MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

php6uyLclAM

Last week I attended a ‘read-in’ at Ansdell Library to protest against Lancashire County Council’s decision to curtail library services, a decision which could see facilities close in Fylde.

I was extremely disappointed the county council chose to target libraries as part of its budget process this year and want to see the authority think creatively to ensure we maintain the high levels of service we currently have.

I have been in contact with local councillors in all affected areas in Fylde to urge them to support their local libraries and was pleased to see a march has been organised between the three libraries in Lytham, Ansdell and St Annes this weekend. I have also made clear to county hall my vehement objection to any closures and have taken part in the official consultation process.

I know the county council has attempted to blame this decision on Government cuts but I have little sympathy for that argument. Even before the financial crisis councils were citing budget pressures to close libraries up and down the country, but I know many authorities have managed to avoid closures altogether.

I understand that at the heart of this issue is the council’s decision to split the county into zones and provide services based on geographic location. However, I am told that some zones are disparate and made up of far fewer people than others so I would question the fairness of this process and have written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ask him to investigate the county council’s methodology.

I was delighted this week when the Prime Minister announced a new £1.54bn project with France to build a prototype of the next generation of unmanned aircraft.

The Future Combat Air System project will produce the most advanced vehicle of its kind in Europe, securing high-end engineering jobs and expertise in both countries, with full scale development of prototypes starting next year.

BAE Systems is to be one of the main companies involved in this project and it will build on the successful £120m joint feasibility study undertaken after the last UK France Summit in 2014.

This was an announcement I had been hoping for and should protect large numbers of jobs in Fylde for many years to come.

Comments are closed.