• the National Lottery’s Community Fund

    I met with the National Lottery’s Community Fund, which has provided over £2.4 million worth of grants to local projects here in St Helens North alone. These include Park Farm ACYP in Moss Bank, Invest for the Future at the Deafness Resource Centre, as well as the FIT scheme at St Aidan’s in Billinge.

    Thousands of projects benefit from the Community Fund every year. To find out more, click the following link: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding

  • 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.

  • Heathrow third runway

    The Government promised that the expansion of Heathrow airport would increase connectivity to airports at Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester, and bring associated opportunities for jobs, investment and business in places like St Helens.
    The uncertainty around the third runway is a cause of concern for political and business leaders in our region. I called on Transport Ministers to provide clarity over Heathrow’s future, and commit to delivering on the promise of growth for communities across the North West.

  • 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.

  • Coalfield Communities

    I’m pleased to have been re-elected as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Coalfield Communities.

    The APPG is made up of around 40 MPs from all parties who represent coalfield seats across the country. It aims to highlight strategic priorities and challenges faced by former coal mining areas, like ours in St Helens borough, while additionally supporting the regeneration and economic development of our communities.

  • Helen’s Law, at Second Reading

    Last week, MPs passed the Bill we have all come to know as Helen’s Law, at Second Reading.
    For decades, Marie McCourt has shown dignity, tenacity and sacrifice in persevering with this campaign, even after her own daughter’s killer was released just weeks ago.
    Because the Government has introduced the Bill itself, Helen’s Law will now make swift progress and become law. This rare step is testament to Marie McCourt’s character, the strength of her love for Helen, as well as her determination to do right by her memory.

  • 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

  • #HeartUnions week

    I’m fully supporting the TUC and affiliate unions this week as they celebrate #HeartUnions week.

    I’m a lifelong trade unionist and proud to champion the efforts of activists and members especially here in St Helens and the North West. I encourage all workers to join a union and I’ll keep working with the trade unions to shine a light on issues faced by working people locally and across the country.

  • All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Liverpool City Region

    I’m delighted to have been re-elected as Secretary for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Liverpool City Region (LCR).

    The group brings together over 20 MPs and members of the House of Lords to work with Mayor Steve Rotheram, local council leaders, as well as representatives from the private and voluntary sectors, all with the aim of maximising opportunities for jobs, growth and investment in St Helens borough and across our city region.

    Find out more about the APPG’s work here: https://appglcr.org.uk/

  • National Apprenticeship Week

    This week is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) and I fully support the excellent efforts of the North West Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, a local group of employers who work with business leaders, students and parents to connect them with our region’s world-class apprenticeships.

    The NAW is an incredible opportunity for young people to explore the wide range of apprenticeship pathways on offer locally, and I would encourage all those interested to get involved with the many fantastic events taking place in St Helens borough during the week.

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