Cat Smith

Working for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Cat on Facebook Cat on Twitter

Recovering After the Flood - City & Countryside

  Over the past week I have continued to work on the process of cleaning up after the floods and power loss we experienced across the Lancaster district. I was very grateful to Jenny Walmsley who chairs the Caton-with-Littledale parish council and to John Taylor from the local National Farmers Union for introducing me to local people, farms and businesses who have been affected by the flooding. I’ll continue to work to support everyone and will be asking challenging questions going forward. Continue reading

Small Business Saturday 2015

On Saturday morning I visited small businesses in Lancaster as part of Small Business Saturday. I did my bit too by picking up the first few items of my Christmas shopping for family and friends. And given what happened on Saturday night our small businesses will be needing your support more than ever. We need a strong local economy in order to have a strong local community. The New Economics Foundation calculates that every pound spent with a local business is worth £1.76 to the local economy, while on the other hand every pound spent with an out of area business is only worth 36p. Continue reading

Government U-Turn on Tax Credits & Police Budget cautiously welcomed

The details of today's Comprehensive Spending Review will still be emerging, but I welcome any u-turn George Osborne is willing to make on cuts to tax credits and policing budgets which have been key campaigns I have been fighting over the past weeks and months. Sadly those on Universal Credit will still see their living standards squeezed and, after we have already lost 17,000 police officers, no further cuts to policing means little to those police staff who have lost their jobs already. In addition deep cuts are being made to many departments that will have harmful consequences. Cuts to the Department of Transport and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example, will have a detrimental impact on services and jobs locally. Continue reading

Campaigning for Better Broadband in Wyre

One of the things that is raised with me, in every part of the Lancaster and Fleetwood  constituency, but particularly in rural areas and Over Wyre, is the frustrations many people  have with unreliable or non-existent broadband access. The importance of broadband to  households and businesses cannot be overestimated. In this day and age many deem it as  essential as water, gas or electricity.  Where broadband access is poor it holds back our communities economically and socially.  Many of you may not know that 4% of Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency experiences  slow connections of less than 2 Mb/s, which is a percentage above the national average. Continue reading

Fleetwood Update: Trams, voluntary sector, shop local & police cuts

Thank you to everyone who emailed me or wrote on my Facebook page with suggestions for what you’d like to ask David Cameron at Prime Ministers’ Questions last week. I asked about a change in the law to mean that pensioners’ concessionary travel to include trams. Whilst the answer was disappointing I will continue campaigning on this issue in Westminster. Continue reading

Engaging Young People in Politics

This week I have had some fantastic meetings with young people in the constituency; I always enjoy visiting schools and youth groups to talk about what an MP does and who I am but this week they were particularly rewarding experiences. First I was invited to Christ Church Primary School to help announce the results from the school elections. The six boys and six girls who were elected as school councillors will serve for the next year, working together for better school community. School councils are a really great way to teach children about the role they can play in democracy and a practical way to explore the issues of pledges, accountability and representation. A great many children stood for election and well done to every single one of them, I know they all put a lot of effort into it, and congratulations to the new school council. Continue reading

Opposing the Anti-Trade Union Bill

This week in Westminster I have voted against the Trade Union Bill which was brought forward by the government as a divisive piece of legislation which puts to bed any notion that the Government is taking a one nation approach. This Bill is the most significant, sustained and partisan attack on the trade union movement in a generation. The key measures in the Bill which have been widely reported in the media include a 50% turnout threshold in all strike ballots and a 40% affirmative vote of all those entitled to vote in ‘important’ public services. What is less reported is the human rights implications. Continue reading

Still Boiling Water

Like many of you, I am wondering just how much longer I’ll have to keep boiling the kettle in order to drink the water. Last week, I took my questions, and many of yours, to the United Utilities headquarters in Warrington to put them directly to the Chief Exec Steve Mogford. Continue reading

Voting Against the Whip on the Welfare Bill Was a Hard Decision, But the Right One

I don't believe any MP wants to break their party's whip, so it was with a heavy heart that last night I joined 47 other Labour colleagues in breaking the Labour whip to vote against the Tory Government’s welfare bill. This was my first vote against the whip, and it was a decision I thought long and hard about, but it was the right one. Continue reading

Save the Knott End NatWest

Since the news that NatWest Bank have decided to close their Knott End branch the community has really come together to fight it. Local people have given up their own time to run petitions, online groups, and have even grabbed national newspaper headlines with the Save Our Bank campaign. The strength of feeling really shows; this is the bank many of you have used all your life, the bank you use for your small business, and the bank you had hoped would serve our Over Wyre community for many years to come. It seems that although the bonuses are back for the bankers in The City, in our rural part of North Lancashire there is nothing to celebrate. Continue reading