• Cancer Research UK

    I’m backing Cancer Research UK in their call for the Government to train and employ more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer.

    With an increased and ageing population, projections show that half of all people in the UK are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes.

    Across St Helens, NHS staff work with dedication and enormous professionalism to treat patients, but the Government is not providing enough support.

    Currently, 1 in 10 diagnostic staff posts are unfilled and by 2035, there will be an additional 150,000 cancer patients diagnosed each year.

    It is therefore crucial that our NHS is properly equipped to deal with this, and early diagnosis and proper treatment is vital to increasing survival rates.

    Recruiting and training more diagnostic and treatments staff is paramount, and the Government should commit to this.

  • Heathrow expansion will benefit St Helens North

    Businesses in St Helens, companies across the North West and national trade unions have all told me a third runway at Heathrow will be good for workers, good for jobs and good for economic growth in our region and across the UK.

    I’ve been clear that Heathrow expansion must be matched by a renewed commitment to fund transport infrastructure that builds road and rail connectivity across the North.

    In a free vote in the House of Commons tonight, I’ll join dozens of other Northern Labour MPs to support the decision – which was initially made by the last Labour Government – to build a new runway at Heathrow as an important investment in our national and regional economies.

    In St Helens & Newton-le-Willows we are lucky to be served by two airports – Liverpool John Lennon and the nation’s second international hub airport at Manchester – both of which stand to gain from additional capacity at Heathrow.

    Heathrow is currently operating at 98 per cent capacity, denying regional airports like Liverpool a direct link, which is damaging inward investment across the Liverpool City Region.

    The new runway at Heathrow provides an opportunity to create new routes, boosting jobs and growth across Merseyside, with up to 180,000 new jobs expected across the country – and thousands set to be added in the North West.

    Manchester Airport is also making a significant investment in expanding its facilities and that should be matched by strategic Government support to ensure that the capacity offered by its two runways is fully utilised, including for new international routes.

    The decision to build a third runway at Heathrow and expand our national aviation capacity is an important decision for the country, but it is also vitally important for businesses and workers in St Helens and the North West. It is now time to get on with the project and realise the economic benefits for our region and the whole of the UK.

  • House magazine as ‘campaigner of the week’

    I was delighted to be recognised by The House magazine as ‘campaigner of the week’, as part of the campaign to introduce Helen’s Law.

    We are making progress, with Justice Minister Rory Stewart committing the Government to considering two policy options brought through the Ministry of Justice.

    Of course, the real credit goes to Marie McCourt, who has fought tirelessly for justice in the 30 years since Helen was murdered, and the families of many other victims.

    We are absolutely clear that convicted murderers who do not reveal the whereabouts of their victims’ remains should remain in prison where they belong, and we will keep up the fight for Helen’s Law.

  • Racing to schools

    It was great to be at Haydock Park for one of charity Racing to School’s education days for pupils and teachers from Elms Bank Specialist Arts College.

    The education days provide a comprehensive behind the scenes look at how a racecourse works, combining the fun and excitement of the races with real educational outcomes from maths and science to history and geography.

    We were expertly guided around Haydock by Carrie Ford and Jo McCain who work as Education Officers at Racing to School.

    The tour provided a great opportunity for pupils to learn more about horseracing and gain an insight into a huge national industry.

    Horseracing is the second most popular spectator sport in the country and Haydock Park showcases the very best practice in the sport, having recently been rated by Visit England as one of the top twelve racecourses in the country for visitor experience.

  • Care workers for change campaign

    I am very happy to pledge my support to the Care Workers for Change Campaign for Dignity in Social Care.

    Care workers play a huge role in St Helens and it’s important that during carers Week 2018 we highlight their enormous contribution, not just to those they care for, but to our whole society.

    But poor working conditions, job insecurity, and poverty pay has become the daily reality for those who nurse, clean, and feed our loved ones – thanks to this Tory Government’s austerity policies.

    This cannot go on and it is vital the Government steps up to ensure fair funding for social care.

    Care workers provide an essential service supporting the frail and the vulnerable within our communities. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, whilst having the right to a real living wage.

