December 16, 2014

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An example of the sense of community in Central Sefton recently has been the huge support for the switch on of the Christmas lights in our towns and villages. 

I really enjoyed seeing so many people at the events in Formby, Crosby and Maghull and I was pleased to be invited to turn on the Christmas lights in Hightown this year. 

I was invited to Ince Blundell as well but sadly couldn’t be there this year, which is a shame as the mince pies and mulled wine are excellent and my children enjoy Santa’s early visit to the village for the switch on. 

Hundreds of people supported the event in Hightown and thanks go to Tim Astbury and the rest of the parish council for the hard work that they put in all year round.

Thanks also to the parish councillors in Formby, Ince Blundell, Little Altcar, Thornton, Lydiate, Melling, Aintree and Maghull for the work you all do.

Living in Maghull, I am often struck by the warmth of the people and the sense of community in Maghull and also in the other towns and villages nearby. 

A good example is the generosity of people who give to the foodbanks in Maghull, Aintree and Crosby and I would like to thank Tesco in Formby for their work in organising collections with the Trussell Trust.

I mentioned foodbanks and the fact that we need them here is a sign that many of you are finding life very hard indeed. 

In Formby, Aintree, Maghull and Crosby, there are more people being paid less than a living wage than anywhere else in North West England. 

Sadly, in the last four years, government policies have mostly only helped a few while people in our area are on average £1,600 a year worse off each year. And because so many of you are being paid so little, many of you still rely on benefits to survive even when you have a job. 

And foodbanks are also vital for some of you in work because pay is so low. A number of staff working at Ashworth Hospital told me they have to visit the foodbank each month because their money just does not cover the bills, mortgage or rent, travel and food. 

Many people here are struggling just to survive. 

That is the reality and that is why we need a change of policy that pays off the deficit in a fair way but encourages growth for the many not just for the few. And that is what I shall be fighting for in the coming months and years.