Ending a busy first year with an insight into reduced mobility

In the first 6 months as your MP, I have tried to get across the 200 square miles of our constituency on a regular basis. Every week, and most days during recess, I visit schools, charities, businesses, councils, public services and constituents in their own homes. Unfortunately, my ankle and leg are now in plaster over Christmas so I will have to slow down a little having ruptured my achilles whilst playing football with the Parliamentary team.

Taking constituency issues to the heart of Government

Listening to constituents and discussing their problems, ideas and concerns is an important and rewarding part of my job. I meet them at local advice surgeries, at their homes, local pubs and cafes, when they visit Westminster or correspond with them by phone, email or letter

Speaking up for Sussex Police funding

Keeping constituents safe from harm and keeping crime down in the constituency must be one of the top priorities for any MP. Like every public organisation, Sussex Police have been required to make savings in recent years. Last week, I spoke up for our local police in a House of Commons debate on police funding. I did so because our force has to find further savings to its budget and additionally faced a funding reduction from a new Government funding formula. Sussex also has one of the lowest spends per-head on policing in the country. 

Work Experience in Parliament

I was delighted to host Hamzah Zia, a student at Hatch End High, in North West London for a week of work experience in the House of Commons. Having undertaken work experience myself, as a 15 year old, I am a huge believer in the opportunities which this form of experience can bring. Hamzah’s work experience was arranged by the Social Mobility Foundation. Below are Hamzah’s thoughts of his week in Parliament and politics in general. We wish Hamzah the very best with his future studies and look forward to keeping in contact.

Working and Child Tax Credits

Working and child tax credits have dominated the national media in recent weeks. These payments are made by the Government to top up the wages of the lower paid and to provide extra income to qualifying families. When first introduced in 1998, tax credits cost the taxpayer £6bl. By 2010, the cost had ballooned to £30bl. This increase was more down to politicians seeking to give away 'election sweeteners' than a decline in living standards in recent years

In the House with Huw Merriman - Supporting our NHS staff to deliver the healthcare of the future

Our National Health Service, and its staff, are at the forefront of incredible change and scientific developments. These enormous strides will improve wellbeing and prolong patients' lives. They also create an enormous amount of pressure and demand on our local healthcare clinicians and support staff. It is to these local staff who I am keen to offer my wholehearted support in these challenging times. With our local healthcare trust being put in special measures and our junior doctors facing uncertainty with changes to their terms and conditions, it is vital that we provide a wall of support locally.

Debate on Assisted Dying

The issue which has dominated my post bag over the summer has been the Assisted Dying Bill, which was debated and voted on in the House of Commons last week. This was a free vote which meant that MPs did not have to follow a party line and could make up their own mind on this emotive, sensitive and moral issue.

In the House with Huw Merriman - Educating Bexhill and Battle

September is upon us, and it is time for children across the constituency to return to school. During the General Election this year, I was disappointed by the lack of national focus on education. Perhaps it is the consequence of having a mother as a teacher but I regard it as the most important area of Government policy. An outstanding school not only delivers outstanding results but delivers young people with a better chance of leading successful, happy and healthy lives.

Local parking enforcement

There is so much to be excited about with the direction of travel in the constituency. We have a new road due to open soon, high speed rail proposals advancing, our unemployment numbers reducing, wage rises putting us in the top ten of constituencies in the UK and a vast army of community volunteers and champions who I have spent my summer meeting and helping. Everything has a tick in the box, except one item which badly needs addressing: parking in our high streets.