GORDON BIRTWISTLE MP: Welcome to new Burnley FC manager Eddie Howe

Gordon Birtwistle
Gordon Birtwistle

I would like to start this week by welcoming Eddie Howe, the new manager of Burnley Football Club, to our town and wishing him every success. I met Eddie at the recent match against Queens Park Rangers and was extremely impressed by his energy and enthusiasm – I think he’ll do a brilliant job with Burnley.

In Parliament last week I met the director of Jaguar/Land-Rover in an extremely positive meeting to discuss the company’s investment in the UK. Turnover of the company has increased greatly over the past year – retail sales are up 25% – and they will be investing £600m. in the UK over the next few years. Excellent news for UK jobs. A great deal of the investment will be in the UK’s research and development base, looking into new technologies, including lighter materials and fuel efficient/hybrid technologies to combat climate change.

Last week I kept up the pressure in our hospital campaign. At Prime Minister’s Questions I asked David Cameron for assurances that in future it will not be possible for hospital decisions and closures to be driven by bureaucrats against the wishes of local communities – as happened with the closure of our accident and emergency and the transfer of our children’s ward to Blackburn. The Prime Minister was clear that in future, GPs and patients will be at the centre in making decisions about changes to local health services.

I was also extremely pleased to hear Nick Clegg call strongly for the break-up of banks to protect our economy in future from another bail out. As he pointed out, there is a very strong case for separating the very high-risk casino banking from low-risk high street banking, a view reiterated by head of the Independent Commission on Banking John Vickers, in his recent call for thorough and wide-ranging reform of the banking industry.

In the constituency last week, I went to a fantastic event, Burnley’s Pupil Parliament which is made up of pupils from 22 schools across our district. The schools elect students to represent them, debate the big issues and discover how democracy works. I would like to say a big thank you to the young people for inviting me to this brilliant event. I was really impressed by how articulate and bright they are. Burnley’s Pupil Parliament is visiting Westminster later in the year and I am looking forward to showing them how Parliament works.

On Sunday, along with many people from across our borough, I attended the moving Holocaust Memorial Service, to reflect on the horrific events of the Nazi Holocaust and recent genocides.

The event has been held for 10 years to remember the victims of these terrible events, and those whose lives were changed beyond recognition. For me it was an opportunity to reflect on how important it is we learn from history and work hard to maintain peace, safety and tolerance in our community.

Throughout last week I was busy working on lots of casework. It is fantastic to see my constituency office at St James’s Row busier than ever with people bringing casework to us. Casework is one of the biggest jobs of an MP, and since I’ve been elected I have helped local residents with more than 1,000 pieces of local casework, covering a range of issues including: financial problems and debts, housing, benefits problems, tax credit difficulties, anti-social behaviour, Child Support Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, transport, local health services and immigration.