This week in Parliament I highlighted positive news about tourism to Wales, but questioned the Government about what Brexit will mean for tourism in the future.
Currently the Welsh tourism industry employs around 117,000 people with a further 89,000 indirectly employed, and accounts for a Gross Value Added of over £3billion, and the total contribution including impacts through the supply chain, capital investment and government expenditure nears £7billion or almost 14% of the total economy of Wales.
For the UK as a whole, between 15% and 20% of the tourism industry workforce is from other EU. The biggest rise in overseas numbers to Wales over the last year – almost a 33% increase – came from the 13 countries to have joined the EU most recently. They include Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
We have fantastic tourism attractions in and around Newport, including the Wetlands, Tredegar House, the Celtic Manor, the Roman museum and amphitheatre in Caerleon, and Caldicot Castle, contributing to a bigger increase in overseas visitors to Wales than the rest of the UK this year. But with the biggest increase coming from EU visitors, it’s crucial that Brexit and any possible visa arrangements do not prevent people from visiting Newport and Wales. The Government need to know that a bad deal for the UK and Wales is a bad deal for Welsh jobs and tourism”.
In a question to the Under Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, I said: "Wales has seen the biggest rise in overseas visitors to the UK in 2016, and it is the only part of the UK to feature in the “Lonely Planet” guide’s list of the best places to visit in 2017. Hopefully, there will be many more. Does the Minister appreciate that there is great uncertainty in the sector over what Brexit will mean in practice? This means that we need Ministers to listen hard, have a plan and work closely with the Welsh Government to ensure that Welsh tourism goes from strength to strength."
The Minister responded by saying: "The hon. Lady is right: the number of international visitors to Wales is up 15% and the figure for domestic visitors is 4%. That is a tribute to the hard work of VisitWales and VisitBritain. With the “Lonely Planet” guide placing north Wales in its top places to visit and with the Champions League final being played in Cardiff in June, things can only get better next year. I can reassure the hon. Lady that I meet Ministers from all the devolved Administrations regularly, and that we want to work closely to ensure that more people come to Britain, and that means all parts of Britain, and Wales."
This week in Parliament I highlighted positive news about tourism to Wales, but questioned the Government about what Brexit will mean for tourism in the future. Currently the Welsh tourism...
I was pleased to be able to speak in an important opposition day debate on police safety in Parliament yesterday. My contribution to the debate was as follows:
“I put on record my thanks to hard-working police officers and support staff, both on the frontline and in the back office. From dealing with Gwent police as the local MP and from my time on the police force parliamentary scheme, I know just how hard police officers and support staff work. I know their complete dedication to serving the public and how tough their job is.
“In the firm opinion of the people who contacted me prior to this debate with powerful stories to tell that deserve to be aired, the cuts have depleted numbers on the frontline and certainly impacted on front-line capabilities, as well as increasing the risks to officer safety. In Gwent, we have 1,127 police officers, whereas in March 2010 there were 1,437 full-time equivalent officers—a 20% cut. I am pleased that this year Gwent is recruiting new officers for the first time in three years, but we have had a loss of hundreds of experienced officers. Cuts of that severity are bound to have an effect. It will take time to bring the new people through.
“As has been reiterated in this debate, we lack reliable data on incidents involving officers. We need that data, so we are better able to tackle the problem. Police officers have told me that they agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Holly Lynch MP) when she says that the thin blue line is stretched far too thinly. Single-crewing is common practice and there is a heightened risk of harm because of that. Officers also tell me that numbers on a shift may look fine, but they do not relate to the numbers available to deal with crime. Shift numbers often include those on leave, on sick or on secondment. If we take off those waiting in custody or with injured people, the numbers are significantly lower.
“Injuries sustained in the line of duty are far too frequent. They are becoming an acceptable part of the job and that should never be the case. It is not just a hazard of the job: it is clearly unacceptable. Officers report a noticeable reduction in respect for police officers and assaulting a police officer is not taken sufficiently seriously. I support the call in the motion for statutory guidance on sentencing uniformly across the country, which reflects the seriousness of the issue.
