The Leader Times Series February 7th 2020

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Pendle Beer Festival last weekend at the Colne Muni. It was a great event and wonderful to see so many people there.

Having a healthy pub scene is key to a having a sense of community and promoting responsible, social drinking. It’s a real shame when a good pub goes downhill or closes – a big issue for me ever since being elected back in 2010.

The latest bit of good news on that front was an announcement that from April, thousands of pubs will benefit from a new ‘Pubs Relief’ worth £1,000 off their business rates.

The beer duty escalator that saw tax on beer rise constantly was scrapped back in 2013 and cut back. All alcohol duties are currently under review. The more that can be done to support pubs and brewers, the better.

Last week, I hosted a meeting in Parliament for the Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership (SELRAP) who are campaigning to reopen the Colne–Skipton rail line. Reopening the line would be good for our local economy and make commuting to jobs in places like Leeds and Bradford much easier. However, it could also help boost the wider northern economy, providing a much needed additional East-West route. 

Plenty of new northern MPs turned up to ask questions and offer their support. With £500 million available to help fund restoring rail links, there is an opportunity for the campaign to make progress.

I also visited West Craven High School to meet the school’s leadership following their disappointing OFSTED report. I wanted to hear how the school will turn things around as I know many families are concerned.

The good news is that the school accepts it is not where it needs to be and that it needs to change to turn things around. Under the right leadership, struggling schools can transform and we have seen examples of that locally, for example Pendle Primary Academy.

I will be doing all I can to support West Craven High get back on track, working with the school’s new Head Teacher to ensure all our young people get the education they need and deserve.