June is Scams Awareness Month, and as an MP I’m delighted to support this important drive to protect vulnerable people from a vicious and extremely costly crime.
The scale of fraud in this country is truly staggering: according to Citizen’s Advice, 72 per cent of people have been targeted by scammers in the past two years – and almost 40 per cent have been targeted more than five times!
Despite this, almost half of the people they surveyed had taken no action to protect themselves and their loved ones.
I have been particularly interested in combatting fraud ever since I was first elected to represent Solihull in Parliament and learned that fraud took an especially heavy toll here – at £9,600, the average cost of a scam in our town was nine times the national average.
As a former personal finance journalist I have also seen first-hand the huge harm that fraud does to individuals and communities. Victims of fraud can become isolated and unwell. On top of all this human misery, it costs the economy tens of billions every year.
If you or somebody you know falls victim to fraud, it’s really important to report it. Not only are groups such as Citizen’s Advice and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute here to support you, but the more we know about the scale and nature of this vicious crime the better able we are to protect people from it.
In 2016 I opened the debate on the Government’s major new anti-fraud legislation, and will continue to do everything in my power to support both ministers and Citizen’s Advice to stamp out scam artists once and for all.
Let me end on a happier note. On Friday 25th May I was lucky enough to join pupils from Yew Tree Primary School at a healthy eating workshop. Not only did we learn about the health benefits of a range of different fruits and vegetables, but we got to try them all too.
The class was delivered as part of the Schools Fruit and Vegetables Scheme, which has run since 2002. It was really great to meet the children and see first-hand how this programme makes a difference – thank you very much to Clare Colquhoun for running the day and the headteacher and all the staff at Yew Tree for inviting me!
Originally published in the Solihull News, 08/06/18.