November & December Local Update
My apologies for the combined update. A lot has happened in the past 2 months but fortunately, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel of this horrible pandemic.
Yesterday we celebrated our local “V-Day”, with the first residents in our area receiving vaccines. You can read about how it’s allocated here and here. It’s important for us to take the vaccine when we can, to protect those who cannot take it.
We are ever so close to defeating the virus and being able to hug our family members without worry. Let’s push through this final stretch together!
Before I run you through the usual “Progress reports” there are a few campaigns that may be of interest:
- Campaign success to FREEZE MP pay
- Live exports Animal Welfare consultation – have your say here
- A resident has set up a gofundme page to get treatment for brain tumour – do have a look and I will be working with charities on this disease Nationally
- Mental health matters – here’s a list of LOCAL mental health support contacts
- We’ve received £150k to level up our roads for walking and cycling have your say on the proposed changes here.
- Scunthorpe Rotary Club is also holding an exciting "treefest" online community event - do have a look
Upgrading Scunthorpe Hospital
What is being done?
Funding for Scunthorpe Hospital
You may have seen that the government has invested significant sums into our local NHS Trust earlier this year. This was welcome news, but I know that Scunthorpe needs even more to be able to improve its infrastructure sufficiently. I have secured a meeting with the Health Secretary and will be sure to make him aware of how much we need further investment.
Getting our blood (tests) flowing again
Last month, there was a shortage of routine blood tests in our local Trust due to a manufacturer fault. I am very grateful to residents and GPs who told me about this early, meaning I was able to contact the manufacturer, inform the Health Secretary and work with our local CCG on this. I’m pleased to say that our CCG confirmed with me last week that the flow of blood tests have now been restored, and that they are catching up on the backlog with rigour.
I have also
- Raised the issue of routine cancer treatment with the government
- Commissioned a House of Commons research document on how our local health team is performing compared to the country
- Nominated our local health team for “Parliamentary Awards”
- Met with the “Malnutrition Task Force” during Malnutrition Awareness Week to discuss what can be done locally
I look forward to meeting the Health Secretary in due course to discuss the future of our Hospital. And I will continue to consult our local NHS on Covid matters and do what I can to support our local health team.
Protecting and promoting our world-class British Steel
What is being done?
After my 8-hour shift at the steelworks over the Summer, I can’t deny that I felt even more tied to our blast furnaces than ever before.
During this time, I worked directly with British Steel to lobby the government to fight for our steel exports to be protected. I’m pleased to say that this has been a success and has brought much certainty to our steelworks.
It was also fantastic to hear that British Steel is increasing production in our area, hiring a further 25 people into trainee positions.
I will continue to work as co-Chair of the Steel Parliamentary group to support our steel industry.
Improving our local roads
What is being done?
After writing to the Transport Secretary in support of NLC’s bid for more sustainable transport from the government’s Active Travel Fund, I am pleased to report that we have received £150k in funding for new cycle lanes, safe crossings and CCTV-protected bike parking.
NLC is holding a consultation on new and improved walking and cycling routes in our areas, and you can have your say on the proposed changes here.
In a meeting with the newly formed “Northern Research Group”- backbench Tory MPs pushing for more investment in our region- I made sure to highlight the widening of the A15 as a safety priority.
With the announcement of new infrastructure spending in the Chancellor’s spending review, I hope we can secure the funding to improve our local A-roads. If you know of anyone with road safety concerns please ask them to get in touch with me directly.
Supporting our local businesses, community groups, and building up our High Street
What is being done?
I continue to provide regular updates to local businesses through a separate (more regular) newsletter – sign up for it here.
Upon the announcement of the national lockdown, I immediately wrote to the government to ask them to provide a second discretionary grant for NLC to support local businesses. We secured a £3.4 million fund which has helped many businesses during the lockdown. You can read the Minister’s response to my letter here.
I have been making representations on behalf of gyms, places of worship, pubs, and wedding businesses, to highlight the difficulties that they are facing right now and ensure a return to trading as soon as is feasibly possible.
- Scunthorpe Rugby Club’s “Racing to the North Pole” to fundraise for Heslam Park. You can check out their fundraiser page here.
- After months of sending out “Broadband Surveys” and making representations, I’m pleased to say that a new broadband provider KCOM is coming to our area
- I was really pleased to meet with Scunthorpe United recently discuss what I can do to support local football.
I will continue to work in Parliament and with North Lincs Council to support our local businesses and community groups. The “Discretionary Grant” has supported some 350+ businesses in our area, and I will push for them to maintain this support in December. A lot of work is being done on this and I continue to provide regular updates to local businesses, so if you are a business please do join the 100+ local businesses and sign-up to my Business Update newsletter.
Working with our Schools
What is being done?
Free School Meals
Before the Summer holidays, I asked our headteachers what their views were on Free School Meals (FSM) and if it would help our children. Having understood the implication I gave them my word that I would do my bit in Parliament to support our children. This was before anyone knew there was going to be a vote on that issue, and I kept my word.
North Lincs Council has been stellar in stepping in during half-term, and subsequently, the government thankfully listened and have provided a support package that is above and beyond what has been requested. You can read about it here.
“Covid Education Gap”
Local headteachers have told me that our children develop and learn best in school. Having to self-isolate more due to high Covid cases means that our children are left out compared to those in the South.
I have been campaigning to address this inequality, raising this with the Schools Minister and the Education Select Committee Chair. It is great that we have made progress last week and that measures have been taken to address the gap. In a recent meeting, I pushed for our teachers to be consulted on what further can be done to support our children.
Safety is more important than anything, this is why since our first local case I asked for North Lincs Council to provide our headteachers with direct public health access.
Speaking to our children
It’s always a pleasure to be able to speak to our children to listen to their interesting ideas.
In the past couple of weeks, I have met with students from Ridgeway, John Leggott College, our local Cubs, and Engineering UTC. It’s good to see that so many students in our area are so interested in politics!
I have written back to our headteachers to provide an update, and I will continue to work with them so that we will be able to safely return our children to school this January. I really appreciate the feedback they have provided so far as this has very much informed decision making in my role as MP.
Take care and stay safe,