Tuesday 26 October 2010

Health Select Committee

I was today elected to serve on the powerful House of Commons Health Select Committee.

I look forward to working on this Select Committee. Health is a critical issue for the Borough and this is a body which can make a real difference to how policy works in a place like Wigan.

I stood for election to this Committee to make a difference. In 1997 we inherited a NHS on its knees. We now boast new primary care facilities across the borough because of the direct investment by the last Labour Government.

The proposed changes announced by the Coalition Government are a dangerous leap in to the dark and pose a serious threat to the fabric of the NHS. The proposals were not to be found in either the Tory or Lib Dem manifestos.

At a time of deep cuts across the public sector it is astonishing that David Cameron should embark on a needless restructure of the NHS.

Friday 22 October 2010

'Wear it Pink' Day

I am joining forces with Breast Cancer Campaigners to raise awareness of the fundraising event, 'Wear it Pink Day', supported by Vanish.

On Friday 29 October 2010 supporters in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country are encouraged to don an item of pink in support of the campaign and each donate £2 to fund innovative world-class breast cancer research.

Last year over one million people took part in 'Wear it Pink' day to help improve survival rates for the one in nine women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.

Every year in the UK, over 45,500 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women. Although it is rare, men can also suffer from breast cancer, with around 300 men diagnosed each year. I know people who have lost friends and family members to the disease and I would like to encourage everyone across Makerfield to support 'Wear it Pink' on October 29, to raise valuable funds for breast cancer research.

To take part in the UK’s original and best pink day call freephone 0800 107 3104 or visit here and register to receive your free fundraising pack now. Wear it Pink is supported by Vanish, which has committed to raising an incredible £250,000 for the charity this year.

Thursday 21 October 2010

The Coalition Government has no plan for jobs or growth in Makerfield

Yesterday,  the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review was announced.

The Government’s cuts are too deep and too fast, taking a dangerous gamble with Makerfield's economic future and people’s jobs. What the Government is saying is that it wants to take more money off children than it does off the banks. That can’t be right. And it can’t be right for the government to reduce the number of police officers on our streets.

Ed Miliband was correct to point out that the government is taking an irresponsible gamble with the recovery and Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson is right to assert that without growth it’s impossible to get the deficit down. If the Government throws people out of work it costs us all more. So to get the deficit down our starting point must be jobs, jobs, jobs.

A million jobs gone – that’s the price we now know the coalition think is worth paying.

Friday 15 October 2010

Make A Difference this month!

This week I joined forces with pop mogul, Pete Waterman, to encourage people throughout Makerfield to give their time to benefit the local community as part of CSV Make a Difference Day, the biggest single day of volunteering on Saturday 30 October 2010.

I am passionate about the world of volunteering having managed a team of over 30 volunteers in my previous job role before becoming Makerfield’s MP.

As a supporter of CSV Make a Difference Day, I am encouraging the residents of my constituency to do something to benefit our community! No matter how big or small – make a cup of tea for a lonely neighbour, dig out those weeds and plant flowers in the community park, or even renovate the local homeless shelter. I’ve seen the positive changes a little volunteering can help impact the local community.

This is the 15th Make a Difference Day organised by CSV, the UK’s leading volunteering charity. More than half a million people have taken part so far.

This year's CSV Make a Difference Day, the UK's biggest single day of volunteering, is on Saturday 30th October with events taking place from 23rd October to 7th November.  Each year tens of thousands of people turn their minds to benefit others in the community; they bake cakes for nursing homes, create allotments in schools, tidy isolated neighbours' gardens, put on theatrical performances and visit patients in hospitals – to give a few examples.

If you are stuck for inspiration, the campaign has produced free “How to” guides on:

How to plant your family tree
How to design a door number mosaic, courtesy of interior designer Andrea Maflin
How to bake a pumpkin pie, courtesy of TV Chef Rachel Allen
How to print your own t-shirt, courtesy of Hemingway Designs (as in Wayne Hemingway)
How to volunteer as a family 

There is a special focus on encouraging families, as well as individuals and groups to volunteer this year. New independent research commissioned by CSV, shows that families want to spend more time together. Up to half of Britons (48%) say they would like to spend more time together and volunteering to help others is one way to do this.

More information about the day can be found on the Make a Difference Day website by clicking here

Tuesday 12 October 2010

World Arthritis Day

Today I am supporting the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) on World Arthritis Day in calling for improvements in services for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

The theme of World Arthritis Day 2010 is ‘Let’s Work Together’. NRAS members, health professionals will be working together to raise awareness of RA and of what needs to be done to improve outcomes for patients. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and disabling autoimmune disease, affecting about 690,000 people in the UK.  It has no known cause or cure. It remains a major cause of people not working – almost 30% of people with RA surveyed by NRAS in 2007 gave up work within a year of being diagnosed with the condition. The overall cost of the condition to the UK economy is almost £8 billion each year.

There are, on average 1,061 people with rheumatoid arthritis in each parliamentary constituency. To support NRAS on World Arthritis Day, I am working with them to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis and the importance of early diagnosis so that people can get the treatment they need at an early stage and continue to enjoy life and work with the condition.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Super League Champions

Well done Wigan on a superb performance at Old Trafford. Looking forward to attending the homecoming today.