MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I am astounded that Northern Rail cancelled services yet again on our Blackpool South line last Sunday.

It is simply not good enough and I have written to both Northern Rail and the Minister for Transport to ask that the matter be fully investigated.

If Northern cannot provide the services on its timetable, it is time to bring in someone who can.

They are really running out of excuses now – I understand there has been a lot of engineering works to improve the network, but we have had those blamed, staff holidays blamed, union stances blamed, staff sickness blamed, and the ridiculous situation whereby we were told staff do not have to work on a Sunday should they choose not to.

This is no way to run rail services, especially in the summer months when we expect our businesses, our shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants, to be benefitting from tourists coming into the area by rail.

And I will not stand for my constituents facing ever-more uncertainty about how to get to and from work and schools to collect and drop off children.

Northern really need to understand how simple it is – we need a reliable, clean, efficient and affordable rail service.

Unemployment has fallen to the lowest level since 1975 in the UK – and has fallen again at home in Fylde. The fall betters the figures suggested by economists.

Here in Fylde we have just 1.7 per cent of the economically active population out of work; The 650 unemployed claimants figure is 40 fewer than the same month last year, and five fewer than last month.

I’m pleased to see productivity – output per hour – also growing by 1.5 per cent, the largest increase since 2016, and wages growing by 2.7 per cent in the past three months.

The national figures also show a huge fall in the number of people employed on zero hours contracts.

It’s the 1940s weekend on Lytham Green this weekend. This is one of the last major events of the summer and I expect tens of thousands of people will attend, boosting our local businesses.

The event is going from strength to strength, thanks to the hard work of organisers and support of Fylde Council, and is now one of the biggest of its kind in the UK; It will not be long before it is the biggest.