MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I was pleased to see Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy minister Richard Harrington visiting Springfields in Fylde.

Once Richard was appointed, I immediately introduced him to Westinghouse bosses from the site in Parliament.

More than a fifth of our electricity in the UK is generated thanks to fuel rods created in Fylde; it is vital that this facility is kept up and running for two further reasons.

First and foremost, because it involves highly-skilled engineers in the UK whose jobs we must protect. There are some 3,000 people working at Springfields, creating arguably the best nuclear fuel products in the world, and there is a real chance we could see growth in the number of highly-paid jobs at the site.

Secondly, we must ensure the UK maintains its skill base so that we continue being able to supply this kind of fuel - if we lose that capability, we are beholden to other countries to keep the lights on.

I have lobbied hard for any new nuclear deals in the UK to include the provision of fuel from Springfields to prevent any foreign nuclear power station owners merely importing their own fuel – which many would do, even given a cheaper deal available in the UK.

I met with several small business owners from Fylde at the Federation of Small Businesses’ Blackpool base.

It was interesting to meet them and listen to their concerns about life after Brexit, and what they tell me are rising costs of employing staff.

These are matters which I have taken up with ministers on their behalf.

I also met with the Environment Agency to discuss several matters. I was given an update on hydraulic fracturing, and I reiterated my opposition to both the revised plans for Roseacre, and the Government’s plans to simplify the planning process for future applications.

I will not let local voices go unheard – and I have been invited to meet with ministers following my clear objections in Parliament earlier this month.

I also met with the new chairman of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Pearse Butler. We spoke about many of the improvements we've seen at the hospitals, including Blackpool Victoria and Clifton in St Annes over the years, especially to facilities.

I also highlighted some issues I see with Fylde residents regarding the complex and sometimes overly-bureaucratic processes we see at the hospital, leading on occasion to unnecessary stays which tie up hospital beds, and to people attending clinics with no notice that they have been cancelled.

I look forward to working with him in future.