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Hammond’s tinkering budget does little for Stretford and Urmston

It has been another heavy week of debates in parliament. On Tuesday, another late night for the EU Withdrawal Bill. On Wednesday and Thursday, we've been debating the budget.

There wasn't much for families in Stretford and Urmston in the budget. I recognise people will be pleased at the help for first time home buyers, but we got little to tackle the appalling and worsening homelessness crisis. The waiting time for universal credit is to be reduced by a week, but there was nothing to reverse the cuts that mean people get to keep less of their earnings. And Northern MPs remain deeply disappointed at the lack of investment in our rail services - I know many constituents are fed up with repeated slow, overcrowded and cancelled journeys.


When not in debates, I've been meeting some fabulous campaigners this week. It was a pleasure to catch up with the British Deaf Association. I was delighted to host an event with Gypsy and Traveller groups, to discuss the need for more authorised pitches. I'm always pleased to support our community pharmacies, and it was great to welcome their representatives in parliament. The CBI and ITV both held receptions for MPs, and I had an excellent meeting with Women in Prison. It's been a varied week of meetings!


But I was sorry that there was one event I couldn't get along to this week, because it clashed with the budget. I wasn't present when Intu, who own the Trafford Centre, were highly commended at the Responsible Business Champions awards for their amazing work to make their shopping centres more friendly for people with autism. Intu began this project at the Trafford Centre, and are now extending it to their centres up and down the country. I know it has made a really big difference to people with autism, and I'm so proud to have been associated with it. Congratulations to all the Intu staff involved at the Trafford Centre!


Last week, I mentioned in my blog that I was pleased we had managed to prevent the far right's Tommy Robinson from holding an event in Stretford and Urmston. My intervention then led to a torrent of abuse on social media directed against me by Mr Robinson's followers. 

This week has been just as bad. This time, I've been on the receiving end of an astonishing amount of anti-Semitic abuse, because I asked Manchester United why they were giving a platform to David Icke. 

Some of the posts are absolutely vile. They serve to underline the bigotry and hatred I'd been complaining about. And just to be crystal clear: I will never, ever be frightened off speaking out against prejudice and hate speech. Luckily, I haven't had much time to spend on social media this week. 

Best wishes



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