Thursday, 24 April 2014

My visit to James Dewhurst Comapny on Altham Industrial Estate.

Yesterday I visited James Dewhurst on Altham Industrial Estate. They employ over 200 people in their precision fabrics business and export all over the world. You'll find their products in car seats, flooring, roofing, wind turbines, military clothing and insulation products and their UK manufacturing is done in the constituency.

It was an excellent opportunity to speak with Malcolm Blackwell the Group CEO about their plans for the future, the business in America and how they can help other business and young people in Hyndburn and Haslingden find work and apprenticeships with them.

I'd like to thank the firm for allowing me to visit and I look forward to seeing their apprenticeship and other developments grow in the future.

Propaganda on the rates; Pickles needs to look closer to home...

   Eric Pickles has once again been handing out his latest edict on Town Hall Pravda's on the rates.

At the same time David Cameron has been sending out letters to millions of businesses talking up Tory policies. 1.9million in fact. I have been contacted by businesses in the constituency registering their disapproval of the content of the letter.

Cameron is accused of using public funds for Tory spin. Top officials and the election watchdog are now set to investigate whether David Cameron's letter to businesses promoting the new employment allowance amounts to taxpayer funded "Tory propaganda".

I have written to Eric Pickles to agree with him and ask him what he is going to say and do about 'propaganda' emanating from his own party at taxpayers expense?

It all smacks of hypocrisy and opportunism ahead of elections: a different set of rules apply to privileged Tories.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Care Quality Commission acts on behalf of concerns over care at Oswaldtwistle home

On the 7th March I received a copy of a letter sent anonymously to The Accrington Observer raising concerns about Mimosa Health Care an their White Ash Brook care home in Oswaldtwistle

I have made enquiries and received a reply from the Care Quality Commission following their inspection.

Looking after elderly people is something that should be done with care and compassion. It is sad that the highest of standards are not held always up by private care home owners.

Should libraries have be able to lend ebooks in the same way as printed books?

Dear Mr Graham Jones MP, Did you know that libraries are not able to lend ebooks in the same way as printed books?

Over 85% of published e-books are not available to borrow from public libraries in the UK, often because publishers refuse to supply them, impose heavy restrictions on their use or charge very high prices.

Ebook sales accounted for 29% of the total UK book market in 2013, but only 0.4% of all books borrowed from public libraries in 2012-13 were ebooks.

Public libraries provide everyone with the opportunity to read, and access information and knowledge. As the way we read changes so must the way libraries lend books.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Accrington rail campaign: get us back on track

I have raised the issue of the new £8m Accrington to Manchester rail line having no trains several times in Parliament. I am delighted the Accrington Observer has taken up the campaign to pressurise the government into finding at least one train to enable the line to begin offering a service.

Manchester is a growing metropolitan area with not just better paid employment on average, but different and varied job opportunities in the city centre and crucially job opportunities within companies that offer good career prospects.

This line is vital. East Lancashire is becoming part of the Greater Manchester economic region. It's not just links to Manchester Airport but the Odsall Curve (linking Victoria and Piccadilly stations) to be completed in 2018 will offer direct rail and airport links.

I have already made the case to Network Rail and the Rail minister that the East Lancs line should after 2018 go straight through to Piccadilly and onto the airport.

Such developments represent huge opportunities for growth in Hyndburn. Bringing skills and investment to the northern arc of Manchester competing with crowded Cheshire as well as connecting people of East Lancs to services, jobs in the city and regional transport hubs.

The government are promising a train this December. I will continue to keep up the pressure to ensure that a diesel engine arrives sooner rather than later…

Here are the latest three replies from the minister following my inquiries.

Monday, 21 April 2014

World Health Day, Getting Malaria?

To mark World Health Day, I got involved in the Getting Malaria? event held by Malaria No More in Parliament. This experiential event inspired, engaged and thanked supporters of all political parties for backing UK action to fight malaria.

(Bizarrely I came home from Africa recently and was accompanied by a mosquito hiding in my luggage. It was quickly squashed a few miles from Manchester Airport with a ballast of blood. Alarming to think it may have been carrying malaria.)

It gave me an opportunity to find out more about the transformational difference being made to millions of people around the world thanks to UK leadership and increased global action to save lives from malaria, one of the world’s most deadly yet preventable diseases.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The botched sale of royal mail leaves Britain hundreds of miillions of pounds worse off

This week the National Audit Office (NAO) released a damning report into David Cameron's botched fire sale of Royal Mail. The report revealed that the taxpayer was short-changed by hundreds of millions of pounds after the share price rose by 38 per cent on the first day of trading, and 70 per cent over the following six months.

Labour opposed the privatisation and warned the government that it was drastically undervaluing Royal Mail’s property assets. It is now clear that ministers could have raised far more money than it did and the public has lost out thanks to their incompetence.

The government rushed the sale through, got poor value for money and the British public has been left short-changed by £750 million.

David Cameron’s botched fire sale shows once again how he stands up for the wrong people. He sold off Royal Mail on the cheap to try to help plug the financial hole he made in the British economy. With ordinary people in Haslingden and Hyndburn facing a cost of living crisis, it’s time for David Cameron to explain why he is asking hard-working people to pay more, while he is prepared to sell Royal Mail for less.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Hard working Britain deserves to be better off

In a speech this week, Ed Miliband heralded the biggest devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities in a hundred years as the next stage of Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

By ending a century of centralisation, a One Nation Labour Government in 2015 will hand control of around £20 billion to City and County Regions over the course of its first parliament. The change will mean putting local communities back in control, more and better economic growth and jobs, and public services that better meet the needs of local people.

Ed Miliband knows the way to make a real difference in people’s lives is to make sure the economy works for working people, not just a few at the top. That means creating decent, secure, well-paid jobs so we can all benefit from the recovery. The changes he announced this week are an important part of Labour’s plan.

There was once a time when working hard meant being better off, but under David Cameron’s Tories that’s no longer the case.

David Cameron boasts about the recovery, but hardworking people are facing a cost of living crisis that will continue because the link between growth of our economy and family living standards has been broken.

Working people are £1600 worse off under the Tories, and most of us feel like we are running to stand still as prices continue to rise. The prospect of a better life for our children – a foot on the housing ladder and a wage that does more than put food on the table – seems sadly remote.

Hardworking Britain deserves better than this.

Tackling the ongoing cost of living crisis will be the central purpose of the next Labour government. Ed Miliband will build an economy that works for working people and has an economic plan to ensure we can earn our way to higher living standards.

David Cameron can’t solve the cost of living crisis because he puts a privileged few before hardworking families. The key to tackling the cost of living crisis is by winning the race to the top with an economy that works for everyone, with new high skill jobs, not a race to the bottom on pay and living standards.