All the talk this week has undoubtedly been the strikes on our railways. The walkout means the South Fylde line will be closed entirely for three days this week with no alternative for passengers. At a time when we are working hard to rebuild passenger numbers and confidence it is a difficult blow to take. I want Northern and Network Rail to work together to ensure some kind of service can run during any future dispute.
Growth right now is based on leisure travel, just the kind of market Fylde can tap into. My worry is that such passengers are less likely to give the train a second chance following long-term disruption.
I understand the pressures every household and business face right now with rising costs. But double-digit pay rises for rail workers would only serve to fan the flames of inflation, making worse the problem union leaders say they want to resolve.
I hope any disruption will not impact too much on the packed schedule of summer events here in Fylde, including the return of Lytham Festival.
After two difficult years it is brilliant to see the stage taking shape on Lytham Green and such a broad line up of acts set to entertain over the next couple of weeks. The festival raises the profile of Fylde as a destination and is a massive boost to so many local businesses, who undoubtedly benefit from the big crowds it attracts. Before the music begins we also have the excitement of Lytham Club Day, which, like all our local events, is made possible through the dedication and hard work of volunteers.
This week I met with Ferrero, the company which now owns Fox’s Biscuits. I was pleased to hear the company is committed to the factory in Kirkham and is looking to invest in its workforce, with a focus on recruiting locally. I very much look forward to hearing how more skilled jobs can be delivered in Fylde, particularly where it benefits our more rural communities.