MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

Mark Menzies with David Eva

When I was first elected MP for Fylde, I pledged to try and help improve the South Fylde rail line.

This week, I met with Network Rail and Northern Rail representatives to ask for firm plans to be put in place to increase frequency on the line.

I have spoken to ministers who appear receptive to funding improvements to the South Fylde railway which has been historically neglected.

At one end is Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the UK, which needs better service, as do all of our Fylde towns and villages.

With Lytham and St Annes now attracting visitors in the tens of thousands for events such as Lytham Festival, St Annes Kite Festival, and the 1940s weekend, there is ample demand for better trains and services.

Kirkham is finally getting the much-needed upgrade I have long called for, to make it fully accessible for all – and will be a mainline station to London as well.

Regular users of the line also deserve better rolling stock, and an increase in services.

I have put the ball in Network Rail’s court – I will lobby the Government for the investment when they can come up with the proposals.

This week, I also met with David Eva of the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for many of the health services, including mental health, in Fylde.

It was good to hear from David that he believes the Government is providing the most support he’s ever seen for mental health in the UK.

However, we need to ensure that that support percolates down through to all levels of the healthcare system, to hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups, Social Services, police, prisons and other organisations.

The extra support, such as the money for an extra 21,000 mental health nurses announced earlier this year, will not count if we don’t ensure everyone in healthcare is aware of it.

Last, and by no means least, this weekend is Remembrance Sunday.

I am a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and have travelled to war and disaster zones to see our brave personnel in action.

I recently visited Pirbright where I met serving soldiers and some of the new Army recruits who were undergoing some of their rigorous training.

The only thing more impressive than the facilities was the young people themselves, whose focus and determination was an example to us all.

While we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, I will also be thinking about all of our current forces personnel  who keep us safe, and help so many people around the world.

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