Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 5th October 2018

Not posted my weekly column for a while, this is from the 05 October

I spent this week attending the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. It is always fun catching up with friends and discussing ways we can make our country better.

As ever, there were lots of great charities and campaigns attending. I was able to meet with the NFU and show my support for British farmers, and chat with Macmillan Cancer Support about the work their nurses do. I also reaffirmed my support for Guide Dogs and their campaign to end pavement parking, which causes real problems for lots of people including those with impaired sight.

The main event was, despite Boris’s best efforts, the Prime Minister’s speech. As well as being entertaining, it had real substance on a range of issues. She even mentioned Pendle’s manufacturers, whose case I continue to press at the top of Government.

She referred to the energy price cap that is in place for the coming winter and will prevent vulnerable people being ripped off by extortionate rates. Too many companies punish loyal customers by hiking renewal rates, and not just energy companies. I was pleased to hear a promise of action.

Pendle’s rail commuters will have been pleased to hear about an auto-compensation system for late or cancelled trains, as the current system can be slow and an added layer of frustration. A new Cancer Strategy was launched aimed at further improving early detection rates, including by lowing the screening age for bowel cancer to 50, a welcome move that will save tens of thousands of lives.

The big announcement was lifting a government cap on councils borrowing to build new affordable housing. In Pendle, we’re in a position to reduce the target for new housing, something I’m working with the current leadership on, but in other areas lifting this cap can help our country meet the housing challenges it faces, helping more people achieve the security of owning their own home.

Sadly absent from Conference was Cllr Paul White, the Leader of Pendle Borough Council. Paul was undergoing surgery at Airedale Hospital to fit a defibrillator, after discovering a potentially fatal heart problem. In wishing Paul a swift recovery, I also want to pay tribute to the Hospital and its staff for their potentially lifesaving work.

Finally, huge congratulations are due to the White Swan in Fence who have earned a Michelin Star. It’s richly deserved and will pull even more visitors to our beautiful area.