Well I hope everyone had a really good Christmas Day and has got appropriate plans for any leftovers. I think we are on to Boxing Day turkey curry!
Hopefully all those Iron fans making the trip to Bradford will be richly rewarded. I will be taking my parents home to Leicestershire and listening to the Radio Humberside commentary! Last week was a case of tidying up before Christmas, last minute shopping, some reflection on the year now nearly over and the opportunity to thank some of the people who do such great work for us at this time of year.
It was good to catch up with all things Kirton-in-Lindsey when I joined their last Town Council meeting of the year. That was cause for some reflection as was my end of year interview with Lincs FM. The Cat Zero presentation to local people who'd completed their course held at Cafe Indie was a very positive occasion with everyone saying how they had grown in confidence and felt positive about 2017. All best wishes to them.
My annual visit to Scunthorpe's sorting office to thank the postal workers meant an early start for me! A reminder that the men and women who get the mail to us day in day out are always up early. Finally I joined people distributing food hampers at Westcliff Drop In Centre and the Baptist Church for Foodbank. The generosity of local people makes a real difference to others lives.
Well I hope everyone had a really good Christmas Day and has got appropriate plans for any leftovers. I think we are on to Boxing Day turkey curry! Hopefully all...
On adult social care and health it's now clear that the Conservative Government's failures since 2010 are sadly beginning to bite. My briefing this week from Scunthorpe Hospital confirmed that they continue to be under sustained pressure in A&E. The reasons for this are many. But a significant factor is an ageing population and people presenting with more serious multiple conditions. Effective discharge means the relationship with adult social care is crucial.
The Health Minister struggled to answer MPs' concerns from across the country about the way cuts in funding to social care over the last 6 years is now having a very negative impact. I pointed out in my question that the former Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, described the failure to put more money into adult care in the Autumn Statement as a missed opportunity.
Another funding announcement this week was the Government's consultation on introducing a national funding formula for schools. This ought to be positive news for local schools but coming at a time when the Government intends to cut school funding in real terms it may end up only allowing us to stand still. And, as always, the devil is in the detail!
I drew the Education Secretary's attention to the even bigger discrepancy in funding between 16-19 year olds and pre-16. It surely can't be right that so much less is given to educating a 16-19 year old than a 15 or 20 year old! It was good to catch up with the excellent work that North Lindsey College is doing in spite of this funding challenge. In particular they are continuing to do some excellent work with British Steel on their apprenticeship scheme.
I joined a steel round table with fellow MPs, trade unions and employers to sing a familiar song: things are better than they were a year ago but we still need action by Government on energy costs, procurement, business rates and research & development as well as further vigilance on Chinese dumping.
I had a useful catch up with JobCentrePlus. Highways England briefed me about progress of their plans for improving the M180 and the de trunking of the M181. But the highlight of the week was an excellent visit to award winning local company Trent Refractories. I learnt that refractories make huge concrete structures necessary for furnaces and foundries. This local company has a proud record of quality and consistency. Looking round and seeing the work that was going on I could see why.
Another team delivering consistent quality this season is Scunthorpe United: it was great to stand in the Doncaster Road end and see an excellent 3.0 win. That means the Iron will be top of the league at Christmas. Let's hope they do well in a couple of tough games over the Christmas period to lead League One into 2017!
On adult social care and health it's now clear that the Conservative Government's failures since 2010 are sadly beginning to bite. My briefing this week from Scunthorpe Hospital confirmed that...
The Britain Against Cancer Conference filled Central Hall. There was huge expertise and experience there from clinicians, policy makers, charities, researchers, patient groups and others. So I was somewhat in awe as I chaired a number of sessions including the one in which Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, announced major investment in upgrading radiotherapy as well as £200 million fund over two years to improve local cancer services.
This was very welcome news, a good backdrop to the debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons that I led on the Cancer Strategy: One Year On. It was a good debate with a lot of cross-party expertise and general agreement that there have been good steps forward over the last few years but there is much more to do. In particular we need to recognise the contribution that public health campaigns around smoking cessation and other things contribute to prevention and we need to up our game in terms of the treatment of stuck cancers like pancreatic that have seen little improvement in outcomes over 40 years and find ways of responding properly to the demands of rarer cancers that aren't perhaps best served by the current NICE approach.
I was delighted to join workers from Scunthorpe's 2Sisters down to celebrate the British Poultry Council's Distinguished Service Award presented to Mary Clark for 4 decades service in the industry locally. A fantastic achievement!
More achievements were on show at Westcliffe Primary School when I joined them for a fabulous assembly. And I really enjoyed the wonderful Festival of Trees at Brumby United Church organised by Scunthorpe Rotary but showing the range and brilliance of local charitable activity.
