Parliament returned from its summer recess this month and I have been back in London representing my constituents.
The past 18 months have been a tough time for many of us but although some normality has returned, not everyone is in the same position.
Provisional figures from HMRC highlighted that 2,200 people in my constituency alone are still on furlough.
Through no fault of their own, these people may face unemployment in October after the Chancellor’s reckless decision to end the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Coupled with the loss of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, the impact of Brexit and an increase in energy bills, we are facing a perfect storm which some families may struggle to recover from.
I have called on the UK Government to reconsider their plans and also voted against the proposed rise in national insurance contributions which will hit families, low-paid workers and young people the hardest.
In December, my paid miscarriage leave bill will have its second reading in the house and I have already received support from several MPs and parties.
I believe that any couple who experiences miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy should be able to grieve.
Miscarriage is not an illness, it is a loss that can be extremely traumatic for expectant parents. It is therefore not acceptable to ask those grieving to rely on their employer’s goodwill or to take sick or unpaid leave.
Introducing three days of paid miscarriage leave would be a huge step towards tackling the stigma around baby loss and showing expectant parents that it is normal to grieve a loss prior to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
New Zealand has recently introduced paid miscarriage leave and I will urge the UK Government to follow in their footsteps.
On a more positive note, I was delighted to learn that Carluke Development Trust’s application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund was successful.
The £74,000 grant awarded will allow the trust to establish a project team which will include conservation architects, structural and service engineers, environmental and sustainability support, quantity surveyor support and financial support.
This will be a huge boost to the town and is another significant step towards the development of the Carluke High Mill and ONECarluke Community Growing and Learning Garden.