I had another discussion with the East Midlands Ambulance Service about their revised proposals on our ambulance stations this week. We have significant progress.
Throughout the campaign, I have argued for three ambulance stations, Worksop, Retford and Gainsborough.
The latter station Gainsborough is vital to Misterton, Walkeringham and Beckingham villages because of the shorter distance to Gainsborough. New documents identify both Worksop and Gainsborough as core ambulance stations to be retained exactly as they are now. This is a major breakthrough.
This leaves Retford and I am being assured that Retford will retain its ambulance station, albeit with ambulance crews having to start their shift from Worksop. I think we can live with that. Maintenance of ambulance vehicles is currently at Alfreton and this will shift nearer.
If this is the final decision, to be made in late March, then our campaign will have been a huge success, as we in Bassetlaw and our ambulance staff would have been properly and fairly listened to. Obviously I will be keeping a keen eye open until the decision is formally made.
I was pleased to receive a letter this week from one of the two people who backed the move to Sutton-in-Ashfield. He conceded that he had got it wrong and thanked the campaigners.
This leaves just a Mr Duveen, a regular writer to this newspaper. Mr Duveen called me a ‘scaremonger’ when I raised the issue of ambulance stations and he was the only person in the consultation meetings to back the plan for zero ambulance stations in Bassetlaw. No doubt he will be issuing a full apology and thanking the people of Bassetlaw for wisely ignoring his terrible advice?
I also trust that Notts County Council, who called for one ambulance station, rather than the three that I now expect to remain, will also rethink their inconsistent advice and back maintaining three ambulance stations. The good people of Bassetlaw saw through this nonsense though, with nearly 20,000 signing the petition uniting with ambulance staff in their opposition. It shows yet again that we have to stand together and argue common sense.
I am again organising my annual Summer School and my annual veterans events. Both are unique in the country and take quite some pulling together.
As well as offering young people the opportunity to be involved in both these events, I take on lots of young people to give them training and work experience for a week or two. It is vital that young people from our area get the best start in life and have their eyes opened to every opportunity. With my hardworking and long suffering staff, I will continue to offer these opportunities to as many of our young people as I can.
My friend Frank Field has initiated more debate about Bulgarians and Romanians coming into the UK from January. If they have skills in areas that we need I welcome this, but it is not in the UK national interest to have people coming here without work or undercutting local pay. I view the agencies employing Eastern Europeans as dangerous. I would ban them and outlaw all ways in which pay levels can be undercut.
I questioned the former economist of the bosses organisation, the CBI last week and employers still want cheap labour. It’s about time we rejected the logic of low pay and an ever increasing population. I welcome diversity in our population, but not at the expense of local people losing their job because of wage undercutting.