Letter from Parliament - Paul Rowen MP
Date published: 31 March 2010
This week has seen Parliament voting on the budget and we also had the first pre-election debate by the three would be chancellors.
By common consent, Vince Cable came out on top, talking common sense with clear, understandable policies on the economy.
His visit to Rochdale last Saturday, and particularly his meeting with local businessmen and women, underscored that message.
Many sound local businesses are being starved of funds, particularly by the publicly owned banks. The government’s failure to act on this issue is particularly disappointing and the budget does nothing to address this problem.
Last week I revealed secret plans to shut A&E from midnight at the Infirmary in the autumn – in advance of its downgrade to an Urgent Care Centre. These plans, if implemented, will come just at the start of the winter pressures and on top of the closure of the walk in centre.
Staff at the Infirmary are already struggling to cope with increased numbers using A&E. These closures would put more pressure on hospitals at Oldham, Bury and North Manchester as well as putting Rochdalians at risk. Minutes matter in an emergency and these proposals are an insult to the people of Rochdale. I will fight these closures tooth and nail!
I am also grateful to Jean Ashworth for challenging Pennine Acute Trust bosses about these proposals. For Health Minister Mike O’Brien to attempt to deny this when I challenged him in Parliament won’t wash. We are not fools and will not be taken for a ride.
Last Friday I was privileged to attend the opening by the Duke of Gloucester of the new Adult Care centre at the Kashmir Youth Centre on Entwistle Road as well as the opening of the new medical centre across the road. I organised the visit in conjunction with former KYP Chief Exec Ismail Fulat. Sadly Ismail did not live to see the opening though I know he was with us in spirit.
Plans are also being prepared to build the new Heybrook School and community sports facilities on the site of the former KYP building. When completed this, together with new housing further along Entwistle Road, will regenerate this area.
Over the weekend I also visited Sir Cyril Smith who is now in a nursing home as well as attending the raising of the Bangladesh Flag outside the Town Hall.
On Sunday I attended a Songs of Praise at St Peter’s Newbold. I was asked to name my favourite hymn and explain why. I chose “O Lord my God” which during Easter week is highly appropriate.
Friday I am due to take part in the annual Good Friday Walk of Witness with the Churches Together group around the Town Centre.
May I also take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Easter.