It was good to be back in the swing of things in Parliament last week, following the Christmas and New Year break.
Last week was actually quite interesting in Parliament as the Mesothelioma (Asbestosis) Bill passed Parliament. This is the Bill that will provide compensation to those who have contracted this disease but who cannot identify their past employer for various reasons. This is about 10% of those who contract this awful disease and I am pleased that this Government has finally put right this issue after previous Governments failed to act. It is especially important in our area as many people worked in traditional industries, leaving them exposed to asbestos. This is a point I made when I spoke in the debate in the House of Commons.
Back in the constituency I had a number of health related meetings, joined by my neighbours Martin Vickers MP and Nic Dakin MP. We received an update on the review of health services locally. I also visited Scunthorpe Hospital on Friday to hear how they have coped with the winter pressures. Due to our ageing population it seems as if every winter is seeing more people turn up at A&E and more of them needing admitting.
This places huge pressure on hospital beds and again demonstrates why we need more beds in community facilities for people who are well enough to leave hospital, but not well enough to return home. This is exactly what is going to be provided at the new £3 million De Lacy House. It is a shame some sought to misrepresent this proposal for political reasons. However, what I heard at the hospital on Friday was just how vital these sort of facilities are to better support people living in their own homes. They can also prevent people who fall ill from having to go to hospital so the sooner this new care facility is built in Winterton the better for local people!
Saturday I spent out and about on the doorsteps of Burton, Alkborough and Winteringham dropping my latest newsletter update to residents. Before that I joined Cllr John Briggs and Town Councillor Julie Reed in Crowle where wind farm developer, REG Ltd, were holding a public consultation on their possible plans to build 7 x 450ft turbines next to the existing Tween Bridge wind farm, just to the west of Crowle.
I told them in clear terms that, whilst local residents would accept their fair share of wind farms in North Lincs, we have now had enough and are increasingly becoming a dumping ground. The 34 turbine Keadby Wind Farm, granted permission by the last Labour Government, has only just finished! I shall be fighting this latest scar on the landscape!
Sunday I managed, unusually, to take the whole day off, allowing me to watch both of the NFL American Football games. Result!