From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Re-sent - Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date June 27, 2023 12:14 PM
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Read Paul Maynard MP's latest update of his work

Dear john,

A trip to Blackpool Zoo might seem like a tourist visit an MP should not be going on – but my trip last week was very much a learning one as I wanted to see the benefits of the £5m of investment the zoo has received. In anticipation of new licensing requirements, some £3m has gone on constructing what is now the UK’s leading set of facilities for housing elephants, and the new lion/tiger enclosure is similarly now ‘best in class’ for the UK, with new lions and tigers arriving soon. We may all think London Zoo, Chester Zoo or the safari parks are the places to go, and perhaps don’t realise what we have round the corner at Blackpool Zoo.

Zoos have their fair share of animal smells, but Fleetwood Sewage Works is a whole different world away. My visit there was to better understand the sequence of events that led to the leak of treated wastewater from a pipe at the plant. I know many are concerned at the ongoing advice against going in the sea – partly due to precautionary advice from the Environment Agency with seven day waiting times after high rainfall showers such as we have been having.

The engineering project to install a diversionary pipe is impressive – an engineering task having to be done in ways which would normally take six months – but I have already asked, and am still waiting for the answer, as to why the leak occurred in the first place and whether the maintenance schedule was appropriately followed. The leak has had an effect on local water users and visitors alike (and thus also our visitor economy) so the quest for an answer is a legitimate one.

I have also met with Lancashire Healthwatch to discuss my ongoing campaign to rectify our poor access to dentistry locally.

I had been told that for ‘data protection’ reasons, dental practices no longer maintained waiting lists. This has now been shown to be untrue, so I have been calling for all dental practices to reinstate them, but also for the local commissioning body for dentistry, the Integrated Care Board, to run a local waiting list that assigns people the moment a place becomes available. It is how it used to be done, quite successfully, so no reason not to now. I have also asked the ICB to commission salaried dentists and take over the BUPA dental surgery in Cleveleys which is shutting down to help protect access to NHS dentistry.

Armed Forces week saw me back at the Arboretum on Moor Park Avenue. This year, the new Seafarers’ Memorial was unveiled and dedicated. So many of our communities have an unbreakable bond with the sea. The memorial pays tribute not only to those who served in the armed forces but also the Merchant Navy and our fishing fleet. Particular mention was made of the Red Falcon disaster in 1959 which took the lives of 19 Fleetwood fishermen, and which now has its own plaque at the memorial. It was a wonderful dedication by Reverend George Ayoma of the Fishermen’s Mission in Fleetwood.

In other Westminster activity, I have been beavering away on some of my favourite themes:
* The Government finally amended the Financial Services Bill to provide ‘free access’ to cash rather than just access - which could have meant ‘paid for’. I first raised this some 12 months ago, so I have no idea why this has been so difficult.
* I was pleased to be asked to talk about the exceptional work School-Home Support has done with parents in Blackpool at their Westminster reception. Their ‘whole family’ approach to reducing post-pandemic persistent absence from school tackles not just the reasons children may have, but some of the deeper challenges families are facing right now. As a consequence, pupils in the scheme are attending for an extra 54 days a year in school – a remarkable achievement”.
* I was also pleased that financial inclusion champions Fair4All have been working so closely with me on an Illegal Money Lending Summit here in Westminster to tackle this pernicious activity. Whilst it is good that ‘bad actors’ like Wonga and so on have been driven from the market place, it has created a vacuum where the financially vulnerable have nowhere to go when they are turned down for mainstream credit. I’m arguing that the bank levy needs to be used to expand their options, since the banks themselves no longer want to fill this gap in the market.
* I’m also working with the campaign group Inquest

And finally, just a little myth buster, but any suggestion I am supporting puppy farms is simply not true – it seems to be all over social media. There have been various suggestions that puppy farms are to be allowed. No, they are already banned. They were banned by legislation that we passed in 2018, and it was further tackled by Lucy’s law ban on third-party sellers.

Since coming into power in 2010, the Government has introduced world-leading reforms on animal welfare, including slaughterhouse improvements, mandatory CCTV and improving the welfare of laying hens and meat chickens; companion animal reforms relating to breeding, pet selling and pet boarding; banning wild animals and travelling circuses; banning glue traps, and new powers to tackle hare coursing, and horse fly-grazing.

The Government also introduced the comprehensive Action Plan for Animal Welfare two years ago, which covered a total of 40 areas relating to farm animals, companion animals, sporting animals and wild animals, included both legislative and non-legislative reforms, and covered both domestic and international action. The Government has been delivering on its promises. Penalties for animal cruelty have increased: new, higher prison sentences are already being used in courts. The Government also recognised in law that animals are sentient beings. Across the Government, all policy decisions need to take that recognition into account.

Yes, we have changed how we intend to approach the next tranche of measures from the Kept Animals Bill, but they are still going ahead but rather as separate measures so we can ensure they reach the statute book speedily.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

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