It was brilliant this month to host my first pensioner drop in, in Swanley, to coincide with the end of Pension Credit Action week. I was joined by representatives from a number of services including Citizens Advice, Age UK, Kent County Council and the Sevenoaks Seniors Action Forum and it was great to see how much support is available locally to pensioners.
I have spoken before about the importance of checking if you, or someone you know, is eligible for Pension Credit - which tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £201.05 a week for single pensioners or £306.85 for couples. It can also be used as a gateway to access other benefits such as a free TV licence, Cold Weather Payments, and the Government’s cost of living payments worth £900 this year. Sadly, around a third of those eligible for Pension Credit are not claiming it and could be missing out on extra money each week. I want to change this, so please do check to see if you or your loved ones could benefit.
In my role as Pensions Minister, I also this month spoke with Martin Lewis, as part of his Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV. We discussed the announcement that the deadline to buy voluntary national insurance credits has been extended. This means thousands more people will have time to check their entitlement, and in many cases increase the amount they receive when they retire. To see if you could benefit, do visit the DWP website.
Finally, this month I had the honour of opening the Sevenoaks Business Show - my third since becoming an MP. We are so lucky to have so many fantastic local businesses, who play such a pivotal role in our community. As I walked around the hall, I was struck by the sheer amount of talent on display. And, it was great to meet the teams behind the new business hubs at Salters Heath Business Centre, Lime Tree Walk Workshop, Help Suites and the Town Council Business Hub, as well as speak to representatives from fourfrys creative, the Stag Theatre and TN Card – to name just a few.
Local business is the lifeblood of our country. And when local businesses succeed, we all benefit. That is why I will always champion business both here in Sevenoaks, but also in Westminster.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
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