Monday, 29 December 2014

Promoting Healthy Living Pharmacies in Hyndburn

Earlier this month I visited Baxenden Pharmacy and saw the work they do as a Healthy Living Pharmacy. They are part of an initiative to roll out HLP across East Lancashire. (see Table below for Hyndburn). It is important given the pressures on GP's and ultimately on A and E that Pharmacies play a role in delivering front line care but also have the skills to identify some early symptoms in patients and guide them towards a GP.

It was fascinating to hear about the early intervention work that the Pharmacy offers as part of Lancashire's public health delivery. Smoking and confidential pregnancy advice in particular.

I was there to launch an awareness campaign around Sepsis, previously known as septicaemia or gangrene. Staff awareness and willingness to advise and part of the transformation of pharmacy's from retail and dispensing drugs, to an increasing role in primary care and clinical intervention.

Following my visit I received further details of the Health Living Pharmacy initiative in Hyndburn. One of the issues that came up clearly was the commissioning of services and I know my colleague Azhar Ali is doing everything he can to unravel the complex process and historic contracts he inherited from the previous administration. I will be writing to Lancashire County Council to see what can be done to promote Healthy Living Pharmacies across the County.

Hello Graham,

It was very nice to meet you on Friday at Baxenden Pharmacy for the Sepsis campaign and to discuss local issues.

Here’s the information that you requested.

Healthy Living Pharmacies in Hyndburn 

53-55 High Street
Working towards
Accrington Late Night Pharmacy
188 Blackburn Road
Working towards
13-17 Peel Street
Working towards
Huncoat Pharmacy
20 Station Road
Working towards
Accrington Pharmacy
257 Whalley Rd
HLP accredited
351, Blackburn Rd
HLP accredited
Baxenden Pharmacy
516 Manchester Rd
HLP accredited
2 Cornhill
HLP accredited
67/69 Union Rd
HLP accredited
240, Union Rd
HLP accredited

What is different about Healthy Living Pharmacies?

The HLP programme is a quality framework which the pharmacy that signs up must comply with.

It provides reassurance to commissioners that quality services can be delivered in these pharmacies and that a greater number of interventions will take place

It provides a mechanism to engage and develop staff that generates renewed enthusiasm and motivation.

It’s great for patients to be able to access services locally, and health and wellbeing advice readily.

This was evidenced in the national HLP pathfinder of which East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen were a pathfinder site.

HLP covers

Workforce development for all staff (leadership for pharmacists; Royal Society of Public Health Level 2 Understanding Health Improvement for Health Champions; and Brief advice training for all staff)

Engagement – joined up working within the pharmacy and with other health and social care partners

Environment – a professional premises with a proactive health focussed ethos

Information - health and wellbeing advice and services are readily available and are current and relevant

There are also local aspects included in the HLP Programme that vary by area across the country.

The Lancashire version is attached. This includes Lancashire CC area, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool.

HLPs across Lancashire were invited to take part in the Sepsis campaign – the 2 pharmacies noted above were included.

I worked with Julie and the Sepsis Trust to develop the pharmacy Crib sheet which I have also scanned in and attached for your information.

Part of the Health Champion role is to create eye catching displays (like the sepsis campaign) and change them regularly, open conversations with patients and customers about health related topics (such as the latest campaign topic) and to develop and keep an up to date signposting file for all the pharmacy staff to use.

Please feel free to contact me if you do have any queries.

Kind regards, Lesley
Healthy Living Pharmacy Strategic Lead

Monday, 22 December 2014

One North’s proposals for an interconnected north should be the start, not the end of a conversation

Back in September, One North – a group of 5 cities in the North of England – produced a proposal for the economic and infrastructural future of the North, based on the inter-connectivity of those five city regions; Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

The report puts forward a lot of positive proposals for the North, and I would agree with the vast majority of what is contained in the proposal. It offers an excellent basis for economic growth in the North and a coherent plan for the North is something that has been missing for a long time (with the exception of Lord Prescott's Northern Way)

However I represent an area of the sizeable region of East Lancashire (and indeed Lancashire), and it is right that when a proposal is put forward which involved the spending of billions of pounds worth of taxpayers’ money on a project for ‘the north’, that I ask how it will benefit my constituents?

