The other week began with a series of meetings and the atmosphere in Westminster was fast paced as everyone gets ready for Christmas.
On the Monday we had the Lib Dem Christmas party, which is a great chance for all the staff and my colleagues to get together and celebrative the festive period and the year we have had.
There was much conversation of the real differences and achievements of 2014. Namely, the personal allowance increase to £10,600 that I know will make such a difference to people in our town, especially alongside the recent announcement which means that, for the first time, stamp duty will help buyers. Things really are starting to turn around in our country, and Burnley is a great example of that.
On the Tuesday I went along to Save the Children Christmas Jumper day, which was fabulous and I do like getting into the festive spirit with a woolly number. I was then straight off to Treasury Questions to support my colleague, Danny Alexander, and was delighted to ask a question about appreciation for the unemployment figures that are so fantastic in our town of 3.5%. As Burnley is a manufacturing town, Mr Alexander noted the success we are, and that training the people of our town with skills for the future and upskilling current employees is the most valuable tool.
There are many companies expanding in our town, and I will continue to work with the Government to try to secure the bidding for a new £10m. specialist eye clinic and £5m. surgical unit at Burnley General Hospital. The surgical unit would replace the buildings on the site of the Wilson Hey Unit. This would be an incredible addition to our town.
I then supported a colleague in his bid for a backbench business debate to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in January. This Holocaust Memorial Day is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is probably the last significant anniversary we will mark with the Holocaust in living memory, and therefore fitting we hold this debate.
I was then back to Burnley as I had many meetings and appointments with constituents.
I met with a firefighter from Burnley to discuss my support for them in relation to pension claims, I was happy to sign the EDM in support of this and will vote to protect firefighters that do a fantastic job in our town.
On Wednesday night there was a tense council meeting, where I pressured, along with my colleagues, to find out what the Labour leader is planning to do regarding the proposed travellers’ site.
Thursday was a busy day where I went to meet with the new Chief Executive of the hospital and was able to walk round the wards with him and talk to patients who all seem delighted with the Emergency Unit and provision of services it gives to the people in our town.
Friday was busy with constituent appointments and on Sunday I was delighted to have a train trip with the Mayoress’ committee.