At the start of a busy week I was really pleased to get the opportunity to attend the service at St Matthew’s church for the induction of the Reverend Alex Frost. The service was a whole community and genuinely warm event. I know that as curate Father Alex was a real asset and I look forward to working with him in his new role. In my view the faith sector has a massive contribution to make supporting the community in these troubled and uncertain times.
Speaking of troubles the Brexit clock is ticking and there are now less than 200 days to go. We need a strong and unified Government to secure the best Brexit deal, so it really isn’t helping anyone when Boris Johnson goes to war against his own Prime Minister. These failed negotiations are affecting every Government Department and therefore every aspect of British life. Hundreds of new civil servants have been recruited, not just to work on the exit deal but to plan for life post Brexit and in addition workers have been drafted from every department to work on this massive project leaving many Government departments struggling to run on skeleton staff. This is causing problems in itself because there really is so much more to do than Brexit and the Government has definitely taken its eye off the ball in so many areas. Not least amongst these dropped balls is the issue of policing. I have been raising concerns for the last two years about cuts to police budgets and over and over during that period senior police officers have shared their worries. This week it was the turn of Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association to voice concerns about what he considers as a “great service on the verge of crisis in many areas.” Here in Lancashire we have an excellent constabulary lead by Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw. Government funding cuts to police budgets have though, meant that we now have 800 fewer uniformed officers in Lancashire than we had in 2010 and crime levels are rising. Government has not even provided sufficient funding to cover inflation and so the situation is we are all paying more for policing via our Council Tax precept and are getting less.
Turning to issues of health, on Tuesday I was pleased to meet up with BreastCancerNow an organisation that campaigns for a greater awareness of breast cancer and for increased research. The organisation funds research into four main area: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and second cancers. Please help me to raise awareness of this important work and join with me on 19th October by wearing pink to start a discussion and helping to ensure that breast cancer is never a taboo subject. For all the ladies reading this I would issue a plea, if you are invited to a breast screening scan please take up the offer. It is totally painless, only takes a few minutes and there is no doubt that early detection of breast cancer saves lives. At Burnley General the new chemotherapy and breast care services opened last year, really are second to none. We still have a way to go to tackle waiting times and I will continue to press for further improvements in service.
This week I held advice surgeries on Friday and Saturday. Both were well attended and I was pleased to help. If you require any assistance you can e-mail me at: email@example.com, call us on: 01282 425744 or write to me at The Constituency Office, 8 Keirby Walk, Burnley, BB11 2DE.