Letter from Parliament - Paul Rowen MP

September 16, 2008 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Putting Rochdale FIRST!The big news this week both nationally and internationally has been the failure of another large American bank and the effect that has had on the financial markets. It affects all of us not just because of the job losses but the knock on in terms of getting mortgages and people's pension schemes. Many pension funds here and elsewhere invest in these banks. Vince Cable MP, our Treasury Spokesperson, has been warning for years that the credit bubble cannot last and will ultimately come to grief - how right he has been proved!

This week at my Party's Conference in Bournemouth we have been discussing and suggesting solutions for some of these problems. We all know that fuel has gone up 35% this year and food 10%. Everyone is feeling the pinch and the government needs to recognise that. That is why I have been delighted by the stance of our energetic new leader Nick Clegg, who has called for fairness in our tax system with a 4p cut in the basic rate of income tax. This is coupled with the closure of loop holes for the rich in capital gains. Is it right that a cleaner pays more tax proportionally than her employer? I think not! Meanwhile the Government seem racked in endless leadership infighting. People will not forget that when the time comes.

Last week I attended the launch of "Yes" to the TIF bid at the Centre of Diversity. I was delighted to see Council Leader Alan Taylor there as well as STORM campaigner John Murray. Everyone in the borough will get a vote at the beginning of December and I would encourage everyone to get involved in the debate. Nearly 30% of people in Rochdale do not have a car and they, and all those who use a bus or a train, will be better off. I was pleased that the Rochdale Labour Party sent a representative, showing that this is not a political campaign.

Following that and a surgery, I travelled down to Bournemouth to speak at the Retired Police Officer's Conference. There was a strong contingent from Greater Manchester, including a former officer from Smithybridge. Pay and Pensions as well as Policing generally were the big issues which we discussed.

On Friday I will be attending the opening of the new Sparth footbridge in Sparth. Three years ago as Council Leader I backed St. Vincents working in the Sparth area with local people. Their work is now coming to an end, though I would want to pay tribute to the work they have done. I also met representatives from the Charity Commission to discuss how we can get more voluntary groups including churches, chapels and mosques to register as a charity. The charitable work they do is eligible for gift aid up to 20% of what people donate. If anyone would like more details please contact my office.

This weekend I am attending the third UN Peace Day in Rochdale, very well organised by John Farrington, Steve Cooke and his team. I have been able to get John Cushanan, the former leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland to run one workshop on Conflict Resolution. It starts with the traditional Parade and two minutes' silence for all those killed during conflicts at the Cenotaph. There is a large range of activities including five a side football tournament, poetry and cookery competitions and much more. If you get time then do come along - you will enjoy it.