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Gordon has said it would be completely wrong of the Government to close the Veterans UK base at Norcross – a move that could impact on hundreds of local jobs.Gordon_Commons_1.jpg

The Government have announced their intention to shut 91 MOD sites but it has been met by strong opposition from Gordon and the PCS Union. He met with PCS campaigners in Parliament to discuss the potential impact and said it was more about meeting cut targets rather than supporting veterans.

Gordon, who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Veterans said: “This is a real problem because the figures show that the Government’s plans could result in 376 job losses at Tomlinson House. These are good quality jobs in Blackpool and across the Fylde which we cannot afford to lose. The Government have done no assessment on what impact the closure and job losses of this scale will have on local areas like ours.

“Their intention to shut Veterans UK at Tomlinson House is more driven by an arbitrary cuts target rather than what is best to help our veterans. The staff at Norcross provide specialist support for thousands of ex-service personnel on a wide range of welfare related issues and that’s why it would be completely wrong to close it.”

Gordon added: “I have also raised my concerns with our Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith, who raised it in a Commons debate on the Armed Forces Covenant in which I spoke.”

Speaking in the debate, she said: “I am concerned that one of the sites that has been earmarked for closure is the Defence Business Services in Blackpool, which houses Veterans UK. All we are told in the Government’s publication is that the site will be replaced by a “Government Hub” in the North West. If that ends up being beyond a reasonable commuting distance – for example Manchester – we risk losing experienced staff who have an expertise in supporting our veterans.”

At the back end of last year Gordon held an Armed Forces Roundtable, which looked at the welfare of veterans and the types of support available for ex-service personnel.

Closure of MOD offices at Norcross would be “completely wrong” says Gordon

Gordon has said it would be completely wrong of the Government to close the Veterans UK base at Norcross – a move that could impact on hundreds of local jobs....

Gordon has highlighted the current strife between the owners and supporters of Blackpool FC during a debate in Parliament on reform of the Football Association.FA_Debate_1.jpg

He spoke in a debate which was set up following concerns over how the game was being run. Gordon said that Blackpool supporters had been failed by the FA following the turmoil at Bloomfield Road and called for supporters to have a more meaningful say in the running of the game.

He said: “Football clubs are more than just private assets and they should be run in the best interests of the community and supporters deserve greater power and influence in how they are run. That’s why I backed Clive Efford’s Private Members Bill which looked at this very issue and why I am calling for greater fan representation on the FA council.”

Directly talking about Bloomfield Road, he added: “Blackpool has always had a proud history, from the 1953 FA Cup Final to Jimmy Armfield who is recognised internationally, and all the way through to Cinderella story in 2010 and it was a very proud moment to join tens of thousands on the prom. But sadly over the last few years the situation at Blackpool has led to thousands of supporters boycotting.

During his speech, he also referenced the legal action the club’s owners had taken against supporters, which he explained had made the situation “far, far more difficult.”

In the debate, Gordon quoted a letter from Steve Rowland, chairman of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, who said the FA was “supposedly the over-arching guardian of the game” but over the last number of years clubs had too often become a “money-spinning business venture".

The debate ended with the Commons passing a vote of no confidence in the FA.

Gordon highlights strife between Blackpool FC fans and owners in Parliament debate on FA Reform

Gordon has highlighted the current strife between the owners and supporters of Blackpool FC during a debate in Parliament on reform of the Football Association. He spoke in a debate...

Gordon has praised the work of local Armed Forces champions, past and present in a House of Commons debate on the Armed Forces Covenant. Gordon_Commons_1.jpg

He touched on the work of the late Marton Councillor Jim Houldsworth, who he said was “instrumental” in Blackpool signing up to the Covenant. Gordon also praised the work of the town’s current Forces Champion Councillor Chris Ryan for “actively” continuing this work.

He said: “Blackpool has a proud tradition of supporting the Forces and in 2011 we were the first town in the North West to sign up to the Covenant. People like the late Jim Houldsworth deserve an enormous amount of credit and I am also proud of our current Forces Champion Chris Ryan, who is carrying on this important work across the town.”

Gordon, who is also Labour’s Shadow Skills and Apprenticeships Minister used the debate on the Covenant to challenge the Government to give more support for skills and training that enables for those leaving the force to make their way transition back to civilian life. This was one of the main points of discussion at his second local Blackpool and Fylde Armed Forces Roundtable held at Holy Trinity in South Shore just before Remembrance Day in November.

He said: “There are many leaving the armed forces now at a younger age, in many cases having experienced very traumatic circumstances. However, they do not always find that the skills or qualifications that they have gained in the forces are being readily recognised in civvy street.”

Gordon urged the Government to look at this and cited the Annual Covenant Report for 2016 which quoted statistics showing that leaving age veterans had shown there was a “low satisfaction” with the training and skills transition available for people making the transition from the Forces to civilian life.

He added: “I speak not only as a local MP, but as the Shadow Minister for Skills on this situation. We are not doing justice to our troops and armed services if they leave with qualifications and skills that cannot be easily transferable.”

Speaking after the debate Gordon added: “I was glad to have been able to speak about Blackpool's proud record in supporting veterans and our Armed Forces over recent years. The fact that our next Mayor, Ian Coleman, has been the President of our Royal British Legion Club raising £137, 500 for them for 26 years with his annual Poppython which I have supported exemplifies that record.

“The Government needs to do its part though by beefing up skills and training support for service leavers and intervening actively to protect the personal support and advice that veterans charities give but which is now at risk. The recent decision by Combat Stress to withdraw such support is very worrying and as Chair of Parliament's all party Veterans Group I will continue to press both the Veterans Minister and Theresa May to live up to their responsibilities in this area.”

 

 

 

Gordon praises Blackpool Armed Forces Support and demands Government focus on skills support in Commons Veterans debate

Gordon has praised the work of local Armed Forces champions, past and present in a House of Commons debate on the Armed Forces Covenant. He touched on the work of...

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