Jessica Morden

Labour MP for Newport East

News

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This week in Parliament I called on the UK Government to ensure that Welsh police forces receive their full share of the apprenticeship levy for training.

Speaking in Home Office questions, I said: "Policing and uniformed police training are not devolved in Wales, so will the Minister ensure that Welsh police forces receive their full share of the apprenticeship levy for training? It is just not good enough to pass responsibility to the Welsh Government when the money involved does not even cover their Treasury spending cuts."

In response, Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP said he agreed on the 'importance of ensuring that our police officers have the right skills' but cited a 'difference of view' between the UK and Welsh Governments on funding. He said that a meeting between the Governments was 'imminent' and that he hoped progress could be made.

Funding for police training

This week in Parliament I called on the UK Government to ensure that Welsh police forces receive their full share of the apprenticeship levy for training. Speaking in Home Office...

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This week I called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that members of the Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust, including current and former employees at the Roadchef outlet in Magor, are reimbursed money they are owed by HMRC.

During Treasury Questions I said "The Treasury is holding on to £10 million from the Roadchef employees benefit trust following a High Court dispute. Can Ministers ensure that HMRC returns the money to the trust with interest so that the 4,000 workers and former staff, including a number of my constituents, can finally receive what is owed to them?"

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, responded by saying that he felt it was important that HMRC dealt with matters separately to Government ministers, but that he was aware that HMRC were in discussions with the Roadchef trustees and 'hoped to reach a resolution soon'.

The Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust (REBTL) operated a profit sharing scheme approved by HMRC for the benefit of Roadchef employees. Most of the beneficiaries earn a modest income or have now retired, while others have passed away.

In January 2000, the former Chief Executive of Roadchef, and former director of REBTL, paid over £10.6m to HMRC as part of the proceeds of shares from the Trust. In 2014, the High Court ruled that the whole transaction was void – and, crucially, that the share proceeds belonged to the Trust. The Trust has recovered what it could, but HMRC still refuses to return the money that belongs to members of the Trust; including a number of Gwent-based Roadchef employees at Magor Services.

Magor Roadchef Trustees

This week I called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that members of the Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust, including current and former employees at the Roadchef outlet in...

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Yesterday I questioned the Home Secretary on behalf of constituents from the Commonwealth who have lived and worked in the UK for many decades but are now facing real hardship because of Government policies. Here’s my question:

“Constituents of mine from Commonwealth countries who have lived here on paper visas for many decades have now been refused universal credit because they do not have biometric residence permits, which they have never been told they need. This is causing real hardship—not least to those with no papers, with the immigration issues that that brings—and the BRP process is costly and lengthy. What are the Government going to do urgently to address this for those who have contributed so much to our country?
Amber Rudd responded as follows:
“I share the hon. Lady’s view that they have contributed so much to this country. I am today announcing that I am setting up a new taskforce across the Department to ensure a swift response. I am also introducing a waiver for the fees involved and a number of other measures that I hope will go a long way to assisting the Commonwealth citizens who should have their rights confirmed without charge.”
Following Home Office Questions David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham asked the following urgent question: To ask the Home Secretary if she will make an urgent statement on the status of Windrush children in this country.
He gave a powerful speech on his concerns which can be read here https://goo.gl/YBrS18
If you think you are affected by this, please contact me on 01633 841 725 or jessica.morden.mp@parliament.uk

Justice for the 'Windrush' generation

Yesterday I questioned the Home Secretary on behalf of constituents from the Commonwealth who have lived and worked in the UK for many decades but are now facing real hardship...

Please find below a report of my work during February and March. Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let me know your views. Surgery dates are listed on my website www.jessicamorden.com and my contact details are listed below.  For updates on my work please follow me on twitter @jessicamordenmp or facebook.

Report to constituents

Please find below a report of my work during February and March. Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let... Read more

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I’ve linked up with the Daily Mirror, Unite and GMB unions to support their campaign to ensure that British passports continue to be made in the UK.

