This week I questioned the Prime Minister on his hypocritical approach to austerity measures when dealing with Oxfordshire Council, the Local Authority responsible for service provisions in his own constituency of Whitney.
In answering the question the Prime Minister invited Tameside Council to meet with him to discuss the ongoing cuts. I have accepted his invitation and have wrote to Downing Street saying:
"Tameside Council has had to enact over £104 million in cuts since 2010, with a further £90 million planned in response to the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. In light of this, I am sure the Leader of Tameside Council, Councillor Kieran Quinn, would be delighted by the opportunity to discuss this with you."
These cuts to local services create life changing challenges for the people of Stalybridge and Hyde, and I will do everything I can to make sure the Prime Minister understands how his Government's decisions are affecting this constituency.
I will update you once I receive a response from Downing Street.
For those of you who would like to see my question to the Prime Minister and his response, you can watch it here:
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting Stalybridge Archery Club which has been successful in securing a share of the £10 million of National Lottery Funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund. During my visit, I met Paul Carney, Committee Member for the club, Milan Koria, Chair of the club and Margaret Shorrock, who runs the vibrant junior club. I even had-a-go and managed to hit the target few times!
Since 2011, Inspired Facilities has been helping to breathe new life into community sports facilities and improve existing venues for grassroots sport.
The archery club will receive the funding to upgrade of their facilities at Cheethams Park (Mottram Road entrance) in Stalybridge. The improvements will include the installation of modern toilet facilities, making the grounds safer and more accessible, levelling the range and shooting areas and increased parking and security.
I believe this award by Sport England is fantastic news for the club. It has a long tradition in the town stretching nearly 60 years with members holding regional and national records, and the vibrant Junior Club regularly achieving great results at the highest level.
This investment will help ensure that Stalybridge Archery Club is at the heart of the local sports community for years to come, creating the champions of the future.
If you would like to find out more about the club or wish to join, then please visit www.stalybridgearcheryclub.co.uk
Jonathan is pictured with Margaret Shorrock from Stalybridge Archery club.
Recently, I attended an Usdaw lobby of Parliament to oppose the Government’s proposal to devolve Sunday trading regulations.
Usdaw members, who work in retail, met with MPs to explain how extended opening in large stores will lead to even more retail staff being pressured to work longer hours on Sundays, which is why over 90% of shopworkers oppose any extension to Sunday trading hours.
The Sunday Trading Act is a great British compromise, which has worked well for over 20 years and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.
I am convinced that shops are currently open long enough for people to do their shopping and that Sunday should remain a special day, different to any other. I oppose devolving Sunday trading because it will lead to longer opening hours.
I believe that Extending Sunday trading does not mean customers have more money to spend, it would not create jobs and is likely to lead to the closure of smaller stores. So this is not a way to boost the local economy or help town centres. It would be detrimental to shopworkers and their families, as well as wider society, so I am pleased to be supporting Usdaw’s campaign.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary who was also at the event said Usdaw members are delighted to have the support of MPs in valuing the special nature of Sunday and want to protect it. There is no great desire from shopworkers, customers, retailers or local authorities for these changes and many oppose them. We fear that devolution of Sunday trading is a solution looking for a problem.
Mr Hannett said it is not yet clear whether the Government will seek to introduce legislation, but if they do I hope that they will abide by their promise of a proper consultation and a full parliamentary process. That would mean publication of the consultation responses and a considered reply from the Government, demonstrating that they have listened, before the introduction of any legislation to change Sunday trading.
It was great to be in Newton on Saturday (3rd October) to unveil Hyde's first lifesaving heart defibrillator, installed outside Muscle Freaks Gym, opposite St Mary's Church.
This was all part of a family Fun Day & Barbeque which included Tombola, Raffles, a CPR training demonstration and a Bouncy Castle and an Air Juggling machine, along with a visit from firefighters from Hyde Fire Station.
You can read the full story on the Hyde Community Matters website here: http://www.hydecommunitymatters.com/hydes-first-lifesaving-heart-defibrillator- unveiled/
Today I met with the Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP, to discuss the delay in the electrification of the TransPennine rail line through Stalybridge and Mossley. I requested this meeting at a previous session of Transport Questions in the House of Commons.
Andrew Jones assured me that the Government remains committed to the project, and the Hendy Review into the work is designed to get a grip on all aspects of the scheme (including costs) but is not seeking to scrap it. It will however cover more than just the electrification work, but other engineering work on the line too. It should report around November this year.
The Government could not give me a time scale for the likely completion of the electrification work, but did say that new rolling stock in the franchise bids is not dependent on electrification happening. This means that before the new franchises start in April 2016, we should have an indication of what new trains we are getting.
I remain deeply frustrated at this delay, but I appreciated the chance to seek further clarity and commitment from the Government on this vital project.