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!