As the report states, the North of England has a population of 15,000,000, however the numbers of people who will be ‘covered’ by this are significantly lower. And unfortunately, the report doesn’t appear to offer much to Lancashire (the word ‘Lancashire’ only appears in the report once), the largest and one of the most populated local authorities in England.

The plan essentially looks after transport links for the five city regions suggesting that £billions should be invested in these five cities regions. It clearly doesn't involve the 530,000 in East Lancashire who still remain with a  train less rail line, just 18 miles from city centre Manchester.

I believe it would be possible to maintain the clarity and direction of the proposal, but to make it more inclusive of areas of the North like Lancashire, or Teeside or East Yorkshire. All areas with huge populations and a massive contribution to make to the economic future of the North of England, which deserve to be given much greater thought and prominence.

It is easy to defend the report by saying, that the purpose of the report is connectivity between these 5 cities, and not something wider. But we should not miss an opportunity for the whole of the North. As it stands we have a document which looks at the north through the perspective of 5 cities, and then joins them up with a plan that fits this perspective.

Half a plan based on the five cities is a start. We now need to a comprehensive plan and I would argue, some kind of fair, stable and democratic underpinning to ensure it's success.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Labour will give greater control over local bus services to cities and country regions

Labour is launching a new campaign– called ‘Passenger Power’ - about putting communities and passengers in control of local bus services. Labour will hand powers back to local communities to save crucial bus routes.

New government figures have revealed that local bus routes in the North West are being slashed on this Government's watch, leaving people stranded. The new figures show that compared to 2010, there were 13 million less miles of local bus services in the North West last year.

Across England, over 1,300 bus routes have been cut since 2010. People living in rural areas in particular are seeing their bus services disappear. In rural areas, the number of miles of local bus service has dropped by a massive 23 per cent compared to 2010.

At the same time, bus fares are rocketing, going up by 25 per cent since 2010 - an increase five times faster than wage growth. Over the same period, operating costs for local bus services has stayed the same. The new figures reveal that bus passenger fare receipts from this year were half a billion pounds more than in 2010. And the operating revenue for the bus companies has increased by four per cent since 2010.

Bus companies have been cutting crucial routes that people rely at the same time as increasing fares to maximise their own profits. Like the energy companies, the bus market is broken.

Labour is setting out a new plan for local bus services to fix the problems. The next Labour Government will legislate to give greater control over local bus services to cities and county regions. Through the ability to determine routes, set fares and integrate bus services with other forms of public transport, local areas will be able to provide better services at one clearly understood price.

Local bus services are the lifelines of our communities.

Whilst the bus companies are coining it in, local bus routes are being slashed and this Government says everything is fine.

The bus market is clearly broken and the way local services are provided is not fit for purpose. Labour will stand up for passengers by changing the way things work to hand all English regions London-style powers over local bus services. This will ensure communities get the local bus services they need."

Friday, 19 December 2014

1.6 million pensioners hit by David Cameron’s 87p pension rise

On 4 December the government announced the state pension will rise by £2.85 a week. But ministers were forced to admit in the following week that up to 1.6 million pensioners would see a rise of just 87p in their state pension income. Labour are calling on David Cameron to come clean with 1.6 million pensioners about the future value of the state pension.

David Cameron to be open and honest with pensioners after new figures showed 63,180 pensioners in North West are set to receive a rise in the state pension of 87p.

On 4th December 2014 the government announced the state pension would rise by £2.85 a week. But in the following days ministers were forced to admit up to 1.6 million pensioners would see a rise of just 87p in their state pension income.

The government promised the state pension would rise by £2.85 in April next year but 63,180 pensioners in North West are set to receive a rise in the state pension of 87p will receive a rise of just 87p. David Cameron’s government have not been open and honest with pensioners about the state pension, saying one thing and doing another. It’s time for the government to treat pensioners with respect and be upfront about the value of their pensions.”
Gregg McClymont said, “1.6 million pensioners who have done the right thing, worked hard and saved for a pension have been let down by the government. It’s time for David Cameron to come clean with pensioners across the country about the future value of their state pension.”
Source: (Figures in a row called: ‘savings credit only’ - 

Constituency figures are available in the first column here: 
(the numbers need to be multiplied by 1000, e.g. Aldershot is at least 450 pensioners affected)

Local Government settlement. Tory home counties can given funding boost (despite austerity), Labour areaas get walloped (again!)

