Article for Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette

The House of Commons doesn’t sit in August which means that life for MPs takes on a different rhythm than most of the rest of the year. There is no need to be in Westminster for the debates and votes but that doesn’t mean that work stops.

At a Ministerial level, there is less need to be in the office. However, the Red Boxes – full of correspondence to sign and policy documents to read and comment upon – continue to be sent and worked through.

The media work continues, too. This usually means journeys into London to do a tour of television and radio studios before heading back home. Occasionally, and with a bit of luck, a television company can be persuaded to drive out to Hertfordshire and film me from my front garden. This is very convenient although a little surreal. One moment, pottering around home in shorts and T-shirt, then put on a suit, talk about tax avoidance on Sky News whilst neighbours wander past and change back again.

The constituency work, of course, continues with regular surgeries and so on. Last week, I had a chance to visit once again the Hospice of St Francis.

I have known the team there for many years now, first visiting the Hospice on its old site in Shrublands Road before I was even the MP.
In recent months, the Hospice has been able to open its last two beds, taking it up to fourteen. This has long been an ambition and is the maximum number the current buildings can take. But it is important to remember that the Hospice of St Francis is not just about support for those who are resident. Many others benefit from the Spring Centre – those who visit in the day for support and care – as well as other organisations who get advice from Dr Ros Taylor and her team.
As it happens, after my visit to the Hospice, I called in at Kilfillan Nursing Home in Berkhamsted to meet the residents. The Hospice and the Nursing Home have a close relationship which has meant that those Kilfillan residents entering their final hours have not had to be admitted to hospital.

I was also struck by the fact that the support the Hospice of St Francis provides is not just for those terminally ill. It is also a caring and supportive environment for family members who may spend a great deal of time at the Hospice and who have to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. Kimberley McLaughlin of the Hospice also told me of the support it now provides for those in remission who may also face challenges.

Dacorum is fortunate in the strength of the Hospice here. In addition to the Hospice of St Francis, Rennie Grove Hospice Care does wonderful work. Both organisations rely on volunteers and also charitable donations.

For obvious reasons, legacies are an important part of the income for the hospice movement. One measure which the Government has brought in which may prove to be very helpful to these organisations is the ability to reduce your inheritance tax bill (cutting the rate from 40% to 36%) if you leave at least 10 per cent of your taxed estate to a charity. Do get legal advice on this if this is of interest.

Benjamin Franklin once said that two things in life are inevitable – death and taxes. As a combination, I hope you don’t think this too gloomy a column! In fact, as an MP, I have rarely found anything as uplifting as the enthusiasm and care to be found at the Hospice of St Francis.


David holds regular surgeries at various places in the constituency, including Rickmansworth, South Oxhey, Berkhamsted and Tring. 
Forthcoming dates:


22nd June, South Oxhey
6th July, Berkhamsted
20th July, Rickmansworth
2nd August, Tring
13th August, South Oxhey
31st August, Berkhamsted
14th September, Rickmansworth
28th September, Tring
19th October, South Oxhey
26th October, Berkhamsted
9th November, Rickmansworth

Call 01923 771781 to make an appointment.

Record of surgeries

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