I’m very concerned at the level of flooding we have seen at home in Fylde in the past week.
It was only a few weeks ago farmers were telling me they were generally pleased with the way the new pumping station at the east end of Lytham has been operating, and that they had noticed less waterlogging on their fields.
However, we have seen widespread flooding over a much larger area since then, with terrible flooding reported all over Fylde – in towns, villages and rural areas.
I have written to the Environment Agency, to United Utilities, to Lancashire County Council and to ministers to ask for a concerted effort to tackle the issue together.
There are a multitude of issues here; water running off new developments, drainage ditches potentially being blocked, and issues with those drains reaching the estuary.
I want to see a combined effort from all of the agencies to tackle this matter once and for all.
I spoke in Parliament after the Government announced seed funding for Royal Preston Hospital to develop a plan for a brand new hospital for the area – massive news for us in Fylde. Ministers gave me a strong commitment that they will work with us to make sure we get the state-of-the-art hospital we need – and it will not be built under Labour’s old PFI model at a massively-increased off-the-books price.
I’m also delighted to see as part of this extra funding announcement for the NHS that all MRI, CT and breast cancer screening equipment across the NHS is to be replaced, to make sure we have none more than 10 years old.
Our investment in the NHS is the biggest this country has ever seen. It’s great to see how the funding is now going to be spent improving and expanding the NHS estate to make sure we have world-leading facilities and equipment for our dedicated NHS staff.
At Conference this week, the Chancellor revealed the National Living Wage will rise to £10.50 per hour by 2024, and will be extended to everyone over the age of 21 within five years. That represents a pay rise of some £4,000 a year by 2024 for the average full time worker on the National Living Wage.
And I am very pleased to see the announcement that automatic early release is to be ended for violent and sexual offenders.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has made it clear that release should be earned and is not an automatic right – prisoners will have to serve far more of their sentences and demonstrate they no longer prove a danger to society before being considered for early release.