This week began with a very enjoyable visit to Mary Magdalene’s Roman Catholic Primary School. I spent what was for me a very interesting session speaking with Year 6 (the top class). The children had obviously prepared well for the class and their questions were intelligent and their enthusiasm was a delight to behold. They caused me to reflect again what an absolute privilege it is to be Burnley’s MP. Every week is different and brings new experiences and there is certainly never time to be bored.
I was really pleased this week, to attend the Annual General meeting of the local Samaritans. A team of volunteers offer confidential support and someone talk to, round the clock 365 days a year. I was honoured to present long service awards to several of the volunteers who had each given 24 years of service. They were a very impressive group of people and most importantly, their free phone number for anyone in need is 116123.
The Conference season concluded this week with the Conservative Conference in Manchester. I know that many of my constituents have some very serious concerns about current Government policy not least the radical changes to Tax Credits that will adversely affect so many families in Burnley and Padiham. I was personally very distressed to hear Iain Duncan Smith state that disabled people must work their way out of poverty! I am sure they would all like to but sometimes that just is not possible. It is therefore not surprising in this economic climate that my office is so very busy. Me and my staff work very hard to provide a full and accessible service. My office at 8 Keirby Walk is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm. In addition I hold regular surgeries out and about in the constituency. This week I was very grateful to Asda for allowing me to hold a surgery on Saturday in their Burnley store and on Sunday I was pleased to be joined by councillors including the Council Leader on a street surgery in Lowerhouse.
Unusually this week I did not have scheduled visits in the business community but I was very pleased to call in at Chesters, the newly opened fast food outlet, on Colne Road. This a very smart facility and a definite improvement to the visual amenity on this gateway route and the food is tasty too!
I would like to thank everyone who has supported my petition to retain a fully functioning Fracture Clinic at Burnley General Hospital. I am aware that several groups and organisations are busy collecting signatures. Please ensure completed sheets are returned to my office and if you have not signed yet please call in my office or visit www.saveburnleyfractureclinic.co.uk On the subject of hospitals and care be sure to look out for coverage in the Burnley Express, of my Private Members Bill which if successful will allow qualifying careers to park for free at hospitals all across England.