After my column in the Standard last week when I explained the challenges in actually being called to speak in the House of Commons I managed to speak four times last week! Perhaps someone in London reads the Standard! The highlight was my first ever Prime Minister's question which is probably the best well known part of Parliament. Speaking to a packed House of Commons with all its rowdiness was a challenge but I delivered my question on the Northern Powerhouse (or lack of it) and whilst my question was tongue in chew it was making a serious point that the North isn't just the big cities and places like ours need to be included. As is the norm on these occasions I didn't get a proper answer but my point was made.
Appropriately we then had the budget announcement which did mention the Northern Powerhouse but only really in the context of other parts of the North. What was more significant though we're the announcements on changes that will significantly impact on people's incomes. On the one hand long overdue increases in the minimum wage are welcome but it is not enough and when the reductions in tax credits are taken into account it represents a significant reduction in people's incomes. I expect the net effect of all the changes announced in the budget will see an increase in real hardship.
Upon my return to the constituency it was a real pleasure to visit Meadow Primary School where I was treated to dance, song, poetry and letters from the children as part of the send my friend to school campaign. Well done to all involved! At the weekend I visited the scout fairs in Little and Great Sutton and had the privilege of opening the Hope Farm Methodist church summer fair. Finally on Sunday I attend the commemorative service for the Cheshire regiment at the Boat Museum and Whitby Park. Well done to Gordon Kipps for organising it all.