After years of our passports being made in Britain, the Conservative Government has now decided that the UK’s new passports will be made in France. This decision has put hundreds of British jobs at risk at print company De La Rue, the UK’s leading security printer. Any short-term savings on production offered by the French firm who have won the contract are offset by the risk to employment here in the UK . Ironically, France produces its own passports for reasons of national security. It’s difficult to see why the UK shouldn’t take the same approach.

Follow this link to sign the petition calling on the Prime Minister to reverse the Government’s decision and keep printing the British passport in the UK:
https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/we-demand-the-new-blue-uk-passport-is-made-in-britain-to-support-uk-jobs?source=unite

Backing Britain's passport workers

I’ve linked up with the Daily Mirror, Unite and GMB unions to support their campaign to ensure that British passports continue to be made in the UK. After years of...

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I raised the case of my constituents the Smiths during an urgent parliamentary question on the inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal today.

During the 1970s and 1980s over 4,500 people with bleeding disorders were infected with a range of blood-borne viruses including Hepatitis C and HIV via their treatment with contaminated blood products. 2,400 have people died as a result of receiving contaminated blood. Among those infected was seven-year old Colin Smith from Newport, who died of Aids in 1990 after being treated with contaminated blood products.

My intervention followed the urgent question from Diana Johnson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, who helped secure a reversal of the Government’s decision not to award legal assistance to families implicated in the inquiry.

I said “May I reiterate to the Minister that these families, including the Smith family from Newport, have been through so much? That is why it is so important that we are sensitive to getting this process absolutely right.”

You can read a transcript of the urgent question and responses in full here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-03-29/debates/46949AF3-7A0A-48E7-B948-5F8FAB7A5813/ContaminatedBlood

The Guardian also published a recent story on the contaminated blood scandal, including an interview with the Smith family, which you can read here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/03/contaminated-blood-scandal-thousands-haemophiliacs-died-simon-hattenstone

Contaminated Blood Inquiry

I raised the case of my constituents the Smiths during an urgent parliamentary question on the inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal today. During the 1970s and 1980s over 4,500...

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In this week’s Opposition Day debate on police funding, I criticised the UK Government for their indefensible refusal to invest in our police forces.

Here is my contribution to the debate in full:

“I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate to highlight the urgent financial pressures facing our police forces. As the motion says, “central government funding to local police forces will fall in real terms for the eighth consecutive year in 2018-19”; there will be a “shortfall in funding for counter-terrorism policing”; and police numbers are at their lowest for decades, damaging community safety.

“I too pay tribute to my local police force, Gwent police. I know what an incredibly hard job they do on the frontline, and that they are doing all they can to adapt and rise to the new challenges under incredible financial strain. I was incredibly pleased to see a recent report by the inspector of constabulary and fire and rescue services that showed that Gwent has the highest estimated spending on neighbourhood policing of all 43 forces.

“As other Members have said, the Government have to be clear with the public on the police budget. That point has been echoed by the Gwent PCC, Jeff Cuthbert. The Prime Minister told the House that she was “not just protecting police budgets, but increasing them with an extra £450 million.” I hear today that the figure is £460 million. However, she left out the fact that, due to cuts, the additional money comes from raising taxes on local residents. That is what police and crime commissioners have been forced to do. In reality, the decision to continue the cash freeze on the funding for police forces amounts to a real-terms cut of at least £100 million.

“Locally, Gwent has seen its budget cut by 40% in real terms since 2010. That has meant the loss of about 350 frontline officers and 200 members of staff. The force is recruiting again. Indeed, I was pleased to join my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Gerald Jones) at a passing out parade just a few weeks ago. However, that has been possible only thanks to the force’s effective financial management, efficiency savings and annual increases in the local precept to maintain a flat-line budget. That budget will enable Gwent to maintain and protect its number of offices, but not to increase it substantially.

