May has been busy with important visits and meetings in the constituency, while in Westminster, a new parliamentary session has started following the Queen’s Speech.
The Government has announced 38 bills, including the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill – a major part of the Government’s focus to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families.
The Bill will set levelling-up missions and report on progress in delivering them. There will also be an overhaul of the planning system with more local control over planning proposed.
Locally, I visited Thorn Grove Primary School in Bishop’s Stortford recently to talk to pupils about my job.
Local councillor Shane Manning, one of the school’s governors, invited me to chat with Year 5 students about what I do and the work I undertake to represent the town.
Going into classrooms and being asked questions by pupils is a big pleasure of my job. Thank you to the school for the warm welcome I received. I was asked some tough questions from a knowledgeable audience.
Continuing with an education theme, I welcome that eight local schools and colleges are receiving government cash to improve their buildings and facilities.
The money has come from the £498 million Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) for colleges and voluntary aided schools to address issues such as poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency and health and safety.
Hockerill Anglo-European College, Summercroft Primary School, Presdales School, The Sele School, Northgate Primary School, Richard Hale School, Simon Balle All-Through School and Manor Fields Primary School all went through rigorous assessment to get the money.
Congratulations to Gordon Morrison and Jim Tatchell for completing their fundraising walk around Hertfordshire. This dynamic duo raised a very impressive £50,000 for lots of Herts-based causes, including Grove Cottage – the home of Mencap in Bishop’s Stortford. I was thrilled to support and catch up with them on their penultimate day of the challenge in Widford.
Cost of Living issues continue to be a concern for many families and I am talking with ministers and colleagues to see what can be done in addition to the £22 billion already announced. I do expect more support measures as we grapple with global post-covid supply pressures and fallout from the war in Ukraine.
As part of the drive to help, I am urging older people across Hertford and Stortford to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit - a top up benefit that is worth an average of £3,300.
Nearly 1,400 already claim the benefit locally but it is thought 25% of those eligible do not - meaning hundreds of older people do not claim it in Hertford and Stortford.
Could I please ask that older people, their families and carers double check if this benefit is available to them or their loved ones.
Pension Credit can be claimed online, by telephone or by post. Information is available on Gov.UK website www.gov.uk/pension-credit or by calling the Freephone Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.