• the budget

    In reaction to yesterday’s budget, I called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to go beyond mere rhetoric and make good on the Government’s promise of more funding, investment and job opportunities for highly ambitious communities like ours in St Helens and the North West.

    Rightly, this budget’s short-term strategic priority focused much on containing and defeating the threat posed by the coronavirus (Covid-19), and going forward it’s vital that MPs work in tandem with our community leaders, NHS officials and public health experts to provide an effective and measured response, as guided by the latest scientific evidence.

    But whilst extra funding to tackle Covid-19 is necessary and welcome, this budget falls far short of what’s in fact needed, and I’m concerned about its lack of measures to increase statutory sick pay for local people, or to extend it for those in low-pay work, part-time work, or indeed for those on zero-hours contracts. This Government can and must do better.

    The Chancellor talks often of “levelling up” our country, yet it is this Government’s inadequate investment in the North West’s public services, core infrastructure and skills that has stunted growth in St Helens, while seeing North / South regional inequalities cement and widen.

    Over the last decade, unreliable yet expensive transport, overstretched public services and poor connectivity have all but too often been a reality for local people. Instead of much-needed funding, the Government have slashed the grant to St Helens Council by 71% since 2010 – leaving £507 less per person to spend on essential services.

    If we’re truly to unlock our region’s great potential, places like St Helens borough need more than warm words or empty gestures, but concrete action to re-balance our economy, properly fund our public services, and promote growth right across the North West. In Parliament and in our communities, I’ll continue fighting day-in, day-out to ensure these can be finally delivered.

  • meeting with teardrops

    I visited The Hub to meet the Teardrops team to discuss the important work they do to tackle the causes and effects of homelessness in our community.

    They have also started working with young people in St Helens to tackle drug use, knife crime and anti-social behaviour.

    It’s great to see how far Teardrops have come on their journey so far and I pay tribute to the staff and volunteers making such a huge contribution to our community.

  • visiting chester zoo

    I visited Chester Zoo to discuss the zoo’s work with local schools in St Helens borough – including Allanson Street Primary School in Parr – and their wider conservation efforts.

    Chester Zoo is not only a first-class attraction bringing millions of visitors to the North West region every year, but it also supports a highly skilled staff of hundreds and its world-leading scientific research benefits over 70 field projects in 25 countries.

  • ambition for the future

    Today saw the announcement of an ambitious partnership to deliver regeneration in St Helens, Earlestown & across our borough. Political, business & community leaders are working together to make this the best place to live, work & visit in the North West.
    Labour-run St Helens Council under David Baines is meeting the huge challenge of maintaining vital local services while delivering an ambitious vision for the future of the borough.
    Our team at the Town Hall, in Parliament & in our communities are getting things done.

  • know your ride

    I fully support the #KnowYourRide campaign, a fantastic local initiative which highlights the many benefits of taking a taxi licensed here in St Helens.

    In our borough, high standards of knowledge, skills, awareness and passenger safety are a prerequisite for any driver wishing to attain a taxi license. But since 2015, it has been legal to obtain a license in one area of the country, before going to work in another. While lawful, this practice makes it extremely difficult for St Helens Licensing Authority to hold drivers operating in the borough to account effectively – and also makes life harder for some of our brilliant local taxi drivers.

    By supporting #KnowYourRide, you’ll not only be championing local business and receiving expert local knowledge, but you can rest safely assured that you’ll be enjoying the highest possible passenger safety standards, as set by our local authority.

    To raise awareness of the scheme, which is now backed by Unite the Union and the National Trade Magazine, I met in Parliament with Cllr Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Dave Banks, Chair of the Licensing Committee, and Lorraine Simpson, Licensing Manager at St Helens Council. It was also great that Wes Streeting MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, could make it along too.

    I would encourage all St Helens residents to #KnowYourRide and support local drivers when you travel. Simply ask any operator for a St Helens taxi, or look out for the Gold Standard Driver symbol on vehicles.

  • Willowbrook Hospice

    I visited Willowbrook Hospice to meet with staff and see the incredible work being done there to provide care for so many people.

    The Hospice has been awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating after a recent inspection.

    Willowbrook has great support from the community in St Helens and we are very proud of it. It and hospices across the country need more certainty about their funding and more resources from Government – something I will continue to raise in Parliament and with the Health Secretary.

  • Parr St Peter’s re opens its doors

    I joined the congregation at St Peter’s Church of England in Parr for a service to mark its re-opening after extensive refurbishment and renovation.
    The work, including a brand-new roof, improved disabled access, improvements to the interior and a new heating system, has created a fantastic space for worship, as well as for many other church and community activities in Parr.
    The service, led by Rev Pauline Rowe, was a celebration and opportunity to give thanks for this significant moment in the church’s life.

  • shopping parades in Moss Bank to be regenerated

    I welcome the news that two much-valued shopping parades in Moss Bank are to be regenerated and refurbished, a move which will create exciting opportunities to enhance services for local people and shop owners alike.
    As residents will remember, the shops at Wythburn Crescent were irreparably damaged in 2018 following a break-in which resulted in a fire. A separate structural issue with the parade at Bassenthwaite Avenue also led to residential tenants being rehoused in 2019.
    I’m glad that Torus have listened to the many representations made by myself and local councillors, as well as those concerns directly aired by over a thousand local people during the consultation period.
    This victory is certainly one for local people, who knew and understood all along just why these shopping areas were needed by our community.

  • Earlestown Town Hall

    I joined St Helens Council Leader David Baines, local councillors and members of the community at the first consultation session on Earlestown Town Hall and the wider regeneration of the town centre.
    I’m pleased that the Council has made clear its commitment to re-open this historic civic building, and its future will be in large part shaped the community’s responses to the public consultation currently underway.

  • Primodos

    I am supporting calls for the Prime Minister to ask for a public review of Primodos, the controversial hormone-based pregnancy drug.

    Of the 1.5 million women who took the drug in the 1960s and 1970s, many gave birth to babies with deformities, miscarried, or had stillbirths. Yet, early official warnings about Primodos were delayed, or ignored altogether by some doctors. Even today, previously commissioned medical reviews of the drug remain shrouded in secrecy.

    I have worked with some of those affected who live in St Helens. My constituent Elaine Pennington and others like Marie Lyon deserve answers, and I’ll do all I can alongside my colleagues in Parliament to support their campaign for more information and greater transparency from the Government.

    Follow the link to read the EDM’s text in full: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/53505/primodos-hormone-pregnancy-drug-test

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