MP for Hyn­d­burn

Accrington Observer - - YOUR VIEWS - Gra­ham Jones

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.

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