My Week in Westminster

This week the Government launched a £3 million pilot programme which will see more than 100 rural primary schools get state-of-the-art broadband connections within the next few months.

By using those schools as broadband hubs, it then becomes easier to ensure thousands of homes in rural areas get access to high speed internet at the same time.

Fylde is relatively lucky in broadband terms but there are still small areas where speeds are not what they should be, such as Singleton and the east end of Lytham.

I constantly contact BT Openreach to press for improvements where necessary – if you have issues getting access to high speed broadband, let my office know and I will write to Openreach on your behalf.

I’m pleased to see Fylde’s strong employment figures contributing to the record high number of people in work.

The total number of unemployed claimants in Fylde is 730 – just 1.9 per cent of the economically active population. While that number is low, I am always looking at ways to help reduce it even further.

Especially pleasing is the fall in the number of young unemployed people – we have just 105 claimants aged 18 to 24. Youth unemployment has halved since 2010.

And an average rise in weekly earnings of 3.4 per cent compared with 12 months ago means wages are growing at their fastest rate in more than a decade.

Nationally since 2010 we have helped more than 3.5 million people back into work, contributing to a record high of 32.6 million people.

This week I have co-signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Health following the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s decision not to make treatment Brineura available on the NHS.

The drug gives some much-welcome help to those living with Batten’s Disease, an horrendous and fatal condition which causes great pain.

We have asked for a meeting with the Secretary of State as soon as possible. We should be funding this treatment to give those living with Batten’s, and their families, as much help as possible while further research into the condition continues.

Brexit deliberations still continue as I write this column. The makings of a deal are on the table, but it depends on how all MPs vote to see if we can do a deal now, or if we are forced to extend the deadline until consensus is found. We need to press matters on and get on with the business of leaving the European Union.