Helping solve everyday issues for people in Pendle

Andrew Stephenson
Andrew Stephenson

I was back in London for the State Opening of Parliament, when the Queen set out the Government’s plans for the year ahead.

There were 16 new bills announced, which will all be scrutinised and argued over in the weeks ahead.

However, on the upside, the temporary lull in Westminster law-making has given me extra time to catch up with constituency casework.

In addition to speaking in the Commons, asking questions and sitting on Parliamentary Committees, on average I receive over 200 e-mails a day and about 50-100 letters.

Residents also frequently drop into my Barnoldswick and Nelson offices to speak to my staff, rather than having to wait for an appointment at one of my advice surgeries.

Simply staying on top of this casework is a huge part of the job and I must admit my recent poor health has left us with a backlog.

The issues people approach me with are varied and resolving them is the most rewarding part of the job.

These range from domestic violence and murder through to potholes and dog fouling, with every issue of real concern to the people who have taken time to contact me about them.

In the past weeks, I have helped a young person leaving care get funding to go to university, sorted out someone’s passport so they can go on holiday, secured a commitment for new weight restriction signs on residential roads in Barrowford and got an assurance out of Pendle Council they will fix a car park barrier in Barnoldswick.

Some of this may sound trivial, but dealing with these everyday issues helps keep me in touch with the wide variety of concerns of Pendle residents.

There are some big challenges in our area that need to be addressed, but this shouldn’t ever be at the expense of keeping on top of the small stuff.