At Christmas we all hope for a break to be able to rest, relax and spend time with our loved ones.
I would like to thank all those people who work so hard, both in the run-up to Christmas, and during the time when most of us get a break – not just our emergency services, important though they are, but also carers, shopworkers, all the people across High Peak who work in catering and hospitality, cleaners, our road gritters, transport workers and many more.
I would particularly like to thank the volunteers who are giving up some of their Christmas break to lay on a meal for anyone who wants to spend some time with others over Christmas.
In Buxton on Christmas Day volunteers with Christmas for the Community will be preparing and serving a delicious free Christmas dinner. The meal at The Source, is nearly fully booked; alternatively, you can drop in for a meal at The Tradesman’s Entrance.
If you know anyone who you feel would appreciate some company and good food, do let them know.
I’ve been busy Christmas baking and have given a suitably-sized Christmas cake to both groups, which I hope will be enjoyed.
At Christmas we all like good food (if not a drink or two), so the fact that many people cannot afford enough to eat is even more poignant.
Locally, my weekly surgeries are full with people needing advice and assistance. My staff and I do all we can to help, as do local charities including the excellent work done by local food banks, by Citizens Advice, and by churches.
Whilst I thoroughly commend such support, I believe that in the world’s sixth largest economy, so many people should not have to seek assistance from charity.
That is why I am using my role on the Work & Pensions Select Committee in Parliament to press for an overhaul of the discredited system of disability benefits. Government is charged a fortune for private companies to continually assess people with disabilities and wrongly cut or stop their benefits, only for decisions to be overturned months later, at immense human cost to those affected.
This week I told Ministers about a local lettings agency where only 2 of their 20 tenants on Universal Credit can afford their rent. 18 have serious arrears and landlords have felt they had no choice but to evict 9 people, as they have bills to pay and no means of recompense from Government.
There are still many problems, both local and national, that I am tackling as best as I can, but after 6 very busy months, I am certainly looking forward to time with family and friends over Christmas. I wish readers and constituents a very happy Christmas and New