Thank you to everyone who has already nominated a local Small Business for either being a Champion Small Business or providing Great Customer Service. This is an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic contribution our small businesses make to the local economy and local community. You can join in by going to www.nicdakin.com and making a nomination or two!!
Community pharmacies are often small businesses providing an essential service at the heart of local communities. That's why it's outrageous that the Conservative Government seems hellbent on making cuts to their funding in ways that could well damage the service. I called on the Health Minister to be really careful that he wasn't making cuts that would end up costing everyone more in the long run.
Another area where the Government clearly isn't listening, despite huge public pressure is the injustice being suffered by women born in the mid 1950s and their access to state pension, an issue I raised again with the Pensions' Minister.
Back in Scunthorpe I was delighted to see the multi million pound investment going into the 2 Sisters Food Group site. This very successful company that supplies to M&S, Tesco's and other major retailers, is looking to recruit an additional 300 staff between now and Christmas.
Another local business doing well is RJ & AE Godfrey where I went to get their take on the challenges and opportunities facing local farmers created by our decision to leave the EU. It was also good to drop into the very stylish social enterprise Salvage Row at the top of Scunthorpe High Street and learn more about their work.
I also joined local people to hear from a prominent Kashmiri politician - a former Pakistan Education Minister - about the troubles in Kashmir that have flared up significantly since July. Many local people have family ties back in Kashmir and share the frustration that the world seems to have forgotten about Kashmir's plight despite there being a long standing UN resolution supporting self- determination.
The rest of my week has been taken up getting my head round being back in the Labour Whips' office. In simple terms the whips' office is the personnel function of the political group. So I've been chatting to the MPs who I will be the first point of contact for any issues to do with absence or anything else.
I'm also supporting our Home Office, Northern Ireland and Scotland shadow teams so I have been liaising with them about what they have to do to keep on top of parliamentary business. All good fun!