MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I met with Jobcentre Plus leaders to discuss our St Annes facility this week, and was pleased to learn the service is staying put.

There were fears, when plans were lodged for an alternative use for the site, that we could lose the facility.

The truth is, the centre would have stayed in the town one way or another, but bosses have now confirmed it will stay in its current location.

There has been a lot of press coverage of the change to Universal Credit, so I was keen to hear how the uptake was.

I understand some 96 per cent of applications are being sorted on time from St Annes. No one wants to have the teething problems we have when a new system is brought in, and the situation seems well under control. However, if you are having difficulties, please get in touch with my office and I will do my utmost to help.

I was pleased to hear about the steps being taken in the area to help employers take on people living with physical disabilities and mental health conditions; a recent round-table event was held with 20 different employers attending.

It is vital we continue this work to ensure we have employment opportunities for everyone.

This week I am meeting once again with union reps from BAE Systems in Parliament to help keep the situation at the firm on the Government’s agenda.

Many of the projected job losses at Warton can be mitigated should we win more orders for Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

Next week we will have a meeting with ministers and senior civil servants to further press the matter and the urgency of the situation.

I also had a discussion this week regarding the forthcoming appeal to allow fracking at Roseacre.

I will be opposing any such appeal and maintaining the stance I have from the start. The roads around this site are not suitable, and I do not agree with the Secretary of State’s decision to even allow such an appeal.

It is important all sides are heard at the appeal and I will be writing to the inspector to ensure there is no doubt about my view on the situation.

I also believe we should be putting in protections in law about the number of fracking wells allowed in a designated area.

This week I also attended the Paint the Hall Ball at Lytham Hall.

It was an excellent event, and thanks to Peter Anthony and Paul Lomax who staged the event.

I’m delighted to see they will be playing a much bigger role at the landmark from now on, and look forward to many more fund-raising events in the future.

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