My Week in Westminster

With the Brexit Bill now in the House of Lords, it is great to see new legislation coming through the House of Commons so that we can get on with improvements to infrastructure, to education and to healthcare.

Tourism minister Helen Whately pledged to meet with me this week to look at our infrastructure needs and to lobby the transport minister on Fylde’s behalf after I raised the matter in the House, and asked for support to improve our infrastructure for visitors and residents alike.

Top of my list is, of course, the M55 link road and improvements to services on the South Fylde line.

The minister agreed more should be done to support our towns and we will meet shortly ahead of a meeting with transport ministers.

This week sees the second reading of the Telecoms Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill which will ensure everyone in the country is able to access Gigabit broadband by 2025. The new bill will help Openreach provide fibre cables to flats and apartments.

Openreach are connecting around 26,000 new premises to the network every week. The new bill helps businesses with a business rate exemption and also puts focus on the 5G network to improve our broadband speeds and connectivity.

The independent School Teachers’ Review Body has this week recommended starting salaries of £26,000 for new teachers.

That sits well with our commitment to ensuring new teacher pay reaches £30,000 by September 2022, to ensure the teaching profession is amongst the most competitive in the graduate labour market when it comes to pay.

We’ve also made a huge environmental commitment this week – the Prime Minister announcing that UK taxpayers’ money will not be directly invested in any projects which involve using coal for power generation overseas. None of our international development money will be spent on coal power stations – it’s a statement that we are taking a global role in tackling climate change.

I was delighted to visit Freckleton C of E School this week to talk to the children about the work of Parliament.

They visited late last year and I presented the children with certificates to mark their trip, and to chat with them about the role of an MP.

As with every other visit I’ve made to the school, the children were absolutely delightful, enthusiastic and polite. It was also a real pleasure to be asked to help the headteacher hand out the weekly awards to pupils for all manner of worthy reasons.

It is international Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, and I know many people will be taking part in the service in St Annes. It is always an incredibly moving event, but also one which is life-affirming and educational.