From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date June 21, 2021 10:49 AM
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Read my latest update

Dear Resident,

Looking out of my window, I am beginning to think this will be one of those summers which will, in retrospect, consist of an isolated occasional weekend afternoon of warm sunshine but mostly overcast.
Let’s hope not, as good weather is what this town needs to help our local economy recover. Despite a 0.5% fall in the headline rate, our unemployment rate is still above the national average and, perhaps counter-intuitively, hiring staff for the tourism sector remain a challenge.

The local tourism sector recovery taskforce continues to meet regularly, and I am meeting with them to understand what the latest situation is this coming week. It’s clear that full reopening can’t come soon enough. I know many are frustrated with ongoing restrictions – and that it is particularly unhelpful for the events and hospitality sector.

But there was one key fact which hit home with me with regards to this latest variant, which was that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine offered half the protection against the latest variant than it did with previous variants. Two does provides exactly the same as the previous variant – so in the race between vaccine and virus, we have suddenly had to play a faster catch-up than we expected to make sure as many have two doses as quickly as possible.

So now we look with hope to July.

That doesn’t meant that the tempo of constituency activity doesn’t tick upwards as more things return to physical rather than online encounters. Zoom can only take you so far. A good example was the meeting of Blackpool’s Church of England deanery which I addressed along with my neighbour Scott Benton MP. We were asked to respond to the Blackburn Diocese’s Vision 2026 strategy for re-energising parishes and connecting them with the wider community.

It was what they call a ‘wide ranging’ discussion and all the better for it. My conclusion was that we have a set of parishes with a strong understanding of the communities they serve, and a determination to work alongside elected politicians like myself to chart a better path – and hold us to account where necessary.
It actually tied in very nicely with a further face-to-face meeting I had with Laura White at the Magic Club in Claremont – the relatively new youth club for the area. We discussed the One Claremont plan they had for the local area, how it had been co-produced by residents setting out what they wanted to enhance the area, rather than having them told what would be best for them. The final output is a great model for what I hope will be the core of the Levelling Up fund bids I want to put together for the town.

One meeting that was still on Zoom was one I had with my successor as Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris to discuss the reopening of the Fleetwood-Poulton line. I was encouraged at the enthusiasm of the Government to look at the benefits a tram/train solution can bring for the whole Fylde Coast at the same time as bringing that specific and short stretch into use. Rather like the A585 by-pass, it seems to be taking an age to get from the idea to the spades in the ground. But each incremental step is a necessary one in ensuring budgets are accurate, and later surprises don’t lead to extra delays in construction. And just as with the A585 by-pass, it will be worth it in the long run.

Now it would be remiss of me not to touch upon the Boundary Commission which some of you might have read about. Politicians – wrongly in my view – get terribly wrapped up in the detail, but it does matter overall as it is about ensuring residents feel represented by an MP who covers an area that they feel they can relate to as part of their own community, at the same time as satisfying the mathematical criteria to ensure constituencies are of equal size and your vote is worth the same wherever you live. Quite significant changes are needed locally as both Blackpool North & Cleveleys and Blackpool South have seen declining populations since the last set of changes almost twenty years ago.
So, deep breath, but in short;
* Blackpool North & Cleveleys sees Warbreck, Layton, Park and Claremont wards moved into Blackpool South to bring Blackpool South up to the necessary 75,000 or so.
* Fleetwood added to the remaining Blackpool North & Cleveleys wards along with the rest of Thornton not previously in the seat as well as Carleton.
* The constituency is thus larger in both size and population – 75,000 rather than 62,000.
* The new name is Blackpool North & Fleetwood, so Cleveleys will no longer be part of any constituency name, sadly.

However, just as importantly
* None of this takes effect until after 2024.
* If the next election comes before then, then the current boundaries apply
* Whatever happens, I continue to represent all of my current constituents until the next election

These proposals are currently open for consultation. You can learn more at where if you enter your postcode, you are able to make a comment as to whether you are against or in favour of the proposals and why, and what you think of the name.
That’s all for this week and enjoy any sunshine.

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

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