I hope you have all had a wonderful summer. It is very much back to work here in Westminster.

Last month, I mentioned that I had been asked to join Theresa May’s Government as a Minister in the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It has been a busy time getting settled in, but I have been excited to start working on a number of vital issues – including the minimum wage, for which I am responsible as a Minister. I also, for the first time, answered Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Last week, I was pleased to take the minimum wage increase through Parliament – it now stands at £6.95 an hour for 21-24 year olds. I have also been working to make sure that employers pay the minimum wage, and I published the largest ever list of companies that have failed to pay their employees properly. All workers should receive either the minimum wage or the National Living Wage as an entitlement, and I am determined to make sure that is the case. Our economy must work for everyone, not just a privileged few.

In Stourbridge, I have just announced my next ‘Aspirations’ event, which is my programme to raise the aspirations of local young people. On November 11th, I will host a ‘Careers Day’ at Glasshouse College, which will feature employers, apprenticeship providers, grad schemes and more. If you are keen to get involved as either a business or an attendee, please do get in touch with my office.

I wrote to residents over the summer to update them on the situation at the derelict Longlands site. I was reassured that there remains significant interest from other developers although the original developer unfortunately pulled out. I was also shocked to learn of an incident at the beginning of this month in which a fire was started in the old buildings.

On behalf of residents, I am continuing to monitor the security situation very closely and, with the help of local Councillors, improve it further.

Lastly, I want to mention the great visit I had to Smithfield Market in Stourbridge last week, during which I met Pippa, who runs ‘Pippa’s Pet Treats’. It is great to see new businesses flourishing in our town. Please do take the time to visit the market, which has some great stalls. As ever, should you wish to get in touch with me, you can call my office on 01384 370 574, or email me at margot.james.mp@ parliament.uk. You can also write to me at my constituency address, 1a Worcester Street, Stourbridge, DY8 1AH. Please also sign up to my regular newsletter at www.margotjames.com/subscribe for more about what I am doing to represent you.