Price of alcohol must rise
Last week a group of MPs warned that deaths from liver disease have soared by 40 per cent in a decade and these will continue to rise because of heavy drinking and unhealthy eating.
Blackpool has the highest rate of alcohol-related liver death in the whole of the UK.
Some of those dying are only in their 30s and 40s, and every death is completely preventable.
We urgently need to save lives by reducing one of the main causes of heavy drinking, which is ultra-cheap, strong alcohol. Evidence has shown that the cheaper alcohol is, the more of it people will drink.
This isn’t about attacking the price of a pint in your local pub.
But it can’t be right that some off licenses in Blackpool are selling strong alcohol for less than the price of a bottle of water.
Isn’t it about time we face up to the damage that it causes?
I have written today to the Prime Minister to urge him to crack down on strong, cheap alcohol by introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.
This would increase the cost of the cheapest strong alcohol, but it would only cost a moderate drinker about 5p per week.
Doctors and the police in Blackpool, who regularly have to deal with the worst impacts of alcohol, agree that a minimum unit price this is the best way forward to save lives and to protect young people.
I hope we can listen to those on the alcohol frontline.
Director of Public Health for Blackpool
We must harness power of waves
It is now many months since Labour Leader Ed Miliband made the pledge that a future Labour Government would freeze energy prices for 16 months, while the energy market, which is not working for the consumer, is reformed.
This created an outcry from the large energy sector companies which claimed profits were not excessive.
Since then it has been revealed that a huge rise in profits took place in just three years, from £233m in 2009 to a staggering £1.1bn in 2012.
With profits so large, it is unbelievable the Government has reduced the green energy tax to help the energy companies. I understand they will pass that on to their customers. However, with excessive profits did they really need this handout?
OFGEM is now calling for a competition enquiry.
At last they recognise the energy market works for shareholders, more than their customers.
We need much more investment into renewable energy, because they are the only truly clean energy.
Harnessing wave power – such as the Morecambe Bay Barrage often looked at, but never implemented – and the Severn estuary, should be pursued vigorously.
We are surrounded by unharnessed boundless wave energy which would produce endless clean energy there year after year after year. It does seem irresponsible not to produce energy this way.
I believe wave power should and will ‘eventually‘ be used because it’s the logical answer, to Britain an island nation’s energy needs.
Instead the Government is providing tax incentives to fracking companies which if successful will continue the reliance on polluting fossil fuels, which are not limitless and all do have pollution problems.
Chairman, Blackpool North/Cleveleys Labour Party
Invest money in this popular ride
I read with interest what Amanda Thompson said about Blackpool and the Pleasure Beach, also the £1.5m on billboards and advertising.
Could I suggest she spends a little of that money on the Grand National ride?
Anyone passing on the road I’m sure would think it was a derelict ride, the condition it is in.
A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “The business has invested almost £20m in new rides and attractions in the past four years.
“Advertising and marketing is essential to drive visitors from across the UK to come to Blackpool.
“With regards to your reader’s comments about the Grand National, this classic heritage wooden coaster is still a firm favourite to all generations and has been since is was opened in 1935.”
Childcare costs must be tackled
Parents would be forgiven for thinking they’re in for a £2,000 subsidy on their childcare costs under plans announced by Ministers.
While any new money to help families facing soaring childcare costs is welcome, this coalition should not fool mums and dads on the Fylde coast.
Childcare costs have risen by 30 per cent since 2010 – five times faster than wages.
Despite the struggle this is causing families, David Cameron has no plan to tackle the rising cost of childcare before the next election.
Alongside higher prices, parents suffering a cost-of-living crisis are seeing fewer childcare places available and reduced support from this Tory-led Government.
By 2015, David Cameron will have reduced support for children and families by up to £15bn.
Labour has a very clear offer for all working parents of three and four-year-olds and for all primary school age children. We’d extend free nursery provision from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents with three and four-year-olds.
We’d also introduce a Primary Childcare Guarantee to help parents manage the logistical nightmare of arranging before and after school care.
These plans are on top of the Government’s scheme and would benefit all parents in work.
In contrast, just one in five families will receive help through tax-free childcare and they would have to spend £10,000 per year per child to get the maximum £2,000 figure.
Even then, this help won’t come in until after the election.
That’s no help on childcare for five years from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Instead Ministers have presided over soaring costs and cut tax credits for thousands of families, meaning even when this help comes in most families will still be worse off than they were in 2010.
This offer just doesn’t make up for how much more families are paying for childcare under David Cameron.
Labour is on the side of local families and would put an end to childcare holding back mums and dads.
Labour Parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys