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Gordon sent open letter to the Football Supporters Federation and Blackpool Supporters Trust ahead of the Judgement Day 3 march prior to yesterday's game between Blackpool and Leyton Orient. You can read the letter in full below.

To the supporters of Blackpool Football Club and Leyton Orient Football Club,

I am sorry I can’t be with you in person today but I applaud supporters from both clubs and others uniting here in Blackpool to tell the FA and club owners that fans must have a more meaningful say in the running of their clubs.

In Parliament over the past two years as Blackpool South’s MP and also here in Blackpool directly I have been making that point directly that fans should be represented on football club boards and their supporter groups should be represented on the FA.

I was glad to sign the recent motion that was tabled in Parliament which highlighted the situation at Leyton Orient. It touched on the bigger issues that have played out here in Blackpool and at Bloomfield Road with the conflict between the fans and the owners.

Both Leyton and Blackpool fans are right to feel let down and frustrated. At last year’s protest here I said “now was the time for supporters to be given a proper and more meaningful say in the running of their local clubs”. It’s why I supported my colleague Labour MP Clive Efford and his proposals in Parliament to bring in legislation that would give groups like the Blackpool Supporters Trust and the Football Supporters Federation greater powers and influence on how their clubs is run.

It’s very disappointing that Ministers in Theresa May’s Government have failed to take up these proposals. But there was nothing to stop Blackpool’s owners taking up those proposals. They haven’t done so. Instead of recognising the Blackpool Supporters Trust at the table, they’ve self-selected fans reps – which is why both I and Jimmy Armfield, a football legend and civic hero in this town, refused to be associated with that move.

Both Blackpool and Leyton Orient supporters it seems to me have been let down by the Football Association as well. In February this year I highlighted our problems here at Bloomfield Road in a debate organised by Parliament criticising the FA. I told the debate covering football matters and the Minister that defamation and libel cases pursued against Blackpool’s supporters by the club’s owners had made the situation more difficult. But also to make the point again for supporters to be given greater powers and influence in the running of their local club. I said that football clubs are more than simply private assets – something which dozens of Blackpool fans who have written to me have underlined.

Blackpool FC’s proud history – from Stanley Matthews and the Coronation Year Cup Final running through to our Cinderella story through to Premiership status in 2010 – where along with thousands on the Prom, I cheered the winning team on its return home – shows our club and others deserves better.

I’ve also been a member of Parliament’s Supporters Group and followed up that debate with challenging the FA’s representatives on their failure to act. I repeated the need for them to take a lead and press clubs to get their supporter groups on board literally. I’ll continue to do so and support the legitimate demands of fans.

Good luck today in your dignified protest.

Gordon Marsden now Labour Party candidate for Blackpool South

Gordon's open letter to football supporters on Judgement Day 3 march

Gordon sent open letter to the Football Supporters Federation and Blackpool Supporters Trust ahead of the Judgement Day 3 march prior to yesterday's game between Blackpool and Leyton Orient. You...

Gordon has been off to a local Blackpool bookies for a flutter in aid of a worthy cause – in this case a visit to William Hill’s on Whitegate Drive in support of a charity event for the Bobby Moore Fund which supports research and trials for bowel cancer.Gordon_Marsden_MP_shop_visit.jpg

He was there for “Football Shirt Friday” which promoted William Hill’s nationwide sponsorship of the charity where employees and customers donated money to wear a club shirt of their choice wfor the day.

The £50 charity bet by Gordon was placed on Lancashire County Cricket Club to win the Division 1 County Championship at 7/1. It was a “win-win” situation – all winnings from the bet going to the Bobby Moore Fund if Lancashire win and a £50 donation if they don’t.

Gordon said: “It was good to have a flutter on Lancashire – especially since they’re back at the Blackpool Cricket Club on May 12th for a one day match, which is excellent for us and the club. But I was also pleased to show my support for the Bobby Moore Fund initiative.

“Watching him on TV leading England out to victory in the 66 World Cup final was a vivid childhood memory. He was such an iconic and glamorous figure from the 60s and his early death from this awful disease meant that I was very happy to support this charity drive to combat it.

“I was also pleased to have a chance to chat to staff and learn more about their responsible gambling initiative, including self-exclusion options, and on their own initiatives in the local community including working with the “Mereside MAFIA” project nearby supported by local councillors Luke Taylor and Adrian Hutton, which I’ve also backed to improve the recreational facilities on the estate.”