“Police officers cannot protect us if they cannot protect themselves. I will just finish with this: a woman who is married to a police officer contacted me to describe just how the injuries her husband sustains in the course of his work affect the family. It has got to the point where, to stop their children worrying, the couple lie about how he sustains his injuries. She says: “According to my children he is the clumsiest dad ever, as we have had to tell them ‘dad fell over a bin chasing someone,’ ‘dad walked into a cupboard door in the station,’ ‘dad caught himself on the police car door.’ I am tired of seeing my husband come home injured and having to lie to my children to about how he sustained his injuries. I worry every time he is late home and grateful every time he returns home safely."
"It is time that we did more—to say that that is unacceptable for such families and to support our officers who are out there on our behalf.”
You can read a full transcript of the debate online at: https://goo.gl/Psw6Ca
I was pleased to be able to speak in an important opposition day debate on police safety in Parliament yesterday. My contribution to the debate was as follows: “I put...
Almost 100 community groups across Gwent are set to benefit from new funding awarded by Gwent's Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert this week. The funding - which comes from a £220,000 pot of cash seized from criminals - aims to support projects which make a positive difference in their communities.
I was delighted that so many community groups from Newport East were successful in their application for funding from the PCC; including the 2nd Caldicot Scouts, Newport Sea Cadets, Spencer Boys Junior FC, Glebeland Bowls, Caldicot Musical Theatre Society and Community House & Newport BME Youth Forum.
Another local group awarded a richly-deserved funding boost were Newport Street Pastors, who have been awarded £3,000 to purchase new equipment and uniforms for their volunteers. I have been fortunate enough to join the Street Pastors on a night shift , and I witnessed first hand their selfless efforts in assisting and safeguarding individuals in a distressed or vulnerable state. I'm sure that this new funding boost will be a great support to them in continuing their excellent work in our city.
Almost 100 community groups across Gwent are set to benefit from new funding awarded by Gwent's Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert this week. The funding - which comes from...
Newport City Council's Leader Councillor Debbie Wilcox has this week launched an initiative to make Newport the City of Democracy.
Councillor Wilcox said: "We are making real progress in Newport and there is a positive feeling in the city about where we are today.
"During my first few months as Leader I have spent my time listening to people across the city from many backgrounds who bring different ideas to the table. Our diversity is one of our great assets. However, I feel what is missing is something that brings us all together. A focus which makes the city stand out: a unique selling point that can be used to attract even more investment and visitors. Something that no-one else is doing and could make Newport a leader in so many fields.
"One idea that has been mooted is to make Newport a City of Democracy referencing our proud history and heritage but making it very much about today and the future.
"There has been a lot of debate recently about voter apathy but, as we saw with the Scottish independence EU referendums in Scotland, people will go to the ballot box if they feel strongly about something.
"We need to make people realise how important democracy is to everyone's life everyday - when we discuss the state of the roads, or the national health service, schools or the retirement age these all relate to decisions that are made on our behalf, by people we choose to represent us.
"Finding new ways to engage people in local decision making would be a great place to start. and we should look at how we can use the latest technology. I want to put Newport at the forefront of the debate, make people excited about making their voice heard and ensure no-one feels disconnected.
"Making Newport a City of Democracy could encompass a number of strands such as an annual Festival of Democracy but we are very much at the start of what I see as an evolving and long-term project.
"We would like to see residents, city businesses, community organisations, pupils, students get involved. To launch this project, we would like your ideas on a brand or logo that could be used for Newport - City of Democracy.
"A panel including representatives from business, education leaders and those with a deep interest in our heritage, will consider all the ideas.
"They will decide if any encompass our ambition for the city. This might be just one entry or it could be a mix of entries. Don't worry if you are not artistic - you can write down your idea.
"The result will be announced at this year's City Summit on 28 November when more will also be revealed about how the City of Democracy idea could be developed in the future.
