I was delighted to meet up with the impressive team at Scunthorpe Asda who briefed me on the work they are doing with Scunthorpe Foodbank as part of their Fight Hunger Create Change initiative. This is just one example of the many good things people are doing locally.
Another group who do a lot of charitable work are the local Ahmadiyya Community who I was pleased to praise in a parliamentary debate celebrating their work.
I held a busy Ask Me Anything session with questions focused mainly on local issues like dealing with potholes and trees as well as upping our game in supporting people suffering with mental health difficulties.
I was able to follow up the pothole issue by asking theTransport Secretary to comment on Conservative North Lincolnshire Council's performance in this area. To be fair they have improved since local people joined me in my campaign to get them to sort out our roads and pavements but there is still more to be done. I also drew attention to the distress being caused to women with secondary breast cancer having to complete long winded Personal Independent Payment applications. The Leader of the House agreed with me that the process needs to be streamlined.
I had two very good meetings of the All Party Group chair on bioethenal and on steel. Both industries make a significant contribution to the regional economy.
It was also good to join an expert round table on the progress being made on the TB strategy for England and to have a very useful meeting with the Royal Society of Physicians about steps they are taking to encourage the government to take appropriate actions to address the shortage of hospital doctors.
Finally I drew the Chancellor's attention to the worrying fact that young people today are earning less than their peers were a decade ago. Evidence that austerity isn't working for people.
I was delighted to meet up with the impressive team at Scunthorpe Asda who briefed me on the work they are doing with Scunthorpe Foodbank as part of their Fight...
My Diary Week Ending 20th May 2018.
It was brilliant to see Ash Taylor win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Hull and Humber Chamber's Business Awards (see below). Taylor's Family Butchers - based in Ashby - were one of the first winners of my Small Business Saturday Awards so it was great to see them going from strength to strength. In an evening of razzmatazz celebrating local business other local winners included Walshe's Property & Letting Agency and Foster Environmental.
It was good to catch up with the University of Hull about the work they are doing supporting businesses across the area.
I had a very good meeting with British Telecom (BT) about how they are developing their business regionally and nationally. And I chaired a meeting about the importance of financial education. It is so important to equip people with the skills to make the best financial decisions for themselves. This is even more important as we move into an increasingly cashless world with even more flexibility in complex areas like pensions.
As usual I asked the International Trade Secretary what he was doing to ensure that the UK doesn't suffer from global steel dumping in the wake of the US threatening greater tariffs. Welcome news this morning suggests that China and the United States (US) are stepping back from a trade war but the questions still need to be asked! I also asked the Education Secretary if it's right that 16-18 year olds are funded so much worse than pre-16 or post-18. No satisfactory answer!
But the most moving thing that happened to me last week was meeting an amazing group of local women living with secondary breast cancer who meet every month at San Pietro Restaurant. Supported by Breast Cancer Care they were amazing people. They spoke of both the wonderful care they have had and where the system is found wanting. In terms of swifter communication, more agile mental health support and dealing with administrative monsters like Personal Independence Payments there is much more that needs to be done and their experience can help drive improvement. What came through strongly in listening to their individual stories is how important groups like this are. But people need to know about them and be signposted to them. So there are a number of issues to follow up with Scunthorpe General Hospital and the Clinical Commissioning Group.
My Diary Week Ending 20th May 2018. It was brilliant to see Ash Taylor win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Hull and Humber Chamber's Business Awards (see...
The sun was shining and Glanford Park full for a really exciting first leg of the League One play off semi-final. We enjoyed a four goal thriller with honours even so the Mighty Iron travel to Rotherham to the imaginatively named New York Stadium for the decider. Everyone will be cheering Scunthorpe United FC on in the hope we can get to Wembley for the final. Up the Iron!
I was delighted to welcome the Labour Front Bench Team to Scunthorpe Steelworks. The Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey MP and the Shadow Steel Minister, Gill Furniss MP for Brightside and Hillsboroughwere joined with the Shadow Welsh Secretary Christina Rees MP (see below) for an excellent briefing from British Steel, a tour of the works and a catch up with the trade unions. It was a superb visit. I felt our visitors had a much better grasp of the scale of the operations here and the quality of the work done by the end of the day. They also understood the need for Government to do more to level the playing field on procurement, energy costs, support for capital investment and business rates. These are the sort of things asked for from the industry in the work it has done on the steel sector. At least Labour gets the message and will urge Government to act sooner rather than later and get a sector deal in place. As always I was immensely proud of Scunthorpe's British Steel workforce.
The very sad news that Tessa Jowell (see below) lost her fight against brain cancer over the weekend further emphasises the need to up our game on those cancers that are proving most difficult to beat. We touched on this at the meeting of the chairs of the All Party Cancer Groups. Tessa's life must inspire us to do even more together to support those brilliant clinicians and charities doing so much to improve the outcomes for cancer patients and their families.
The rest of a busy week included a very full surgery, speaking at a social event for Gainsborough Constituency Labour Party and reporting to my own local Labour Party on the last very busy month of political comings and goings!!!
