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Letter from Parliament - Tony Lloyd MP

Date published: 17 November 2017

I asked the Work Pensions Secretary a question in Parliament about the government’s plans for people who are struggling on their wages as inflation kicks in and the rich get richer. I did not get much of an answer, which is interesting.

I had a meeting about debts in this modern age. Foodbanks in places like Rochdale are a roaring success which speaks volumes.

I went to a launch of a Diabetes UK report. Rochdale has higher instances of diabetes than the national average. Early diagnosis does matter. If you wake up and you think you are really tired and experience ymptoms associated with diabetes, earlier detection can be done.

I attended a debate on the marine environment. Human activity is destroying life in the sea and fish stocks are diminishing, which affect both our lives and those of sea creatures. We are calling for action to tackle such as bottom trawlers which destroy their future, and everyone else’s, for a quick catch.

I spoke in a debate about bees. At least 70% of our crops depend on bees and other pollinators. When most people think of bees, they think of flowers, but they help pollinate fruit, almonds and other nuts, and cabbages and cucumbers, amongst many other things. The pesticides used are weakening the bee population, which is scary.

I had a meeting on hepatitis C, a condition which has quite high figures in Rochdale. This was all about preventative action, because when left untreated can lead to long term liver damage.

I discovered that suicide is the biggest killer of young men aged 18 to 35, and that family members or those close to a loved one who took their own lives are more likely to contemplate it themselves. This is a very sad situation, and more needs to be done.

I had a meeting with social housing providers about the ability – under a Labour government – to increase the housing supply. Keep Moat, one provider, knows how important this is in the north, and has already built some houses in the Rochdale Borough where they know how important this is. We have got to build these houses for future populations.

The biggest debate this week was Brexit, which I listened to. People do have different opinions on this.

I laid a wreath at the Holodomor Memorial Stone in the Rochdale Memorial Gardens for the 84th anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor, which was an enforced famine in 1932-33. Millions of innocent people brutally starved to death in an attempt to convert the country to Soviet ideals. This has now been recognised as an act of genocide in many places, including Rochdale.

I visited Belfield Primary School, which is a fantastic school with dedicated staff. They achieve great results and are recognised as a good school. I met their school council and spoke with them about issues, including the lack of funding for schools, which is a policy I will be taking to the national government.

I met with the Clinical Commissioning Group about the potential reorganisation of the healthcare structure within Pennine Acute, which will affect Rochdale. I am seeking assurance that the interests of Rochdale people will be protected during these changes.

Over the weekend, I will be attending a prize giving ceremony for children at one of the mosques in Rochdale, meeting with local lawyers from the Rochdale Law Association, and visiting Hare Hill Park in Littleborough, which has been nominated for a Living Park award. A result is expected over the next few weeks.

I will also be holding my advice bureau and I will be attending the Rochdale Beer and Cider Festival at the Town Hall.

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Serenity by Kim Gregory.