We must relentlessly focus on real-world problems | Antony Higginbotham
After last week’s local elections, I want to take this opportunity to thank every single resident who came out and supported local Conservatives.
As the results came in over a number of days; first the borough on Friday morning, county on Saturday and a short wait to hear the results of the Police and Crime Commissioner on Monday, time and again we saw an increased level of support for the local Conservative team on the ground.
And that means we now have more people who can do so much to help in our mission to level up Burnley and Padiham.
Winning in areas such as Whittlefield with Ightenhill, Rosehill with Burnley Wood and Gawthorpe show that residents want a change.
And these wins, along with our increase in support in every county division, and gaining the Police and Crime Commissioner from Labour show that the tide is turning in our borough.
Residents want to see a different style of politics; one which is solely focused on their priorities - and with fresh faces on the council and in the PCC office that’s exactly what we can deliver.
And what all of this goes to show is that people can see the progress that this Government has made; not just in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic, but also with a focus on levelling up, which we are seeing here in Burnley and Padiham too.
From funding for Pioneer Place and Padiham’s flood defences, to getting more police on the streets and 11,000 more nurses – we must relentlessly focus on real-world problems, not the agenda of niche interests and woke politics.
But the job isn’t done – far from it. Locally I believe we can go further still, and I won’t stop pushing until Burnley Council finally has a Conservative majority, as we have seen now
happen in Pendle.
Nationally we have work yet to do. This week was the Queen’s Speech where the Government set out it’s legislative programme for this Parliamentary session which will likely run until May 2022.
It’s a programme that focuses on transforming our country; seizing the opportunities available to us; and doing things better as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At its heart is my commitment, and the Government’s commitment to level-up.
That’s not just about the investment we need in places like Burnley town centre – though that remains vital if we’re to ensure it has a long-term and viable future.
But also investing in people, really transforming life chances.
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which will be legislated for in this term, will make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get the skills they need for the future, with a finance scheme in place to ensure no one is left behind.
Utilising the fantastic college we have in our borough we can revolutionise the system, moving past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everybody has the opportunity to retrain or upskill at any point in their lives.
On crime a new Victims Bill is to be introduced, tilting the balance back in favour of those who suffer at the hands of criminals.
Because we need a tough approach to those who cause so much misery in our communities.
We need to build confidence in the criminal justice system by speeding up justice, modernising courts and reforming bail to better protect vulnerable victims and witnesses.
And laws to protect the public, support our police and deliver on the promises I made to Burnley and Padiham to cut crime will be finalised with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
This will overhaul sentencing, making sure we keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.
Because it is only right that criminals should face the full force of the law.
As we look to the future I’m determined that we fulfil the potential of Burnley and Padiham, to level up in every area, seize the opportunities available and build back better from the pandemic.
The Queen's speech which started the new Parliamentary session this week does just that.