August 2021: News from your local MP Thangam Debbonaire
Stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare? Your MP can (often) help!
As I write, Parliament is about to close for the summer, which allows MPs to spend more time in our constituencies every day, speak to more people locally and help with more problems. I thought this might be a good moment to look back over this difficult year and tell you some of the things my excellent caseworkers and I have done to help local people.
One important thing I do is to advocate for individuals especially if they have problems with Government departments.
I helped about 1,000 people in this way in the last year. Nearly 35% of these had problems with immigration processes, such as when they are unable to get the information they need from the Home Office or where the Home Office has made a mistake.
I lobby the Home Office and raise the biggest problems directly with the Ministers. Several of these are people caught up in the Windrush scandal, or refugees with grounds to be here but difficulty getting the documentation they need from the Home Office.
Many people contact me about housing problems including homelessness and anti-social behaviour. I lobby the council, the police and housing associations to try to resolve these or help you to get contact your councillor.
I can also help with problems with benefits or pensions. It’s best to try all other complaint processes or advice specialists before contacting your MP. But when it can’t get fixed, that’s when I can be useful.
Some of these stories are tragic and sometimes they cannot be resolved but many times we can get a bad decision overturned or an organisational failure remedied. In one recent case, we won more than £11,000 in money owed to a seriously disabled constituent whose benefits had been wrongly stopped. Such big wins don’t happen every day, but my team or I can often do something, even if it is just to point you in the right direction for specialist help.
These are just some examples of individual casework.
I’ve also helped thousands of you each year by campaigning on your behalf in Parliament on the things which matter to you.
For example, last year I helped Bristol businesses with information on lockdown restrictions and the financial support available. Many businesses, organisations and self-employed people fell between the different government schemes, so we advocated for them in parliament.
Please continue to contact me if you have a question or comment about policy. Whilst helping individual people with urgent problems always takes priority I will always respond as soon as I can. If it’s about something in Parliament I may have done what you asked before you get the email reply. If there is something you think is unfair or troubles you about the way the government does business, let me know so I can raise it with ministers or in Parliament directly.
My contact details:
0117 379 0980
Have a good summer and please stay safe.