Ann Coffey

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Stockport Express Column March 2017

Quite rightly, all parents want an excellent local school for their child. All our children deserve an education which will develop their full potential and give them the best start in life. We have some great schools in Stockport, with talented, hardworking staff, supportive parents and governors, and children eager to learn.

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Stockport Express Column, February 2017

Constituents contact me for help with a wide range of problems. Often they have exhausted all other options. Financial difficulties can be the hardest to help with.

Often people have been unable to build up savings and a sudden change of circumstances such a job loss or ill health means that families find themselves in financial difficulty quite quickly with spiralling debt. In desperation people take out short-term loans charging huge interest – which just add to their mountain of debt.

Sometimes they get to a situation where they cannot afford to buy food and have to rely on food banks.

It’s so important for people to seek expert advice, and there is practical help available from the Council’s team of debt advisors and from Stockport Homes. There is also the StepChange debt charity which offers free online advice and support to people worried about debt.

We need to give families a breathing space to get their finances back into shape and be able to eat and pay their bills whilst working out arrangements with creditors to pay back their debt.

I am supporting the calls by charities for the introduction of a <strong><em>Breathing Space</em></strong> scheme that would give people a period of protection from mounting charges and enforcement action while they seek expert advice to tackle their debts.

Families who are in debt and are trying to sort it out shouldn’t be pushed into further debt and crisis because of mounting debt charges and enforcement action.

A <strong><em>Breathing Space</em></strong> Scheme would help stop this happening.

Latest Stockport Express Column September 2016

By Ann Coffey MP

I have been contacted by more constituents concerned that their relatives are trapped in beds in Stepping Hill because the care they need to support them in the community cannot be provided. An issue I raised last month in my column.

One of the underlying problems is the lack of good quality care homes in Stockport. The last two inspection reports sent to me by the Care Quality Commission which inspects care homes rated one as requiring improvement and the other to be inadequate.

We can’t have elderly, vulnerable people being placed in poor quality care homes, so this reduces the number of available places. Care homes are also facing rising costs and those costs will inevitably be passed on in increased charges for places. If there is no increased government grant to meet those increased charges then there will be less places available.

The consequence of these pressures is that patients cannot be discharged from Stepping Hill because there are no suitable and affordable places in care homes. This causes such distress.

Sometimes patients could go home if there were care available to support relatives, but often there is not.

With winter coming we could be faced with a worsening situation with more elderly people being admitted to hospital with seasonal illnesses and unable to be discharged.

The system is at breaking point.

In the short term, care homes need to improve their standards to increase the number of beds available. And more funding from government.

I think in the long term there is a case for Stockport building and managing new good quality care homes themselves rather than relying on rather unstable and increasingly expensive private provision. I think my constituents would welcome that.