Guest columnist: Looking forward to another busy and exciting year for Bassetlaw

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

Happy new year to all readers of the Worksop Guardian.

There are already a large number of events locally that I am looking forward to this year, as well as important issues to come in Parliament.

I have been in contact with local churches, schools and groups – and equivalent groups and politicians in the USA - to ensure that we make the most of the anniversary in 2020 of 400 years since the Bassetlaw pilgrims sailed from England and arrived in America.

A lot of the preparation work will take place this year in the build up to an exciting year for our area, with a lot of international attention to be expected.

Every year I organise Bassetlaw’s veterans’ event.

Last year 130 veterans came together to catch up and share memories in the magnificent surroundings of Titchfield Library on the Welbeck Abbey Estate.

If you did not receive an invitation last year please email me at mannj@parliament.uk or call 01909506200 and I will ensure that you are invited this year.

All veterans who are my constituents are welcome.

A key issue over the coming year will be housing and locally there is a great call for building new bungalows for pensioners.

There is a lot of logic to this.

New bungalows can be built with solar panels meaning that they are extremely cheap to heat and can be adapted for individual needs.

Allowing pensioners to move into more suitable accommodation in the form of new bungalows also frees up older, three-bedroom houses for families.

Demand would be very high and Bassetlaw should lead the way.

At the end of last year, 21st Century Fox, the US-based media giant that is owned and run by Rupert Murdoch and his family, announced a takeover bid for Sky television.

The domination of our media by one or two people is something that I know many people in Bassetlaw are concerned about as they have contacted me and shared their views on this issue.

I agree that we need more diversity in our media, not less, and that is why I back the calls to have the decision on whether to allow the takeover to go ahead to be referred to the independent regulator and not have it waved through by the Government.

Many of us have a bank account that we think is free and that the service we rely on daily doesn’t cost us anything.

However, the Treasury has recently released figures that show 3.7 million of us in the UK don’t have a fee-free basic bank account.

More than 3.6 million of those are customers of Lloyds Banking Group and it’s simply not good enough that a bank that had to be bailed out by the taxpayer s is not doing more for its customers.

I have called on the Chancellor and the Financial Conduct Authority to fine Lloyds a percentage of its profits until it has taken the necessary steps for all its customers.