Marie Rimmer: Tax credit changes will hit 8,000 St Helens children

St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer
St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer
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Welcome to the first of my columns for the St Helens Reporter which I hope will become a regular feature.

I’ll be using this column to keep residents up to date with some of the work that I am doing here in St Helens South and Whiston and also as your voice in Westminster.

Parliament has been on recess recently for the party conference season.

I’ve spent that time in the constituency meeting with local residents, businesses and organisations.

One of the highlights was a recent visit to Dogs Trust Merseyside on the edge of the constituency.

As well as meeting some of our canine friends, we spoke about some of the excellent work they do in our local area.

The centre are in need of dog toys and long lasting chews so if you can help with donations, please give them a call on 0151 480 0660.

Just before the recess, the Government forced through a vote on cutting child tax credits for local families.

These callous changes will hit 8,300 children in working families across St Helens South and Whiston and the plans have even been criticised by the Tory Mayor of London.

Research by Unison shows that the average teaching assistant (salary £16,300 a year) with one child will lose more than £1,800 per year as a result of tax credit changes.

One of the biggest issues facing the area at the moment is the proposed closure of St Helens Courthouse which the Government recently spent £1.7m refurbishing.

Not only would a closure limit access to justice for victims of crime, it would also be a real blow to the local economy as solicitors and local businesses would lose valuable custom.

I’ve raised issues about inaccuracies within the consultation with Ministers and spoken in Parliament against the closure.

I’ll continue to work with local legal professionals, residents and stakeholders to challenge these plans and push to save our courthouse.

Many residents have contacted me regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis, wanting to know why the government wasn’t doing more and also asking how they can help.

I’m pleased St Helens Council have announced their plans to re-home 30 families.

The Government have finally, thanks to pressure from MPs and the public, changed their position and announced we will accept more refugees.

Carmel College students, led by local resident Kai Taylor, have done a great job collecting and sorting over 60 boxes of clothing and supplies.

I’m also helping to collect clothing and essentials that the CWUHA and CalAid will deliver to those in need. If you have any donations of clothing then please contact my office to arrange to drop it off.

I’ve already been in contact with more than 1200 residents since the election. If you’ve got an issue you’d like to raise then you can email me on marie.rimmer.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 01744 752075.

Alternatively, you can write to me at 6th Floor Century House, Hardshaw St, St Helens, WA10 1QU. Please make sure you include your full address and contact details as Parliamentary Protocol states I am able to deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents.