From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date February 19, 2024 11:28 AM
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Read my latest update on my work here in Blackpool North & Cleveleys

Dear john,

It has been a busy fortnight for both the Government and me, and indeed me as both a Government Minister and constituency MP, so some bullet points as there is so much:

* Attended the opening of Bispham Endowed Primary School’s new bike sheds which I helped the school and local parents deliver – all part of their drive to encourage more children to cycle to school, which will soon include a ‘cycling bus’ – a managed group of children cycling to school with parents at the beginning and end to shepherd them round.
* Arranged a full meeting with Northern Rail to discuss the ongoing unacceptably high levels of cancellations – new ways of working and diagramming shifts, and less reliance on rest day working were promised – but I emphasised that Blackpool services peak trains are never the same as other places given our tourist businesses. We also discussed forthcoming improvements to Layton station, and the work Northern are now doing to ensure Blackpool North station is as good looking as the tram terminus just outside will do when finished soon.
* Norcross Roundabout saga continues. Their latest letter to me is as follows:

Since our previous correspondence, we have made changes to the sequencing and timing of the traffic lights, and we have also carried out further observations of how motorists negotiate the roundabout. Additionally, we have received further helpful correspondence, photographs, and videos from members of the public which have helped our understanding, particularly with respect to the more recent incidents that have occurred.

We do share your concerns, and those of your constituents, about safety at the junction and from our observations there are still manoeuvres taking place that are less than desirable. While quite a few of those manoeuvres relate to inappropriate driver behaviour, we do recognise that there are changes that could be made, and improvements to the information we give drivers, that could help to significantly reduce the risk of those incidents occurring. We would like to make the roundabout a bit simpler and more intuitive to use and making it clear to drivers which lanes they should be in at any given movement.

Therefore, have identified some potential options that we consider could help to achieve that. In order to determine the best option, we need to undertake further traffic modelling to have confidence that they will achieve the desired outcomes and won’t inadvertently create new issues.

It seems to be taking a long time, but the collective pressure is paying off. Note the difference the many videos which have been sent in are now playing – so use [link removed] to get in touch with them – though I hope we see no accidents at all, of course.

* Met with local trucking firm Hi-Line Transport who specialise in transporting abnormal loads safely, especially caravans, but who have seen policing charges for escorts ratcheting up to the point their business and that of caravan makers is verging on the uneconomical. Time to lobby Ministers …
* Attended St Bernardette’s Players annual pantomime – Dorothy in Wunderland this time, with a savage social media satire as theme. Great fun.
* Successfully persuaded Lancashire County Council alongside Cllr Stephen Clarke to introduce a new wheelchair- and motorized scooter-friendly crossing on Runnymede Avenue in Cleveleys between Aldi and the back of M&S.
* A meeting with UU helpfully on social tariffs enabled me to mention a bit of flooding in Carleton which now seems to have been sorted. With such waterlogged ground, there are 1001 other places I could also focus on.
* Visited Fleetwood Laundry to compare notes, having visited other industrial laundries on the Fylde, to get their perspective on the health of the local hospitality sector, and the challenges they have faced investing in a new location in terms of getting it up and running and fully staffed.

With my ministerial hat on, both official and unofficial, I also …

* Visited the ‘Blue Light, Bimble & Brew Group’ Breakfast held at the Thomas Drummond up in Fleetwood which brings together veterans and former emergency services members, to listen to concerns about the veterans covenant, as well as discussing with Help for Heroes the work they do around the region, and how they could help my campaign to improve uptake of pension credit. See picture above.
* That same campaign took me to Goodison Park, home of both Everton FC and their Community Trust to understand the many projects they have to address social isolation. Went on to the higher education pension scheme (and the UK’s biggest), the University Superannuation Scheme, to learn about how they are investing for the long term benefit of their members – 60% of Moto, the motorway service area people, for example. It brings home just how the incomes of so many are reliant upon investment decisions made by pension schemes, and the overall health of the economy. We may think we are insulated sometimes – but we most definitely are not.
* Took part in the walking football group who meet at Common Edge Sports Village and found my hand/eye co-ordination its usual appalling catastrophe, and was outrun by those in their eighties! But also saw just how great it is at getting people out and about, socialising, and keeping fit into later age. I also learnt just how much representation Blackpool has in the England over 75 team!
* Opened the new headquarters for the Money & Pensions Service in Bedford, cutting ribbon and slicing cake as if on a royal visit! They do many, many things – but perhaps the most important are [link removed] which provides masses of financial advice as to all the things you need to think of when making big financial decisions, and Pension Wise ([link removed]) which is a free MOT for the over 50s so they can properly understand their pension options, and make sensible choices that don’t run the risk of causing an unpleasant surprise in later life.
* I was very pleased to be the Minister taking through the Commons the legislation needed to apply the Triple Lock to the state pension. To quote myself: “the Government’s commitment to the triple lock, meaning that the basic and state pension will be uprated by the highest of growth in earnings or in prices, or by 2.5%. This year that will mean an 8.5% rise from 2024-25, taking the basic state pension from £156.20 to £169.50 a week, and the full rate of the new state pension from £203.85 to £221.20 a week. Additional state pensions, such as the state earnings-related pension schemes and protected payments of the new state pension, will rise by 6.7%. The Government are committed to supporting pensioners on the lowest incomes, and accordingly the safety net provided by the pension credit standard minimum guarantee will increase by 8.5%. For single pensioners it will increase by £201.05 to £218.15, and for couples it will increase from £306.85 to £332.95 per week”.
* Lastly, as part of my advertising campaign for pension credit, you may want to watch the weather forecast by clicking on this link [link removed]

Yours sincerely,

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

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