Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 09 October

As the largest manufacturing base in the UK, the North West is still below its 2008 peak in manufacturing output, and the Government should be doing more to support this vital sector. I was disappointed to see UK factory output come to a standstill in August in a further reminder that the economic recovery is still largely a London-driven phenomenon and not a story that the whole country is sharing.

The “march of the makers” that George Osborne promised some years back has not got anywhere near full stride yet and we need a proper industrial strategy in order to build greater momentum. 

I’m very clear that Rochdale’s fortunes are tied up in manufacturing and I want to see the good manufacturing businesses we already have grow stronger as well as support new businesses and encourage greater investment in our town. 

I always enjoy meeting local businesses and I was pleased to recently help Rothwells celebrate their diamond birthday. I also met with Hanson Springs and with many other local businesses at the recent Rochdale business exhibition at the Town Hall. There’s a great entrepreneurial spirit in our town that we must support and encourage to build further prosperity and well-paid jobs.

As I write voters will be heading to the ballot box in the Heywood and Middleton by-election. I’ve been over to help campaign on several occasions now and I’m confident that Labour’s Liz McInnes will be elected as the successor to Jim Dobbin. Even so, I think one of the discussion points from this by-election, which cannot be ignored, has to be the rise of UKIP.

It may not make much sense for a party which includes Neil Hamilton among its leading lights, a man who came to epitomise corruption in the last Conservative Government and is chiefly remembered for taking a £30,000 bribe, to pitch itself as against the Westminster establishment, but they’ve had some success on this front.

That’s simply because there is a real anti-London, anti-Westminster mood forming in many parts of the country and I’ve felt it for some time. You only had to hear the way Alex Salmond spat out the word “Westminster’ in the Scottish referendum recently to realise how the mood has changed.​

I understand this and realise we’ve got to get Westminster working for the whole country and break down the sense of remoteness that has come to define aspects of our democracy. It’s a challenge I relish.

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