• Clickworks, St Helens’s new digital hub

    I visited Clickworks – St Helens Chamber’s new digital hub – to see it in action following its recent opening. It was great to see the place is buzzing with activity from local businesses making the most of the facilities and equipment. I spoke to apprentices and students on a digital marketing course and was hugely impressed with their knowledge about the changing face of marketing, and the impact technology is having on the workplace and society.

    Technology is revolutionising the way we work and live. Liverpool City Region has one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital companies with around 26,000 people employed in the digital and creative sector. It was fantastic to meet young people from St Helens borough who are ready to make the most of these opportunities.

    Clickworks is an incredible resource and represents the bright, confident future we have in St Helens.

  • Saints kick off new season

    The Super League kicks off tonight as Saints face our arch-rivals Wigan in the first game of the season.

    Good luck to Justin, James and the team for the season and let’s hope we get off to a winning start.

    But even before a try has been scored, we have started the new year on a positive in St Helens with the news that our town and borough has been chosen to host three games at the 2021 Rugby World Cup. This is testament to the hard work of Eamonn and everyone at the club, supported by St Helens Council and the entire local community, particularly our grassroots rugby league clubs, volunteers and supporters.

    Being a World Cup venue will not only bring economic benefits to the borough but will delight local fans who will be looking forward to seeing some of the best teams in the world at the best ground in the country.

    But before then we have plenty to look forward to and I wish Saints all the very best for what will hopefully be another memorable – and winning! – season.

  • A honour and a privilege

    It was a humbling privilege to present 93-year old Moss Bank veteran Dave Greenall with his Légion d’Honneur, awarded by France for his Royal Navy service during the Battle of the Atlantic & on D-Day. Dave continued his commitment to public service after the war by becoming a local teacher.

    It was an honour to show our community’s appreciation and thanks to Dave and his generation by presenting him with France’s highest distinction in the presence of friends and neighbours.

  • supporting our RAF personnel

    It was great to join a cross-party delegation of MPs to visit the RAF Benevolent Fund and was impressed by the important work they do to support RAF personnel, veterans and their families.

    The Fund has provided fantastic care and assistance for 100 years, and it was great to hear first-hand about their work, especially from those who have directly benefitted from it.

  • Investment in the st helens north

    I was delighted to officially open Pyroguard’s new manufacturing facility in Haydock, producing premium quality fire safety glass for international and domestic markets. The operation of the company’s second St Helens-based facility will create skilled jobs in the borough and demonstrates how the manufacturing sector plays a vital role in our local, regional and national economy.

    I welcome comments from Pyroguard’s CEO Neil Tilsley recognising the talent we have in this borough and region and his commitment to manufacturing here. Our proud history of manufacturing and our locations marks us pit as one of the best places in Britain for investments such as this.

    I want to thank Pyroguard for their 30-year association with St. Helens and this vote of confidence in our borough.


  • Irish businesses investing in St Helens

    I hosted businesses from across the UK and Ireland at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in Westminster and talked about ESB’s significant investment in St Helens. Strong trading and business ties between the islands is of great economic importance to both countries.

    Greengate Energy Recovery Facility in St Helens is a shining example of the benefits these close ties bring. Pilkington and Irish-owned ESB Asset Development have jointly developed a facility bringing local jobs and boosting our economy.

    I will continue to help build strong ties between our businesses in the UK and Ireland and use them to help benefit our local economy in St Helens.

  • progress needed at Wythburn Crescent

    I am incredibly disappointed by the lack of progress at Wythburn Crescent shops in Moss Bank following the devastating fire in October.

    I am in contact with the site owners, Torus, who are still awaiting a decision from the insurers so that they can proceed with the demolition and rebuild. They assure me they are pushing them on an almost daily basis, and are also in talks with an architect about designs for the rebuild.

    Of particular concern is the lack of response we have had from the Post Office. Hundreds of post offices are being closed across the country by design – to lose one by default would be devastating and is not something I and the local community are prepared to tolerate. I have demanded to meet the CEO of the Post Office to ask for a temporary service to be put in place and a guarantee about future provision.

    I realise how frustrating this is for Moss Bank residents – it is for me too – but I am continuing to work on this as a priority and together with local Labour councillors will keep the pressure on all those involved to get answers to our questions, and make the much-needed progress to return these essential local services.

  • its ‘Time For Better Pay’

    I am supporting a campaign to strengthen workers’ rights following the launch of a ‘Time For Better Pay’ petition from Usdaw.

    St Helens borough has more jobs classified as ‘sales and customer services’, ‘caring, leisure and other service’ and ‘process, plant and machine operatives’ which are more likely to be lower-paid professions. This means that people in St Helens borough will be more susceptible to receiving poor pay and working under poor conditions.

    The petition launched on the .gov website seeks 100,000 signatures to secure a Government response and possible parliamentary debate. Find the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/234531.

    It demands the government introduces:
    ● A minimum wage rate of at least £10 per hour for all workers.
    ● A minimum contract of 16 hours per week for everyone who wants it.
    ● A contract based on an individual’s normal hours of work.
    ● An end to zero-hours contracts.

    Usdaw’s survey of over 10,500 working people about their experiences of low pay, short-hours contracts, and insecure work shows that stronger employment rights are urgently needed:
    ● Over the past five years, 92% of those surveyed have seen no improvement in their financial situation.
    ● Over the past 12 months, 76% of low-paid workers have had to rely on unsecured borrowing to pay everyday bills.
    ● 63% of people believe that financial worries are having an impact on their mental health.

    There are too many hard working people in St Helens borough who are struggling to get by. The Tories are allowing people in work to be paid less than they need for a decent standard of living. These unacceptable standards should be addressed by increasing the minimum wage to £10 per hour for all workers and ending zero hours contracts.


  • We need a General Election and a Labour Government

    Last night the Government was defeated by the largest margin in British Parliamentary history.

    This Tory Government has failed on far more than just Brexit. It is presiding over growing poverty, reduced living standards and homelessness rising year-on-year. Our NHS is in crisis with overcrowded A&Es and increasing waiting lists. Funding to our schools has been cut by £7 billion and cuts to the police force mean there are 21,000 fewer police officers on our streets.

    I have no confidence in Theresa May’s Government to deliver a good Brexit deal and have seen the damage that Tory policies have inflicted on communities in St Helens borough and across the North of England.

    We need a General Election and a Labour Government, and so I will vote for the motion of no confidence in the Government this evening.


  • Newton-le-Willows station opens

    It’s great news that the new and improved facilities for local rail and bus passengers at Newton-le-Willows Interchange will open to the public this weekend.

    I’ve campaigned alongside local Labour councillors in Newton and Labour-led St Helens Council to lobby for increased investment in local transport infrastructure, and Labour’s City Region Mayor Mayor Steve Rotheram and Merseytravel responded by allocating almost £20m of funding to make these significant improvements:

    -Step free access to and between the platforms via new subway and lifts
    -Bus interchange adjacent to the new ticket office
    -New 400-space car park
    -Dedicated drop-off and pick-up area
    -Improved passenger waiting facilities
    -New toilet facilities
    -Additional cycle parking

    We now have the excellent facilities that commuters deserve and that befits Newton’s status as a town with a bright future at the heart of the North West, and one that has played such a significant role in Britain’s railways since 1830.

    I’ll continue to keep the pressure on the rail companies to get their acts together and provide the services to match the facilities, and also to campaign for improvements to other stations in my constituency at Earlestown, Garswood and Rainford.

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