It has been quite an intense week for British politics.
The vile poisoning attack in Salisbury has been strongly condemned by most in Parliament, with some weaker voices in the Labour frontbenches, and we received words of support from our allies. At a time where national unity is essential, it is sad to see some MPs and Momentum activists toxify our public discourse by sowing the seeds of division. Just this week, we have seen false claims that the Conservative party is ‘leaving more than a million children without a hot meal in schools’. This claim has been refuted by a Fact Check from Channel 4, certainly not a right-wing outlet, which not only confirmed that all who currently receive school meals will not lose them, but also that by 2022 around 50.000 more children from low income families will benefit from this service. I am working within my constituency to protect and improve the lives of the most vulnerable. To this end, I have recently met with members of the Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group about the closing of the GP surgery in Wrenthorpe. I have been opposing this closure from the moment it was announced. This decision would hit mostly the elderly and disabled members of our community, who would struggle to visit the nearest surgery, in Outwood.
The variations in our nation’s demographics call for more support for an ageing population. I have seen this challenge being met by charities and volunteers across the constituency and was recently inspired to launch a Memory Café in the Morley and Outwood area, targeted to provide support and community for living with dementia.
I am welcoming the government announcement that 1.3 million NHS staff will receive a pay rise between 6.5 per cent and 29 per cent. This £4.2 billion deal over three years represents a well-deserved pay rise for our frontline staff, who worked incredibly hard to overcome the big challenge represented by the winter pressures. Dedicated health service workers are the backbone of the NHS and a fair pay is a sign of appreciation for the amazing job they do every day.
During the last month we have also witnessed an improvement of the economy. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3 per cent and youth unemployment is at the lowest since 1971. Our economy is getting stronger despite all the so-called experts’ forecasts following Brexit. Having a strong economy has been one of the main objectives of this government. This has been achieved while keeping a responsible approach to public finances, avoiding overspending and trying to reduce the public debt.
Getting back to the constituency, I have organised two Mature and Senior Citizens Fairs where elderly residents will be able to connect with and learn about our fantastic local organisations. These will take place in Morley Town Hall from 10am to 4pm on Friday, March 23 and in the Wrenthorpe Methodist Church Hall from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 24. Exhibitors from many sectors will be available to offer advice and new ideas. I hope you can come along and enjoy a chat, a cake and a cuppa with us.