As readers of this newspaper will be only too aware, there’s rarely a week goes by that there isn’t an accident on the stretch of the A19 that passes through our region. This week was no exception with a three-car collision that caused chaos for road users.
Thankfully, the incident didn’t result in anything more serious than severe tailbacks and hundreds of people being late for work. But every time there’s such a crash, there’s a chance it can result in serious injury or even death.
The problems with the A19 and the crossings at Dalton, Elwick, Hutton Henry and further North have been left unaddressed for many years by successive governments and I dread to think how many lives have been lost. What I do know is that one life is one too many and it’s impossible to put a price on life.
That is why I’m proud to be supporting my friend and colleague Grahame Morris MP with his calls in Parliament for the government to undertake a safety review on this stretch of the A19 and I’m more than happy to give my backing to the Hartlepool Mail’s campaign and petition, which you can sign HERE.
As well as loss of life, injuries, insurance claims and needless delays for commuters, the safety record of this stretch of road is damaging our local economy. As a region that has been affected by austerity more than most that’s the last thing we need.
* On the subject of our struggling economy, a report published yesterday by the Institute for Public Policy Research has highlighted how the nation’s economy is unbalanced. I was pleased to see that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has thrown his weight behind the report.
Having worked in our region, the Archbishop has seen first hand that the headline conclusion of the report that Britain “is the most geographically unbalanced country in Europe” in completely justified. Aside from being economic stupidity, the social issues this divide causes are just downright unfair.
* One of the absolute pleasures and honours of being an MP is getting to meet our unsung heroes and see the work they do.
In recent weeks I’ve been privileged to visit the region’s air ambulance team and also paid a visit to Hartlepool’s RNLI station.
The work the people up in the air and at sea do may be largely unseen and unnoticed, but it’s not unappreciated. I know from talking to constituents that these volunteers are regarded as heroes. And rightly so.
* I was also delighted to get an invite recently to visit Hartlepool’s Harbour Refuge. For more than 30 years this organisation has been offering help to victims of domestic abuse. It would be nice if this help wasn’t necessary but it sadly is.
The work they do is just incredible and often lifesaving.
It’s also worth noting the work that Hartlepool taxi drivers do keeping a watchful eye on the centre. Well done lads and lasses. It’s appreciated.