WHILE Parliament has been in recess for the party conferences I have been able to spend some time in the constituency dealing with local issues.

One recurring issue is the lack of suitable housing in Warrington, housing which serves the needs of people in the town.

We are desperately short of social housing for rent and starter homes for young people trying to get a foot on the housing ladder.

The result is families crammed into unsuitable accommodation, young people unable to afford a home and older people who can’t find homes suitable for their needs.

The money the Prime Minister announced recently for council housing is nowhere near enough to meet this need nor are local plans for yet more large homes for commuters. Instead, we should be focusing on the housing needs of Warrington people.

Another issue has been the future of our local hospital.

We have recently seen all spinal services suspended and there must be a worry about whether we will get them back.

We have already lost vascular services and there is a real threat that accident and emergency will be downgraded and opening hours reduced.

We need to make sure our hospital remains viable and doesn’t suffer death by a thousand cuts.

At the same time we are told that a new hospital is needed.

It is certainly true that the old buildings are out of date but if we ever get a new hospital it needs to be in a place which can serve both the north and south of the town equally and it has to be accessible by public transport.

In these days of widespread car ownership we tend to forget that not everyone has a car and that, even if they do, may not want to brave cross-town traffic.

My constituency stretches as far as Glazebury and other areas a long way north of the town centre.

People from those areas will not want to travel across town to an area south of the ship canal for treatment and it would make it very difficult for people to visit relatives in hospital.

So I hope that the council and our local health service will bear all this in mind when campaigning for a new hospital.

To get everyone’s support, they need to make sure that it serves the whole town.