There is progress on the first phase of developing the Littlewoods building on Edge Lane. The iconic building is to be turned into office suites for micro businesses and small to medium enterprises, as part of exciting wider plans that also include a hotel and other business premises. The proposals are key to supporting the regeneration of the Edge Lane area, as well as building on the growing success of other nearby business locations, such as the Innovation Park.
It is great news to see the development progress after an uncertain period. I’ll be following this closely, and I’d like to thank Mayor Anderson, Liverpool City Council and others for being so supportive in developing such positive proposals for the site.
Last week I was delighted to host a summit at Picton Children’s Centre, where I spoke to local childminders, nursery staff, and Mums and Dads about government plans to cut the number of childcare staff needed to look after children.
It was clear that parents are passionate about the quality of childcare that their children receive and childcare professionals are committed to providing the best service possible. It is obvious from listening to them that this proposed cut in numbers by the government would reduce the quality of care available whilst failing to reduce costs.
Instead of imposing ill thought out, top down solutions, the government should listen to parents and childcare workers and work alongside them to develop plans that increase quality and access to childcare.
Recently, the government’s own childcare expert Professor Cathy Nutbrown has said no to these plans, and influential parent groups Mumsnet and Netmums have said also expressed concerns. Now parents and childminders here in Liverpool Wavertree have said no too.
The government must think again rather than producing statistics to try and shore up a policy that clearly is not supported by those who will be affected.
I will be writing to the Education & Childcare Minister to let her know directly just how concerned local people are – it is vital that she takes notice. If you have any issues that you would like to raise about this then please contact me on 0151 228 1628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I will also be holding a further event in the coming weeks outside of normal office hours for any parents who were unable to attend last week. It would be great to see everyone who has an interest in this issue joining the discussion.
I am delighted to see such a packed programme in Liverpool to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic this weekend.
From Friday May 24 until Tuesday May 28 activities will take place on the waterfront and in the city centre in tribute to those involved in the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War. The event will include veterans’ parades, a fly past and action displays and 25 warships from 11 nations arriving in the city.
Liverpool was the home of the Western Approaches operations room and the receiver of over 1000 convoys. The city also played a major role in ship repair and building activity in support of the Battle of the Atlantic.
The weekend promises to be a hugely exciting opportunity to commemorate this historic event, whilst also remembering the many thousands who lost their lives during the battle.
I’d encourage everyone to get along to the waterfront to see the event if you can. It is another wonderful example of Liverpool’s cultural offer and historic maritime tradition. You can find out more here.
I was delighted to speak in the recent Queen’s Speech debate on the issue of economic growth. As I have previously highlighted, the Queen’s speech offered no new answers to the challenges we face, and provided little to support families and households here in Liverpool Wavertree. I used the speech to focus on the Government’s shambolic attempts to revive our flatlining economy. I argued that on the Government is “running on empty” with nothing to say on the key issues that we face. There is no plan for growth, and on the issue of building more homes we face a reality of 130,000 construction workers being out of work – yet new home completions are at the lowest level since the 1920s.
You can see the full transcript of my speech here. Whilst I was pleased to be able to have the opportunity to respond to the important issues that the Queen’s Speech raises, it was hugely disappointing to have to highlight how little there was to support the people of Liverpool Wavertree. I will continue to do all I can to campaign for jobs and growth and an alternative Queen’s speech that will deliver what the country and Liverpool needs.
I was pleased to joined campaigners from charity ActionAid recently to call for an end to burning food crops to fuel our cars – when 1 in 8 on our planet goes hungry every day.
The call for Food not Fuel is part of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, a coalition of over 180 organisations. I have been a supporter of the campaign ever since its launch, and have met locally with campaigners to discuss how to take the campaign forward.
ActionAid are collecting thousands of petition signatures from around the UK on symbolic ‘grains of wheat’, which were combined to create a ‘field’ of wheat outside the Houses of Parliament, to bring the call direct to the doorstep of Government.
The campaign is concerned that biofuel development around the world is a factor in encouraging international investors to grab land cheaply in developing countries to create biofuel plantations, meaning people are forced off the land which they rely on for their food, water and livelihoods.
