The other week began with some time in Burnley. I enjoy the extra time it allows me to spend in the constituency, helping local people with their problems.
I was delighted to go up to the hospital to support the midwives on the picket line. I support their call for a 1% pay rise and was delighted to talk to this super bunch of ladies who work incredibly hard to bring new life into the world. I then had a walk around the new “on the banks” development with a local highway engineers. It is interesting to see the progress being made.
The following day, I was back in London to a business lunch hosted by Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen.
It was a chance to hear from some of the North-West’s largest private sector employers on key issues facing businesses in the North-West.
It was very engaging and great to hear of the success of business in the North. I am always very proud to talk of the success we have had in Burnley, where we have gone from being called “a basket case” five years ago, to having 3.5% unemployment and businesses which are booming. I then met with Whitbread, an employer of 40,000, to talk about the National Minimum Wage.
On the Wednesday I attended a very important event in Parliament, launching the Every Vote Counts website.
Using easy to understand text and images, the website will provide information for people with learning disabilities about what politics is, how it affects all our lives and how to get involved. I think this is fantastic as it is so important everyone is able to vote.
I also had a meeting to with an individual to talk about the prevalence of hepatitis C in Lancashire and the health burden associated with it. We discussed potential policy proposals that could help improve patient outcomes in hepatitis C, in and around Lancashire.
I was then back to Burnley and had an important meeting in Manchester on Friday with the new High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom. It was fantastic to talk about the Pakistan-UK relations and fruitful relationship we must continue to hold and build on in future.