Focus Article March 2018

March already, the year seems to be passing far too quickly.  I find myself looking forward to the summer and hopefully some better weather.

Driving around the constituency, there is no doubt that the recent wet and cold weather has affected the roads, with in some cases potholes appearing almost overnight. 

I know LCC are addressing the situation and looking at policy to tackle the issue in the longer term.  I am in touch with your County Councillors and I continue to work with them.  It is possible to report faults to roads, pavements, cycle paths, street and traffic lights on the County Council’s website at www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/fault-search.aspx

At the beginning of February I convened a meeting of Lancashire MPs with the Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey MP, United Utilities, the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council.  The objective was to raise the profile of flooding in Lancashire and secure greater funding for flood protection schemes in the County. 

The floods in Cumbria and Yorkshire received significant press attention and those counties have done very well since in highlighting the plight of their residents. 

A similar number of people have been flooded in Lancashire, but due to the disparate nature of our communities the flooding received less recognition. 

The Minister took on board the concerns we, as MPs, raised and I hope that she will remember us when DEFRA comes to set its future budgets.  I will be sure to keep reminding her!

I now plan to arrange a similar meeting with Ministers from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to discuss the availability of resilience grants for those affected by flooding which has occurred since Storm Desmond. 

February also marked the centenary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act which allowed some women (around 40% of women in the UK) and all men to vote for the first time. 

Parliament has been celebrating this important milestone in our democratic history and the heroism of the suffrage movement.  While the legislation did not give all women the right to vote (only those over 30 who either owned a property or were related to a member of the local government register or who were a graduate in a university constituency) it was an important turning point.

I hope that the recent media coverage of the suffrage movement and the centenary of this legislation will highlight how previous generations fought for our rights to vote and the importance of participating in the democratic process.

I am delighted that Thornton Library is re-opened in February.  This is something which is close to my heart as I led the campaign against the closure of libraries across the County by the last administration at County Hall, even asking Ministers to intervene. 

Libraries are a valuable resource to the local community and I know that many people have missed Thornton Library.  Modern libraries provide more than just books. They enable people to access the internet and learn computer skills, borrow DVDs, librarians offer help with research and young children are entertained with story time and rhyme time.

If I can be of any assistance to you please ring my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804 or my Constituency Office on 01995 672976, email me at wallaceb@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.