Of the 19 councils with the max 6.4% cut in spending power. 6 are in the NW - Barrow, Burnley, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle and Preston whilst Surrey gets an increase of +3.1% and Buckinghamshire +2.4%

For the provisional allocation the 2015/16 year, only three local authorities (the Isles of Scilly, Oadby and Wigston, Purbeck) get less than Hyndburn.

For the total cumulative allocation, including the provisional payments, only two local authorities (the Isles of Scilly, Oadby and Wigston) get less than Hyndburn.

The Isles of Scilly can probably be discounted from the comparison anyway as it’s uniquely small.

We shouldn't be surprised. The Tories want Britain to return to 1930's. 5 more years of porridge, a rising debt and huge deficit. All to be paid for by the poor and north so a double whammy for Hyndburn. Cameron, Osborne are just two posh boys who've never had any sense of consequence or reality I genuinely don't think they understand or care about areas like Hyndburn. The train less train line to Manchester speaks volumes.

Hilary Benn: Instead of a fairer settlement the Government has hit the communities with the most need the hardest

Please see below and a link to a press release from Hilary Benn Hilary Benn in response to the Local Government Finance settlement:

“Ministers have been criticised by the National Audit Office, among others, for having little understanding of the impact on frontline services of their decisions and they are failing to devolve power so that public money is most effectively spent.

“Instead of a fairer settlement the Government has hit the communities with the most need the hardest, and instead of giving councils the long-term budgets and freedoms they need to make real long-term sustainable savings the libraries that enrich our children’s education, the social care for our elderly to keep them healthy and out of hospital and the everyday council services like bin collections and street cleaning are bearing the brunt.

“Today was a chance to address the charge of complacency but it is now clear that the government doesn’t have a plan for the future of local services. Labour would encourage further sharing of services to protect the frontline and keep the services residents rely on.”

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Fwd: Ofcom investigation into Premier League football rights

There's a lot of football supporters in Haslingden and Hyndburn and I thought this may be of interest. 

Sent on behalf of Kevin Miles, Chief Executive, the Football Supporters' Federation:

It has been brought to my attention that Ofcom have recently written to all MPs and members of the House of Lords in relation to their investigation into the FA Premier League's joint-selling arrangements for live audio-visual media rights.

I understand that within their correspondence Ofcom refer to their planned consultation with, among other bodies, the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF).

With this in mind I thought it appropriate to write to MPs and members of the House of Lords to clarify our position in relation to Premier League media rights.

Our submission to Ofcom outlined:
  1. The FSF's support for the principle of collective selling by the FA Premier League of audio-visual rights;
  2. The FSF's commitment to the "closed period" for the live broadcasting of matches, between 14.45 and 17.15 on Saturdays (crucial to the economic survival of many clubs lower down the football pyramid);
  3. The FSF's opposition to any increase in the total number of Premier League games televised live each season.

You can read the FSF's full submission to Ofcom via the attached document or this web link.

Yours faithfully,


Kevin Miles

Chief Executive

The Football Supporters' Federation

phone 0330 44 000 44 :: web

Join the FSF for free today here

Labour's pledge to control immigration with fair rules

Labour will control immigration with clear, fair rules. People who come here won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.


Last week Ed Miliband set out Labour's first election pledge: to build a strong economic foundation by dealing with the deficit and balancing the books. And just as we will apply the values of the British people in the way our economy is run, so too on immigration.

  • Not turning our back on the world, but ensuring our borders are properly managed.
  • A sense of fairness means that we can't simply allow wages to be undercut.
  • A sense of fairness means that entitlement to benefits should be earned, so you contribute for longer before you claim.
  • And belief in community means that people should learn English and be part of our society.

We are proud to stand up for those values because they are Labour's values. Our pledge shows how we will put these values into action. With Labour, controlling immigration is one part of a bigger plan to raise living standards, invest and improve the NHS and turn Britain around for everyday working people.


