The first Budget of the May Premiership began to fall apart even before the Chancellor sat down when it became clear that the Conservatives were brazenly breaking their manifesto promise not to raise National Insurance. For self-employed workers earning £27,000 a year this means a tax increase of over £30 a month. A full frontal attack on the living standards of people who are just about managing! And there was nothing in the Budget for steelworkers or steelmakers.
The opportunity to do something about the unfairness of huge Business Rates bills that go up if a steelmaker invests in capital improvement was once again missed by this Tory Government.
There was a huge demonstration from the Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) including North Lincolnshire women. Again the Tories put their cloth ears on and ignored this massive injustice on Budget Day when it would have been so easy to do something to mitigate the negative impact of their pension changes on this group of women.
North Lincolnshire's Conservative Council was also hard of hearing this week when the heartfelt concerns of local people wanting to preserve their access to the green space adjacent to the former Brumby Resource Centre was brushed aside. There was an enormous petition against developing this land, enjoyed by local people as recreational space for over 50 years, but the Conservative Council rode roughshod over this. They seem determined to rob local families of this amenity.
On a brighter note I was delighted to present Ancora Medical Practice's Adrian Garner with his Pharmacist of the Year Award. Despite the Conservative Government's attack on Community Pharmacists, great work continues to go on locally. But I know from chatting to Paul Robinson, Chair of the Local Pharmacy Committee, as well as correspondence from local pharmacists, that the cuts to pharmacies are making life much more difficult to develop the services in the way that everybody would wish.
I had a useful meeting with Hull University about their plans for the future and their commitment to be involved in things that are going on in northern Lincolnshire. In National Apprenticeship Week it was good to meet the fantastic apprentices who are working for Booker in Scunthorpe and learn more about their work. It was good to hear how this national leader in wholesale retail is investing in their staff to good effect.
I was very impressed by the work that CJM Asset Management are doing selling a vast range of goods - from the contents of house clearances to Vietnamese steel mills - through their on line auctions. Amazing stuff! Finally it was good to catch up with the challenges and opportunities facing Total LOR when I visited their refinery.