 

Gordon has flutter at local bookies in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund

Gordon has been off to a local Blackpool bookies for a flutter in aid of a worthy cause – in this case a visit to William Hill’s on Whitegate Drive...

Gordon has responded to the latest set of unemployment figures commenting that they did not match Theresa May’s rhetoric of “a Government working for everyone”.

He said: "The latest statistics show that we are the 13th worst area in the country for unemployment. At present 6.7% of people in Blackpool South are in receipt of JSA - way above the UK average of 2.6%. 

"The picture around youth unemployment is not much better with very little change from the last month with only five less people on JSA. 6.5% of all 18 to 24 year-olds locally are claiming JSA or not in work and claiming Universal Credit. This is compared to the North West average which sits at 3.6% and the national average of 2.9%.

"This is very disappointing and shows that Theresa May’s rhetoric about “a Government working for everyone” does not match the reality. They desperately lacks a plan for creating well paid and high skilled jobs and as a consequence, the living standards of people of all ages in Blackpool are worsening under the Tories."

 

Gordon responds to unemployment figures for March 2017

Gordon has responded to the latest set of unemployment figures commenting that they did not match Theresa May’s rhetoric of “a Government working for everyone”. He said: "The latest statistics show...

Gordon has launched his local hero awards for 2017 but this year with a “Cleaner Greener” twist.Poster_JPEG.jpg

Gordon, who last year launched his “Cleaner Greener Blackpool” initiative at the Solaris Centre is looking for “Cleaner, Greener Champions” that should be awarded for their efforts in keeping the town clean and green. The awards will be presented by Gordon and another special guest at the Solaris on Friday 14th July from 3.30pm.

He said: “In the 20 years I have been the MP, I have always found it important to recognise the work being done by many people to improve the community. Because of the “Cleaner Greener Blackpool” campaign we launched last spring, I thought it would be a good opportunity to launch my local hero awards again but this time with a cleaner, greener twist.

“Blackpool is generally a very dense urban area but we are fortunate to be blessed with some great green spaces, which act as the lungs of our town – Stanley Park, the Moss and Marton Mere are just some of the places we have on our doorstep. These awards are about recognising those who go above and beyond in protecting our green spaces and also more broadly championing green initiatives and causes in the town.”

If you know a person, group or organisation that is deserving of such an award, you can nominate them in one of the six categories: 1) Green Business, 2) Green Activists/Community Groups, 3) Green Volunteer
4) Young Green Champion (24 and younger), 5) Green Educational Institution, 6) Green Hero (someone who has been excellently green and gone above and beyond to help improve the community). They must either live or operate in the Blackpool South parliamentary constituency.

Nomination forms can be collected from Gordon’s constituency office at 304 Highfield Road, Blackpool, FY4 3JX, Solaris Centre and other venues. They must be submitted NO later than Wednesday 31st May. For more information contact Kirsty Squibb on kirsty.squibb@parliament.uk or call 01253 344143. Alternatively you can download a form by clicking here.

 

Gordon on the search for Blackpool’s “Cleaner Greener Champions”

Gordon has launched his local hero awards for 2017 but this year with a “Cleaner Greener” twist. Gordon, who last year launched his “Cleaner Greener Blackpool” initiative at the Solaris...

Gordon has met with those opposing fracking on the Fylde Coast at the Preston New Road site to show his support and hear their concerns. Fracking_3.jpg

He spoke with a number of local protesters and talked to them about the environmental and economical threats posed by fracking to the area, who told him they were being "ignored" by the Government.

Gordon said: "I wanted to go down to the site on Preston New Road to see for myself what was happening – there were lots of drivers beeping their support in opposition to what Cuadrilla are doing.

"It is completely wrong of the Government to ignore local democracy and the wishes of people in Lancashire by allowing Cuadrilla to frack despite the strong opposition to it. Local people said no and I hope the judicial review strongly consider this and the original decision made by the county council’s planning committee."

Gordon has also backed the calls made by Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, for the Government to meet the costs of policing the protests as it was them who overturned the Council’s original decision to refuse fracking on the Fylde.

