This week I was very pleased to hold my surgery in Coal Clough Lane Library. The surgery was exceptionally busy and it was satisfying to be able offer positive help on a diverse range of issues. It is very clear from listening to constituents from all walks of life that Government policy in several areas is having a detrimental effect on the lives of local people. This week it has been shocking to hear of the Government’s proposals to cut the support for solar energy by a staggering 87%, this at a time when most other countries worldwide are increasing investment in this sector to ensure sustainable energy supplies in the future. If our Government implements this savage cut it will mean less access to affordable solar energy, job losses in the industry and a lost opportunity for Britain to be a world leader in an industry that will dominate in future years. Burnley businessman, Ged Ennis of the year Low Carbon Energy company is extremely concerned about the detrimental effect that this change, will have on this new and very important industry.
On Sunday I accepted an invitation to meet with the Assistant Commissioner for Bangladesh. An audience from the Bangladeshi community of Burnley were interested to hear of recent advances in the development of the industrial economy in Bangladesh, all of which will help to raise living standards. I was especially interested to learn of the vast numbers employed in the solar industry and wondered again about the folly of our Government’s proposals.
The thoughts of many of my constituents have this week, understandably, been with the Syrian Refugees. Harrowing pictures of a little boy lying dead on a beach in Turkey affected the world and has it seems stirred the British Government into action. The sickening thing is that thousands of little boys and girls have already died in this unfolding humanitarian crisis and up until now Britain has turned a blind eye. Over 3 million people have fled Syria in fear of their lives and shockingly Britain has given shelter to only 216. There has been much talk from the Prime Minister of a ‘bogus swarm’ but I would say this: there is nothing bogus about desperate people who cling with their families to leaky dinghies in cold waters praying that at the end of a long journey they will find some kindness or just some common humanity because after all these people aren't fighting to get into Britain they are fighting to stay alive. I would like to assure you all that I will be listening very carefully to David Cameron's belated offer of help, ensuring that he honours all commitments.
The Themis Apprentice awards night was a highlight of my week. Burnley College, as always hosted a very professional event and it was a real pleasure to celebrate the hard work and talent of the young apprentices of Burnley and also to recognise the commitment of local businesses that do so much to support them.