Thousands sign free parking petition to support Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin in call for change in council policy
It was good to meet the local Chamber of Commerce and hear what local business leaders are saying at the moment.
The major concern is the need to get more spending and more demand into the economy. I would do this by bringing infrastructure projects – like upgrading the A160 – forward and encouraging house building. Another concern is being able to recruit staff with the right skills, now and into the future.
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership asked me to chair its Skills Commission and to speak at a packed event at Forest Pines. My key message was to encourage everyone who has a stake in the Humber – including northern Lincolnshire – to respond to the call for evidence we have made. If we have everyone's energy, ideas and evidence we will have a decent chance of coming up with a report that will help drive the area forward. You can submit your views on www.humberlep.org
I spent a very interesting morning at the Scunthorpe JobCentre doing mock interviews for young jobseekers. I was very impressed with the quality of the people we interviewed. They really shouldn't be job seeking – they should already have a job! Hopefully, our feedback on their interviews and CVs will help them become successful in their search for work. Feeding Britain's Future was another cracking initiative to give jobseekers work experience – I joined the local team at Morrison's to learn more about what retail has to offer as a career. The enthusiasm and professionalism of the staff was infectious.
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Visiting local companies allows me to better represent the interests of local people. I have been reassured with the way Tata has responded to the challenges it faces and so it was not surprising to me that the management and unions agreed a sensible way of dealing with pay negotiations. Nisa-Today is a locally based company continuing to prosper through innovation in these difficult times. And Clugston is continuing to win significant contracts, particularly for biomass builds. Also, smaller family enterprises, like Dandi-Lions in the children's play market and LAS Metals in the recycling business, make a real contribution to the local economy – I visited both of these businesses this month – they were inspiring.
I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Town Team – local people keen to use their energy and enthusiasm to help regenerate Scunthorpe. They need our support and we need their ideas to help take the area forward.
It was good to join Barclays for their Macmillan Coffee Morning and see their million-pound-plus refurbishment providing the very best facilities for Scunthorpe customers. With the town centre so challenged it's good that major businesses are still backing it.
But I would really like to see North Lincolnshire Council backing it as well by giving free car parking for a trial period. This is the shot in the arm that retailers and shoppers need in the run-up to Christmas. So it's not surprising that thousands of people have signed my petition calling on the council to give two hours free parking. Let's hope they are listening and act before it's too late.