Labour's immigration plan will be based on five principles:

  1. Stronger border controls: making it easier to deport foreign criminals, check people in and out of the country, and stop illegal immigration. Not putting up with continued under-investment, chaos and failure, presiding over a borders agency that is clearly unfit for purpose.  
  2. A smarter system of controls: so we get the top talent and investment we need, whilst controlling low skilled migration. Not setting an undeliverable 'net migration' target, which has ended up forcing the government to reduce the number of students, even though they bring contribute millions to Britain, simply because they are the easiest to control, whilst doing nothing to stop low skilled migration.
  3. Fair rules at work: a new law to prevent employers undercutting wages by exploiting immigration and banning agencies from recruiting only from abroad. Not shrugging our shoulders as this government have done – refusing to act because they are ideologically opposed to any strengthening of workers' rights.
  4. Earned entitlements: changing the rules so that people coming here won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years. A real plan to deliver change in Europe, not putting Britain on a path to exit from the European Union, which would put at risk 3 million jobs.
  5. Integration, not divided communities: people working in public services in public facing roles required to speak English. Not simply crossing our fingers and hoping that integration will occur on its own.

Exploitation law to prevent undercutting of workers

The next Labour government will introduce fair rules to tackle people's concerns about the impact of immigration in our economy, our social security system and our communities. Including the way some employers have systematically exploited people from other countries, enabling them to pay lower wage rates and offer worse conditions  than for their existing workers. This leads not only to the exploitation of migrants, but the undermining of wages for local workers.

Labour has already promised to increase the fines ten-fold for firms paying below the National Minimum Wage, close down loopholes in agency worker laws that allow firms to undercut directly employed staff, ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from abroad, and calling for a new law  against extreme cases of exploitation. On top of that we have announced how the next Labour government will stop employers exploiting foreign workers. The new law would define different forms of exploitation.

To prove that a criminal offence has been committed, evidence would have to be provided that some abuse of power had occurred and that migrants were employed on significantly different terms to local workers. For the first time, it means that undercutting of wages and conditions, although it will not be sufficient on its own, can be used as a piece of evidence of exploitation.

Earned entitlements

Our social security system needs to be based on our values of fairness, work and contribution, and must work alongside economic reforms to make work pay. But it was never designed for the level of migration we are now seeing and the way it interacts with EU rules is creating anomalies and injustices that are damaging public trust.

A Labour government will work with other European countries to extend the period that EU jobseekers wait before claiming out of work benefits from three months to two years, to put the same system in place for in-work benefits, and to stop child benefit and child tax credits being claimed for children living in other countries. 

These are real changes that Britain needs, not the kind of unworkable, hollow and vague promises made by David Cameron.


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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Consultation on the future of the voluntary sector in Haslingden and Hyndburn – 16th January 2015

I am hosting a roundtable discussion event to get the thoughts of local voluntary groups on the future of the voluntary sector, and what action the Government could take to support the valuable work they do. 


I am hoping to get a wide cross-section of people who run charities and voluntary organisations in the constituency to attend, as well as trustees and local volunteers themselves, and that is why I am writing to you.


I know first-hand the vital work that local charities and voluntary organisations do in Haslingden and Hyndburn.  There are so many bodies that are active locally and I think that it is extremely important that the Government does what it can to ensure these organisations can keep going and can fulfil their potential.  In order to renew and strengthen the relationship between Government and the voluntary sector we need input from groups across the constituency.


The event takes place on Friday 16th January 2015, at 1pm-4pm at Accrington Library, St James' Street, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 1NQ, and I urge all interested local groups, trusttes and volunteers to come along.


It would be helpful if you can let my office know if you are able to attend so that we can gauge numbers. Please RSVP to Groups are welcome to submit a written response if you are unable to attend the roundtable.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Letter to Graham Jones MP reveals East Lancs NHS Special Services may be moved away

Specialist Services could leave East Lancashire altogether.

7 Specialist NHS Services are under threat of moving out of East Lancashire, a letter to Graham Jones, Labour MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn has revealed.

In response to a letter from Graham, the CEO of East Lancs Hospitals Trust, Kevin McGee named 7 specialist services which are under threat of being taken out of East Lancashire all together, including:

Pancreatic Cancer Services
Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Services
Neonatal Critical Care
HIV Services
Respiratory – Severe Asthma Services
Complex Vascular Services
Complex Disability (wheelchair) Services

The letter states that this is being driven by the Government’s “centralisation agenda”, aimed at cutting the number of specialists providing these services. This is despite the fact that Mr McGee states that he believes East Lancashire is best capable of providing these services under existing arrangements.

In the letter, the CEO says explicitly: “We believe the above services are provided to a high standard within East Lancashire and would wish to see them continue to be delivered locally.”

Responding to the letter, Graham said:

“These are not trivial services, a significant number of my constituents rely on being able to easily access these services on a regular basis. These services are all for chronic or long-term conditions which many in Haslingden and Hyndburn need to be able to access easily.”

“Moving them from East Lancashire would be a step back as far as Haslingden and Hyndburn is concerned.”

“I accept these decisions should be clinical but in this case I believe – as does the CEO of the Hospitals Trust – that they should continue to be delivered in East Lancashire. Yet because of the changes to the NHS made under the Tories, we now risk losing them to another region, leaving constituents with distant services and potentially affecting the Trust’s finances. It is a pattern which is being repeated up and down the country – communities feeling that decisions on NHS services are being taken against their wishes.”
The Lancashire Telegraph today.

Meeting with local Police commanders this afternoon

Met this afternoon with Julian Platt, Police Chief Inspector and Pam Holgate, Geographic Inspector - both responsible for policing in Hyndburn.

We discussed the cuts - which I want to say more about following my  meeting with the Steve Finnigan, Lancashire Chief Constable and Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Clive Grunshaw.  yesterday in Parliament. The cuts in Lancashire are having an adverse impact on policing and the thought that 40% have been allocated and 60% further cuts have yet to come will leave communities unprotected. One figure from yesterday's meeting was the number of incidents that Lancs constabulary deployed to this year (18,000) as compared with years previous (30,000). The police do not attend a significant number of crimes immediately because they do not have the manpower.

At today's meeting the issue of the cuts and the impact it is having on the front line was discussed. Only yesterday the police had to take two separate individuals from road traffic accidents to A&E reducing their capability.

We discussed operational budgets and the tension between funding neighbourhood policing and PCSO's/neighbourhood officers verses full time response bobbies. I like the PCC agree that Lancashire's success has become because of our successful neighbourhood policing model - a model which is already been stretched to thinly. People are saying they see their PCSO's less and less.

One of the avenues the PCC has gone down is to recruit more special constables. It is 10 hours a week voluntary with training with the advantage that that experience can be used in an application for full time posts. If anyone is interested an application pack to be a Special Constable for Lancashire Constabulary can be found here. Hyndburn does offer better opportunities through the successful CanSafe initiative which we discussed. Where professional staff from all agencies come together into 6 units to patrol the streets in an evening picking up youngsters at risk and taking them to a place of refuge and care. CanSafe is now complemented by SafeHaven where children are kept overnight if their parents cannot be contacted and they are vulnerable. Special constables working on CanSafe get the opportunity to work with a variety of other agencies first hand and pick up a wide range of policing and social care experiences.

The is also cadet training on offer. I have previously been out on operations with the teams and seen what brilliant scheme it is. the PCC has also been to see just how effective an initiative this is prevention and care as well as policing. Big thanks to all those involved including Can Safe chair and Councillor Joyce Plummer (Peel Ward/Hyndburn) where the scheme first started.

Operation Aristo was discussed. An on going major operation against drug dealers and suppliers which has led to numerous high profile arrests, court cases and lengthy prison sentences. This has been a significant worry for the people of west Accrington who at times have felt terrorised by these criminals.

We also discussed  counter terrorism and anti social behaviour.

Lancashire Constabulary are one the best police forces in the country, well led at all levels  and the relationship with Councillors and MPs continues to be strong. Sadly the governments austerity programme is threatening the very existence of polcing as we have known it.

Tory-led Government’s pension changes could put firefighters’ lives at risk

The way Ministers in the Tory-led Government have handled firefighters’ pensions has been deeply irresponsible. They have presided over 47 separate periods of strike action by firefighters in England since September 2013 and, after more than three years of dispute, they have failed to negotiate a fair and sustainable solution.

The new Fire Minister offered firefighters warm words and raised their hopes when she first took up the post, only to cease negotiations and put down essentially the same offer that her predecessor in the role proposed in June 2013.

Labour cannot support the pension regulations for England because they are built on an assumption of a dangerously low aerobic fitness measure for firefighters. The Williams Review, which the Government itself commissioned, states that the aerobic fitness measure the Government is basing their plans on means “the risk of sudden catastrophic cardiac events increases… with a risk of sudden death particularly while undergoing high levels of physical exertion”. This flawed fitness standard would put firefighters needlessly at risk and fail to protect the public.

If a more robust fitness standard is implemented it would mean that the assumptions on which the Government’s pension regulations are based would no longer be valid. The result would be that a number of firefighters who try to maintain fitness would be unable to meet these operational standards into their late 50s through no fault of their own.

The Government’s firefighter’s pension regulations are not fit for purpose and Labour will oppose them. This is why I have signed the ‘prayer’ on the regulations, put forward by the Labour Party frontbench, with the aim of securing a full Parliamentary debate on the floor of the House to hold the Government to account and scrutinise the regulations. Over 250 MPs have signed this ‘prayer’ to put pressure on the Government to schedule a debate and give them a vote, and Labour have formally requested.

Importantly, these regulations are not the only configuration possible within the amount of money that the Treasury has set aside for the scheme, which we support. Devolved Governments are negotiating fairer alternative proposals within these financial limits and have averted strike action. In England, Ministers in DCLG have failed to do so.

Firefighters risk their lives to save ours and they deserve better than this – and I will continue to support them.

FW: 501 Reasons to Stop Arming Israel

From: John Hilary, War on Want []
Sent: 12 December 2014 08:35
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: 501 Reasons to Stop Arming Israel

Dear Graham,

So many of you have generously responded to my communication about the plight of Isam Mustafah Judah, and other Palestinian parents who lost children in the attack on Gaza this year. Thank you!

If you haven't already, you can add your support for our campaign to Stop Arming Israel right now.

501 children were killed in the onslaught - around a quarter of the total deaths during this one period of military escalation. Many more have been injured and traumatised. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

New report on private renting

As people in Haslingden and Hyndburn will know I believe landlords have a social responsibility. Shelter are a great charity helping tenants with advice, lobbying parliamentarians and the government over housing issues. (If you are having problems contact Shelter.) 

Dear Graham,

I hope this email finds you well.

I wanted to let you know that today, Shelter has published a new report on private renting: 'Safe and Decent Homes: Solutions for a better private rented sector'.

The link above will take you to the full report and you can find a one page summary of its findings here.

'Safe and Decent Homes' proposes bold solutions to drive up standards and ensure everyone can access a decent, secure private rented home. Over the past year we have worked with renters, local authorities, landlords and housing and health experts to identify common-sense reforms that will strengthen the existing legislation. The report argues that we need to:

  • Improve knowledge and understanding in the sector
  • Improve renters' consumer bargaining power
  • Increase the power of local authorities

It also suggests a range of proposals that national government should consider, including changes to the tax regime and the role of Lenders.

The 'Safe and Decent Homes' report has been produced with the support of British Gas, as part of our partnership to improve the condition of private rented homes across the country.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the report, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Kind regards,

Martha Mackenzie

Public Affairs Officer


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We're here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own.

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Reading England’s Future: Mapping how well the poorest children read - Hyndburn

Dear Graham,

I saw your piece for the Accrington Observer and wanted to get in touch, firstly to thank you for supporting the campaign and secondly, to provide you with a little more information on child literacy rates in Hyndburn, and on the campaign. 

Reading England’s Future

The Read on. Get on. campaign’s latest report, Reading England’s Future uses constituency level data from the National Pupil Database to shine a light on the geographical differences in reading achievement of children from low-income families.

