After a fantastic weekend in Burnley, I was back down to London for the final few days before summer recess. The place is always buzzing as Parliamentary business concludes for six weeks and everyone crams in final meetings and attends important debates.
On Monday, I had an important meeting with the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. It was an extremely upbeat meeting where we discussed securing our economy through infrastructure. The recession led to a decline in activity and a skills shortage and we discussed their work to boost skills through apprenticeships and training. It is important to recognise the economic and social benefits of infrastructure investment as a feature of Britain’s future. The CECA is truly a fantastic representative body.
After, I was able to attend a great Association of Colleges Event. The AOC works to promote the interests of the colleges and provide members with professional advice and they were launching a publication to highlight some of their achievements and plans for the next few years.
I met Vince Cable to discuss the Locus Centre. Unfortunately the Locus did not receive instant funding approval through the Regional Growth Fund, however we are looking at other funding sources to enable this exceptional arena to go ahead. I am working with Mark Crabtree, managing director of AMS Neve Limited, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and the county council to find other funding. It is without question, the Locus would further transform our great town.
On Tuesday, I had a visit to Nottinghamshire to meet local apprentices and find out more about the issues facing vocational training. I met representatives from training provider Remit and Nottinghamshire Training Network.
I then visited another part of the country on Wednesday with a visit to Airbus in Bristol. Alongside my Liberal Democrat colleague Stephen Williams, we were delighted to have the chance to see the manufacturing of wings for the A400M which is the new military carrier. I am always surprised by their sheer size and was delighted to be presented with a mini model A350 I have proudly displayed at home.
I was then back to Burnley to attend a presentation event at the booming Fort Vale Engineering following their amazing achievement of receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. I was very proud of this achievement that was presented by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire and testifies the greatness of the company that was originally started by Edward Fort in his garage in 1967. It is a credit to the company who export 90% of what they produce and a marvellous achievement for Ted and his employees as well as a fantastic success story for East Lancashire.
I then met the Pastor of the Life Church along with two councillors Neil Mottershead and Charlie Briggs to discuss the new location of the high school coming to Kiddrow Lane. Hopefully the school will be positioned here which should save the playing fields for the community. I was also delighted to attend a public meeting at Worsthorne to celebrate the continued existence of the Number 2 bus service.
It was also great to have a chance to go to Offshoots in Towneley Hall and have a tour with chief executive Phil Dewhurst. This is a fantastic organic growing area that preserves the environment and even has an eco friendly toilet that works on straw and recycles all the waste. It has been nominated for a European Award and you are able to vote online so I encourage you all to do so. The link is: http://world-you-like.europa.eu/
Friday was busy with constituent appointments in the office; and Saturday’s advice stall outside M&S in Burnley town centre was very busy with temperatures continuing to be those of our European counterparts!