I was proud and humbled to be re-elected as Member of Parliament for Halifax recently with an increased majority.
Symbolically, Theresa May chose to launch her manifesto here in Halifax and, as the most marginal seat in the whole region, it was a seat that many expected to fall to the Tories. Yet the people of Halifax have once again rejected the Tories’ austerity agenda and their cuts to our NHS, schools and emergency services.
Last week Labour put forward an amendment to the Queen’s speech which would have meant lifting the 1% public sector pay freeze and an end to cuts to the police and fire services. Much-valued public sector workers such as police officers, firefighters and nurses have now faced real terms pay cuts for several years, and our emergency service workers frequently tell us they are struggling to cope due to budget cuts. Yet the same week that the Tory government found £1.5 billion for the DUP to keep themselves in power, they also voted to continue austerity measures which are putting our emergency services at risk. I have spent time shadowing all of our emergency services locally and whilst they are doing their best to continue to provide a first class service it is clear that they cannot take any more cuts.
In recognition of the fantastic work that the police do I recently hosted the West Yorkshire Police Band at Halifax Minster to raise funds for three worthy police-related causes: Police Treatment Centres, who assist injured and sick police officers; families of officers affected by the Westminster terror attack; and retired Police Inspector Colin Skeath’s fund for the Forget Me Not Trust. Thank you to everyone who came down to support the event - it really was fantastic - and thank you also to Rev Hilary Barber and Halifax Minster for allowing us to hold the event in such an iconic venue.
Many of you will remember Colin Skeath and the excellent work he did for us here in Halifax as our Police Inspector. He really did go the extra mile, and in retirement he is continuing to do so – 2,500 miles to be precise! That’s because shortly after retiring he embarked on a fundraising attempt to canoe around Britain - a massive feat of endurance. He is raising money for the Forget Me Not Trust which supports children with life shortening conditions and their families. If you think you can spare any money to help him hit his fundraising target I would urge you to please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/canoe-around-britain.