My Week in Westminster

The Prime Minister promised we’d get Brexit done – and it is already through the House of Commons.

Within days of us returning to Parliament after Christmas, we have finally been able to vote the Brexit deal through and pass it on to the House of Lords.

The stagnation of the last Parliament and political game-playing from the opposition, designed to do nothing but prevent Brexit, is over and we can look forward to getting bills passed, more police on the streets, and further increases in funding for the NHS and schools.

The Australian bush fires are horrific for all those affected – but also in a wider global context. The forest fires in the Amazon last year were devastating, and this latest ecological disaster is a real worry. These forests are the lungs of the world – trees are vital to our planet.

I’m glad to see we have a new tree planting programme at Fylde Council – while this in no way countenances these losses, we all have a responsibility to protect forests and trees, and to promote new planting wherever possible.

I wrote to the Chancellor this week to ask for a cut in beer duty to help the pub trade. We’re paying more than 10 times the amount of duty on a pint than in Germany or Spain, and the tax is one of many faced by publicans.

Pubs these days are so much more than the drinking dens of old. Some are almost community centres, village shops, fine dining venues – it is sensible to have a small cut in duty to help pubs stay open – a closed pub will cost the Treasury far in lost duty in the long run.

More than 300 Fylde residents have backed the Long Live the Local campaign, and I’m more than happy to add my support.

I’m pleased to see the JR Taylor site in St Annes being cleaned up for future use. The long legal battle over its lease finally finished last year allowing a buyer to come in – and we are seeing results.

This should be the catalyst for investment in St Annes.

I want to see empty space above the shops turned into decent accommodation, bringing more people into the town centre, giving a captive audience for businesses below.

Fylde Council, St Annes Town Council, the St Annes Enterprise Partnership and I have already met and I’m pleased to see a first consultation session with business owners set up to look at a way forward for the town centre.