My Week in Westminster - 10th March 2017

Welcomed the Spring Budget - I am particularly pleased that the Government announced the new Midlands Engine Strategy which addresses productivity barriers across the Midlands. All the documents relating to the Budget can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-budget-2017-documents

The Midlands Engine Strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/midlands-engine-strategy

 

Supported an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill – following my recent participation in the debate on unaccompanied refugee children, I supported this amendment to place a statutory duty on councils to consult at least once a year on their capacity to provide safeguarding and welfare services to children, including refugees from abroad. I was disappointed that the amendment was defeated by 287 votes to 267.

 

Met with the Pension Minister to discuss the 1995 Pensions Act – this Act was designed to secure annual increases in line with certain parameters such as RPI for pensioners in defined benefit schemes and to reinforce best practice. Unfortunately, pre-1997 service was not covered by the Act and, at the meeting, I raised local residents’ concerns that this has allowed some companies to implement a form of discrimination by not increasing payments on pensions contributions made before this time.

 

Participated in the Daily Telegraph’s podcast – I discussed my thoughts on Brexit ahead of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill returning to the House of Commons on Monday. If you would like to listen this, you can do so here: http://tinyurl.com/zg4cm9u

 

Wrote to the Prime Minister about the Child Maintenance Service – it is right that victims of domestic abuse are exempt from the £20 application fee for the Collect and Pay scheme. However, I share the concerns of domestic abuse support groups and charities that using this scheme incurs a 4% collection charge for the receiving parent, despite there being no charge for using either the Family Based or the Direct Pay scheme. As the Collect and Pay scheme offers the most protections for victims of domestic abuse, I wrote to the Prime Minister asking her if she could look into removing this charge.

 

Raised a local resident’s concerns about littering and fly-tipping with the Local Government Minister – if you have any concerns about littering and fly-tipping locally, please do contact my office on 01509 262723.