The newly opened shop selling so called ‘legal highs’ in Worksop has provoked outrage in the town, and rightly so.
Its dark windows look sinister to many but they are also an invitation to those inquisitive characters who believe that because the substances are described as ‘legal’ they are also safe. This is not the case, as legal highs can be very dangerous.
I am happy to promote good local businesses - I congratulated MBA Polymers last month for winning a global sustainability award - but this is not the sort of business that Worksop needs.
The county council has reacted well by sending their trading standards team to seize 400 packs of psychoactive substances for testing, as reported on the Worksop Guardian’s front page last week. I have long warned about the dangers of legal highs, and have called for a crackdown in Parliament.
The Government refuses to take the simple step I have suggested which would see an end to shops selling legal highs. Currently, these shops do not require a licence to sell the substances, and so the council’s options are very limited. The council should be given the power to grant licences for shops selling legal highs, meaning that they could simply refuse to allow shops like ‘Bing Bong’ to set up in Worksop by not issuing a licence. The Home Office recently indicated that it did not intend to start regulating or licensing the sale of legal highs, and this is a grave mistake. I will continue to work to achieve a commonsense solution to these unwelcome shops.
I have been contacted by constituents who work at Thoresby Colliery who have been told that they may lose their jobs sooner rather than later. Only last November George Osborne visited the pit to announce that he would give in to my campaign and return the Concessionary Fuel Allowance to the former miners who had previously received it. He also said that the pit should stay open. He was happy to be there with good news to deliver but his absence is very noticeable now.
The loan to keep the colliery open until next year is a temporary and inadequate measure, and the Government has to step up with a stronger proposal. The loss of so many jobs is by itself enough of a reason to do so, but the issue goes further than that.
The German Government has opened new coal pits and continues to invest in its coal industry because it shrewdly knows that it is dangerous to rely on other countries for energy. With relations with Russia deteriorating quickly, our own Government would do well to follow suit.