In a busy week I also had some very useful meetings about the challenges facing the local health and care service with North Lincolnshire Council's new Head of Paid Service, North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health Trust. What's clear to me is we face significant challenges but everyone is working hard together to try to make sure that we have the partnerships and working relationships in place to meet these challenges. But, as the national debate on the future of health and care keeps reminding us, we also need to make sure that areas like North Lincolnshire have sufficient money from the government to meet the local needs.
The Britain Against Cancer Conference filled Central Hall. There was huge expertise and experience there from clinicians, policy makers, charities, researchers, patient groups and others. So I was somewhat in...
The highlights of last week were going round local schools presenting prizes in my Christmas Card competition and the conclusion of my Small Business Saturday Awards with a well attended Star Network event organised by Sixty Six Design Agency at the Admin Centre.
It was great to join assemblies at Henderson Avenue, Scunthorpe C of E, Bottesford Juniors, Bottesford Infants and Priory Lane Community School to enjoy being with some of the fantastic children doing so many great things in our local schools.
I managed to visit a number of the great shortlisted small businesses: Taylor's Family Butchers, the Button Box, Regal Leaf and Coffee, the Crow's Nest, Ashby Funeral Care and the Flower Theatre. I was struck by how passionate everyone was about their great business.
I met the wonderful people running the other shortlisted businesses at the awards ceremony: Cleatham Hall Hotel, Peekaboo Day Nursery, One Click Photography, Twin Tigers and Crossfit Scunthorpe. They all had that same passion.
In running the competition I wanted to celebrate the fantastic work that small businesses do in our community. With over a thousand people nominating over a hundred small businesses that confirmed for me how much we value their work. Your votes in the on line poll crowned the Crow's Nest in Bottesford as Champion Small Business and Taylor's Family Butchers in Ashby for Great Customer Service. Really all the people in all our local small businesses deserve our praise. As Christmas approaches I hope we will all take the opportunity to buy some things from them.
Back in Westminster I welcomed local firefighters for their lobby. They are right to ask for our support to stop further cuts in their service. We need them to keep us safe and secure.
Martin Vickers MP and I both have Centrica power stations in our constituencies so we were pleased that the Energy Minister met with us and Centrica to discuss how the industry and government can best work together in the future.
I chaired a meeting of MPs, clinicians and representatives of pharmaceutical companies about the progress we have made in tackling lymphona.
Finally I spoke at the local NASUWT dinner held at Grange Park who did an excellent job. Once I'd confessed to being a lifelong member of another teachers' union - the NUT - and taken the inevitable heckles the evening went well!!!
The highlights of last week were going round local schools presenting prizes in my Christmas Card competition and the conclusion of my Small Business Saturday Awards with a well attended...
Parliament is not only a legislature but also a focus for people to gather to campaign on issues or to celebrate achievements. And last week was a week when local people came to Westminster.
Zack Feve was recognised for his heroism in using his first aid expertise to save a friend's life. Zack is a local cadet who was shortlisted for the Red Cross Humanitarian Award. It was great to catch up with him and learn about his cool, calm action under pressure.
Local builder Martin Hind was down with his colleagues to celebrate the work that the Construction Industry Training Board does on training apprenticeships. An opportunity for me to hear more about how this fantastic local business is getting work across the country.
I also caught up with Richard Judd who was being recognised by Carers UK for the great work that he has done promoting and supporting carers, after being a carer for his mother for many years. He was able to tell me more about the work that the Brigg Carers' Group are doing supported by North Lincolnshire Council.
It was great to be joined by Maggie Watts for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer's reception. Maggie is a great campaigner locally and nationally. It's because of her that I have found myself leading the APPG and spending a significant amount of time campaigning for a better deal for pancreatic cancer patients. As a result I meet pharmaceutical companies, other cancer charities and patient groups learning more about what needs to be done to up our game in getting better outcomes for cancer patients. This is why I found myself at a round table discussing the terrible outcomes for Lung Cancer patients that could be avoided with better early diagnosis.
This week I will meet local firefighters who are coming down to lobby Parliament for better support for them and their work. Local people visit parliament all the time for all sorts of reasons. It's a fabulous place. Often people come to look round the splendid Palace of Westminster; the wonderful World Heritage site in which the deliberations of our parliament takes place.
Any constituent can book a guided tour through the parliamentary visits department or contact my office by email to: email@example.com and we will do our best to help.
Other stuff going on last week was the Autumn Statement in which we learnt that the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated that the UK will be £59 billion worse off as a result of leaving the EU. These big numbers are impossible for me to understand!!!
Parliament is not only a legislature but also a focus for people to gather to campaign on issues or to celebrate achievements. And last week was a week when local...