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.
MP meets computer coders of the future
Stockport MP Ann Coffey visited Priestnall High School in Heaton Moor, and spent some time with pupils from Year 8 who have started using the BBC micro:bit to learn about computer coding.
On July 1st I attended Stockport’s commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the battle of the Somme one hundred years ago. The battle went on for 141 days, not ending until 18th November 1916, with catastrophic loss of life.
I am interested in the many ways, for example through family histories, that we can remember the impact of the First World War one hundred years on. I think it is particularly important for young people to get involved in First World War projects and I am pleased to hear that funding is available for youth groups, residents associations, faith groups and others through a programme called First World War; then and now.
I have also been contacted recently about the First World War Memorials programme, which aims to inspire local communities across the country to survey and conserve their local war memorials. We have many “village” memorials to the fallen of the First World War in Stockport, including Heaton Mersey and Heaton Moor, as well as the main memorial at Stockport Art Gallery.
The national charity Civic Voice has embarked on a survey of all the local war memorials in Greater Manchester – about 2,000 in all. Civic Voice is offering training workshops for volunteers who would like to get involved in recording the condition of local war memorials, so that if necessary they can be repaired as a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers.
Civic Voice is offering volunteers a practical way to help protect our war memorials for future generations, so if you are interested you can find out more please phone 0151 707 4319.