I used my Question to the Prime Minister to ask when she is going to get her act together and improve the performance of the NHS. With vacancy rates locally around 30% her response showed how out of touch she is with what is going on in the real world. She made no attempt to show sympathy for my constituents waiting 52 weeks for pain relief treatment compared to the 18 weeks they should expect. It just isn't good enough. Despite the hard work of staff and the resilience of patients our health services are struggling and there appears to be no sign of this Conservative Government doing anything to bring about the necessary improvements.
Northern Lincolnshire's MPs spoke with one voice in the debate on the lamentable performance of the patient transport service provided by Thames. This was one of the many issues I raised with Emma Latimer, the new Chief Officer of North Lincolnshire CCG when I met with her for the first time. As Chair of the All Party Group on Pancreatic Cancer Action i was pleased to hear the news that there could be a blood test to enable early cancer diagnosis. This was one of the things discussed as we set out our plan for the group's work this year. I also showed my support for action on blood cancers by catching up with the work of Bloodwise.
I am serving on the Taxation (Cross Border) Bill over the next few weeks. This is important for the steel industry so I was pleased to be briefed by UK Steel British Steel about their concerns. Steel is a commodity that trades with no tariffs so needs the Government to act to prevent unfair dumping of Chinese and other steel. Unfortunately, as we move out of the EU, the Conservative Government isn't just transferring across the EU approach but trying to make changes that will make it harder to protect British Steel from unfair competition. Sounds bonkers but there you are!! Anyway being on the Bill Committee will give me the opportunity to argue the case for fair treatment for our steel industry, so important to our local economy.
I will also raise concerns with the Transport Secretary about the confusion around the Government''s policy in relation to renewable transport fuel, affecting a local business, Vivergo Fuels. Another important local business is Phillips 66 so I was pleased to meet with them and be briefed about their current and future plans.
I continue to do all I can to stick up for sixth form colleges like our fantastic John Leggott College that celebrates 50 years of serving our young people and our community this year. So it was good to speak at a gathering of sixth form college Principals about how they can better get their message over to Government.
I also raised my concerns in parliament about the impact of the changes to ESA interest payment support on people who are already struggling.
it was a very odd week beginning with a visit to Northern Ireland as part of the Labour Northern Ireland team. It is a year since the collapse of the Assembly at Stormont so we met with all the party leaders to try to understand what needs to happen to get the Assembly up and running again. With challenges to the education and health services this is essential. Let's hope the new Secretary of State can make a difference. We take peace for granted but it is very precious and a major achievement of Prime Ministers Major and Blair.