He said: "It is absurd, on the back of the revelation that it is costing Lancashire Police £450,000 a month to cover Cuadrilla's operations, to expect local council tax payers, including Blackpool ones, to pick up the tab for Cuadrilla's fracking.

"Local Government Ministers should stop passing the buck - the Government caused this situation by overruling a local democratic decision, and they should meet the costs.

"There is also a long standing precedent that organisations whose activities demand a heavy or sustained police presence should contribute financially to the cost of the operation - football grounds on match days for instance. Cuadrilla should be contributing to the policing costs - and the Government and Lancashire Police should call on them to do so.

"Cuadrilla and their associates are spraying thousands of pounds around in PR activities frantically trying to persuade people of the value of their operations. They should be chipping in to relieve the costs to the police and to council taxpayers across Lancashire."

Gordon meets with Fracking protesters to hear concerns - “Government and Cuadrilla should foot the Policing Bill”.

Gordon has met with those opposing fracking on the Fylde Coast at the Preston New Road site to show his support and hear their concerns. He spoke with a number...

Gordon has urged the Government to put far more emphasis on the importance of skills and training in the visitor and tourism economy in Blackpool and other holiday destinations - especially given the challenges of Brexit and changes in job routes over the next 10 years.National_Tourism_Week.jpg

Speaking as the host of the Tourism Alliance's Parliamentary reception for English Tourism Week, Gordon, who is also national President of the organisation British Destinations as well as co-chair of Parliament's Tourism Group, cited Blackpool (which was included in the accompanying video shown to the 200+ attendees at the reception) as an example of increasing visitor reach and regeneration.

He mentioned Blackpool's achievements such as the 5 million passengers achievement on the new look tramway and the makeover of the Tower and the Winter Gardens - with the bids for a new museum/ heritage attraction and the Conference extension for which £3 million of Coastal Community award funding was confirmed today.

But he warned that the Government were still undervaluing the contribution the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors and the service sector in general could make to new jobs, skills and apprenticeships in places like Blackpool and in the overall economy. He said it was worrying that of the 15 routes to work the Government had announced in its new Skills Plan from April this year, only 4 of them were in the service sector and warned

“There is a double whammy coming down the line - the loss of thousands of jobs and apprenticeships in manufacturing , both traditional and hi- tech , to an automation and robotics revolution - which will make the expanded demand for skills in the service sector - tourism , hospitality , health and social care much more crucial in our economy. And the likely loss of tens if not hundreds of thousands of skilled EU workers from the service sector post Brexit, will make increasing support and funding for more home grown skills and apprenticeships in Blackpool and elsewhere , even more urgent.”

Gordon has at the same time set out a five point plan as Labour's Shadow Skills Minister, to help expand those skills and apprenticeships. Speaking at the annual FE Week Apprenticeships Conference in Birmingham, these steps included, setting targets to expand access to apprenticeships for armed forces leavers, care leavers and people with disabilities.

Giving apprentices’ increased financial support for travel to work and study places - citing current evidences that they’re spending at least a quarter of their wages on transport.

Expanding pre- apprentice traineeships to give “hundreds of thousands of young people more chance to get more apprenticeships, especially in the service sector. In a 21st century where new ways of imagining and creative, menacing skills will be crucial to their life chances and the U.K.'s success in the world economy”.

 

Expanding service sector skills crucial to jobs post Brexit, Gordon warns

Gordon has urged the Government to put far more emphasis on the importance of skills and training in the visitor and tourism economy in Blackpool and other holiday destinations -...

Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgery this Friday (31st March).

This will take place from 4.00pm to around 5.30pm at his Constituency Office, 304 Highfield Road, Blackpool, FY4 3JX.

Appointments are required and can be made by either calling 01253 344143 or emailing gordonmarsdenmp@parliament.uk

Gordon's next Advice Surgery - Friday 31st March

Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgery this Friday (31st March). This will take place from 4.00pm to around 5.30pm at his Constituency Office, 304 Highfield Road,...

Gordon has met with apprentices at BAE Systems at the new Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Samlesbury as part of his work countrywide for National Apprenticeships Week.BAE_1.jpg

He was taken around the £15.3 million state of the art training centre adjacent to BAE’s Warton base which only opened last December, by David Holmes, BAE’s Manufacturing Operations Director.

