As MP every day is different and life is definitely never boring. This week has been no exception: my office has been particularly busy supporting residents with a whole host of issues. My recent surgery still prevents me from driving but that hasn’t stopped me getting out and about across the constituency to help residents with the problems they face.
Of course work to support those affected by the recent floods continues. It is good news that much of the repair work is now underway and compensation payments are coming through to both home owners and businesses but there is still more to do. The next step is to plan for the future and with this in mind I spent Monday morning on site with an officer from the Environment Agency. There are no quick fixes but there is much that can be done to protect properties going forward and the Environment Agency will be in Padiham along with other agencies to assist and advise members of the public on 3rd February.
Many of the problems that we are now experiencing in Burnley and Padiham are arising because funding is being withheld. Direct funding for Burnley and Padiham has been systematically cut every year since 2010 and these Government cuts are now really beginning to hurt. The latest round of cuts will hit a range of key services. I am hugely concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on local people and I will be opposing them all the way. Dozens of people have contacted me to protest about the threat to bus services. Not everyone has a car and very many people will struggle if bus services are withdrawn, including working people, families without transport, school children and the elderly. There is no point the Government stating that social isolation for old people is a growing problem and then cutting the funding for buses that enables them get out and about independently. There is currently a consultation process underway and I will be meeting with Lancashire County Council and the private local bus companies as part of the battle to retain these vital services. Of course it is not just buses that are under threat and I am currently involved in campaigns to save local libraries, post offices and community centres.
On Monday I was delighted to support the Mayor of Padiham, Councillor Jean Cunningham with her charity fund raising event at the Cellar restaurant in Padiham. For anyone who hasn’t been to the Cellar for a meal I recommend that you give it a try and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. In addition I urge people across the entire Borough to support the shops in Padiham. If you don’t usually shop in Padiham go there now and visit the small independent shops and cafes. They offer good value and excellent service and they have had a tough time.
I was really pleased to accept an invitation to attend the opening of the new Heasandford MOT and vehicle repair Centre. The business is sited on Widow Hill Road. I am always keen to support enterprising local people and always mindful that every new business is a potential source of employment. I wish them well.
On Friday I was privileged to meet Padiham resident and naval veteran of the Artic Convoy, Mr Jack Ormerod. Mr Ormerod served as a young man in the Royal Navy during World War II. I was pleased to be the one to bring news that the Russian Premier Vladimir Putin is to honour Mr Ormerod with the Ushakov medal. The medal is named in honour of Russian AdmiralFyodor Ushakov who never lost a battle and was proclaimed patron saint of the Russian Navy.This will be awarded in recognition of Mr Ormerod’s outstanding contribution and heroism on a British war ship in the Arctic. Winston Churchill said that the route taken by the artic convoys to Murmansk and Archangel was “the worst journey in the world” and indeed many British sailors lost their lives.