Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.
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Last week the European Referendum Bill was once again voted on in Parliament and I stayed in London to try and ensure that it succeeded.

This is the second time this Bill has been heard after Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted it out last time.

Fortunately this time it was voted through to the next stage, the Committee State, and I am pleased to say that I will be on this committee which will steer the Bill through to its next stages.

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that a referendum is set in stone. However it is definitely a move in the right direction and I will do everything I can over the coming weeks and months to ensure that we finally do get a say on our future relationship with Europe.

While in Parliament I also had the opportunity to raise the difficulties we are experiencing with telephone lines and superfast broadband. As some of you may recall recently I was contacted by residents of the Moor Hospital Development and other developments with regards to the delays they had experienced in getting telephone lines fitted.

Although I understand that problems at the Moor Hospital site have been overcome I still think that telephone lines should be treated in the same way as other utilities but I welcome the promises ministers have received from BT of more Openreach engineers to carry out this work.

However I think it may well eventually have to become a planning regulation provision, if we are to ensure all new properties have a built in internet connection.

Finally I just wanted to give a quick mention about the Big Lottery Fund which this year marked its tenth anniversary.

Over the last decade this fund has awarded nearly £6 billion to various charities and community groups across the country. I am pleased to say that here in Lancaster and Fleetwood we have seen our fair share with over £81,000 being awarded in the last five months, with the latest awards going to Fairfield Association to make improvements to a children’s play area and Forton Village Hall to replace their existing play area.