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Word from Westminster

PUBLISHED: 14:32 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 03 July 2010

Word from Westminster

By Tony Wright MP

WHEN John Prescott was asked whether there was any truth in the rumour he was to buy a property in North Norfolk, he responded in his inimitable fashion by ridiculing the idea, by suggesting the only good thing to have come out of Norfolk was Oliver Cromwell!

Of course, we all know Oliver Cromwell did not come from Norfolk but there are many great people and things to have come out of our fine county, too many to mention.

Word from Westminster

By Tony Wright MP

WHEN John Prescott was asked whether there was any truth in the rumour he was to buy a property in North Norfolk, he responded in his inimitable fashion by ridiculing the idea, by suggesting the only good thing to have come out of Norfolk was Oliver Cromwell!

Of course, we all know Oliver Cromwell did not come from Norfolk but there are many great people and things to have come out of our fine county, too many to mention. Howeve,r John is not known for his subtlety but we can turn the negative into positive and I am sure the publicity, along with the hundreds of thousands of people who love Norfolk and support us, will indeed benefit the area.

As a Yarmouth born and bred person, I would never dream of moving to another place and if I was asked about living in Humberside, the town of John Prescott, I would give a resounding “no thanks!” I am sure many of my colleagues at Westminster from all sides of the chamber have spent many of their holidays in Norfolk and of course Great Yarmouth and following my recent postcard campaign I am sure many more will support us this year.

Still on the subject of tourism, the annual Great Yarmouth Tourism Lunch and Awards event last week brought out all that is good in the industry and it is clear that with the investment in facilities throughout the industry there is no doubt every effort is being made to ensure that Great Yarmouth has a successful season. My congratulations to all of the worthy award winners. New Greater Yarmouth's Tourist Authority Chairman, Graham Plant, whilst speaking to the guests talked of Yarmouth “rising like a phoenix out of the ashes” - with the new harbour, the inteGreat project, St George's Park and now St George's Theatre and King Street attracting Government support, isn't it wonderful to hear complimentary tones from the opposition to projects that have been achievable because Government investment has generally levered private finance to complete the schemes, yes indeed we do appear to be rising from the ashes of the 80s and 90s.

It is well known that I am strongly opposed to the decision to move Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom (HMRC) office to Norwich and have campaigned with and on behalf of the staff who work at the Havenbridge office since the issue was raised over two and a half years ago. I have made numerous representations, held two debates and met with three ministers yet the management appears to still not be listening to what I consider are sound reasons for keeping the office here. My latest debate, earlier in March, attracted many colleagues from around the country, and I will not give up the fight against this “step too far.”

The consequence of the recession affects us all and the media also feels this effect not only through reductions in advertising revenue but of course through new technology such as the worldwide web and the internet. Recent announcements to reduce the levels of staff in the Archant group is very worrying, not just because of the job losses but the result it will have on the reporting of local news stories.

Yes, we still have television and radio but local papers, weekly and daily, are sometimes the best medium in which to get investigative coverage of local interests. There is no doubt the printed media is finding it difficult but there is also no doubt the power of the media would be weakened should the cuts in the editorial teams be as drastic as first envisaged. However, having had a meeting with management this week, it was made clear that no journalist positions were under threat except for some of the sub-editor positions. I hope the consultation, now taking place, takes on board the views of the employees.


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