Retford Times: 11 December 2014

This week in Parliament I pressured the Government on its proposed changes on how fracking is regulated in the UK. Most people who have contacted me in recent months are backing my proposal for no fracking wells to be drilled within two kilometres of any town or village. I supported amendments that would close loopholes around environmental regulations and require greater transparency about the fluids used in fracking and the resulting methane gas emissions. Considering the importance of drilling safety I also backed measures which would make independent well inspections obligatory for all sites. I will continue to support efforts which force the Government to improve safety and will also work to ensure that my proposal of a two kilometre zone around villages and towns is respected.

Last week the Chancellor George Osborne presented his Autumn Statement to Parliament. The Chancellor is planning spending cuts on a scale that would take us back to the 1930s in terms of our public services. Huge cuts to our armed forces and public sector jobs will turn us into a ten bob country – a situation I am not willing to accept.

The Church of England deserves praise this week for taking a stand against food poverty in the UK. It has released a report warning that people are going hungry in the UK because of low pay, inequality and cruel benefits sanctions. The Government should take heed of the Church’s warnings and realise that its current policies are morally unjust. One Baroness dismissed the report and stated that people went hungry because ‘poor people don’t know how to cook.’ This is pure arrogance – the Baroness should know that most people who use food banks later donate to one. Those are British values.

Occasionally I receive a letter from a local person that leaves me completely stunned and shaken. Sadly, over the past few months I have mostly been taken aback by horrible accounts of child abuse in Nottinghamshire and the rest of the country. This week however I would like to share the details of one local person who has battled through a difficult life to become an outstanding role model.

Rebecca from Mattersey was diagnosed at the age of 11 with anorexia. At one stage her medical condition was so bad that she was hospitalised and doctors feared that her heart would stop. Her life was saved however by ‘Freed Beeches’, a charity based in Worksop. They provide a free support and counselling service and also work to educate young people about eating disorders. Early intervention, education and support really do save lives as Rebecca knows only too well. She is now dedicating herself to raising awareness of eating disorders and supporting Freed Beeches. Next June she is climbing Ben Nevis to raise money for the charity and I am sure that many readers will want to join me in supporting her. Please get in touch on 01909 506200 and I will pass on details of how to sponsor Rebecca. Anyone who wants more information about the treatment that Freed Beeches offers should also contact me on the same number.

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