Having to spend four days a week in Parliament, I try to make best use of my time in High Peak to meet as many people as possible and deal with local issues.
I hold surgeries around the constituency to make sure I can see everyone who needs the support of their MP, and also coffee (and tea) mornings on Saturdays to meet people who want a chat about local or national issues, whilst on Sundays I join the Labour team in all weathers to knock on doors and find out issues from people who may not be able to get out.
You can find the list of my surgeries and coffee mornings on my website www.ruthforhighpeak.co.uk. Everyone is welcome to attend my coffee mornings, but please call my office on 01298 78293 to make a surgery appointment.
Many of the local issues which are raised with me at surgeries, coffee mornings and on the doorstep are in the control of our councils – such as parking, grit bins, support for children with special needs, and housing.
I work with local councillors and meet regularly with council officers to find solutions to as many problems as we can, but the level of council cuts are making it harder, and local people are suffering.
On Thursday Derbyshire County Council is due to agree a programme of a further £12m of cuts, including a £5m cuts by reducing the number of elderly and disabled people receiving care services, and nearly £3m from Children’s Services, including cuts to support for Special Educational Needs and youth services.
This is on top of over £200m of cuts forced on Derbyshire by the Conservative government, more than halving its support for our county, from £312m in 2010 to £137m in 2018.
It’s no wonder that the County Council is also seeking to raise Council Tax by almost 5% in April.
I hope they will join me in in lobbying Government for a fairer deal for our county.
‘Austerity’ has hit councils harder than any other area of government. The vast majority of council spending is on support and care for the most disadvantaged people – the frail, elderly and disabled, children in care and with special needs.
These are the people who suffer most from the political decisions to cut Corporation Tax for companies with profits over £1.5m, and for individuals who earn over £150,000 a year.
We all suffer from higher Council Tax, worse services, and less support. But with government seeking to cut Corporation Tax even further, ‘austerity’ is predicted to last for another decade.
I’m happy to work with local support groups to do as much as we can to help individuals, but I’m also working with Labour colleagues on a fairer way to run our economy.