Over the last few weeks the issue of the Oldham Post Office closure has been of the upmost importance in my work. Post Office Ltd are proposing to close our main post office in Oldham and relocate to WH Smith’s.
It’s a nonsense, as anyone who uses the post office will tell you. It’s a busy branch and well used. There is no public interest in closing it, even if it is relocated.
Rest assured, myself and our other local MPs Debbie Abrahams and Angela Rayner are battling to halt this decision, campaigning both here in Parliament.
We recently met with Post Office for what was a positive discussion, but there is a lot of work yet to do in order to save this valued symbol of our community.
I also raised the post office closures in Parliament along with other MPs, as well as writing to the Minister to demand action from her.
A great deal of work is going on in the background, including working in partnership with the Communication and Workers Union (CWU).
It’s going to be a real battle here and in Parliament, but we’re up for the fight – along with close to two thousand residents who have backed our campaign so far! Keep checking my social media for updates and to find out how you can help.
My work in the constituency takes me to many great places, meeting many inspiring people.
In October I was lucky enough to see a performance of Dishoom at the Oldham Coliseum; I met with the Chadderton Home Watch, who are doing important work to assist policing in the area; I heard inspiring stories from recent graduates of our University Campus Oldham; and I met with the ladies of Chadderton who are behind their very own ‘Calendar Girls’, raising funds for Cancer Research. And finally, I enjoyed sharing a pint of ‘Cosmic’ with Brian Cox, a beer by local brewer JW Leeds in honour of our very own top scientist, TV celebrity and much more!
It also an exceptionally busy time in Parliament as, amongst other business, Labour are pushing the Prime Minister to deliver a Brexit deal that works for both our country and communities like Oldham.
It has become quite apparent that so far they are failing to do this, and time is running out to strike the right deal with Brussels.
And yet again the Government have failed to provide any new money to support jobs, business and services in Oldham.
There latest budget showed that austerity – the Government’s harsh programme of cuts – is by no means over, and I made this clear when I spoke in the budget debate.
I also took the opportunity to grill the Prime Minister on the issue of Modern Slavery, which has reared its head in Oldham.
Like a lot of things, her Government have taken their eye off this issue and she failed to answer why this was the case.
At the start of the month Theresa May said that ‘austerity was over’. In Parliament a lot of my time is spent calling on the Government to properly fund our local services – not just here in Oldham, but all across the country.
With my colleague Andrew Gwynne I’ve backed the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign, which exposes the crisis in council finances after £16bn in cuts since 2010 – and warns more councils could go bankrupt. We have seen the real impact of cuts across Oldham and it just cannot go on.
I’ll be pushing for a better deal for our public services in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget.
Parliament debates lots of national issues, but it’s also an opportunity to share the great work going on in Oldham too – which I recently did in the House of Commons.
I have been so impressed at community led clean ups to make the town safe, clean and green for children – genuinely taking back control. Well done to MyColdhurst, Ghazali Trust and others who are showing community action.
In amongst all of the extremely important work, however, meeting with local Labour Party Members was, and always is, a highlight for me.
What I like most about it, apart from catching up with colleagues and friends, is the debate that take place about the local and national issues at play in Oldham. For me, it’s what politics is all about.
Keep checking my Facebook page (facebook.com/jimfromoldham) for regular updates on my work, especially the Oldham Post Office campaign. I look forward to writing again next month!