How Shelter's training session helped me influence my MP (Supporter blog)

Over the past few months we’ve been campaigning hard for an end to the freeze on Local Housing Allowance in the run up to the autumn budget announcement on November 22nd. Over 20,000 Shelter campaigners have signed our petition, 7,000 have emailed their MPs and 514 have tweeted their MP.

We recently ran a training session in London with some supporters on ‘How to meet and influence MPs’.

One supporter, Terry, took his campaigning to the next level and raised the issue directly with his MP. His take on the experience is written below:

The training

‘When I was invited by Shelter to a training session, on how to contact and meet my local MP, I had no idea what to expect. But attending the training session really was like a breath of fresh air. Meeting with people who were all interested in housing and focused on campaigning produced a really positive atmosphere and generated a real buzz of ideas.

‘It felt like being with a group of friends.

‘The process of contacting my MP, which was covered in the training session, was quite straightforward. I telephoned the constituency office and it was suggested that I attend the next local surgery. This was at a fixed time, so I didn’t have to wait long.’

Taking action

‘Before meeting my MP, I was unsure how he would react to the request I intended to make. This was to ask him to write to the chancellor of the exchequer requesting that the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance be lifted in the forthcoming budget.

‘However, he was in fact very friendly and helpful and easy to get on with, and readily agreed to write to the chancellor. He also made clear his support for this type of campaigning in a very enthusiastic way.

‘He has since written a letter to me promising to keep me updated on the response. Most MPs like to point out that they are representatives in Parliament rather than delegates. Well, this is representation, and it’s our responsibility to make ourselves heard. It was easy to do and I’d have no hesitation about doing it again.’

  • Help secure this urgent policy change for the 1.4million private renters who require LHA – contact your MP and ask them to unfreeze LHA now. Let’s do this together!