The report was intended to inform and inspire locally driven change by helping areas to understand their starting points and the nature of their challenge. Disadvantaged children falling behind in reading is an issue in all areas of the country – but low-income children are more likely to be behind in some areas than others, including suburbs, rural areas and seaside towns, and particularly in the South East and the East of England.

Hyndburn’s stats (see foot of article)

You will see from the attached information that Hyndburn is only slightly below the average for literacy rates of children of free school meals at 11 and, reassuringly, there were 16% more 11 year olds on free school meals reading well in 2013, than there were in 2003. This suggests a positive trend. 

10 minutes a day

Getting all children reading will require work from all of us – teachers, parents, communities – not just governments. That is why a major part of this campaign is about encouraging parents to read with children for at least 10 minutes a day. Research from the education research charity EdComms included in our last report showed that the role of parents is crucial, and that just a small daily amount of reading with your child, can make all the difference.

Looking ahead

As the campaign develops, we’ll continue to campaign around that ’10 minutes a day’ message and to look at the policy interventions at government level that would make the difference. We identified in our last report, that whilst really positive gains have been made in early years and primary education, there is room for significantly more improvement – improvement that is necessary if we’re to reach our goal of getting all children reading well by age 11, by 2025. 

Thank you once again for your support and I look forward to being able to work with you on the campaign.

With very best wishes
Jamilla Hinds-Brough
Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer – UK
Save the Children, 1 St John's Lane, London EC1M 4AR                                                                     
T: 020 3763 0568
Read on. Get On Campaign

The Read On. Get On. campaign is calling for commitment to a goal of all children reading well at age 11 by 2025. On 27th November, the Read on Get on campaign will publish a new report – Reading England’s Future – which will provide new analysis on the geography of reading disadvantage in England by comparing the reading ability of poor children across parliamentary constituencies and changes over time.

If we are to achieve our mission, we cannot forget a single poor child in any part of the country. The report focuses on children on Free School Meals because they are statistically more likely to be behind in reading than their better-off peers. Furthermore, this group makes up nearly one-fifth of all pupils.

How well poor children are reading varies massively across the country, and there is no part of the country that does not need to do more to reach the goal of all children reading well by 11. Many primary schools are achieving very impressive results against all the odds. But what happens in schools is only part of the picture. Other factors, in particular, levels of early language development, are also critical to whether or not children are behind in reading by 11. It is for this reason that this report focuses on early language development at age 5, as well as reading well at 11.

If we are going to achieve the Read On. Get On. ambition, it will require local communities, schools and parents to ‘own’ it. That is why the purpose of this report is to inform and inspire locally driven change. We want this analysis to support every local area to understand its starting point and the nature of its challenge. Every school and teacher, every local area wants all children to be reading well – a big part of the Read On. Get On. campaign will be to inform and tap into this local energy and ambition.


This data is from the National Pupil Database and is based on the average over three years (2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013 data). The analysis was carried out by Dr Rebecca Allen for the Read On. Get On. campaign for all constituencies in England. ‘Reading Well’ in this report is defined as reaching Level 4 at Key Stage 2. ‘Good language development’ is defined as reaching a score of 6 on the Communication, Language and Literacy element of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile at age 5.

19% of children on Free School Meals in the constituency last year (2013)

73% of children on Free School Meals reading well at the age of 11

84% of all children reading well at the age of 11

38% of children on Free School Meals reaching good early language development at age 5

Average progress made by children on Free School Meals at primary school between the ages of 5 and 11 years = 16% improvement in the proportion of children on Free School Meals reading well at 11 between 2003 and 2013

For more information: Hollie Warren, Education Policy Advisor:; Jamilla Hinds-Brough, Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer: Produced by Save the Children for the Read on. Get on. campaign

Monday, 8 December 2014

‘Safe Xmas’ Please think carefully when donating to charity

Haslingden and Hyndburn residents should be careful when giving to charities this Christmas by remembering the ‘Safe Xmas’ acronym developed by the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, and the Fundraising Standards Board, the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising.
Both regulators will also be issuing the advice on social media, which can be found by following #SafeXmas.
Christmas is a traditional time for giving and charities work hard to raise money during this time to fund their work throughout the year. The general public give generously to charity and in a survey of people’s giving habits last Christmas, 85% of people said they give directly to charity at Christmas, donating an average of around £40 to the good causes they care about.*

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The incidence of smoking in Haslingden and Hyndburn is too high.

