MP for Hyndburn
LIKE buses, the opposition can be unproductive then all of a sudden three Parliamentary successes come past at once.
As constituents are aware, I’ve been at the forefront of the campaign to remove Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) off our high streets. The £100 per spin ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ has fueled increases in the numbers of high street bookmakers particularly in poorer areas and hooked in thousands of gambling addicts taking in £17 billion in profits for the bookmakers.
The government has caved into our campaign and effectively banned them by limiting the stake to just £2.
Secondly and importantly young people at risk of homelessness. Last April the government brought in changes that banned those under the age of 22 from applying for Housing Benefit. Usually, kids from broken or bullying homes have nowhere to go. I have led the fight to reverse this and just prior to the last local election the government caved in and scrapped the policy.
Thirdly and crucially for our local economy, people will recall me banging on about transport links, notably a motorway and a rail link connecting East Lancashire over the low Pennines to West Yorkshire and beyond. Something I’ve raised in Parliament a few times.
The ultimate plan is a parallel road and rail network between the deepwater Atlantic port of Liverpool and the busy northern European port of Hull. This Pennine Corridor would offer employers fantastic access to markets in Europe and around the world.
The Government (and its agencies) have accepted both. They are committed to upgrading the missing rail link (Colne to Skipton) with the intention of connecting Liverpool to Hull. LCC are considering committing to an M65 extension around Colne and Transport for the North are investing time in a study of the Central Pennine Corridor (a motorway link) running alongside the rail link. That study is due to report in November this year.
These propositions have huge potential and could lift millions out of poverty.
I have recently raised the issue of the unfairness towards small towns because of government policies, a lack of investment and the practices of private companies. I will continue to campaign for our area on issues that will make difference both at a community level and a regional level and continue to be actively involved in numerous issues across the seven towns and several villages.
For a longer list of some of the issues I have raised please check out my Facebook page Graham Jones MP.
Parliament has been consumed by Brexit. I have written to several constituents with a consistent position. We are leaving. We voted to leave. There is no such option as hard Brexit (just get out). The public were promised ‘a free trade from Turkey to Iceland’. Get on with delivering that free trade deal and if those promises can’t be delivered then there has to be a pause and a rethink. What is best for Britain, and British workers who need those jobs.
We cannot have border controls on goods, long queues of lorries at Dover nor tariffs on UK goods going to Europe. Everyone can see that that will cost jobs and Airbus, BMW and Hitachi amongst others have been very clear about the negative impact it will have their costs (jobs) and their ‘just in time’ production.
Harley Davidson are now having to shift production from the USA to inside the EU footprint because EU tariffs have added an extra $2,000 to each bike made in the USA. Britain must be inside the EU free trade area.
Finally beyond our shores. Events in Syria, the Middle East, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Venezuela, DR Congo and drugs wars in Latin America are just some of the international concerns I have.
More importantly has been the campaigns to save our planet which is increasingly worrying the public judged by my mailbag. We’ve seen big campaigns to protect the Antartic which I talked about last year and to protect our oceans, notably from our overuse and misuse of plastic waste. As an internationalist, I fully recognise that we have to work with the global community if we are to protect our future and our children’s future. We must be big England, not small england.
On that note; I hope everyone is enjoying the World Cup. An international jamboree where England so far has done us proud.