The Government is committed to making sure work pays and putting more money into your pocket. The pandemic and emergency energy bill support have proven real challenges but, with inflation falling significantly and Government spending brought under control, there is at last room to make headway towards this goal. To that end, I am delighted that a cut in National Insurance contributions came into effect this week, reducing the rate from 12p to 10p in the pound, meaning an average saving of £450 for 27 million working people.
There is still more to do. The Prime Minister and Chancellor are keen to go further and are working hard to find room for affordable tax cuts. It is a subject I have spoken about with them and, as the Government makes progress with its plan to responsibly manage taxpayer’s money, I look forward to seeing what measures will be announced in March’s budget.
I am also pleased with the progress on key local issues. Anti-social behaviour has been an increasing issue in the areas surrounding St Annes Square, with shocking incidents of vandalism at the car park on St George’s Road, a particular hotspot.
On Friday I met with Sgt Glennon Hill about this situation and I was heartened by the clear commitment to tackling the scourge of anti-social behaviour. Thanks to Government funding for Operation Centurion and the support of Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowdon, four additional officers, aided by a pair of roving CCTV vans, have been deployed to St Annes.
I believe that the extra officers and resources will both reassure residents and help see that those carrying out similar acts in future are held to account. Prevention is, of course, of equal importance and we discussed how the police are working with the Adam Little Boxing Club in Kirkham to get young people directing their energies in a positive sporting direction. The plan now is to expand this across Fylde so that more young people can get involved and I plan to visit the scheme in future.
From the town centre I headed over to Lytham St Annes Skip Hire to present the third of my Fylde Business Awards certificates to runners-up Joe and Andy Gillet, who together run the Gillet Environmental Group. I really enjoyed meeting with the pair as I wrapped up what has been a wonderful celebration of our small local businesses. This inaugural edition has truly been fantastic, and I cannot wait to launch a bigger and better second round of awards this autumn.
With over 500 signatures, Friday’s signing session was a fantastic way to kick off my Morgan & Morecambe Parliamentary Petition’s tour of Fylde at Newton-with-Clifton Parish Council and my thanks go to the Parish Councillors for hosting me. I will shortly be finalising dates and times for similar events in Freckleton and Kirkham and look forward to another positive turnout as we make sure that Fylde’s voice is heard and helps reshape these proposals.