From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date May 12, 2021 1:21 PM
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Dear Resident,

I suppose this particular email is better called Letter from Fleetwood’s Marine Hall given I spent more time there watching votes being counted than in Westminster where Parliament was prorogued pending the Queen’s Speech.

Forgive me for those who want to be spared the detailed results, but given they tend to get little coverage, I thought it worth just copying then out below.

Cleveleys East Cleveleys South & Carleton Fleetwood West & Cleveleys West
Bourne, Pheasants Wood & Cleveleys Park wards Marsh Mill (northern part) and Norcross & Victoria wards Jubilee ward
Con (Andrea Kay) 2345 Con (Alan Vincent) 2356 Con (Stephen Clarke) 1974
Labour 850 Labour 1204 Labour 1234
Green 152 Green 234 Independent 362
LibDem 81 LibDem 179 Grn 127
LibDem 45
Turnout 32% Turnout 39% Turnout 32%

Blackpool Council by-election Police & Crime Commissioner
Norbreck ward 1st round 2nd round
Con (Julie Sloman) 963 Con (Andrew Snowdon) 166,202 181,354
Independent 480 Labour 154,195 172,362
Labour 378 LibDem 32,813
LibDem 82 Reform 17,926

Turnout 39% Turnout 34%

Obviously from a political view I am very pleased with the results (the best ever since 2009 when as a candidate I was working to gain off Labour in these divisions – how times change), and look forward to continue working with Alan, Andrea and Stephen across Thornton-Cleveleys. It is also very pleasing to have a Conservative councillor for Norbreck again after a break of a few years, and there is plenty for Julie and I to work together on – my list is quite long!

We also have a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for the first time ever, narrow as it was in the end. I hope Andrew through his actions can demonstrate the relevance of this role in improving day-to-day policing locally. I know it is a matter of concern for so many, and this is a chance for the PCC role to perhaps show its value for the first time in Lancashire.

However, I am all too aware that residents are less interested in the minutiae of how many votes a LibDem got in X ward, but rather what we actually do as elected politicians. That’s why, for all the flummery and pageantry, the Queen’s Speech is such an important event, as it looks forward to what we will do at Westminster as a government.

There are a number of proposed Bills I think worth highlighting because they either respond to issues which dominate my postbag or inbox, really impact this constituency, or because they are demonstrable evidence of us making strides on issues which were core reasons why 57% of voters elected me back in December 2019:

* Borders Bill – I know how many email with concerns about how secure our borders are, and how robust our asylum and immigration system is. This is our opportunity to do something about it.
* Social care policy paper – I’ve been waiting for this for 25 years when we had a Royal Commission on Long Term Care. Numerous governments have come up with numerous schemes in the past – none of which have squared the difficult circle of meeting the increasing costs at the same time as protecting assets so people don’t have to sell their homes. It’s technically difficult, politically difficult – but something we need to solve as a nation.
* Animal Welfare legislation: Improving measures against pet theft, microchipping for cats, stopping sale of foie gras, an Animal Sentience Bill, a Kept Animals Bill to end puppy smuggling and the export of live animals, an Animals Abroad Bill to end trophy hunting amongst much else.
* Online Safety Bill: Once again, my emails tell me how this is a real concern to many families who want to ensure their children don’t access inappropriate content. Social media giants have blocked progress on this for too long, and political patience has run out.
* Skills & Post Education Bill: This may sound a bit technical, but matters a lot locally. Compared to elsewhere in the country, our local rates of participation in higher and further education are low. People who have been in the workplace for a few years and who are wanting to retrain and improve their skills are often put off by the prohibitive cost. The Bill will offer a right to funded training for adults without A-levels, and will also extend the student loan system to FE colleges (loans that only need paying back when earning above an income well above the local average).
* Leasehold Reform. We will finally get rid of the practice of charging ground rent for leasehold property – ground rents which sometimes are on an escalator leading to unsustainable year-on-year increases.

Once Bill missing that I had so hoped to see was an Access to Cash Bill, as readers from previous Letters from Westminster may recall. I read in the papers we may be getting a White Paper to look at how we protect people’s access not just to cash but to financial services more widely.

Although I started on this area looking to protect ATM provision, as bank closures continue, and greater pressure is put on Post Offices to come up with an alternative, it’s clear that access to financial services as well as cash is important.

I think the answer – and urgently needed – are what are called Community Banking Hubs. Pilots have launched in the past month in two locations offering:
* A Post Office Banking Hub in an empty retail outlet, with the Post Office offering transactional services in a private environment, with community banking support from the major banks, debt advice, and support for financial issues A ‘Drop and Go’ cash deposit facility for small businesses in the Banking Hub to make it easier for local businesses to bank cash, whichever bank they are with Cashback with purchase offered by a large number of local stores Cashback without purchase offered by PayPoint convenience stores.

I like the fact that in these towns, the top five banks with the most customers will staff the banks one day a week so people can do the usual banking on any day, but speak with someone when they need to. Critically, retailers will be able to access ‘deposit-taking’ ATMs without the need to queue up or drive miles. You can read more at [link removed].
One downside of knowing the White Paper coming is that, out of concern that Government may regulate to keep the ‘last bank in town’ open, banks have been rushing to shut down branches. We’ve seen two close in Cleveleys this year. That’s beyond unhelpful. I’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom with banks in recent weeks discussing the wider agenda, and making clear they need to pause their plans to see what the new landscape for financial services will look like.

That’s all for now. With Parliament back to normal soon, and I’m more able to be out and about again, these letters will once again be filled with what I am doing!

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

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