In the constituency
From the last GC meeting on the 7th February my office opened 298 new cases. 111 of those cases were casework while the remaining 187 were policy based. In February my office received a total of 662 emails.
The most common issues that arose as casework in February were housing issues. These included properties that were in need of repair, and tenants that needed mould and damp treated in their properties. We also received a large number of immigration cases, with more and more constituents suffering long waiting times for Home Office decisions.
In terms of policy cases, the most common topic was the environment. The need to protect our oceans featured heavily with 47 constituents contacting me, as did the need to strengthen the Environment Bill with 17 constituents getting in touch.
I have now recruited a part time caseworker due to join my office team shortly, and so my office will now be back up to full strength. If you know of anyone that needs assistance, please ask them to get in touch.
I have continued to hold surgeries in new locations, which is encouraging constituents who may not have previously, to make contact, and my team have been taking up their cases.
I met with Kevin Bolt, Chief Executive of bpha to discuss the proposed increases in rent, and the long waiting lists for properties mostly as a result of housing shortages. We also discussed the worrisome rates of child poverty in areas within the constituency.
I attended a youth-led intergenerational seminar at Wixams Academy on serious and violent crime. Whilst it took place outside of the constituency, many of the young people taking part live in Bedford, and it was a heartening and informative event.
Continuing my efforts to visit local businesses I had a fascinating tour of FujiFilm’s premises, finding out about their state-of-the-art medical technology.
Today I met with the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Nursing at Bedford Hospital, and was encouraged by the detail and comprehensiveness of their contingency plans should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus in Bedford.
In the Diary
I will soon be meeting with Garry Forsyth, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police and have further visits to local schools and businesses scheduled over the coming weeks.