Every morning, my team and I trawl through the latest constituency cases, and set to work looking at how we can help.
Every case is different. Some – like dislodged paving stones or missed bin collections – can usually be addressed relatively quickly.
Others – like visa applications or crime – are more complex and require more detailed work.
The cases that really make my heart sink, however, are housing related. That’s because I know securing good quality, affordable housing is increasingly becoming an exercise akin to finding hens teeth.
A combination of Right to Buy mismanagement, extortionate private rents and failure to build enough social housing or starter homes means that for many, the housing market is fundamentally broken.
England now has among the lowest numbers of homes per 1,000 people in Western Europe. The charity Shelter estimates that over 1 million people are waiting for social homes.
It’s difficult to overstate how catastrophic figures like these are for many households. Not only are people being shut out of the dream of owning their home, when they are stepping into the rental market they are finding themselves acutely vulnerable to high rents and rogue landlords.
The solution, as Labour has made clear, is to get Britain building.
That means overhauling planning laws so that good quality green space is protected while low quality sites, like disused shrubland and petrol stations, are utilised for the creation of genuinely affordable housing.
Labour would give councils in England new powers to buy land at lower prices to boost housebuilding, something that could be truly transformational for communities right across the country.
This work would come alongside clamping down on shoddy landlords and appalling housing conditions, which are causing health outcomes in many deprived communities to worsen at an alarming rate.
Safe, decent and affordable housing is not, and should never be, a privilege afforded to the few. I’m fed up of seeing hard working people in Tameside losing out because of a poor planning system and a Government that has failed to proactively tackle this crisis.
But the situation is not futile. With action, we can build a Britain where affordable housing is the norm, and where the dream of home ownership can become a reality again.