Sue and I attended the 88th Charter Anniversary Dinner of The Rotary Club of Bury last night. The Mayor of Bury was in attendance too with her Consort and the guest speaker was Jonathan Ali the BBC Radio Manchester news reporter. I have been interviewed by Jonathan many times over the years and it was good to have the chance to hear from him for a change. He has a special interest in history having studied it at University before he went into broadcasting and he has a busy year ahead reporting on more World War One centenary commemorations.
Included with the budget were a number of specific announcements for the North West including £300 million to improve transport links. These were:
- Giving the green light to HS3 between Leeds and Manchester with £60 million to develop plans to reduce journey times to around 30 minutes, and developing longer-term plans for improving links between the North’s other major cities
- Exploring options for a Trans-Pennine tunnel between Sheffield and Manchester with £75 million to develop its plans, as well as looking at options to enhance the A66, A69 and the north-west quadrant of the M60
- Delivering further improvements to roads, with £161million for Highways England, including the upgrade of the M62 to a four-lane smart motorway between junction 10-12 Warrington to Eccles and junction 20-25 Rochdale to Brighouse
- Improving the North’s major rail stations including £3.75 million to support the development of HS2 Growth Strategies for Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport and Leeds stations
- Accelerating the development of other critical road projects in the North, including Lofthouse and Simister Island junctions and delivering on the commitment to begin upgrades to the M56 at junctions 6-8 south of Manchester in this Parliament.
Growing up near to Sheffield and having a father who worked in one of the steel rolling mills in Sheffield I have always kept one eye on developments in the UK Steel industry. In this session of Parliament few subjects have been debated more than the future of the steel industry.
With falling demand across the World, high energy costs, China exporting the steel it does not need for its domestic markets at sale prices lower than the UK cost price has led to a series of closures. Today the future of the Tata plant in South Wales is in the balance as it is discussed at a board meeting in India. It would be difficult to blame them if they decided to cease production. If they are subsidising the plant from elsewhere in the group they might not see any value in continuing that subsidy. Either way it is a deeply worrying time for all those employed at the plant and their families. I know how they feel as my Dad lost his job when the rolling mill he worked in was shut down at the start of the 1980’s.
Brrrrr…..not exactly the warm early spring morning I was hoping for.
Republicans look away now. One thing I get to do more of at Bank Holidays is watch some television. I rarely have chance to watch television for obvious reasons. Last night I watched an excellent documentary on the life of the Queen. She really has lad the most remarkable life of dedication and service. Whilst it is true that if we were designing a state from scratch we would probably not finish up with the model our Country enjoys today there is no doubt we have a constitutional monarchy system which has brought us a stability many countries can only dream about. Anyway, if you did not watch it is worth watching on catch up tv.
Happy Easter to all.
Hope everyone remembered to put the clocks forward one hour. It occurred to me this morning that apart from when a few pressure groups whip up calls for double summer time and other such changes the vast majority of folk are quite happy to go on with the present system of moving the clocks forward one hour in spring and back one hour in the autumn. There was a great effort in the last Parliament to change the system by way of a Private Member’s Bill the Daylight Saving Bill. Ridiculous really as changing the clocks does not create any extra daylight. There are still the same number of hours of daylight whatever we do to the clocks
Yesterday I attended a special Good Friday service at church and spent the rest of the day starting to catch up on the long list of jobs that builds up during the months since I was last home for any length of time at Christmas. This included fixing the printer on the computer so that it connected wirelessly as it used to and put some new toner in it. Seems to be ok again now, Next up was fitting a new handle on the dishwasher. This nearly went disastrously wrong but I managed to fit the new handle, refit the front of the door only to find much to my dismay that the on/off switch had been affected and was not working as it did. One problem solved another one created! Ah well. At least it is still working.
Today, I am off with Sue to a mini family get together to mark Sue’s parents Diamond Wedding Anniversary they celebrated on Thursday.
On this most holiest of days for Christians throughout the World I wish all readers a blessed and peaceful Good Friday.