  • the wood pit disaster memorial service

    I joined the local community and former miners from across Lancashire for a poignant service at St James’ in Haydock to remember the 204 men and boys who died in the Wood Pit Disaster on 7th June 1878.

    As well as being one of the biggest single losses of life in the Lancashire coalfields, The Wood Pit Disaster left in its wake 93 widows, 282 orphans and an utterly devastated community, with the majority of victims coming from Haydock.

    As part of the 140th anniversary, St Helens Libraries arranged a commemoration event at the memorial at St James’, with readings and songs from pupils at St Augustine’s taking place in Haydock Library afterwards.

    The prosperity of our country was built on coal, and the coal miners like those at Wood Pit and across pits in St Helens who worked to mine it.

    Without their daily toil underground and the constant risk of danger and death they faced, the industrial revolution would have stalled before it began. It is right that we remember the true price of coal and the terrible events of 7th June 1878.

  • carers week

    This week is Carers Week, a chance to recognise the outstanding work of the millions of people in the UK who provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, older or disabled family member, friend or partner.

    But carers do not always get the recognition and support they deserve, with around 1.4 million people providing over 50 hours of unpaid care per week, according to figures in the last census.

    And those carers who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance by providing full time care for someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit, often don’t have enough to make ends meet.

    That’s why I’m backing the Carers UK Fairer for Carers campaign, calling for an increase in Carer’s Allowance in England to reflect the huge amount of work they do.

    Carer’s Allowance is currently the lowest benefit of its kind at £64.60 per week, but it is due to increase by £8.50 in Scotland while staying the same in other parts of the UK.

    This simply isn’t fair for hardworking carers in St Helens who will receive a lower rate of financial support just because of where they live.

    The St Helens Carers Centre estimates there are around 23,000 carers across the borough, with more than a thousand new carers registering with the Centre in the last year alone.

    The Government must step up to the plate and address the financial hardship that many carers find themselves in, often because a loved one falls ill or grows old.

  • Channel 4 Headquarters

    It’s great news that Liverpool has been shortlisted as the potential location for the new Channel 4 Headquarters.

    I have been a strong supporter of the bid, alongside my MP colleagues across Merseyside and Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham. We all want to see Channel 4 come to our City Region.

    Liverpool is an iconic city known the world over for its creativity and passion for the arts. But the bid’s strength lies in the talent and creativity found across the boroughs of the whole City Region. In St Helens we are recognised nationally for the arts through the Heart of Glass and our library service and the bid reflects this pooling of skills and resources across Merseyside.

    Channel 4 being based in Liverpool would be a positive step for the broadcaster and the country, and a boost to the North West economy. It will also act to harness the creative talents to be found across the City Region and within St Helens North.

  • National Police Specials Weekend

    This weekend is National Police Specials Weekend and I’m delighted to take this opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of volunteer police officers in St Helens, Merseyside and across the country.

    Special Constables play a key role in local policing and have the same powers in law as regular police officers, including the power of arrest. They come from all walks of life, and work alongside regular officers and PCSOs in our community and play a vital role in supporting the work of the police and the community.

    Alongside full-time police officers, they are an integral part of our St Helens communities and this weekend we say: thank you!

  • Cowley commemorates those killed in the first world war

    I joined past and current pupils and staff at Cowley International College to commemorate those associated with the school who were killed in the First World War.

    The event, organised by Rita Allcock, was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Joe and Sylvia Pearson, alongside the principal Cameron Sheeran.

    After a welcome from the principal and Rita, the names of those pupils from Cowley whodied were read aloud by current pupils before those in attendance joined in a rendition of Jerusalem and a selection of musical pieces from the past pupils’ band and current pupil Lee Downing.

    As well as the commemoration, those attending were presented with a copy of the Cowley School Roll of Honour, ‘Pro Patria 1914 – 1919’ a compilation put together by James Smethurst, a teacher at the school at the time. The compilation lists all the pupils from the school and the service they gave in the war.

    The event was a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by so many pupils at Cowley, and indeed by so many families across St Helens, during the Great War.

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