I know, this week that all the communities of Burnley and Padiham will want to join with me in sending heartfelt condolences to all those who have suffered loss in France. It is right that security in Britain is strengthened but it is also right that life goes on as usual because those who carry out these vicious terrorist atrocities cannot be allowed to triumph. Events such as this put everything else into perspective but in the spirit of carrying on as normal I will share with you my other business this week.
Today I voted against the Trade Union Bill because it is offensive in so very many ways. It is anti worker, anti freedom and actually anti British. It is not necessary but it is definitely provocative and is a threat to positive industrial relations. The Conservative Party have said over and over again that they are the Party of working people. And yet they seem not understand that trade unions were formed by the workers for the workers. Over the course of history, the workplace has been the scene of many grave injustices.
This week I have barely had chance to catch my breath. I began on Sunday with a lovely event to celebrate the achievements of Burnley’s Bangladeshi community. I was delighted to join with staff from Sir John Thursby Community College to present awards for academic achievement. The Pitha food festival also formed an important part of the event and I think it is fair to say that a good time was had by all. I was, though sorry that my busy schedule meant that I was not to be able to stay to sample the winning dishes.
This week my new role with the Shadow Treasury team has begun in earnest and I have attended numerous detailed briefings. This has been time consuming but really useful and going forward it will definitely be an advantage to have the ear of the Shadow Chancellor. However in my new role I am not allowed to speak in the chamber on any Treasury related issues. This was frustrating this week because I was desperate to have my say on the proposed cuts to Tax Credits. I have written more detail on this subject which you can read on my website at www.juliecooperforburnley.co.uk.
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.
Last night (20th October 2015) I voted to oppose the Governemnt’s plans to cut Tax credits. Their proposals will further impoverish over 3 million working families. 150,00 of these are families with disabled children. 7000 families and over 10,000 children in Burnley and Padiham will be affected. They are to be punished it seems because they are poor. Undoubtedly the Tax Credit system needs reform and the way to do that is to introduce a real Living Wage. If people got paid enough to live on at work there would be no need for Tax Credits.