What your MP can do for you
Many people think that their MP can solve all their problems: this is sadly not the case and there are many examples where contacting an MP may result in a problem taking longer to resolve if the issue in question is not their responsibility. MPs are there to help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.
For many matters, (for example if it is connected with local planning, the day to day running of schools, refuse collection, housing repairs, anti-social behaviour or public lavatories) the appropriate first step is to contact your local councillor.
Services in Suffolk are divided between Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council. The County Council manages services including schools, social services, strategic planning matters, highways, refuse and waste disposal sites, museums and libraries. The District Council manages services including town planning, environmental health, housing, benefits, council tax collection, refuse collection and leisure facilities.
You can find the contact details for your local councillor at Suffolk County Council by clicking here.
You can find the contact details of your local councillor at Waveney District Council by clicking here.
An MP is unable to settle private disputes with neighbours or employers, nor can he help in family arguments. Nor can an MP interfere with decisions made in court or offer legal advice.
If you are unsure of who to go to or you have a problem of a more general nature then your nearest Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to guide you.
North East Suffolk (Lowestoft) Citizens Advice Bureau
The Advice Centre
36 Gordon Road
Telephone: 01502 518510
Fax: 01502 515825
North East Suffolk Citizens Advice - Bungay Office
8 Chaucer Street
Telephone: 01986 895827
Fax: 01502 716212
North East Suffolk - Beccles Citizens Advice Bureau
12 New Market
Telephone: 01502 717715
Fax: 01502 716212
If your problem is not local in nature and concerns central government policies (such as the National Health Service, HM Revenue and Customs who collect the bulk of tax and pay child benefit and tax credits, and the Department of Work and Pensions who deal with issues such as benefits, pensions and national insurance) then you should contact your MP.
Your MP can help you with all matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible, such as:
- Tax problems involving the HM Revenue and Customs Department.
- Problems dealt with by the Department for Work and Pensions such as benefits, pensions and National Insurance.
- Problems dealt with by the Home Office, such as immigration.
- Problems dealt with by the Department of Health, such as hospitals and the National Health Service (NHS).
- Problems dealt with by the Department for Education, such as school closures and grants.
How does my MP deal with my problem?
Ways Peter could deal with problems of his constituents would be:
- A letter to the relevant department or official.
- A letter to the Minister involved.
- Attempt to ascertain the reason behind decisions.
- Appeal on behalf of an indivdual or community.
- Speak to relevant autorites on your behalf.
Many problems (but not all) can be solved in this way. The Minister may not be able to give the answer you want to hear but if the decision has been made in the correct way there may be little that he can do. If you feel there has been unnecessary delay or maladministration Peter may be able to take your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can only be approached through Peter; you cannot approach that office directly. The Health Service Ombudsman can provide similar help where the problem involves the NHS.