Truck stop of the year award is richly deserved

Last week I was delighted to present the award for Truck Stop of the Year to the Chippenham Pit Stop. We should never underestimate the value which long-distance lorry drivers add to the UK economy, transporting the majority of UK freight and ensuring that shops and businesses we rely on have the products we want to buy.

It was a privilege to present the award in recognition for all of the hard and important work that they do. It is great to see a local business providing a place of comfort where they can take a well-earned rest. Importantly, the staff have monthly campaigns which draw much-needed attention to the health issues that commonly affect lorry drivers.

The facilities they offer are fantastic and I hope that there will be others like it, not only in my constituency, but right across the UK.

The visit brought to my attention some of the challenges facing the driving community, with loneliness being the most significant and the Pit Stop is leading the fight to tackle this and ensure that drivers have a true home away from home. My congratulations go out to all the team and I would certainly urge everyone to visit the fantastic café and on site shop and see it for themselves.

In Parliament I used the debate on the Finance Bill Amendments to raise the issue of problem debt and supported the need for adequate ‘breathing space’ for those struggling to get on top of their debt.

I am passionate about the need to help people to help themselves to get out of debt and avoid the ‘debt spiral’ where people borrow more and more to pay off existing debt commitments.

Problem debt can leave people isolated, trapped, alone and even lead to family breakdown and the amendment creates legislation for mandated ‘breathing spaces’ for those in debt, a period free from interest, fees and threats.

It also ensures that people have clear advice and guidance when they need it, merges a number of agencies to remove duplication for users and ensures help is targeted at the most vulnerable, which is paramount.

I have always been a strong supporter of the teaching of financial literacy as part of our school curriculum since its introduction and we must educate people to avoid getting into problem debt but also support them if circumstances mean they do, and I was proud to speak up for my constituents in this situation in the recent debate.

If you are struggling with your own finances at the moment and need any help or advice on any matter please do get in touch with me on michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 01249 704465 and come to one of my weekly surgeries.