Parliament has now broken up for Easter, which means I can devote two whole weeks solely to the constituency side of the job (a particular highlight so far has been the Just Look At Me exhibition at Half & Half on the High Street, a selection of self-portraits by people with mental health conditions - go and take a look if you get a chance).
The last week at Westminster was dominated by the Budget. Our economy is making progress - the deficit is now down by a third and unemployment is lower than when this Government came to office - but that progress is slower than anyone would like due to the international economic climate, which means the Chancellor had limited room for manoevure.
What I was looking for was something to help people in Croydon who are struggling to make ends meet and something to make it easier for businesses to grow and create more jobs.
So there were four measures that I was really pleased with.
First, the news that the Chancellor is further increasing the personal allowance - the amount we can earn before we have to start paying income tax. When we came to power, this was just £6,475. In a year’s time, it will be £10,000. As a result, 2.7 million of the lowest paid people in this country will no longer have to pay income tax and someone on an average salary will be £700 a year better off.
Second, the cancellation of the increase in fuel duty which Labour had planned for this September. As a result of decisions the Chancellor has taken over the last three years, petrol is 13p per litre cheaper than Labour were planning. For a typical car like a Ford Focus, that’s £7 less every time you fill up.
Third a package of measures to help people buy their home and boost the construction industry. The Government will provide five-year interest-free loans for up to a fifth of the cost of any newly built home worth less than £600,000. And it will help people who can afford a mortgage but don’t have lots of savings by providing guarantees so that lenders can offer mortgages without requiring huge deposits.
And finally the idea of an Employment Allowance for every business to make it cheaper for them to employ people.
We face tough times. There are no easy answers - we have to start living within our means. But if you’re working hard and struggling to make ends meet, if you want to own your own home, if you run a business and want to give someone a job, this Government is on your side.