“Policing is obviously not devolved, but the Welsh Government have stepped up to the mark and funded 101 PCSOs for Gwent. Without that, we would have about 30. That is welcome obviously and yet another reason to be glad to have a Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff. However, we should not hide from the wider funding problem, which is clearly in the Government’s hands.

“This is a debate about money and resources, but what matters to my constituents is the human cost. The statistics show clearly that crime is increasing at the same time as central Government funding is shrinking. As our PCC said, the inevitable conclusion is that policing is under-resourced to deal with an escalating problem. We must bear in mind that cuts to other services have an impact on the police, who are often the backstop service. There are fewer resources to deal not only with proactive crime prevention, but with new types of complex crime such as cyber-crime and the demands of counter-terrorism. That makes the Government’s refusal to invest in our police forces indefensible. I hope that the Government reflect on this debate and urgently review their strategy on police funding.”

UK Government must urgently review police funding strategy

In this week’s Opposition Day debate on police funding, I criticised the UK Government for their indefensible refusal to invest in our police forces. Here is my contribution to the...

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I was pleased to speak in the Commons debate on Welsh Affairs last night.
 
Here’s my contribution in full:
 
"I wanted to start my contribution by talking about steel, because this Friday, 23 March, President Trump’s 25% tariff on steel imported into the US will kick in, unless the Government and the EU can force some movement on the decision announced on 8 March.
 
"I am very proud to represent a constituency with significant steelmaking: at Llanwern, where, among other things, we have Tata’s Zodiac plant, which produces high- quality finished steel for automotive customers, including Jaguar Land Rover and BMW; at Cogent Orb, a global supplier of electrical steels; and at Liberty Steel whose footprint is growing and growing in the UK and beyond and whose green steel vision could see major expansion in Newport in the future. The steel industry and steelworkers in my constituency have been through tough times, and the recovery we have seen is still fragile.
 
"This move will have not only a direct impact on our exports, but the indirect impact of others countries’ displaced steel trying to find a home. We had a statement on this tariff last week, when the International Trade Secretary laid out both the Government’s approaches to the US and the work being done at an EU level as part of a unified response. Will the Secretary of State for Wales ensure that he is playing his part in speaking up for Welsh steel at the Cabinet table and that the Government do all they can to work with the EU on a response to this? May we have a report back from the International Trade Secretary on how he has got on this week in his discussions in the US?
 
"On steel dumping, Opposition Members have not forgotten that it was the Conservative Government in 2016 who sought to block EU plans to impose tougher targets on Chinese steel imports. Clearly, this US decision is not about national security, and we ought to remind the US that when they last tried this in 2002 economists estimated that it cost the US economy 200,000 jobs. Clearly, we all do not want to see these tariffs imposed, but if they are, what practical help will the Government be offering the steel industry? For instance, our energy prices continue to be much higher than those of other countries and Ofgem’s targeted charging review could produce even higher charges, so will the Minister look at that specifically? The Government have been slow to act on some of the issues challenging the steel industry in the past, but we need robust action now.
 
"The second issue I wish to raise is Severnside growth. Newport East is changing. Before the term “Severn bridge tolls” is consigned to history, I should acknowledge that the Government have acted after a strong and sustained local campaign about the impact of the tolls. That is good news for commuters in my constituency, local businesses and the economy of south-east Wales.
 
"It was reported last week that Newport and Severnside are experiencing a housing boom, with many people choosing to move across the Severn. However, there are clearly challenges as well, and we will need councils, the Welsh Government and UK Government Ministers to work together to address them. For example, last week an estate agent in Caldicot said that a three-bedroom former council house in Caldicot would have been on the market last year for £150,000, but they are now on sale for around £230,000 or more. We will need more affordable housing and the accompanying infrastructure, and we need all levels of government to work together to address the challenges.
"The Secretary of State has previously talked quite rightly about the importance of cross-border transport links. I reiterate to him that one important thing the Government could do for commuters in my community is to address the lack of capacity on cross-border Great Western services to Bristol and beyond, which is making it really difficult to access cross-border jobs. That is a daily complaint, so I would be grateful if the Secretary of State took that up.
 
