Summer recess for me is not a time for summer holidays but a great opportunity to spend time across the whole of the constituency – catching up with local businesses, community organisations and local residents. It really is the time of the year I enjoy the most as your local MP and having so many conversations reminds me of one of the most important reasons MP’s are in parliament for – to represent our community, local businesses and neighbourhood concerns.
Across the summer months there have been a number of big issues and concerns that people have contacted me or my office about. Here is a summary of the main issues.
Protecting the NHS
This remains the issue that continually tops my postbag. Whether it be protecting local community pharmacies, supporting health professionals and student nurses, changes to local services, waiting times and access to health care, or the unfairness of the postcode lottery that means despite being a national health service there are already many regional differences in relation to treatment access and fertility services.
With GCSE and A Level results a key part of the August calendar it is no surprise that so many people speak to me about local schools, school results and job and career prospects for young people across the summer. Many are concerned about the Government policies including the backdoor approach for re-introducing Grammar schools. Indeed the changes to the curriculum in primary schools and the impact this has had on children’s local SAT results was also another issue that schools and parents contacted me about.
Local families are concerned that the best universities will become more expensive and therefore less accessible following government decisions to allow some universities to raise their fees even further, at a time when the proportion of low-income students at many top universities is already falling. Students have already been hit in the past 12 months by the scrapping of maintenance grants for loans, freezing the student loan threshold and removing NHS bursaries. This has damaged social mobility for the most disadvantaged students
A great deal people are concerned with the government housing policies and their impact locally. Housing standards in the private rented sector is also a key worry. Housing providers and residents in supported housing are also concerned about the proposed CAPS to housing benefits for this type of specialist accommodation. People are concerned that, despite being made aware by organisations across the sector of the damaging impact these cuts will have on tenants and the financial viability of these schemes, the Government’s proposal to mitigate these cuts through discretionary housing payments will not work
A large number of people have contacted me over a variety of different environmental issues and their concerns that the Government do not appear to doing all they could in these areas. Examples of the type of environment concern I have had recently include; the continued concerns of the impact of pesticides on bees and the government approach to Fracking.
Lots of people have contacted me to express their disappointment about the referendum vote and equally recognising the narrowness of the vote many have also contacted me to ensure that the referendum vote is acted upon. Ultimately now that the referendum vote has taken place I will be holding Government to account to ensure that workers’ rights and lost EU funding in the Merseyside area are a key part of the government negotiations and policies.