The reform of the benefit system in our country is long overdue, and the introduction of Universal Credit was planned to simplify a complex system and guarantee that work pays and having a job is better than a life on benefits.
However, instead of improving things, the government has created a system which is not fit for purpose. Universal Credit, which merges six benefits and tax credits into one, is supposed to be flexible, making it easier for people to move into a job, cope with periods of insecure employment and ensure in-work payments for low-income families.
I was surprised to learn recently that there are no definite figures on how many armed forces veterans live in Stockport. The national census, which happens every ten years, does not collect information on the Armed Forces community – information which could help us improve support for our armed forces, both serving and retired.
I met some of these men and women when I visited the Stockport Veterans Breakfast Club earlier this year. They have served our country in conflicts including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s nearly the end of the school term, when children and teachers can take stock of a busy year and look forward to the summer holidays.
I was delighted to be invited back to Stockport Academy in Cheadle Heath to hear about the students’ achievements over the year, which are truly impressive. They put in so much hard work and are a real credit to the excellent teaching and learning at the Academy.