As an MP I have had a lot of experience of constituents coming to me with their problems. When they are unfairly treated or are unable to get answers or need some general advice.
To that end I have summarised some of my cases to better give you an idea of the kind of problems that I can help you with. Personal details have been removed to protect the privacy of those involved.
Responding to Constituent Concerns
Ed received a number of emails and letters from concerned constituents about a proposed anerobic digester facility at Milton Hill, and was visited by a group of local residents at his surgery. The residents had many well-founded concerns and had done a huge amount of research to demonstrate the flaws in the planning application.
Ed contacted the District Council making it clear that this was not an appropriate site for such a facility.
Following Ed’s intervention, the planning application was withdrawn. Ed will continue to keep a close eye on this issue, and will try to keep local residents informed should any similar proposals resurface.
Disability Living Allowance
A constituent with a long-standing illness started suffering from seizures and was only able to work two days a week.
Despite his condition he was refused both a Disability Living Allowance and Income Support.
Having been contacted by this constituent, Ed wrote to both Jobcentre Plus and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions asking them to review the case, and shortly thereafter the constituent began receiving the regular benefit payments to which he was entitled. “Your efforts have borne fruit” he said, “thank you very much for your help.”
Visit from Belarusian Children
Ed was contacted by the chair of an organisation which brings Belarusian children affected by the Chernobyl disaster over to the UK for a month’s respite each summer.
Before the children would be allowed to travel to the UK, a bilateral agreement needed to be drawn up and signed by the two countries ensuring the safe passage of the children to and from the UK.
With the date soon approaching and the agreement not having materialised, the constituent emailed Ed for help.
Liaising with both the Home Secretary and the Belarusian government, Ed was promptly able to bring about the signing of the agreement, thereby allowing the visit to proceed as planned. The chairwoman said she was “very grateful for Ed's help in making the children's visit possible this year.”
Underpaid State Pension
A retired constituent who believed she was being underpaid her state pension was having difficulty receiving a satisfactory response from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Within ten days of requesting Ed’s assistance, the constituent received a phone call from the DWP informing her that the error had now been corrected and she would be compensated for the previous 14 months of underpayment.
Leaking Water Pipe
Nine months after a water pipe leak had left much of his garden inaccessible and had flooded his home, a constituent was still waiting for Thames Water to locate and repair the damaged pipe. He had contacted them repeatedly without making any significant progress and subsequently brought this matter to Ed’s attention. The same day Ed wrote to Thames Water on behalf of his constituent.
Ed forced a meeting with the External Affairs Director and the head of the Customer Services department at the constituent’s home so that the damage could be seen.
Once the parties were forced together the matter was resolved without further delay.
The constituent said: “I am most grateful to Ed for having followed this up on my behalf - it is very much appreciated.”
An Australian citizen residing in Wallingford had a problem regarding his visa and travelling freely from the UK to Australia.
Upon returning from seeing his very ill grandfather it became apparent his visa had expired and had no legal means to re-enter the country.
The constituent managed to return to the UK on compassionate grounds on a temporary visa, with the view of applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Having made the application straight away, the Home Office failed to respond to it despite the situation regarding his ill grandfather in Australia.
Although the Home Office said that all applications are processed within 70 days this application seemed to be overlooked
Within five days of contacting Ed’s office, the Wallingford resident was granted indefinite leave to remain and a new passport.
In a letter to Ed’s office the constituent wrote “Thank you very much for Ed's involvement. My passport came today and I can only presume that they got busy as soon as they heard from Ed”
A constituent contacted Ed regarding tax refunds that were delayed in reaching him. Despite several attempts to contact Revenues and Customs the constituent was unable to find out why the system was delaying the request.
After Ed had personally contacted HRMC to understand the problem, within 5 days the tax refunds were credited into the constituent’s bank account.
Damage caused by County Council
A constituent experienced damage to her bike and plant pot as a result of a falling street light lantern. Once she realised the extent of the damage she rightly applied for a claims form from Oxfordshire County Council.
After waiting the 8 weeks she was told the claim would need to be processed, she emailed again asking to its status.
After another delay, she was initially offered 50% of the costs because they claimed that high winds were partially responsible for causing the damage.
After the constituent provided a response as to why she was entitled to all the damage claims she emailed Ed to ask for clarification and a review of the decision.
Despite these months of delays, within a day of Ed contacting the Council, they had decided to review the case and reimburse 100% of the damage costs.
Child Support Agency
A constituent had been making payments to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for the last 13 years and had never missed a payment.
A reassessment by the CSA led to arrears of £4000 dating back to the year 2000.
The constituent had repeatedly attempted to contact the CSA regarding this issue but the demands for the arrears continued.
After emailing Ed regarding the matter, Ed directly contacted the CSA and ensured a new rate of repayments based on a lower salary and a declaration of non-parentage which ensured progress regarding the matter.
Once the matter was resolved the constituent wrote to Ed saying that it felt very supportive to “know that there is always help available.”
British Telecom Billing Problems
A lady had recently moved from a rental address to a new home and had finalised payments with BT before moving out of the house.
Despite this, BT continued to bill her and direct debited money from her account. Several attempts to demand the money back from BT for the incorrect direct debit payments were made but the money was still not received.
Ed was copied into one of the constituent's letters and contacted BT personally to attempt to settle the matter for the constituent.
After a short period of time BT confirmed a cheque had been sent as repayment for the incorrectly charged amounts.
Winter Fuel Allowance
A constituent was concerned that her Winter Fuel Allowance had not been put into her bank account. The same problem happened in the previous year due to limits upon her bank account into which her state pension and allowance are put.
She contacted the Department of Work and Pensions regarding the matter and requested the money be sent by giro as that was the method of payment in the previous year.
Ed was contacted regarding the issue from the start and wrote to the Secretary of State for the Work and Pensions and the Chief Executive of the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service. The issue was explained and within 5 days resolved by giro payment to the constituent.