Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: Burnley fortunate to have a council dedicated to the people’s priorities
There is so much happening in Parliament and it’s impossible to be involved with every issue but I always focus my efforts on the issues that matter to the people in Burnley and Padiham.
In the week of the local elections it is not surprising that so much of my mail bag has been dominated by cuts to local services.
There is no doubt that cuts have consequences. Millions of pounds have been taken from Burnley Borough Council and from Lancashire County Council since 2010.
This is why our roads are full of potholes. This is why local libraries and community centres are closing.
This is why local bus services are being axed. This is the reason that children with special educational needs no longer get the full support that they need. This is the reason that so many old people right across the constituency are denied vital social care provision.
Government Ministers tell me that the hard times are over that austerity is over but I see little evidence of that in Burnley and Padiham.
When you consider these cuts alongside cuts to the NHS, the police and fire services and our schools it really is hard to believe that Britain is one of the richest countries in the world.
In this exceedingly difficult times, it is more important than ever that we have committed local councillors at every level.
Despite Burnley Borough Council receiving less and less each year from the Government, we are fortunate to have a council which is totally dedicated to the people’s priorities and never stints in its efforts to attract investment and jobs into our local economy. In tough times it matters more than ever who is in charge.
On Tuesday I was fortunate to meet Greta Thunberg. Greta is the 16-year-old Swedish girl who is speaking out in a way that no one else has before about the dangers of climate change.
It is really important that we all are clear that Climate Change is not just an academic subject or a bit of a hobby for those with nothing better to do.
It is a frightening reality that will affect everyone who lives on planet Earth, not in the next millennium or in the next hundred years but within 12 years.
I went along to meet Greta with an open mind and I can tell you that she is definitely not a silly kid out to make a name for herself. She is a quietly spoken intelligent young woman who wants to ensure that those in power heed the call of scientific experts.
Our Government is far too complacent and only this week it was revealed that £100 million put aside to tackle air pollution by 2020 has as yet barely been touched.
This comes on the heels of cuts to subsidies for new green energy sources. This is really not good enough. Work to cut carbon emissions in our life is not an international competition – all the nations of the world are in this together.
The last Labour Government, in 2008 introduced the World’s First Climate Change Act and now we need to go further.
This should be the first priority of every political party not just in the UK but across the world.
The UK though is a great country and we must lead by example and declare a national climate emergency, after all we were the first industrially developed country in the world and we have a responsibility to offer leadership and to act.
On Sunday I was delighted to take part in the annual St. George’s Day parade organised by the Burnley and Pendle district Scouts.
It is genuinely heart-warming to see hundreds of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts gathered together to reaffirm their promises in a traditional service alongside Towneley Hall and, as always, singing Kumbaya took me back to my own days in the girl guides.
This year I was especially pleased to have the opportunity to meet the St Stephen’s Beaver Colony, who recently completed their Parliamentary Democracy badge and I also enjoyed a chat with Boy Scout, Jordan Hartley who has been chosen to represent Burnley in the USA this summer as part of the World Scouting Jamboree.
The scouting movement provides a vast array of experience and opportunities and a whole lot of fun for boys and girls from six years right into adulthood.
Of course none of this would be possible were it not for the group leaders and volunteer helpers who give so much of their time and enthusiasm.
My next MP’s surgery will be on 11th May from 10am - noon at my office at 8 Keirby Walk Burnley.
No appointments are necessary as people will be seen on a first come first served basis.
Alternatively you can email me on [email protected] or phone or drop in to my Constituency Office which next week is closed on Bank Holiday Monday, open from 10am-12-30pm on Tuesday and from 10am - 4pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The number to call with enquiries is 01282 425744 and my staff will always do their very assist you and keep me informed about the issues which you raise.