at home in Fylde.

One of the first sessions in the House of Commons upon returning was Tuesday’s debate on the Housing and Planning Bill.

Since becoming a Member of Parliament I can think of no subject which causes greater controversy and it is important the Government does something to help those who are struggling to get onto the property ladder.

However, those homes need to be built in the correct locations where they are supported by employment, services and infrastructure.

That is why I was pleased to see the bill included plans for the Government to step in and directly commission new affordable homes on publicly owned land – starting with 13,000 on four sites outside of London in 2016.

That is where thousands of new homes are particularly needed and I am concerned about jobs and services available to facilitate the thousands of properties which currently have planning permission in Fylde.

As someone who believes in localism I have been a big supporter of the Local Plan process, which sees councils publish a 20-year document outlining the way it wishes to see the area develop.

However, in Fylde we currently do not have the required five-year housing supply number, which has left us at the mercy of developers who use this to convince the Planning Inspectorate to approve inappropriate housing schemes without the associated infrastructure needs.

The inspectorate should be giving more weight to the wishes of local people and working for them rather than developers to ensure Britain has the homes it needs and world class services to support them.

I was pleased to see this week that Government support for the UK film industry has generated more than £1bn worth of investment in the UK in the last year alone.

With the release of the new Bond movie, Spectre, and the latest Star Wars sequel this year it really is becoming a golden age for British creative industries.

The Government’s investment has generated 260,000 full-time creative sector jobs and the benefits are far reaching.

I know when filming of new movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children took place in Blackpool this year, Hollywood A-lister Samuel L Jackson stayed at the Grand Hotel in St Annes and the production put thousands of pounds into the local economy.

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