The last few weeks have been very busy in Westminster, and I have been involved in a number of important debates. I was very pleased to be able to attend the Homelessness Reduction Bill debate, which gives more rights to homeless people. The bill has been welcomed by homelessness charities and aims to ensure that councils give support to all homeless people and places a greater emphasis on preventing homelessness in the first place. I am a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for ending Homelessness, and feel this bill is an important step towards helping as many people as possible. This bill has attracted cross-party support and I was pleased to be asked to sit on the bill committee. Every year in November I take part in a sleep out with a local youth group to raise funds and awareness of homelessness. It’s for one night, but with only a sleeping bag, and a few pieces of cardboard, it is cold and uncomfortable and I don’t get much sleep. Having a secure and safe place to stay is vital for everybody, and I will continue to work towards helping to reduce the numbers of people who have no permanent home.
I have also highlighted in Parliament the importance of different options for young people leaving school. Apprenticeships provide great opportunities for our young people to gain both employment and skills. They are also vitally important for many of our local businesses. I was happy to speak in support of apprentices and local businesses who run apprenticeship schemes, having visited many of them across the constituency.
I am also working very closely with the Dorset Chamber of Commerce, which has set up the excellent initiative called “Dorset Young Chamber”. This aims to be a link between our schools and local businesses and to help prepare our young people for the world of work. I am delighted to be chairing the steering group and to see this exciting project get off to a flying start.
This is my final column in 2016, and it has been an eventful year in politics. I am a very optimistic person, and as we look forward into 2017, I am confident that whatever happens, our country will continue to thrive, to grow and to be outward-looking and a force for good in the world. May I wish all readers a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.
I will be continuing my regular surgeries around the constituency; please do get in touch if you would like to meet or need my help with any particular issue. You can email me on email@example.com or contact my office on 01202 624216. You can also follow what I’ve been doing on Twitter @Michael4MDNP or Facebook www.facebook.com/michael4MDNP