Blackpool Gazette – Politically Correct – Helping residents main role for MPs

I am often asked what the biggest issue to fill my Parliamentary mailbag is and the answer is probably not what most people would expect.

We do have some major issues in Fylde – not least jobs, infrastructure, public transport, health services, housing and planning, the future of Blackpool Airport, flooding, shale gas development, maintaining our bustling high streets and the wellbeing of major employers such as BAE Systems and Westinghouse Springfields.

I receive regular letters on all these subjects and do my best to take action to try to address people’s concerns, or at least get the answers which may help explain the position of the department or organisation they are having problems with.

While I am not saying everyone will agree with the responses they receive – I certainly do not agree with every one I get back – I hope I am at least able to provide them with some feedback and help them decide how to move forward.

However, the majority of correspondence an MP receives will always be surrounding constituents’ personal problems which they need help resolving.

Going back over my casework from this week alone I have had letters from people with concerns over hospital and GP treatment, others who have seen their benefits cut and one with issues surrounding parking outside their home in Lytham.

I have also received correspondence from people with tax issues, concerns over visa applications and large numbers of letters about Lancashire County Council cutbacks and plans to build homes on a flood plain at Dowbridge in Kirkham.

In all cases I have written to the relevant authorities to raise the concerns of constituents – and in many cases add my own thoughts on the matter.

It is not just through the mail and inbox that casework comes through the door, MP surgeries are an important part of the job and allow you to meet constituents face-to-face to discuss their issues.

Some of the problems an MP will hear will be quite challenging or complex while a smaller number can be harrowing or upsetting.

However, as the person elected to represent your area in Parliament, it is your duty to try to help and assist those people who are often unable to help themselves and it is this side of the job which allows you to go home knowing you have genuinely made a difference in your work.

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