Annette Brooke Blog - 10th February 2014

Since Parliament returned in January I have been very busy. At the beginning of the month, I spoke in debates on housing and planning reforms in the House of Commons which are important to me in my capacity as Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Policy Committee on Communities and Local Government.

In the debate I congratulated the Government on progress that has been made in building social houses as well as bringing empty homes back into use. I noted that "there is consensus on tackling our real housing crisis, and on the fact that by tackling it we can contribute to economic growth and create important jobs and apprenticeships for young people. We can create a win-win situation."

There have been a number of interesting events held in Parliament in the last few weeks which I have been pleased to attend.
Firstly, I attended a Parliamentary reception to raise awareness for National Obesity Week. The Awareness Week is promoting a 'National New Year's Resolution' to turn obesity around, spanning from government and business action to encouraging achievable and sustainable lifestyle changes by individuals and families.

I marked Holocaust Memorial Day by signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons. Monday 27th January marked the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

We must never forget this awful episode in human history, and this day was an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.

Another issue I was involved in this month was breast cancer, as I joined Breast Cancer Care in Parliament to call for breast cancer patients' voices to be central to decisions about the availability of new medicines on the NHS in England. I was able to meet breast cancer patients and hear them set out their expectations for a new system for assessing medicines, known as the 'value assessment', to be led by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Sadly, breast cancer still remains the most common cancer in the UK, and we need to do all we can to offer support and hope to those, however young or old, who are given the devastating diagnosis.

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