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DREW HENDRY: Listening to people is key to understanding issues

By Drew Hendry

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A senior man holding his head trying to cope the raising cost of energy and tax bills..
A senior man holding his head trying to cope the raising cost of energy and tax bills..

Parliament was in recess last week, allowing me to spend valuable time getting across our constituency and meeting with constituents, local businesses and community groups.

I always enjoy this extra time I spend in our communities when parliament is on recess. There is no better way to understand the challenges people are facing than by prioritising time to listen.

One of the significant changes my team and I implemented post-Covid was to move away from the traditional MP surgeries into a more accessible and flexible format. This change was driven by your feedback that you prefer more convenient ways to communicate with your elected representatives. That’s why you can schedule meetings with me at times and locations that suit you best or opt for a chat on the phone. It’s a shift that has been met with overwhelming approval, and I am grateful for all your positive feedback.

That said, I also love getting out to do door-to-door surgeries.

Often, folk are surprised to see their MP standing on their doorstep asking if they have any issues they’d like to discuss, but I find them to be kind and welcoming. Even if I am not the right person to assist with their issue, usually, I can put them in touch with the relevant person or department.

The prevailing topic during these conversations has been the undeniable impact of the current economic climate on household budgets. Folk are still struggling with the cost of living, rising rent and mortgage costs, compounded by stagnant wages.

The Office for National Statistics has confirmed the UK is in recession, making the government’s forthcoming budget a critical juncture.

Speculation of potential public spending cuts is deeply worrying; such measures from the Chancellor could further strain our public services, including the NHS. The need for decisive action to address the failing economy cannot be overstated.

As I return to Westminster this week, I will take with me your urgent calls for action on the cost-of-living crisis. Additionally, I will participate in the crucial vote on a ceasefire in Gaza. My campaign for the Highland Energy Rebate also remains high on my agenda, pushing for fairer energy costs in our region.

As ever, if you’d like to discuss any concerns, my team and I are here to assist, whether through scheduled meetings, calls, or our continued door-to-door surgeries.

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