Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron column: Make sure you keep your money protected

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Regardless of age, health or economic circumstance, nearly everyone needs to bank.

However, hearing, vision and mobility issues often arise as people age and can make certain banking tasks such as reading statements, standing in line, and communicating with tellers more challenging.

The impact is even more far-reaching.

Family caregivers are often asked to help a friend or relative manage finances because of a decline in their loved one’s health or cognitive ability.

These challenges are compounded by the fact that thousands of people aged 50 and over become victims of financial exploitation every day.

Not only do they lose money, but the loss of trust and dignity can have severe impacts on their health and well-being.

Older people are targeted not only because they have built up a lifetime of savings, but also because those who suffer cognitive decline are more vulnerable to exploitation.

We know if nothing changes the problem of financial exploitation will only get worse as the number of older people and their assets continue to grow.

As an Age Champion MP I am so pleased that Age UK have launched a report looking into the accessibility of banking.

It is an issue I have taken an interest in for many years and hopefully we can get some positives steps out of this report.

Yet again this week we saw who is backing the steel workers of South Yorkshire as Tory MEPs in Europe failed to support the European Parliament’s motion against the granting of Market Economy Status to China.

UK steel, a vital foundation industry, is hanging by a thread.

The main cause of the crisis is the illegal dumping of Chinese steel, but the Government has repeatedly failed to act.

Granting Market Economy Status to China would not just be undeserved and absurd; it would frustrate action against dumping.

It is a great shame that most Tory MEPs failed to support this crucial vote. Labour has long been calling for robust action to tackle dumping and save our steel.

This motion is a welcome step forward and we hope the Tory Government will see this as a wake-up call.

They need to stop kow-towing to China and start standing up for our steel industry.

At the end of last week I was delighted to see that the Tories have been forced to backtrack on many of their most extreme proposals for the BBC, because they were out of step with the overwhelming majority of the public.

It was clear that the government is hostile to the BBC, and there is still much in this White Paper which falls short of the three tests Labour has set on editorial independence, financial independence, and the BBC’s core mission.

There are still real concerns that the Government will seek to influence the BBC’s editorial decision making, and that the broadcaster will come under undue political interference as a result.

The BBC is one of the UK’s most successful and loved institutions.

The public have said time and time again that they value the BBC’s independence, and that they want it to carry on making the programmes we all enjoy.

In order to give licence fee payers the reassurance they will need following weeks of hostile briefings that have sought to diminish the BBC, these proposals should now be debated and voted on in a substantive motion in both Houses of Parliament.

n Contact Sir Kevin Barron MP about his weekly column by writing to him at Sir Kevin Barron MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

n Alternatively, you can call Sir Kevin Barron’s office in Rother Valley by phone at 01909 568611 or email at kevin.barron.mp@parliament.uk.