I have often talked about how important it is to maintain the identity of our town and to support and build upon the proud and special heritage we have. The reaction to the prospect of Hartlepool United going under has been phenomenal and underlines the point I make.

Hartlepool has a distinct identity, its people are proud of where they come from and they get what I say when I point to the importance of protecting the right to be registered as being born or to die in their home town in the face of diminishing NHS services and they certainly understand that losing Hartlepool United will have a devastating effect on maintaining our identity.

The pressures on the council in light of incessant cuts to budgets is becoming intolerable. Weekly food kitchens are run at three venues together with a Breakfast Club for kids at St Joseph’s and then there’s the Foodbank. Putting it into context, helping to save Hartlepool United may not be a priority to some, but it’s future survival as the ‘Town’s Club’ is vital at a time when we are trying to invest in and regenerate our communities. It is important that we don’t allow ourselves to go backwards and lose one of the biggest historical assets we have.

Hartlepool United is part of our fabric and DNA. It is a great club with an amazing history. We may be non-league right now, but that’s only a blip in my opinion and I’m sure that’s true in the eyes of the thousands of fans who regularly turn out to support them.

This week with my colleague Grahame Morris, I tabled an Early Day Motion to highlight the club’s plight.

I have also written to the council leader urging the council to do all they can to help.

By doing what Hartlepool does best and pulling together we can save the club and forge a great future for the club and the town.

WHEN news broke of the collapse of Carillion, the first thing I checked on was the impact it would have on Hartlepool. Thankfully the direct effects won’t be as bad as some towns, but there will still be individuals within health trusts and Northern Rail that will be affected.

The livelihoods and pensions of workers need protecting and I will be looking to see what measures the Health Trusts and Northern Rail will be taking to protect jobs and services.

THE news that more nurses are leaving the profession then joining, is another massive blow to an NHS in crisis.

But it should come as no surprise to the Government. It was the Tories who scrapped the nurse bursary. What did they think would happen? IT WAS fantastic to meet students from Hartlepool College of FE last week in Westminster. It’s so important that young people engage in politics as has been demonstrated by their engagement in the last election. Long may that be the case, which is always why I have backed the push for the vote to apply to 16-year-olds.

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