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News From Westminster- By Michelle Donelan MP

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, a topic which I am passionate about and which is so vital to ensuring that every child has a secure and vibrant future ahead of them.

I sit on the Education Select Committee, which has recently joined forces with the Health Select Committee, to work towards improving children’s mental health provision in schools.

Recent Government announcements on this issue will have a significant and positive impact on provision, such as the additional £300m funding, piloting the four-week maximum waiting time for NHS children’s mental health services and setting up mental health support teams to ensure earlier access to services.

However, we need to push further to deliver the best possible support. I am using my position on the committee to push for better links between parents and schools. Often children behave differently in one environment to another and so it is crucial there is a conduit between the two, to deliver support tailored to the individual.

It is essential that we diagnose mental health problems and start providing support at the youngest possible age, as it is only this way that every single child will be able to take full advantage of their schooling and grasp their future with its maximum potential.

I spoke in the recent Health Questions in the Commons Chamber to challenge the Health Secretary on the difficulty in finding bed places for children and young adults in residential mental health facilities across the UK and was pleased to have been able to bring a specific case of a local constituent to the Minister’s attention, which thankfully is now in the process of being resolved.

Over the past three years I have helped out a significant number of constituents who have had issues with private car park providers and excessive and unjust fines. I used a speech in parliament to speak on this issue, supporting the call for standard code of practice for parking providers, as too often it is the most vulnerable and elderly who are caught out.

A lack of signage, poor lighting and machines which are not user-friendly all cause error, upset and financial hardship and a standard code of practice would work towards rectifying this and put power back into the hands of the motorist and out of that of private parking operators.

I recently spoke on the issue of plastics in teabags and called on the government to challenge manufacturers to eliminate this unnecessary waste. To support this campaign I have set up a petition at https:// michelledonelan.co.uk/ petition and would be delighted if you could show your support for this measure by signing it.

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