Cost-of-living support for families in Eastbourne & Willingdon continues to come forward from the government.
The second direct £324 cost-of-living payment are being received for those on means tested benefits to help with energy and food costs. In our town this is helping around 15, 200 families.
I continue to make representations to the minister that benefits, and the state pension should be uprated in line with inflation. I met with the local foodbank and CAB last week to discuss this, and I will keep Herald readers updated. The autumn statement is next week and more will be known about the Chancellor’s approach then.
I also spoke to Jeremy Hunt about education funding. I am concerned about how children affected by the pandemic will be able to catch up. I said I would not like to see a reduction in the schools’ budget, especially as schools are also struggling with inflationary pressures too. Education is an investment in our children’s and our country’s future and needs to be a priority.
In parliament, I asked a defence minister about the need for routine health assessment for service personnel at the point of military discharge. This came about following a recent meeting with the excellent charity Help for Heroes.
I was pleased to say the minister told me it is now mandatory for all armed forces personnel leaving the services to have a structured mental health assessment at their discharge medical examination.
I also met with the immigration minister Robert Jenrick as I am concerned about immigrants awaiting asylum processing being housed in Eastbourne hotels.
This is a countrywide issue but I am concerned coastal communities like ours will struggle to cope with numbers and services will be put under strain. We are a generous town and our country has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those fleeing persecution; our Homes for Ukraine speaks very much to this. I will continue to work to support our local partners.