This week Jon Cruddas MP was informed by BT that as of Friday 20 March residents and businesses across Dagenham and Rainham will have a new legal right to request a decent and affordable broadband service. The new legislation comes with the introduction of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) which was set up in 2017.

BT has been designated by Ofcom to deliver this new legislation. The Universal Service is intended to be a safety net for those who currently struggle to get online because they cannot access a fast connection.

This month's ‘community focus' concentrates on an Essex Charity helping thousands of homeless people every single month. Friends of Essex & London Homeless are a local charity driven by one single goal: "to do their part in making the world a better place for all." They are a small group made up of volunteers who travel to central London every Wednesday evening to set up a ‘pop up' soup kitchen at Charing Cross, which ensures hundreds of homeless receive a hot meal.

At the end of 2018, Highways England held a consultation in which almost 29,000 people shared their views on proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing, a new road connecting Kent, Thurrock and Essex through a tunnel beneath the River Thames.

Highways England reviewed the feedback received through the consultation and have continued to progress designs ahead of submitting a Development Consent Order application later this year.

They would now like to hear your views on our proposed changes to the route.

Last week Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham was contacted by a representative of Barclays Bank regarding the proposed closure of the branch in Rainham Village on 15 May.

In the last four years over 3,000 high street banks have closed across the country as the banking sector moves to a more digitised format, this includes over 480 branches of Barclays. Last year Barclays attempted to remove services from local Post Offices, a move that Jon Cruddas MP successfully challenged and overturned.

The London Marathon Charitable Trust has announced new funding to deliver its vision of inspiring activity and enabling people to become and remain physically active regardless of age, gender, ability, race or background.

More than £5 million of grants are available for the Facilities Grants Programme to fund building, renovation or modernisation of facilities in London and Surrey.

The grants thresholds are: small grants £5,000 - £50,000, major grants £50,001 - £250,000.

Havering Council are currently developing ‘Havering's Homelessness Prevention and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2020-2025' and are asking residents for their input.

The Council have stated that they are committed to enhancing local services to support and protect those who find themselves homeless and vulnerable. They aim to learn the lessons as to why this happens, and plug the gaps where possible to improve early intervention and preventative work.

Last month, Havering Council launched a public consultation on a newly proposed policy for how they are planning to deliver travel assistance in the 2020-21 academic year starting in September.

The Local Authority provides support to students who are eligible and need support in order to get to school or college because of their needs.

The number of actual claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in December 2019 was 2,540, which was 3.6% of the population aged 16-64. On this basis, the number of claimants was 535 higher than December 2018.

'Claimants' include people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or who are claiming Universal Credit and are required to seek work.

How do figures change when we adjust for Universal Credit roll out?

The total number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in September 2019 was 2,525. This represents a rate of 4.6% of the economically active population aged 16-64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 3.7%. The UK unemployment rate, which includes people not claiming benefits and is estimated from survey data, was 3.9% in June to August 2019.

On Monday C2C launched a consultation on their ticket office opening hours. The changes are the first since the mid-1990's and the train operator has explained that with more customers using contactless payment, smartphones and the C2C smartcard the current ticket office opening hours are not sustainable given reduction in demand.

Details of the consultation can be found here: https://www.c2c-online.co.uk/media-centre/latest-news/ticket-office-consultation/

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