WESTMINSTER WEEK: The bins are still being emptied in Burnley

Gordon Birtwistle

Gordon Birtwistle

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Last week was the start of Parliament’s Easter recess and I’ve been working in Burnley, getting through casework, visiting groups in the constituency and knocking on doors across our borough – thanks to everyone who took the time to chat to me.

It is busy in London, but it’s always extra busy when I’m in Burnley! I always look forward to being able to spend lots of time in Burnley, spending time talking to people and resolving constituency issues in our town. I’ve dealt with nearly 2,000 pieces of constituency casework since being elected – everything from street lights and potholes to complicated financial problems – so do get in touch if I can be of any help.

During the week I visited Blessed Trinity RC College and met young people from the school council and a large number of Year 11 students, to discuss government issues at the moment, including Educational Maintenance Allowance (which is being replaced by a £180m. bursary scheme, targeted locally at those on lowest incomes) and the current situation in Libya. I was extremely impressed by the students’ understanding of current political events – they really are a credit to their school and our town.

I attended homeless charity Emmaus’ gala dinner, to celebrate the Burnley centre becoming the UK’s 20th Emmaus community to open, and was extremely impressed by the inspirational speech by its president, Terry Waite. The dinner was to celebrate everything that has been achieved so far, and these efforts are to be congratulated.

I also held a very positive meeting this week with GPs from across Burnley and Padiham, to find out their views about our local NHS services. It is a really positive step that 50% of ambulances are returning to Burnley General Hospital – and it is crucial that we continue the fight to return more and more services to Burnley.

On Friday, my office was busy working with local manufacturers Futaba-Tenneco, working with the National Apprenticeship Service to assist them with apprenticeship opportunities. In the morning, I was in Blackpool recording “The Politics Show” and emphasised that in Burnley, despite difficult times, the bins are still being emptied, the roads are still being swept, and our parks are still winning awards. Later that day I attended the Scouts’ annual St George’s Day Service, a really special occasion with more than 300 young people that Burnley should be very proud of.