The incidence of smoking in Haslingden and Hyndburn has been reducing for decades since the first link between smoking and lung cancer was made in the 1950s. Even smokestacks have moderate their consumption; from unfiltered full strength to the modern phenomena of e-cigarettes. 

However detrimental smoking of cigarettes in Hyndburn and East Lancashire has remained far higher than the rest of the UK. Smoking is an addiction which kills one in two long-term users.
According to new research released by Cancer Research UK, the percentage of people smoking in Hyndburn is 30.1%, which is significantly higher than the English average of 19.5%. As smoking causes nearly 1 in 5 cancer cases in the UK, with a higher smoking rate, Hyndburn suffers significantly more smoking-related deaths than the national average, at 413.9 per 100,000 people as opposed to 291.9 per 100,000 across England. 
Of those smoking related cancers, lung cancer in East Lancashire is higher than the national average at 60.6 per 100,000 as opposed to 47 nationally.
Smoking not only curtails the life of its many victims bringing pain and misery but it also hits our local economy and three NHS.
There is some good news in terms of lung cancer survival however, with East Lancashire faring around the national average at 28% compared to 29.4% nationally. 
However I want us to do better, and that means taking active steps to reducing the numbers of people who start smoking – and that means preventing them from starting smoking at a young age. 
8 in 10 smokers starts by the age of 19, which basically means that smoking is an addiction that begins during childhood. 4.5 million smokers in the UK started before the  ae of 16. 
Cigarette advertising on TV was banned in the 1960s, and this marked the beginning of a decline in smoking rates which has continued with billboard and print advertising bans, public smoking bans an point of sale display bans. Indeed it is only with consistent action and progressive tax increases that we see declines in smoking – indeed during the 90s when there was a lull in smoking policies, the rate began to flatten out again.
Clearly information and promotion is one of the key factors which affects smoking rates, which is why I would support the introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes. The evidence from Australia, the country which currently has such rules in place, is increasingly clear. The policy has helped to continue the year-on-year decline in smoking rates in Australia, and it could help in the UK, and particularly in Hyndburn where we have stubbornly high smoking rates.
I accept that there may be unintended consequences though I am not sure to what extent. 
Critics have suggested greater smuggling of illicit, dangerous or more toxic tobacco. That in itself would play in to a criminal element.
None the less I have long believed that standardised packaging should be introduced, and Sir Cyril Chantler's recent independent review has confirmed that this measure would make cigarettes less attractive to young people and help to save lives. The Government's own systematic review in 2012 also concluded that standardised packaging would make smoking less appealing, it would make health warnings more prominent and it would refute the mistaken belief that some brands are healthier than others.

There is a strong consensus in favour of standardised packaging and I for one will be supporting the proposal. The fact that it may not come forward this parliament is a reflection on David Cameron's weakness, given his previous commitments in this matter in that he won't stand upto the tobacco lobby. 

Plain packsMPs demand action over plain cigarette packets' (Obs p6) - The govt is under fire from politicians on all sides amid fears that legislation forcing tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain packs will not be introduced before the general election, writes Doward. MPs from all three main parties, including the Tory chair of the health select committee, have warned time is running out to introduce a law that wld see cigarettes sold in unbranded packs, a measure experts claim wld deter young people from smoking. A delay wld be a major victory for “big tobacco” and trigger questions for the Tories’ chief election strategist, Lynton Crosby, who runs a lobbying firm that represents Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris. Crosby denies influencing tobacco policy. He came under scrutiny last year after advising David Cameron to “get the barnacles off the boat”, urging the PM to focus on core issues that resonated with voters and jettison others that do little for the Tories’ electoral chances. Some Conservatives fear being seen as anti-smoking wld play into the hands of Ukip and have urged the govt to delay the plain packs.LambThis is a landmark public health issue. I want the govt to act while we have time before the election. From a Lib Dem perspective, we want this legislation to go through and that’s what we will fight for. (Obs)