Letter from Parliament - Tony Lloyd MP

Date published: 01 December 2017

Friday is World AIDS Day, so I am wearing my red ribbon in recognition of this important day.

The Terence Higgins Trust was set up in memory of one of the first people to die from the disease, and they campaign on - and provide services relating – AIDS, HIV and sexual health.

People often live normal lives now, and a big part of that is from the Trust who have helped make changes so that people who have AIDS can live full lives.

I raised a few things in Parliament this week, from Donald Trump’s recent racist and hateful activities to the need for apprenticeships and funding for Rochdale’s schools.

I also spoke with the Business Secretary Greg Clark, as I wanted him to address the need to protect apprenticeships. We need funding in towns like Rochdale if we’re going to be a part of national productivity. I asked if he could look properly at Greater Manchester’s long-term demands and for the post-16 education budget to be devolved in Manchester. I received an encouraging response

I spoke with the Business Secretary again, this time about the energy and industrial strategies. There is a financial gap in Britain’s banking system and I asked if these structural changes taking place can look at benefitting the whole country, especially the north, which would be good for Rochdale.

I voted on a private member’s bill, which was won. A few years ago, the government changed the laws around the number of seats in parliament; itself a bias towards the conservatives and antidemocratic, which is not in the best interest for Rochdale. The bill is trying to increase the numbers to 650 seats again so that it is a properly representative and will hopefully put things back to Rochdale’s interest. It is a very important step against political bias with the constituency changes, and a number of Conservative MPS voted with Labour MPs.

I had a meeting with Maternity Safety Strategy, asking Jeremy Hunt to reconvene NICE advice that midwife-led birthing centres are safe and appropriate. The birth rate has shot up since the closure and midwife-led birthing centres would help. It’s a start, but we need to keep the pressure on.

I met with West Coast Mainline about the rail lines connecting Greater Manchester with London. We listened to presentations from three privately run companies, including Virgin trains and a second British company, plus a Chinese one about how they can improve services and customer service.

We need to make sure the people of Rochdale can easily get through ticketing, get on a train and change service with one ticket and it should be the guaranteed lowest possible price. Timetables need to be right too, so we are not waiting ages to change trains.

I had the pleasure of meeting with the National Housing Federation, which is a trade association for member social housing providers, including Rochdale Boroughwide Housing. RBH is one of a limited number of providers that is also a co-operative.

I had a meeting with other MPs and council members of urban areas like Rochdale, about the need to protect funding in our areas. Rochdale has lost millions of pounds in funding and we need to make sure we do not lose any more as the government changes the ways funding works.

I had an important meeting about the housing crisis with the Nationwide Building Society, and what it can do for building new homes and how it can work with landlords.

This weekend, I will be supporting Small Business Saturday. Small businesses are so important and it is vital we support independent traders. I will also be out in Littleborough with the local Labour Party and having my usual advice bureau.

Getting into the festive spirit, I will be attending the Christmas Markets at the Oxford on Sunday, and celebrating Rochdale Connections Trust’s 20th anniversary.

I will also be meeting with Simon Crompton, who owns the popular town centre pub, The Baum, to talk about business rates after his rateable value quadrupled earlier this year.

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