If everywhere was like Burnley, we wouldn’t be talking about recession

Vince Cable
Vince Cable

It was the anniversary of the League of Voluntary Workers at Burnley General Hospital the other week.

It was an incredible event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the volunteers who are dedicated to raising money for the benefit of patients of Burnley hospital. It was wonderful to mix with so many caring people who give up their time. Their main aim now is to recruit younger people to carry on their vital work. If anyone is interested in volunteering, please do contact me.

I recently went to BT to meet apprentices at BT Tower, London. I was amazed! Every television programme has to go through BT Tower in London which is incredible. The apprentices were smart, engaging and at the forefront of the industry. I was really impressed by how much they knew and the level of technology that operates within the industry. I was also delighted to go up in their high speed lift that goes at 1,400ft a minute.

The other Wednesday it was the state opening of Parliament which was a magnificent event. There were some great achievements and I am glad the Government, in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, recognises the need to make the UK the most attractive place to finance and grow a business. I am delighted with the way Burnley has outperformed many people’s expectations. As Vince Cable pointed out, if every place in Britain was like Burnley we wouldn’t be talking about a recession.

I also fully support the Childcare Payments Bill which is building on the £5 billion a year the Government already spends on early education and childcare. The bill will introduce a scheme offering working families 20% support towards qualifying childcare costs, up to a maximum of £2,000 a year for each child. Following Nick Clegg’s announcement last September, we are introducing free school meals for every child in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in state-funded schools from this September which will make a huge difference to a number of Burnley families.

I was then back to sunny Burnley. I met the Veterans’ Association to discuss future funding for their projects. I also met Mr Leslie Forsyth, chairman of Healthwatch Lancashire to discuss current services across Lancashire.

I was also fortunate enough to meet the Canal and River Trust to discuss safety issues on Burnley’s canals following the recent accident. We must do everything to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

I then opened a beer festival at the 110 Club where there were many examples of local beer. It was a great event and it was very kind of the club to offer to donate any profits to the scanner appeal.

I was also fortunate enough to go to Memorial Park to witness the launch of the centenary garden. I know this will be appreciated by many elderly residents who attend the park.