The biggest concern raised with me continues to be the cost of living. The mortgage rate hikes, triggered by the Liz Truss premiership, and inflation still running at over ten per cent means that the increasing casework coming through my office relates to helping people who are struggling, including those households with two or more working. In a series of recent online workshops I’ve held, in conjunction with the likes of Highland Council, Age Scotland, and Change Mental Health, constituents have been able to hear from and ask questions of experts to help them with a wide range of issues.
The feedback has been that these organisations have provided invaluable support. As we always do, we are straining every sinew to reach as many people as we can to help. This also includes those who have sought sanctuary here.
The war in Ukraine has been active for over a year now, and it can be tempting to let it drift from our minds, but we mustn’t be tempted to do so. If Ukraine does not prevail, and Putin does, then the future will be starker for all of us.
I’m thankful that few of us will have faced hardship like that experienced by the displaced thousands who have had to flee Ukraine due to the illegal war there. Amidst this chaos, however, our local community has rallied, demonstrating exceptional empathy and unity, our true strength shining through, as it so often does in challenging times.
Not long ago, I held an event to provide support to our new Ukrainian friends. The response was overwhelming; the large group of attendees were grateful for the community spirit and friendship they had been shown here in the Highlands. Our new neighbours, however, are in an uncertain situation, to say the least. They are unable to plan for the future in Ukraine due to the war, and also here due to, frankly, inadequate support over visas from the Home Office and other agencies such as the DVLA – for basic documents, such as car registration and driving licences. Despite the numbers, my team and I stayed on until we worked through the queues of people seeking support.
For those unable to attend, I’ve compiled an extensive list of available resources. This guide, prepared in both Ukrainian and English, should help our friends navigate the assistance available and is available on my website at https://www.drewhendrymp.scot/support-for-ukrainians/