My Name is Deb Harvey and at present I am a Newport City Councillor.
I also run a Consumer Watchdog type website giving out as much information to protect the consumer as possible, free of charge.
I first became involved in politics when I had the misfortune of getting caught up in the Farepak fiasco. It was in the initial aftermath of this that I met my friend, MP Jessica Morden. After telling the last of my customers her money was gone and feeling like I had taken it, I decided there and then NO MORE.
I have since made it my business to stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves, whether that is because they are afraid or they simply do not know where to begin. It is an absolute minefield out there trying to resolve issues and the deliberate way things are worded just to bamboozle you.
I have gone as far as taking my issues surrounding no prepayment protection to Vince Cable with a lot of help from Jessica. I had my first success in the Co-op bringing in the first fully protected Christmas Savings Scheme whereby every penny is protected. As a NCC Cllr, I have taken on the role of sorting out the issues facing residents in RSL properties.
The lack of decent repairs is upper most in the complaints that we are all facing. There is still (in some parts) the ‘what do women know?’ attitude. The answer is simple really; a darn sight more than men care to admit or recognise.
If you only manage to help one person through your role as a Cllr, or any job for that matter, then you have to go for it. Don’t accept knock-backs because they will come, believe me.
Listen, take on board what they tell you, then you tell them how it is going to happen and what they are going to do to address and fix the issue at hand. Never forget there is always someone there to help and guide you if you get stuck.
After 18 months of being a Cllr would I do it again knowing what I know now? You’re damn right I would!
This article relates to News item: More women need to get engaged – Parliament Week 2013.