Below is the full column from Jonathan Lord, the Conservative MP for Woking. He will be writing into Woking News & Mail regularly to update Woking residents on what he and the council are up to.

Welcome to my new regular column in the News & Mail. Most weeks, I hope to tell you about some of my activities locally, including important events I have attended and how I aim to help and support the charities and local businesses I have met with.

It will also be an opportunity to share with you my thoughts and views on issues in Woking and Westminster.

So while the column won’t shy away from difficult issues, I hope, in the main, it will provide a key opportunity to highlight and showcase some of the wonderful community organisations, charities and enterprises I am fortunate enough to meet every single week around Woking and our villages.

However, it will not surprise you that much of my current focus is on the financial challenges at Woking Borough Council and the repercussions for council services and our voluntary sector. 

I have been speaking about these issues with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and with the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, in addition to having regular update meetings with the chief executive of Woking Borough Council, Julie Fisher.

I have assured Mrs Fisher that I will support any efforts by the council to try to secure appropriate support from the government and other stakeholders as these financial challenges are fully worked through over time.

I am also routinely meeting with the government-appointed commissioners at the council, with whom I will continue to raise the concerns of residents. 

Like so many of you, I am worried about many of the proposed council cuts, and I will be lobbying hard, campaigning hard – and working hard on any alternative options – to try to save Pool in the Park and vital services for the vulnerable such Citizens Advice Woking, Dial a Ride and Bustler.

In a recent question in the Commons to the prime minister, I talked about the vital need to protect the vulnerable in Woking, so in this week’s column I particularly want to bring further attention to Citizens Advice Woking.

I have witnessed first-hand the importance and positive impact CAW has for so many when they seek out advice in their hour of need.  

I recently brought the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions to CAW to discuss and highlight their brilliant work. 

It is clear Citizens Advice go above and beyond to support vulnerable residents, which is why I am bitterly disappointed to see Woking Council propose the complete defunding of this vital service.

Given that CAW currently help more than 6,000 clients a year, including those seeking housing and facing homelessness – which are statutory duties of the council – I think there’s a very real danger our council will not be able to cope properly with all those enquiries and casework if CAW is no longer there to support.

In the past week or so I have visited Horsell Bowls Club to help our terrific Woking Lions give out cheques to local charities and good causes, Knaphill Methodist Church to support an Air Ambulance coffee morning, and the 1st St John’s Beaver Colony, among several other meetings and engagements which I may try to highlight in a future column.

As always, if residents have any questions or casework for me, please do get in touch at [email protected] and you can always find out more about my work as your Member of Parliament on my website or on my MP Facebook page.