The easter break now seems a distant memory. We spent a great deal of time out on the doors campaigning in Plymouth for some crucial local elections on May 5th. We have some brilliant candidates standing – new, fresh to politics, young and exciting. We cannot hope to achieve the potential so many of us believe Plymouth has, unless we raise the standards in the elected Council Chamber. This is the start of that. Please go out and vote for your local Conservative Candidate on May 5th in Plymouth.
Back in Parliament it has been a busy fornight. We have debated the situation in Libya; we have debated what to do with the scores of unaccompanied and desperate child refugees from the Syrian conflict; links to both of my contributions on these can be accessed by clicking here. If you missed any of that you can catch me at 1100hrs on Saturday morning on BBC R4 for the ‘Week in Westminster’ (23rd April).
I have had some very constructive meetings. Of note was one with Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for the Disabled, where we discussed the recent attempted changes to the PIP payment, and how we continue to achieve the Prime Ministers personal pledge to half the Disablility Employment gap by 2020. Changes from DLA to PIP have been widely misrepresented: we have 292,000 more disabled people in work than two years ago. Mental Health is much better recognised by PIP than DLA; 22% of Mental Health sufferers received the maximum level of benefit under DLA; under PIP it is 68%. But we must be so careful in what we do in this area to ensure that both the most vulnerable receive the assistance they so desperately need, and those who can work, are given every opportunity to do so.
A busy day of constituency visits tomorrow!