"There are lots of positive developments in our part of Wales, a few local examples of which are the excellent collaborative work of local authorities such as Newport through the city deal and the great western cities initiative and the excellent support from the Welsh Labour Government. We are looking forward to the potential of the metro. We have the semi-conductor cluster facility, the National Cyber Security Academy and the National Software Academy putting south-east Wales at the heart of the UK digital sector.
 
"I attended a recruitment fair for CAF—the Secretary of State mentioned the company earlier—at Coleg Gwent today. CAF is a Spanish train manufacturer that is bringing 200 high-quality jobs to the constituency this year and 100 next year. We are really grateful for that. There are plans for the renovation of the Chartist tower, the city centre regeneration and the new international convention centre at the Celtic Manor, so there is plenty to be positive about, but in uncertain times, particularly in respect of Brexit we have to keep our eye on the ball. The Government have a role to play in that.
"My hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen), who is no longer in his place, mentioned Megan Lloyd George. Over the past few weeks, I have been at many events to celebrate International Women’s Day, and in this Vote 100 year this debate is an excellent opportunity for me to name just some of the excellent local women in my area who are leading the way in their fields. We have Pam Kelly, the deputy chief constable of Gwent police; Nicole Garnon, the editor of the South Wales Argus; Debbie Wilcox, the leader of Newport City Council; Susan Gwyer-Roberts, the excellent headteacher of Caldicot comprehensive, whom I wish well in her imminent retirement; and Trudi Marsden, the commercial supply chain director from Cogent Orb.
 
"Those are all women of whom the famous Lady Rhondda from Llanwern, who was imprisoned in Usk for blowing up a post box for the suffragette cause, would be rightly proud. Lady Rhondda’s story is one of which we in Newport are proud. She fought a valiant campaign for women to take their seats in the House of Lords, was the first women president of the Institute of Directors and even survived the sinking of the Lusitania. Her story is rightly becoming more well-known this year and is the subject of an opera and a brilliant biography by Angela John. I wish to record our gratitude to her and acknowledge the fantastic leadership of the women I have mentioned. We have come a long way since Lady Rhondda’s times. There is still much more to do, but I know that the women who are leading the way in our communities today will act as an inspiration for young women in my constituency."
 
You can read a transcript of the full debate online here: https://goo.gl/WSBvFz

Welsh Affairs debate

I was pleased to speak in the Commons debate on Welsh Affairs last night.   Here’s my contribution in full:   "I wanted to start my contribution by talking about...

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There was huge interest in the CAF recruitment event and information day at the Nash Campus of Coleg Gwent today. 

CAF is one of the international market leaders in the design, manufacture, maintenance and supply of equipment and components for rail systems. CAF Rolling Stock UK, Ltd will open mid-2018 an assembly facility in Newport, with a workforce of around 200 staff.

CAF recruitment day at Coleg Gwent

There was huge interest in the CAF recruitment event and information day at the Nash Campus of Coleg Gwent today.  CAF is one of the international market leaders in the...

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I'm supporting WWF's Earth Hour, which takes place this Saturday 24th March from 8:30-9:30pm.

Lights around the world will go out for the hour and in the UK alone more than eight million people and 300 landmarks are expected to participate.

Earth Hour is an opportunity to raise awareness of some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our generation, and the need to protect our planet against the effects of climate change and pollution.

This year WWF’s Earth Hour is also calling on people to make a #PromiseForThePlanet. You can read more online at www.facebook.com/EarthHourUK

WWF Earth Hour

I'm supporting WWF's Earth Hour, which takes place this Saturday 24th March from 8:30-9:30pm. Lights around the world will go out for the hour and in the UK alone more...

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