It's the beginning of August but my office seems to be much busier than usual at this time of the year. Not sure why but I've had very full surgeries with people seeing about a wide range of issues; including immigration, housing, state of the roads, access to support from Personal Independent Payments as well as other things. The pressure on other services that provide support to people is perhaps beginning to tell. That's why I was very concerned to hear that North Lincolnshire Council were ending their support for the Crosby Community Association which has done ever such a lot for local people. Thankfully - after intervention from myself and others - the Council has extended the funding for two months while it sorts out how it will provide such support services from then onwards. This also allows the CCA to bid for the contract - so a much fairer way forward than was being pursued.
From October we will see the roll out of Universal Credit in our area which will directly impact on many people's lives - hopefully positively but all change brings apprehension and concern that things will be worse. So it was good that my team and I were able to be fully briefed this week by JobCentrePlus in Scunthorpe about how the roll out is being managed. I was impressed by the amount of work that is being done with key partners; like the Council, Ongo and private landlords to prepare for the roll out in a way that gives people maximum support during a period of significant change.
I always enjoy getting along to the National Citizens' Programme run out of Scunthorpe United and getting inspired by the young people, staff and volunteers. This year was no exception. The enthusiasm and energy of the students was palpable. I saw groups in action at Glanford Park and North Lindsey College as well as a brilliant selling operation in Ashby Market.
I was very sad to hear of the death of the former MP for Hull North Kevin McNamara who was a towering figure int he Labour movement for many decades. He will be very much missed and our thoughts will be with his family and friends at this very difficult time. Kevin's death from pancreatic cancer diagnosed late after no earlier symptoms is a reminder of how important the work being done to find earlier diagnosis and faster pathways to treatment is. That is what the All Party Group's report to be published in the Autumn will focus on. We've had some good news over the last week in relation to pancreatic cancer. The first being the breakthrough in Birmingham of faster pathways to treatment that improve outcomes and are more cost effective. The second being the approval by NICE of life extending drug abraxane for pancreatic cancer patients.