During an urgent question the other Monday I had the opportunity to put on record my support for the Chancellor’s announcements to help the self-employed in the budget.
I asked the Minister, “Would my hon friend agree with me that we have cut back on the red tape of self-employment and put more money into the self-employed, which is more than what the last party did in 13 years and I was a self-employed person so I can speak with authority on that?’”
In response he said, “My hon friend brings much expertise to this issue and I know he is very pleased that one of the things we were able to do in the budget was to finally remove class two National Insurance contributions.
“A tax on the self-employed that was also a significant administrative burden. I am pleased we have been able to remove that.”
I am pleased to be able to report that the Government has already given £5m to Lancashire County Council to enable them to carry our essential repair works on Gressingham Bridge.
I am pleased that this money is already with the county to enable work to be carried out and I hope this means the bridge will be re-opened on target at the end of April.
Recently I have been in discussions with John O’Neil, manager of the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce, regarding the aftermath of the flooding.
One of the issues we have been discussing is the resilience of the mobile phone network. When the power was cut in December the mobile networks went down with it and I do not believe this should be allowed to happen.
I have been speaking to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP about what we can do to combat this in future. He said there had been a recent report that highlighted this issue and the Government is committed to working with industry to ensure the ongoing resilience and availability of services across the sector in the event of power loss.