We need to protect our town centres

John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3b)
John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3b)

I was contacted by a pensioner in his 80s who was fiddled out of £940 by a mobility company.

The company cold called him and bullied him into paying whilst they were inside his home.

We took up the case and Trading Standards agreed to help.

As a consequence the two crooks have been prosecuted and on 4 January one was jailed for 5 years and one for 18 months.

Whenever anyone is cold called in this way and they are being pressured into purchasing goods then they should seek assistance before they hand over any money or sign any papers, and my office is a good place to start.

We have developed a good track record on this kind of case and it is important that justice is done.

Where possible we also get the money back.

All too often people do not complain because they feel foolish, but I strongly urge you to do so.

If we can successfully prosecute these people then we can stop the scam and perhaps recover your money.

I am researching a piece of work on the world’s biggest banks.

What is extraordinary is that it looks like a majority of them have been convicted recently of fraud and money laundering.

What other industry could survive with its leading lights found guilty of criminal acts in this way?

It puts into context our efforts to regulate the banks.

It is high time that those who run our banks are prosecuted because of their bank’s involvement in fraud.

I keep warning about the future of the High Street across England and the Government keeps turning a deaf ear to my calls.

Jessop’s photographers went bust last week and now HMV have followed.

I fear that there will be quite a lot more well-known names who either go under or who close down lots of their stores.

This creates a big dilemma for everyone wanting to see Town Centres survive as places to go and shop.

The shift to online shopping has hardly begun and we can undoubtedly expect more estate agents and solicitors to exit High Streets in the future and do far more work by telephone and internet.

There will be others who open new market opportunities- a Costa coffee is opening soon at Retford railway station for example, but our town centres will undoubtedly shrink.

I think the Government needs to rethink the whole system of taxation for small businesses and work out how we can maintain a good combination of local ownership and consumer choice.