The sun was shining and Glanford Park full for a really exciting first leg of the League One play off semi-final. We enjoyed a four goal thriller with honours even so the...
The sun shone for a fantastic event at British Steel bringing stakeholders together to get behind the area's bid to have a Heathrow Logistics hub based here. This is a truly transformational project that would see investment in new technology, new processes and investment. It would create future jobs. It was a great turnout and there was great enthusiasm. As well as working together to make this happen we have to keep an eye on what is going on at the moment. So it was good that the US Administration has delayed its decision on imposing steel tariffs but really they need to grow up and drop the idea altogether. And, as I pointed out in parliament, the UK needs to continue to work with its EU partners to robustly resist US protectionism.
Tackling Cancer is another ongoing battle. We have so many brilliant people working in research, medicine and support to make this happen. Some of them gave evidence to the All Party Group on Teenage and Young Peoples Cancer this week. Some of what they said I was able to draw on when speaking in the debate on NHS cancer targets.
I was one of a cross party group of MPs that met with the Education Secretary to press the case for better funding of sixth form colleges like John Leggott College With 16-18 year olds the least funded age group in our education system we will need to keep the pressure on to stop them falling even further behind.
Shamefully Conservative North Lincolnshire Council is cutting the core funding for Citizens Advice North Lincolnshire. The Leader of the House agreed with me that councils should value the work of their CABs and actively support them in serving local communities. If you want to send a message of support for our CAB please sign the petition calling on the Conservative Council to think again:
While you're signing that you might sign the petition asking the Conservative Council to rethink its approach to shutting down local mental health facilities like Sandfield House:https://www.change.org/p/catherine-lydon-we-the-undersigned…
I was privileged to join the very moving Workers' Memorial Day Service that included superb contributions from Berkeley Primary School children. They were very impressive.
Equally impressive were the students at North Lindsey Collegewho I joined for their debate on whether or not to lower the voting age to 16. It was a lively, interesting debate. Earlier in the week I had shown my support for the AoC's Fair.Vote campaign.
Finally I was really impressed with my visit to Jack Tighe's - a company with a long family history locally that is now one of the country's premier industrial and decorative painting contractors. Its important that great companies like this are paid on time by the main contractors that they often work for. The collapse of Carillion has re-emphasised how important it is to get this right. Whilst there I was really impressed to look round the biggest blasting and coating facility in the country. In my job you learn something new about our fantastic area and the amazing people who work and live here every week!!!
Well done to everyone involved in the fantastic North Lincolnshire Half Marathon over the weekend. And big congratulations to Scunthorpe United FC getting into the play offs - I need to get my ticket!!!
The sun shone for a fantastic event at British Steel bringing stakeholders together to get behind the area's bid to have a Heathrow Logistics hub based here. This is a truly transformational...
With no local elections in North Lincolnshire it was good to go across to Immingham and support The Labour Party team there in getting our message across. There was a good response from the doorstep.
The Conservative Government has been found wanting on treating people fairly as exposed through the Windrush fiasco. Eventually it was right and proper that the Home Secretary resigned but the central issue of doing the right thing remains.
This is the case with leaving the EU as well. As I pointed out in the Commons' debate people locally voted to come out but not to lose out. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the new relationship with the EU and the wider world is one that benefits us, is good for jobs and wellbeing. That is what I have consistently argued for and will continue to do so. Locally it's good to see the Conservative Council at long last taking my campaign to tackle potholes seriously. They have filled some of them in, which is welcome. But there are still a lot left for them to sort out!
And they really do need to improve their performance in using Discretionary Housing Payments to support local people who are struggling. A point I made when I met with the Council officers carrying out the policy. To be one of the worst performing councils in the country in this area is something to be ashamed of - so I hope that the review of policy and procedures results in better performance next year.
Another service under pressure is Citizens Advice North Lincolnshire. It's having its core funding cut by the Conservative Council. This follows the removal of core funding from VoluntaryAction NorthLincs and The Crosby Community Association in recent years. It is so short sighted! Core funding for these voluntary bodies allows them to draw in more funding - all of which benefits local people. I am really worried that the attack on these voluntary agencies by the Conservative Council will result in fewer people getting the help they need.
It was good to join Lindsey Lodge Hospice for their inaugural Art Exhibition held at Scawby Village Hall. There was some brilliant stuff by local artists on display. So much talent!! Lindsey Lodge does so much valuable work so it was pleasing to see how well they were supported by the community.
I met with the Scunthorpe General Hospital Chief Executive to be updated on how things are going. It remains challenging times but there are signs things are beginning to improve. It was good to be part of the panel inquire by the All Party Group for Children and Young People with Cancer looking into the patient experience. Finally I enjoyed visiting Coritani Academy, formally YPEC to discuss with students what they learnt about parliament.
With no local elections in North Lincolnshire it was good to go across to Immingham and support The Labour Party team there in getting our message across. There was a good response...