Updates: Street Stall, EU and Immigration

On Saturday I held a street stall in the constituency; it was a bustling day with people doing their Christmas shopping. It took me back to my retailer days as this time of year is the highlight of the retailers’ calendar.  Recent data shows that the retail industry continues to show growth and in October the quantity bought increased by 1.8%.

The busyness that day appeared to demonstrate that this growth is reaching the north too.  At the street stall I met with many local residents and listened to their views. Issues that featured highly in our conversations were immigration and the EU. I believe that the two go hand in hand and I am pleased that it is the Conservatives who are pushing forward with trying to secure an in-out referendum.

On 22 November the European Union (Referendum) Bill continued its passage through parliament following its second reading where Conservative MPs voted for the Bill to legislate for the referendum, whilst Labour MPs abstained. We Brits really do deserve to have our say on this matter and I would encourage MPs of all colours to listen to the people and support this.  Already we have already secured the first ever real terms cut in the EU’s long-term Budget, ended UK participation in EU bailout mechanisms and vetoed a new EU fiscal treaty, whilst passing a law to make sure that no powers can pass from Britain to Brussels without the consent of the British people in a referendum. On immigration, already the Government has cut net migration by a third and has pledged to go further to reduce the strain that large numbers of people coming into the country put on our services.

Planning still features heavily as an issue of concern and there is still a great deal of dismay regarding Wakefield and Leeds City Council’s planning proposals, both of which are Labour run.  I will continue to show my support for residents in this area as we do need to ensure that we have thoughtful, future proof developments that have the infrastructure in place to cope.  Another important aspect regarding planning is not only building homes that local people can afford, but also ensuring that there is the financial support in place to help people get onto the property ladder. The Government’s Help To Buy scheme which supports people in getting a mortgage is already proving to be effective, having helped 36 people in the Wakefield area of the constituency to buy properties totalling nearly £1.1 million in the last quarter.  Whilst the Leeds District area helped 88 people totalling £3,149,838, in the last three months alone.

Talking of financial support and institutions, in a week when there is a great deal of press coverage regarding the Rev Paul Flowers, the former chairman of the Co -operative Bank , there appears to be many questions still left unanswered with regards to the relationship between the Co-op and the Labour Party, not least the £50,000 donation by the Co-op to our local MP’s office that was received shortly after Flower’s appointment and why the Labour Party are paying half the rate of interest that the rest of us would pay for bank loans from the Co-op.  There’s also the issue of why the truth behind the Rev Flowers resigning as a Labour councillor in Bradford remained hidden and why he was appointed by Ed Miliband as an adviser after it was known that he had accessing inappropriate material on a council computer.  I, like many others, share a love of the Co-op and shop there regularly and I am just as concerned and upset by what has happened to its reputation and I firmly believe that the residents of Morley and Outwood have a right to know the truth.