In the past 2 years serving as MP for South Shields, as well as being active in the community, Emma has dealt with nearly 5,000 pieces of casework for constituents, on issues ranging from housing and immigration to international affairs. Emma receives a large number of emails, letters and telephone calls each day.
People seek Emma’s help for different reasons: their housing situation, immigration status, benefit entitlement and many other issues. Emma has helped many of her constituents to resolve a variety of different problems.
In the last 12 months Emma has held 15 advice surgeries, as well as roving surgeries in supermarkets, libraries and NHS centres.
People contact Emma in a variety of ways with their issues or concerns and many attend the advice surgeries she holds at Ede House, 143 Westoe Road. Emma always does what she can to help with any problem.
Emma also meets local people regularly on their doorsteps as she holds door knocking sessions weekly throughout the constituency. This is a great way to not only meet residents, but a way that she can take up problems for people who can’t make surgeries.
Here are just a few of the cases where Emma has achieved a positive result:
- Emma met with Nexus officials after receiving a number of complaints about delays to the Metro service. Passengers have experienced repeated service disruptions in recent months, with power outages and faulty trains leaving many passengers stranded. A number of constituents have written to Emma complaining of frequent delays, so she arranged a meeting with Nexus’ Head of Rail and Infrastructure, Raymond Johnson, to discuss how the service can be improved. People need public transport they can rely on, but at the moment the Metro’s performance isn’t good enough. When people are complaining of delays nearly every day something has to be done, and that’s why Emma has asked Nexus to get to the bottom of these issues.
- A constituent of Emma’s contacted her regarding Child Support Agency (CSA) payments for his daughter. He had advised the CSA in November 2013 that he is now the parent with care but had not yet received any payment. Emma escalated the matter with the CSA. The Agency apologised for the delay in completing his application for child maintenance and for the inconvenience caused. They will be making a financial loss payment backdated to November 2013.
- A constituent faced considerable problems with his National Insurance (NI) contributions. His previous and most recent employers failed to pay his NI contributions, even though the contributions had been deducted at source and this was clearly stated on his wage slips and P60’s. Emma instigated a full investigation to take place. Her constituent had been diagnosed with a terminal disorder and the need to have this issue resolved was imperative. As a result, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recorded all the earnings up-to-date on his account.
- An elderly constituent suffered a stroke and could not walk. She uses an electric scooter but was experiencing difficulties with the kerb outside her home which was obstructing her mobility. She required a dropped kerb. Emma contacted the Council and, as a result, a suitable location was identified and a new pair of crossings provided that would allow my constituent access to the wider footpath network.
- A constituent contacted me about establishing a ‘Walking Football Club’, a fun way for older players to get fit. It is very hard to gain funding for such worthwhile projects these days as local government’s budgets are severely stretched. However, Emma made enquiries into the matter and helped him move this project forward with free use of facilities, support in establishing a Walking Football league, and assistance in fundraising activities.
- A constituent of Emma’s complained about the poor service she suffered whilst trying to reclaim a Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) claim. An error on the part of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) resulted in Emma’s constituent incurring bank charges. Within two weeks of Emma’s intervention, payment of £4,771 was received by her constituent and a further £300 financial redress for poor service, worry, distress, and bank charges.
- Emma was contacted by a constituent regarding the installation of a new central heating boiler. She had health issues and a young child and had been without heating and hot water for one week. She waited all day for a heating engineer to install the new boiler, but the appointment was cancelled at the last minute. Emma’s constituent was informed that she would have to wait another week. Following Emma’s intervention on her behalf, a new boiler was installed one day later. She thanked Emma and said: “It was all thanks to you”.
- Emma was contacted by a constituent who has a mortgage on a leasehold flat. The constituent had received a letter from a South London company which owns the leasehold on her flat saying there were (minor) discrepancies on her insurance policy. She immediately put them right and e-mailed the company and told them everything was correct. The company referred the matter to a tribunal which decided there were a few discrepancies, but nothing serious. The company then demanded £1,500, which my constituent did not pay. Another bill for £3,200 arrived. Emma was disgusted by this unwarranted claim and raised the matter with the Housing Minister in the House of Commons in the hope that such companies would be properly regulated and follow proper procedures. After a while the money they were asking for dropped back to £1,500. Then just before Christmas Emma’s constituent received a letter stating the company would be willing to forget the episode. Emma’s constituent thanked her for being very approachable and for intervening on her behalf. She said that Emma “took this injustice as high as you can get” and went on to say “I, for one, am convinced she will prove to be an excellent MP for South Shields”.