I spent both Monday and Tuesday in the Manchester area with the Work and Pensions Select Committee, of which I am a member. We looked at the pilot rollout of Universal Credit which is working very well so far. The staff at the Jobcentre we visited spoke highly of the fact that the benefit entitlement is not automatically cut when someone takes on additional work, meaning that work always pays. Previously, when a benefit claimant took on additional hours, this would automatically cause a cessation of benefits, meaning a reduction in income. Thankfully the Government’s reforms address this. After I returned to Euston on the Tuesday evening I attended the LGBT Pride Dinner along with Boris Johnson. Boris gave a typically witty speech.
Wednesday continued with more Work and Pensions Select Committee work. Then of course Prime Minister’s Questions took place in the afternoon which I went to before heading to a Guide Dogs for the Blind reception. They are an excellent charity and it was interesting to hear from the trainers and those that rely on the guide dogs.
On Thursday, I arranged a meeting with HSBC on behalf of a constituent. This was to discuss the mis-selling of financial products, something which readers will know I have taken a keen interest in. I then had discussions with Health Minister, Earl Howe, accompanied by a constituent, to discuss dentistry. Shortly after, I welcomed Ben Cohen, editor of Pink News to Portcullis House. I then returned to the constituency to visit a local business and discuss their concerns over anti-social behaviour. This was followed by my regular surgery at Childs Hill Library where we discussed a number of issues such as housing and immigration.
Today I’m heading over to Heathrow with a local school to visit the British Airways Engineering Base. The students I took to BA are A level maths students who are considering careers in engineering. The visit will hopefully show that engineering is more than grease and spanners but rather, it is a highly technical subject which is academically rigorous. This is particularly true for aeronautical engineering for example. I’m then treating them to a tour of Parliament after. Later in the afternoon, I will be giving a quick speech to Transport for London staff at their Victoria headquarters.
I’ve got a busy weekend planned also. On Saturday afternoon I’m attending the Proms at St Jude’s to help with their cushion selling. And Sunday is of course Armed Forces day, so I’ll be heading to Hendon Town Hall for the parade.