Campaigners are calling for the UK government to take a lead in the negotiations in the European Union, which is currently in the process reforming European biofuels policy. It important that we take action as a key plank of attempts to secure a fairer, more just, approach to global food and poverty issues.
You can find out more about the campaign here:
I was delighted to attend and celebrate at the recent Premier League Schools football tournament, at Anfield – a national competition to find the best under 11 mixed team, and under 13 girls teams.
It was great to see so many talented young footballers – and particularly positive to see young women getting involved, showing that the Women’s game here in England continues to have a promising future.
I was also pleased to see schools from Merseyside being involved, including Plantation Primary School and St John Bosco Arts college, illustrating the strong and positive state of football locally. I’d like to congratulate all who took part and I hope to see some of the excellent talent on display going on to even greater success, and maybe even forming part of future England and GB teams on the international stage.
Next week is dementia awareness week. The week is an annual event to highlight and increase understanding of issues related to dementia, and is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society
The theme for this year’s campaign is talking, and there will be activities and events nationwide. You can find out what is going on in our area by contacting the North West office here. You can also join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #TalkDementia.
I will be supporting the campaign on twitter, and elsewhere – and I have also taken up the issue of funding for dementia services. Government funding cuts have placed huge pressure on local authorities, and I am working with the Alzheimer’s society to look at what effect these government decisions are having on local services.
You can find out more about Dementia Awareness week here
Many people have spoken to me locally about their childcare concerns – and particularly the latest government proposals to cut childcare staff numbers.
At a time when the biggest challenge we face is jobs, childcare becomes an even more crucial issue. For many parents and families, affordable, reliable, quality childcare is the key factor in being able to find, and balance, work and other responsibilities.
Influential parent groups Mumsnet and Netmums have both added their support to the growing campaign to stop Ministers increasing the number of children nursery staff and childminders can care for, after overwhelming opposition to the plans from their members.
In addition, experts say that increasing the number of children each childcare professional can look after will undermine the quality of childcare provision for the youngest children, and crucially, will not reduce costs to parents.
Following these concerns, I have organised a coffee morning for Mums, Dads and families to discuss the issue of childcare as well as any other issues that are impacting on families and households. It is being held at Picton Children’s Centre, Earle Road on Friday 24th May, between 10.30 and 12.00. I hope that many parents will be able to come along to discuss the issues that matter to them, and help shape a new approach to childcare that delivers on what parents and professionals want – unlike the current government proposals that have met so much opposition.
If you, or anyone you know wants to attend the event, then please call 0151 228 1628 or email email@example.com . I look forward to a positive discussion on how we can improve childcare for all.
Whilst the Queen’s Speech offered nothing in terms of a programme for jobs and growth, there was at least some limited progress on the issue of dangerous dogs. The government will be bringing forward draft proposals to extend the law to cover attacks on private property and also to place more emphasis on past behaviour. This progress is welcome, but the government has taken 3 years to bring forward these measures. Since the consultation that the Labour Government initiated in 2010,dog attacks have continued and we have tragically seen more incidents such as the recent death of schoolgirl Jade Lomas-Anderson; showing all too clearly why these changes are so crucial.
I have been campaigning alongside the families of victims, trade unions and charities to secure tougher, more appropriate laws to deal with the issue of dangerous dogs, and Labour will be working constructively to refine the proposals. However, as they stand, these proposals fall short of what is needed to prevent attacks: local authorities and enforcement agencies need powers to intervene in cases where they feel they can prevent incidents like this happening again, and to support and educate owners about how to improve the way they care for their dogs. The government need to give priority to introducing measures that can be used to prevent attacks before they happen.
I will continue to do all I can to campaign on this vital issue. I will be pressing the government to ensure that the unacceptable delays we have seen so far are not repeated, and legislation is brought forward that can really help tackle the scourge of dangerous dogs, whilst supporting the vast majority of responsible owners.
Last week was compost awareness week. The Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership helped promote the week by getting residents involved and promoting the environmental benefits of home composting and the great results that can be achieved by using peat-free composts containing recycled material.
I was also pleased to see Garden Organic, in association with Master Composters running a ‘Decorate Your Compost Bin’ competition to help encourage families and the younger generation to get composting.
Composting is a great way to reduce waste and help improve sustainability. It’s good news to see the Recycling and Waste Authority promoting it so strongly.