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Celebrating great work in the community mingled with Westminster gloom

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Sadly this week has been marked by shock and horror in parliament and across the country, as the facts about those British citizens killed and injured in Tunisia become fully known.  MPs from across the House will work to ensure that families affected by these events will get the maximum support at this sad time.

George Osborne has made an emergency statement to the House about the economic crisis in Greece, which is affecting global economic markets. For those of you intending to visit Greece this summer, you are advised that you cannot rely on cash machines or credit cards- you should take enough cash in euros to cover all of your needs.

This week I met and supported those campaigning against any increased duty on fuel, which I know from my postbag, is an area of concern for many of you.  If fuel duty is raised in line with inflation, the cost to UK households and businesses will be an eye-watering £8 billion. I also joined the All Party Parliamentary Group to support small businesses. I fully recognise the importance of small businesses to the local economy and I know, that for many, it has been a real struggle to stay afloat in the current economic climate.

I have now begun work in earnest on researching my bill to bring free hospital car parking for carers. For this purpose, I attended The All Party Parliamentary Group for carers, where I was successful in securing some very valuable cross party support. I also attended the second meeting of the Kashmir APPG to ensure that the concerns of my constituents are heard at the highest level.

I spent an interesting evening at the French Chamber of Commerce annual event in London with representatives from the very successful Burnley company, Aircelle.  A recurrent theme throughout the action-packed evening, was the very serious concern that Britain might vote to leave Europe, thereby jeopardising British trade and jobs.  I also took time out of a busy week to attend a lively reception for new members at the Speaker’s House (as he gets to decide who speaks in the House, I thought it best to get in his good books!)

Barely a week goes by that I am not reminded of the growing numbers of local people, many of them working in low paid jobs, who are reliant on food banks to feed their families. I had always seen the idea of foodbanks as a feature of Victorian Britain and the Third World and I do think that it’s a national scandal that they are a fact of life in Twenty First Century Britain. However, while foodbanks are needed, it seems to me that we must try to do all we can to support them. With that thought in mind, on Saturday I was pleased to visit Burnley’s Tesco store, to see first-hand the sterling work that is going on there to support the food banks. Burnley Manager, Jason Lamb, assured me of Tesco’s ongoing commitment to this important cause and I was really impressed by Tesco’s new Community Champion, Billie-Jean Horne. Ms. Horne is bursting with enthusiasm and ideas and, although she has only been in post for a few weeks, she has already fostered strong links in the community. I know from talking to her, that many of you are already making regular donations of food whilst you are in store. 

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