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 recently visited Hertford Museum. I was lucky to be shown around by curator Sara Taylor who spoke of how the museum opened its doors when it was allowed to and how it now opens on a Sunday so that as many local people as possible can come through its doors.
There is no doubt museums, especially small local museums, have had a hard time over the last two years and this one – a charity – has worked wonders to stay open despite lockdowns and restrictions. Thank you to the staff, volunteers and trustees for a great job
I also had the pleasure of delivering the second tranche of 200 books to three more primary schools after I won a Publisher’s Association draw to win hundreds of books.
100 books each went to Hertford St Andrew C of E Primary School in Hertford and St Mary’s Junior School and Hunsdon School in Ware.
This follows 200 titles given to Avanti Meadows Primary School in Bishop’s Stortford and Fawbert and Barnard Infants’ School in Sawbridgeworth last month.
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 cash.
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 measures to help 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.
It is thought hundreds of older people do not claim it in Hertford and Stortford.
Can older people, their families and carers please 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.