My Diary Week Ending 17th December 2017
Christmas is a time of good cheer. And good cheering is exactly what we all did as we won a Commons vote to make the Government come back to MPs with their final Brexit deal before finally agreeing it. This is very important in making the Government listen to citizens and businesses who are clear that they want the new relationship with the EU27 to be a positive one in our mutual interest.
I asked the PM how we will control immigration in the future when migrants from the EU will be able to 'move freely' across the Northern Irish border into the UK. She had no answer, so I am none the wiser!
And I was able to raise again with the Education Secretary the continued under funding of 16-19, an issue I returned to in my keynote address as Chair of the All Party Skills and Employment Group to a conference of college leaders held by Policy Connect.
There were more Christmas card competition prizes to present at Westcliffe and Grange Primary. Delighted to learn that Westcliffe had the second best numeracy results in North Lincolnshire and good to see the huge Ofsted OUTSTANDING plaque outside Grange Primary. More evidence that our schools are doing a really good job locally was popping along to Oasis Academy: Parkwood to present them with a national Silver Award for their fantastic work on reading. More reading was happening when I joined UNISON to visit the Disney Ward Scunthorpe General Hospital to sing songs and give out free books to the children as part of their Christmas cheer. All great stuff!
I also dropped into North Lindsey College to present the winners of their Black History competition with their awards. So much to celebrate locally. At the celebrations for Bangladesh Victory Day the youngsters did their community proud with brilliant performances of songs.
I was privileged to join family and friends to celebrate the life of former Scunthorpe Mayor the redoubtable Brenda Kirk who recently passed away. Brenda encapsulated all those great Labour values of family and service; she will be greatly missed. I last saw her dressed colourfully and immaculately in her care home full of kindness, energy and life.
I was pleased to see the attractive refurbishment of Bridgewater Park Residential Home and chat to residents about how things are going. Our care homes are so important in giving people the support they need later in life.
I made my annual visit to Scunthorpe's Royal Mail Sorting Office (pictured left). Our posties do a great job in all weathers and this is their busiest time of year. They keep an eye on us as well as deliver the post and that is something that can't be measured easily.
Community pharmacists deliver direct to the home for people who need it and their deliverers also keep an eye on people. I learnt more about this when I visited the Unity Pharmacy (pictured right) attached to Cambridge Avenue Medical Practice to hear how Government cuts are making it harder for pharmacies to give us the service they want to and we want to have. It was worrying hearing about the shortages in medical supplies now being experienced but reassuring that we have such committed professionals making sure we continue to get the medicines we need.
I was pleased to meet up with ex John Leggott College student Richard Henderson who is now the Chief Executive of East Midland Ambulance Service (EMAS) the emergency ambulance service. He was able to update on what EMAS is doing to improve its performance. I continue to get complaints about the hospital transport service provided by Thames with most people saying it was much better when it was provided by EMAS!
Finally I went across to ABLE British Ports (ABP) in Hull to learn about how its business is developing. Having seen a significant decline in coal imports it has repositioned its business and as grown its container business by 27% in the last year which has to be good news.