Gordon, who is also Labour's Shadow Skills Minister, was shown the cutting edge facilities which mirror the factory layouts at BAE systems and uses the latest technologies in advance manufacturing - including robotics, 3D printing and a virtual reality “cave”, which Gordon experienced for himself, which allows the user in a virtual aeroplane environment to explore and solve problems.

He then had a Q&A session with a group of apprentices both male and female doing a variety of different courses run by the company. A full-size Hawk Jet was also on display at the academy to show the apprentices what they can also aspire to.

He said: “It is an exciting time to be a BAE apprentice with the training and opportunities available to them at the academy. From chatting to some of the apprentices, it is clear that they are getting an all-around experience with a combination of theoretical and practical skills on their courses.

“Both as Shadow Skills Minister but also as a Lancashire MP for nearly 20 years, I have always known how committed BAE has been to education and learning. But also how they and the businesses locally as part of their supply chain, are crucial to offering good jobs and careers to people in Blackpool and the on Fylde Coast.

“This significant investment in the academy at the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone further demonstrates this commitment to skills and training for the next generation, as well as their involvement with both Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and also the Local Enterprise Partnership.”BAE_2.jpg

Gordon, who has been taking through the new Technical and Further Education Bill for Labour in Parliament, explained one of the company’s successes over the years had been training surplus apprentices which meant other companies in the wider supply chain and sector had the skills they needed in the long term.

In 2017, BAE, will take on 574 apprentices across the country, one in five of whom will be in Lancashire and many of them studying for an academic qualification one day a week alongside their apprenticeship. This allowed them to gain a university-equivalent degree in a specific specialism.

Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director at BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said: "We were delighted to welcome Gordon to our new Academy for Skills & Knowledge and to introduce him to many of our apprentices who represent some of the brightest and best in Lancashire.

"BAE Systems has a proud pedigree of developing young talent through our apprenticeship programme and our investment in world-class facilities at the Academy shows our commitment to continuing this work."

 

Gordon visits BAE Skills and Knowledge Academy in Samlesbury for National Apprenticeships Week

Gordon has met with apprentices at BAE Systems at the new Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Samlesbury as part of his work countrywide for National Apprenticeships Week. He was...

Gordon has described the Chancellor's Spring Budget as a "sticking plaster" and "short on detail".

Speaking after the Philip Hammond's announcement, he said few people in Blackpool would be cheering the increases in National Insurance Contributions for self employed people, a measure which broke an election tax promise by the Tories.

Talking to the Blackpool Gazette: “The rates discount for pubs is welcome. I have fought long to keep our community pubs open and this will help a little and perhaps disuade pub companies from closing more of them.”

Gordon added the changes to technical skills did not go far enough and it was not clear when investment would reach £500m a year for 16 to 19-year-olds. He also said: "But there is not a penny piece for adult skills and re-training.

“The £2bn on social care over three years is better than nothing but if you look at what the think-tanks and independent bodies were saying it is nowhere near enough. It is a sticking plaster."

 

Gordon responds to Chancellor's "sticking plaster" Budget

Gordon has described the Chancellor's Spring Budget as a "sticking plaster" and "short on detail". Speaking after the Philip Hammond's announcement, he said few people in Blackpool would be cheering the increases...

Gordon has challenged the Theresa May at PMQs on attempts by Government officials to overturn tribunal decisions effecting vulnerable residents in Blackpool.Gordon_at_PMQs.jpg

He told the House that among his constituency casework was someone who had their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit removed, despite suffering a serious brain injury.

He said to the PM: "My Blackpool casework is now full of the anxieties that the DWP and the Home Office are imposing on vulnerable constituents, including officials’ attempts to overturn tribunal decisions protecting benefits and residents.

"That includes a family settled here for eight years and a man with a severe brain injury.

"If the Prime Minister wants people to respect the idea that “Brexit means Brexit,” should she not respect the idea that tribunals mean tribunals and not try to block them with grubby regulations affecting 164,000 disabled people?"

Since the start of the year, Gordon's office has dealt with 32 related benefit inquiries. Speaking after PMQs he added: "Our casework not only includes the two tribunal appeals I mentioned, but there are also people who have lost the mobility component of their benefits."   

 

Gordon challenges Prime Minister on overturned tribunal decisions

Gordon has challenged the Theresa May at PMQs on attempts by Government officials to overturn tribunal decisions effecting vulnerable residents in Blackpool. He told the House that among his constituency...

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