Last week I met with the Police and Crime Commissioner to discuss the proposed cuts to funding for Lancashire Constabulary.
It is the belief of the PCC, and also the Chief Constable, that the proposals will prevent the force from keeping people Lancashire safe.
I have huge questions about the funding formula used, as Lancashire appears to have been so vastly hit when compared to the national picture.
The cuts will have a disproportionate impact on policing here because Lancashire has 77% of its police in frontline roles, higher than most forces. There is less scope to make up the funding loss from business support functions, as the force spend less money on this than other forces.
Importantly, Lancashire is already ‘good value for money’, costing 49p per person per day compared to the national average of 55p. A cross-party delegation of Lancashire MPs is to meet Policing Minister Mike Penning when I will be raising these issues.
Over the past week in Westminster I’ve had a couple of ‘firsts’: the first time I spoke from the despatch box in the Commons in my new role as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, asking the Government about action to support women facing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace; and also the first time I responded to a debate in Westminster Hall on behalf of the Opposition, in response to a debate on Black History Month.
I have also met with shop workers campaigning for a retention of the status quo with Sunday trading hours. It’s important for families, especially those with children, to have time they can spend together. I know from my own family, who work for large supermarkets, that in this age of 24-hour shopping Sunday evening is the only time we can get together.
And finally, but by no means least, I hope you managed to catch the Peter Blake Pop Art bus, which popped up on Penny Street in Lancaster last Thursday evening. Organised by Bellwood and Wright it was a rare opportunity to see some outstanding prints from the ‘godfather of British pop art’.
Well done to all who made that happen!