I have always been a big supporter of apprenticeships and the fantastic opportunities they create for our young people. On Monday, I spoke in the Chamber about the need to provide support to people who have not met the required English and Maths qualifications, at a later stage. I visit businesses on a weekly basis across the constituency and I am often told that recruiting apprentices is more challenging than it should be. Apprenticeships provide essential skills and allow young people to learn, without the fear of acquiring the debt of a degree.
Yet another disappointing move was made by the Ashfield Independents last week when they decided to axe the District Council’s lifeline service. The lifeline service gives elderly folk a portable button that rings through to a 24-hour call centre for a fee. It has provided life saving support to many elderly residents in Ashfield and therefore is greatly valued. Ashfield District Council have written to users explaining that the service is ‘no longer financially viable’ and will be cut on 31st December. As we all know, Christmas and Winter is a particularly difficult period for many, especially our elderly and I am outraged that ADC felt this was an acceptable decision. Having worked all their lives, the elderly in our community deserve our support. I will be making my feelings clear in writing to the ADC and asking for the service to be extended.
The madness of the Ashfield Independent’s behaviour hasn’t stopped there. Lat year, I helped allotment holders at Wesley Street Allotments, fight the decision by the Ashfield Independents to build houses on their allotments. These are the same councillors that claim they want to protect green spaces. I will be helping the allotment holders once again, because ADC is delaying helping to tidy up the pathways and the dumped rubbish on this site. It is totally unacceptable that residents are being treated in this way, by the very council that their taxes help to fund.
I was delighted to hear that the Government has reached its target of halving inflation by the end of the year. This is positive and very welcome news. Inflation has been halved from its peak of 10.7% in November 2022 to 4.6% in October of this year. I know that this Government will restore economic stability for the British people.
As a part of my Friday visits, I popped in to see Sue and Hannah, who work at the Co-op in Selston. We discussed the issue of shoplifting and the real threat of violence that they face every day, as a result of this criminality. I understand that they want to see more police out and about and I will certainly be feeding this back to our local force. As Hannah rightly explained, with regards to people’s claims that individuals are shoplifting because they are hungry, she said “you can’t eat bottles of vodka”. I think Hannah’s words rightly sum up the problem.