• concerns over united utilities in Moss bank

    I have raised issues with United Utilities over their proposals to use Moss Bank Road and Manor House Close as an access route for pipeline work in nearby fields.

    Local Labour councillors and I met with residents to discuss their concerns. I have pressed United Utilities to find alternative access points and to work with residents in the local area. They need to give assurances that disruption during the works is kept to a minimum and that once completed remediation work will take place to bring the road and site back to its original condition.

  • International Workers Memorial Day

    On International Workers Memorial Day, a large gathering of trade unionists, activists, workers, members of the public and elected representatives gathered in Vera Page Park in St Helens to unveil a memorial to all those local workers who have lost their lives whilst in work.
    I want to congratulate former Pilks worker and Unite the Union member John Riley, and Councillors Martin Bond, Richard McCauley and Paul Pritchard for bringing the idea to fruition in just a few short years. Inspired by The Construction Workers Memorial in Ontario, Canada, the memorial acknowledges those who have lost their lives through accident or industrial disease and for those who have been left behind. I am honoured to be a Patron of the St Helens Workers’ Memorial Charity.
    I recently attended the Golborne Pit disaster memorial – we must always remember and commemorate those who died, and vow to continue the fight for the living.

  • the retirement of four long-serving Labour councillors in St Helens borough

    This election marks the retirement of four long-serving Labour councillors in St Helens borough; Keith Deakin, Keith Roberts, Sandra Dyer, and Mayor Pat Ireland. I thank them for their outstanding public service and commitment to our communities in Parr, Earlestown, Newton and Thatto Heath.
    Keith Deakin has fantastically represented the people of Earlestown for over 30 years. Keith Roberts served for more than 20 years representing St Helens at a regional level – most notably fighting for the retention of bus services. Sandra, a great representative of Newton ward, is also stepping back. As will our Mayor, Pat Ireland, who has excelled in her position with much warmth and laughter.
    They have all played a crucial part in improving our borough – protecting services and improving the lives of those they represent. Their work on behalf of residents will be missed.

  • 20 years since the introduction of the minimum wage

    April marks 20 years since the introduction of the minimum wage. This ground-breaking advance for workers’ rights is one of many examples of the impact that Labour in government has.
    There is still much to do to make the job market fair. There are many people with insecure contracts and with wages that don’t support their and their families’ basic needs.
    The prevalence of in-work poverty is unacceptable. Many hard-working people don’t earn enough to support their families to live. 54% of low paid workers are regularly missing meals so that they can pay the bills. The Tories have created a perfect storm of low pay, insecurity and working poverty.
    Only a Labour Government will ensure a fair deal for working people.

  • Tory Government to vital Children’s Services in St Helens

    I am appalled that the Tory Government has cut funding for vital Children’s Services in St Helens borough by £13,962,762 since 2010/11.

    Spending on early intervention strategies and preventative services have been particularly affected. This means that local authorities are forced to shift spending to late intervention statutory services at a point where the negative impact on children’s lives will be significantly higher.

    A coalition of children’s charities has warned that unless the Government invests £3billion, local authorities will run the serious risk of being unable to keep children safe and well.

    These cuts are having a significant impact on the life chances of the most vulnerable children. I am calling on the Government to provide the critical investment that children’s services so desperately need.

  • Glass Futures update

    I am delighted that Glass Futures have identified St Helens as their preferred location for their new glass making facility that is set to have a production capacity of 30 tonnes per day.

    This is another vote of confidence in our borough as the best place in the North West for investment.

    I have met with leading representatives of the glass industry both here and in Westminster to make the case for St Helens borough. Our skills, infrastructure, location, and proud manufacturing history make us the perfect place for this new investment.

    Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has also voiced his support for St Helens as the ideal location. I will continue to push for this investment which would be a huge boost to St Helens borough.

  • community health and wellbeing fair

    I dropped into a community health and wellbeing fair at St Helens parish church where they were promoting important information about services available to help improve health and wellbeing. They gave attendees the chance to take part in a taster Tai Chi session and watch a performance from St Helens Mind choir.

    Health and mental health problems are common, and we should be openly talking about how to manage and cope with them. Events like this are vitally important to encourage this discussion and aid people to improve their lives proactively.

    I want to thank St Helens Cares and St Helens CCG for organising such a crucial event.

  • commemorating the Golborne mining disaster

    I joined hundreds of people to commemorate the ten miners who lost their lives in the Golborne mining disaster 40 years ago.

    John McKenna
    Colin Dallimore
    Joe Berry
    Desmond Edwards
    Patrick Grainey
    Peter Grainey
    Brian Sherman
    Bernard Trimble
    Raymond Hill
    Walter McPherson

    Our mining communities across the Lancashire coalfield share a proud heritage and the same values, and those were very evident at this event. A procession led by the local brass band, clergy including the Bishop of Liverpool, families and the National Union of Mineworkers moved past the site of the pit, where family members laid flowers, before arriving at St Thomas’s Church for a moving service.

    I want to thank all those who have supported the Golborne ex-miners and worked to commemorate and preserve the memory of those who died in the disaster, in particular Brian Eden, Eric Foster and my good friend Colin Rooney. And I especially want to pay tribute to Brian Rawsthorne.

    It is important for us to remember that terrible day and to keep supporting workers today who still need to fight for safety and protection at work.

  • meeting the Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Phil Garrigan

    I met with the Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), Phil Garrigan, to discuss the ongoing impact of Government cuts to funding. Since 2010 the MFRS has faced a real terms 50% funding cut by the Tories. With over £13 million lost, the impact is biting – 300 fewer firefighters, and a reduction from 42 to 24 fire engines. Our communities are in greater danger from fires as a direct result.

    Our fire officers are doing everything they can in the face of these terrible cuts – they were outstanding when tackling the large blaze on Parr industrial estate recently. The Government needs to recognise that excellence and goodwill from fire officers can only go so far and must provide them with the resources they need to support the brave work they do.

    I was pleased that in spite of the financial pressures Phil and the fire and rescue authority are committed to the building of a new fire station in St Helens and retaining the current level of crews and engines. I will be working with Phil, and our local MFRS representatives to deliver this commitment.

    The Labour Party has committed to reinvesting in our fire and rescue services. I call on the this Tory Government to reverse the cuts, give the fire service resources it needs and invest in the rebuilding of St Helens fire station.

  • outstanding rating for St Helens and Knowsley hospitals

    I am delighted that St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC. They received overwhelmingly positive feedback in many areas including leadership, culture and the care given to patients at Whiston and St Helens hospitals.

    The trust has continued to build upon excellence that it has been consistently identified as achieving. It was classified as ‘outstanding’ in the 2015 CQC report, ranked as the ‘best acute trust in the NHS’ for three consecutive years and ranked as ‘the number one place to work and receive treatment in the country’ in the National NHS Staff Survey.

    This success is particularly impressive as they achieved these fantastic results despite the harsh financial environment imposed by this Tory government. As the Tories continue to pressure our NHS, we must recognise and build upon the leadership and high standards at St Helens and Whiston hospitals.

    I want to thank all those working in the trust – the nurses, doctors, medical, ancillary and all staff as well as chief executive Ann Marr and chairman Richard Fraser whose dedication and hard work have led to these outstanding achievements.

     

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