My Week in Westminster

I’m very pleased to see BAE Systems’ announcement that it will, this year, take on more apprentices than ever before.

The business will take on more than 800 apprentices – with 200 of those here in the North West.

The new recruits will join different programmes, across air, maritime, land and cyber divisions and will benefit from on-the-job training as well as recognised qualifications.

Many of them will work in the future combat sector and will undoubtedly work in Warton and Samlesbury.

It is vital we keep creating apprenticeships. They are a fantastic option for those who do not want to go through further education in the traditional manner.

I was also delighted to see the Government announce a 4.4 per cent real-term increase in funding for local government.

This means a rise from £46.2 billion to £49.1 billion for councils to provide services to residents across the UK.

While I welcome the extra £1 billion of new grant funding, and a possible further £500 million through precepts for adult and children’s social care, I hope to see far more money in this area in future.

Thanks to fantastic care from our NHS, we are seeing an increase in the elderly population, and we must be better prepared to care for our older people.

Fylde council recently announce it was debt free after paying off the last of its borrowings in the past; following the removal of the Government’s revenue support grant, the risk of borrowing shifted from Whitehall to local authorities.

As a Fylde resident, it is fantastic to know the authority has managed this borrowing so well, and that Fylde is now one of only three debt-free councils in the north west. It means every penny raised by Fylde will go into services for us, and not on debt repayments.

The Government got its Brexit vote through Parliament before Christmas, and I am now looking forward to being able to get back on with constituency matters which had to be out on hold during the election period.

I’ll be meeting with Lancashire County Council next week to discuss Kirkham’s High Street funding – and telling them why it is imperative they contribute to the project.