How may I help?

Many people think that their MP exists to solve all their problems for them: this is not the case.  MPs are there to help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.  For many matters, the appropriate first step would be to contact your local Councillor.

Your MP is not there to help you in private disputes with neighbours, with an employer, with family matters or with companies who have sold you faulty goods; nor can MPs interfere with decisions made by courts.

However, constituents often take a problem to their MP because they do not know who else could help them (including on the topics mentioned above).  MPs and their staff are very generous at giving help and advice and will often have a local Councillor at their constituency surgeries to help those constituents whose problems are connected with the services provided by local authorities such as dustbins, housing repairs or social services.

My staff and I will try to be as helpful as we can but, it is important that we spend our time dealing with problems we can have an impact on, rather  than queries that could be more effectively dealt with elsewhere.  You should therefore try to address issues directly with the organisation involved before approaching my staff and me.

You can find further information on what MPs do in this booklet: You and Your MP

How can we help?

My staff and I can help with a wide range of issues which are the responsibility of central government which include and is not limited to:

  • Department for Health (NHS matters)
  • Department for Education (excluding school placements)
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • HMRC (Tax Credits and PAYE)
  • Home Office
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office

My office is only able to deal with constituents who live in Bolton South East. If you are not sure who your MP is, you can check via this website here by typing in your postcode: https://www.writetothem.com/

Unfortunately, I am not able to solve every problem.

  • I cannot obtain preferential treatment for you or seek to get results outside of the relevant laws or rules.
  • I cannot help you with private disputes with other individuals or interfere with decisions made by the courts.
  • Due to parliamentary protocol, I am unable to act on behalf of residents who do not live in my constituency.

Immigration and asylum casework issues:

I am unable to provide legal advice to constituents, as it is not an MP’s role to offer legal advice.  Please approach an organisation such as Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor for this.

In cases when there has been a failure to respond to your case or an inappropriate delay, I can contact the Home Office to make enquiries on your behalf.

In cases where you wish to challenge a refused visit visa application, this can only be done in the form of an administrative review within 28 days of the original refusal.  I can ask the Home Office to look at a visit visa refusal only if you put the request in writing to me.  Your request must not include any new documentation/information that was not included in your original application.  There is no guarantee that the refusal will be overturned with my intervention.

General advice for solicitors:

In cases of spouse visa refusals, I am unable to request a review of the refusal when a formal appeal hasn’t been submitted to the Tribunal Service. The Home Office will not accept these requests from me.

If you wish to approach me for assistance on behalf of a constituent, please ensure you have written consent beforehand to avoid any delay in dealing with the enquiry.

Welfare and Benefits issues:

We are unable to provide specialist welfare benefit advice.  If you wish to challenge a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions about a benefit refusal i.e. Personal Independence Payment/Employment Support Allowance, needing representation at an appeal or help with form filling, the following organisations are able to assist you with specialist welfare advice:

Bolton Unemployed Advice Centre: Located in Bolton town centre: 148 Deansgate, Bolton, BL1 1BB, Contact number: 01204 396560 Accepts walk in appointments, please ring them directly for the times of drop in sessions.

Bolton Citizens Advice Bureau Located in Bolton town centre: 26-28 Mawdsley Street, Bolton, BL1 1LF near Nelson Square. Opportunity for face to face meetings with an adviser at the following drop in sessions:

  • Tuesday: 10:00 to 15:30
  • Wednesday: 10:00 to 15:30
  • Friday: 10:00 to 15:30

Fightback 4 Justice (Non Profit Community Interest Group) offering expert welfare benefit advice and help with advocacy and form filling for PIP/ESA/DLA.

Further information and contact details can be found directly on their website here: http://www.fightback4justice.co.uk/

I am able to help in cases where there has been, for example an inappropriate delay in paying your benefits or you have been underpaid.  When enquiring, please ensure you include your National Insurance Number to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Local Council issues

MPs do not have any power or say over matters for which the Council is responsible.  Therefore, it is not always appropriate for an MP to be the first point of contact in matters which are the responsibility of the Council.  Examples of local council issues include fly tipping, refuse collections, potholes, school placements, council tax and housing benefit problems and planning matters.  If the problem you wish to raise concerns the Council, you should first contact the relevant Council department or service directly.  If the matter is still not resolved, you should then approach the local Councillors for your area.

If, after pursuing the course of action above, you still have a complaint about how the local authority has dealt with your problem, then you should consider contacting the Local Government Ombudsman.  See http://www.lgo.org.uk/ for more information.

Further information and contact details for your Councillors can be found on the Bolton Council website: http://www.democracy.bolton.gov.uk/cmis5/People.aspx

Housing

I am not able to help with housing repairs, or with priority for social housing.  You can get advice on social housing from Bolton Council - see the website here: http://www.bolton.gov.uk/website/Pages/Housingoptionsandadvice.aspx

Bolton at Home provides social housing in Bolton.  It also provides:

  • a wide range of advice, signposting, support and social activities through its UCAN centres.
  • Tackling antisocial behaviour, hate crime and domestic abuse in our neighbourhoods.
  • Supporting the community in developing groups and projects.
  • Helping you link up with other services such as those providing affordable furniture and carpets.
  • How to donate or recycle furniture
  • Help and advice in lowering your household bills, gas electric and water
  • Giving you the support you need to remain independent through our Careline service and disabled adaptations.
  • Offering several services to help you get back into work and training.

See more on Bolton at Home's website http://www.boltonathome.org.uk/

Shelter has some very useful information on priority for social housing which you can find here: http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/council_housing_association/priority_for_council_housing

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