THE other week, I attended a debate in the House of Commons to call on the Government to develop a strategy for former coal mining areas like our own.
People in our towns do not want to rely on benefits, people want to work for a living but the jobs must be there and that means we need a growing economy.
Yes, we have some fantastic local firms in Ashfield but it is central Government that has to provide the right conditions for economic growth.
Only last week official figures revealed that unemployment continues to rise in Ashfield, with five people chasing every job vacancy.
Young people are being hit particularly hard, with nearly 36 per cent of all those claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in our area being 18-24 year olds.
The Government must do more to help young people in our area get back into employment. Britain spends half the average of similar countries on getting people into work. They are letting far too many young people slip through the net.
It’s not all doom and gloom in Ashfield, though. We have our fair share of talented youngsters who are certainly doing their best to put the area on the map.
On 11th March there is a brilliant event which is being backed by Sutton Swimming Club and Ashfield District Council to raise funds for Paralympic hopefuls Charlotte Henshaw and Ollie Hynd.
It’s being organised by the charity O.A.S.I.S, which supports Paralympians from Ashfield in their quest to compete at the London 2012 Games.
It’s at the Lammas Leisure Centre pool and only costs £2 to enter. The idea is to swim a mile (64 lengths) in a team relay or individual swim and the closing date for entries is Friday 2nd March. So come on, what are you all waiting for? Register and help support our very own Olympic stars.
Finally, I was reading in my copy of the Chad about the ongoing problems residents are having with their broadband access in Teversal and this prompted me to get in touch with Lynn Henstock, Richard Goad and Mick Vardy to offer my support. I’ve now written to the Minister responsible and raised their concerns directly with him.
Once I receive a reply I shall pass it on immediately. If anyone else thinks that I can help with any issue, please get in touch with my office and I’ll always help where I can.