Public services are important to everyone, but in rural areas they take on a particular significance. In outlying villages doctors surgeries are further apart and often elderly residents face challenging journeys if current services close.
During the past two years I have been closely involved with campaigns to keep the service at Clitheroe Jobcentre, which is vital in enabling local people re-enter the workplace, and the Slaidburn Country Practice, a much loved rural GP surgery.
Had the service at Clitheroe Jobcentre ceased then residents in outlying villages would have had to travel to either Blackburn or Accrington, and the support and experience of the committed staff would have been lost.
I also worked closely with staff and patients at Slaidburn Country Practice, meeting with Ministers and officials from the Department of Health to try and save the vital service that is provided for residents there.
Residents of the Ribble Valley pay their fair share of tax, and deserve public services that reflect this. I am committed to ensuring that the services that are currently here are properly funded and that we get the new services we need.