"The Chartists, who came from all backgrounds, campaigned against the vote only being available to certain people. One of the most significant events of their story happened in Newport when the Chartist uprising ended in tragedy in November 1839.
"Reigniting an interest in democracy would be the best way of commemorating the Chartists and all those who fought, and continue to fight, for the right to vote in other countries. I want Newport to lead that charge"
Logo designs or ideas should be sent by 18 November 2016 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Public Relations, Civic Centre, Newport, NP20 4UR. Newport City Council would also be interested in hearing of any ideas you may have to help Newport become a City of Democracy.
Newport City Council's Leader Councillor Debbie Wilcox has this week launched an initiative to make Newport the City of Democracy. Councillor Wilcox said: "We are making real progress in Newport...
I attended flu vaccine clinic in the House of Commons this week to encourage Newport East constituents to get this season’s flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations.
Parliamentarians who would not be eligible for a free seasonal flu vaccine on the NHS made a £10 donation to the Carers Trust. £10 is equivalent to the cost of a private vaccination.
53% of at-risk people and 33% of people over the age of 65 in Wales were not vaccinated against flu last year, even though the consequences of not having a flu vaccine can be serious.
People in a risk group, such as pregnant women, people who are immunosuppressed and people with an underlying health condition such as liver disease and heart disease, are at significantly increased risk of dying as a result of flu. Flu is the most frequent cause of death in pregnancy and very occasionally a child may die from flu.
In Wales we have a significantly higher flu jab uptake among pregnant women and toddlers compared to England, but there is still room for improvement, particularly among over 65s who are such an at-risk group.
The best way to help protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu vaccine. I would urge everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccine to go and visit their GP or pharmacist.
Westminster Flu Day is an established event in the Parliamentary calendar. It is sponsored by the ABPI Vaccine Group in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing and Carers Trust.
I attended flu vaccine clinic in the House of Commons this week to encourage Newport East constituents to get this season’s flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations. Parliamentarians who...
Yesterday I took part in a debate in Parliament about the problems with Tax Credits and Concentrix. It was a packed debate so the Chair restricted us to very short speeches of 2 minutes.
Yesterday I took part in a debate in Parliament about the problems with Tax Credits and Concentrix. It was a packed debate so the Chair restricted us to very short... Read more
Following the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, I remain as a Senior Whip in the Opposition Whips office under the newly re-elected leadership. My responsibilities are for PMQs, Brexit, Women and equalities and Wales. I look forward to supporting the shadow Ministers and their teams and helping to hold the government to account on increasingly important issues.
Following the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, I remain as a Senior Whip in the Opposition Whips office under the newly re-elected leadership. My responsibilities are for PMQs, Brexit, Women and equalities... Read more
A big thanks to ABInBev UK Magor for inviting me to open the new warehouse housing 3 million bottles of Stella, Budweiser and more!
A big thanks to ABInBev UK Magor for inviting me to open the new warehouse housing 3 million bottles of Stella, Budweiser and more! Read more
This week I went with Cllr Jim Higginson and Cllr Tony Eason to see the work on the new Caldicot Comprehensive School. It is certainly progessing at a pace. There are going to have fantastic facilities & is set to open in September 2017.
This week I went with Cllr Jim Higginson and Cllr Tony Eason to see the work on the new Caldicot Comprehensive School. It is certainly progessing at a pace. There...
This morning I have been visiting Macmillan Coffee mornings in Newport and Caldicot. Such a lot of work put in by amazing people. Thank you to the Newport Credit Union and the ladies of St Marys Church in Caldicot for welcoming me to your events.
The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning - September 30th - is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. To find out more about Macmillan Coffee Mornings, and the great work the charity undertake across the UK, visit: https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/about/why/
This morning I have been visiting Macmillan Coffee mornings in Newport and Caldicot. Such a lot of work put in by amazing people. Thank you to the Newport Credit Union...