Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero plans to make long-term unemployed take a job or face losing their benefits

Sutton Job Centre.
Sutton Job Centre.

While I welcome the recent news that unemployment is down I think it’s wrong for Ministers to say the economy is fixed when the majority of hard working folk in Ashfield are still to see any signs of the recovery in the pockets.

Now is not the time to be crowing especially when you scratch beneath the surface and take a closer look at the figures. Just before the global financial crisis hit there were 1,286 people out of work in Ashfield yet last month almost 500 more people were signing on at local job centres.

It just goes to show just how much more work needs to be done and we’d get there much quicker if Ministers backed plans for getting the next generation back into work with a compulsory ‘jobs guarantee’ for young people out of work for a year and for over 25’s out of work for 2 years.

Under my plans the long-term unemployed would have to take a job or face losing their benefit. I’d much rather see cash spent on getting people back to work than not getting depressed at home.

The school holidays are in full swing and mums and dads will really be feeling the high cost of childcare.

To make matters worse many parents tell me that the availability of childcare is plummeting which means trying to balance work and family life in the holidays is a struggle.

New figures show that in the space of just four years the cost of childcare has spiralled upwards of 50 per cent – a whopping thirteen times faster than wages. That’s why I want to see an increase in free childcare for working parents with three and four year olds from 15-25 hours a week – worth £1,500 per child.

It would be a real boost to parents struggling to pay for childcare throughout the year.

The best part of the job for me is being able to make a difference. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting your teeth stuck into a new case and following it right through to when you’ve secured that ‘win’ you’ve worked so hard for.

I received a lovely email from one lady after I persuaded the team leader of the blue badge department at Nottinghamshire Council that they’d made the wrong call after initially rejecting her dad’s application for a blue badge.

As Lisa told me in her email, the blue badge will help her dad Ken in so many ways – especially when it comes to visiting the QMC and the doctor’s surgery as well as day to day tasks like fetching the groceries.

I am conscious there may be other cases out which haven’t properly taken into account when someone is someone suffering acute breathlessness. If so then don’t be afraid to challenge them or give my office a call for advice. After all it’s what I’m here for.