November was a busy month for my office with a lot of residents needing support. The number of people coming to us in absolute poverty, struggling to feed themselves and their families and unable to pay utility bills, has risen massively. Food bank referrals are increasing and, at this time of year especially, Redcar area food bank (also covering Greater Eston) is in high demand. Please consider putting a few extra items in your shopping trolley to donate to the food bank. You can drop them in to my office or another of the collection points.
As you can see from the chart of casework issues for November below, social security is the biggest issue we support people on. We deal with a lot of problems accessing disability benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP). My office challenge a lot of unfair welfare decisions and have fought and won many PIP and ESA tribunals.
Housing continues to be a challenge – primarily a shortage of suitable properties, especially those adapted for certain health needs, as well as one bedroom properties for people hit by the bedroom tax.
Health and medicine is a prominent issue too. Trouble accessing mental health services is big and growing problem, especially for children and young people. Funding cuts are restraining services at a time when they are in high demand. In parliament I have called for mental health funding to be ring-fenced so more investment reaches frontline services. My office have also been working to support local mental health services with funding challenges.
Other health issues we have dealt with include ambulance delays and waiting times for hospital appointments.
I take all of these personal stories to parliament to show Tory ministers the real world impact of their policies, and to press for them to change their austerity programme which has made life so difficult for families in our area.
If you need my help with an issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office on the details below. My casework team have continued to help people whilst I have been unwell, and my advice surgeries will resume in the New Year.
Office address: 10 Milbank Terrace, Redcar, TS10 1ED