On Saturday morning I attended the Summer Fair of Potter House School at St. John’s with St. Mark’s Church Hall. The event was blessed with great weather and the children were clearly enjoying themselves with a variety of attractions including face painting and a bouncy castle.
I then called in at the St. Paul’s coffee morning in Ramsbottom evening and in the evening I attended an Indian Evening at the Parish Hall in Tottington with lots of Indian food and Indian dancing along with interesting explanations about both the food and the dances.
On Friday morning I met with representatives from the Fairfield Baby Lifeline Charity who have done sterling work over many years to raise extra funds for the Special Care Baby Unit.
In common with everyone else I have spoken to about the announcement from Andrew Lansley that he wants to halt the closure pending a review. As the criteria for the review now specifically include the wishes of local people it is doubly important that every single person who wants to see these vital services saved contacts their own GP and local health officials to let them know their views. I will be issuing more details about this in the weeks ahead.
I spent the rest of Friday dealing with my casework before having a surgery.
Today has been a hectic day in Parliament with the Chancellor of the Exchequer making his Emergency Budget statement as to the measures that the Coalition Government will be taking to start to deal with the effects of years of Labour’s overspending. A budget comprising largely of spending reductions and tax increases is not what anyone would want but it is in the circumstances completely unavoidable and it must never be forgotten that the cuts announced today are Labour’s cuts. As a country we simply can not go on borrowing £1 out of every £4 the Government spends. I think that the scale of the problem is most starkly revealed on page 72 of The Red Book which sets out the detail of the Budget. Table B1 shows that in five years time even after all the measures announced today it is forecast our Country will still not be in a position to start repaying its debts. The forecast is that we will still have to borrow some £20 billion pounds a year to balance the books in 2015-2016. I must remember to remind those who constantly plead for more Government spending of this fact!
I was delighted that the Secretary of State for Health chose to visit Bury again and in particular ask to visit the Maternity Department at Fairfield Hospital. He confirmed that he wants a halt to the planned closure of the children’s Services Department whilst a review takes place in line with the new criteria he set out last month a few days after taking office.
Mr Lansley made ir clear that he felt that the views of local residents should be given much more weight along with the views of local doctors. The Health Authorities will now have to reconsider this matter and I trust everyone who wants to see Department kept open will write and let the Authorities know exactly how they feel. I will be talking to interested parties in the days ahead to ensure that we have a co-ordinated approach.
One of the toughest tests for any new Member of Parliament is their maiden speech Having spent most of Monday’s afternoon sitting waiting to be called to speak in the Queen’s Speech debate on Home Affairs and the Constitution I was finally called today during a debate on poverty.
If anyone interested in viewing my first speech in the House it can be viewed here.
On Sunday I attended the Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force Parade in Ramsbottom. There was a reception in St Paul’s Church with the new Mayor of Bury Councillor John Byrne which was followed by a short service and wreath laying in memory of all those who have fallen in the service of our Country.
Ramsbottom was absolutely heaving with people attracted by the Parade and the East Lancashire Railway World War Two weekend. The Cadets play an important role in Army recruitment and helping to train young people and give them goals to aim for in life working in partnership with other organisations especially the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.