It was great to catch up with the team at Caldicot Foodbank, and to say a big thanks for all they do, especially at Christmas. And that goes for all the foodbanks in Newport too. To donate to Caldicot Foodbank you can find details here.
It was great to catch up with the team at Caldicot Foodbank, and to say a big thanks for all they do, especially at Christmas. And that goes for all the foodbanks in...
Following up on concerns raised with me by Newport East-based taxi drivers, I set up a meeting between a local group of drivers and Jeff Cuthbert, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, in my constituency office.
During the meeting, the taxi drivers discussed their concerns about an increase in youths attacking their vehicles with stones and other objects, and identified Ringland, Maindee and Alway as hotspot areas for the dangerous incidents.
Speaking after the meeting, Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert said: “I want to make it known to the culprits that this is a very dangerous game they are playing and that there will be consequences for their actions. These attacks are not only a nuisance, but have the potential to cause serious injury. I will be working in partnership with Newport City Council and Gwent Police to ensure the culprits are brought to justice and to prevent further incidents. In the meantime, I urge anyone with information to contact Gwent Police.”
If you have any information regarding these attacks, please contact Gwent Police via 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Following up on concerns raised with me by Newport East-based taxi drivers, I set up a meeting between a local group of drivers and Jeff Cuthbert, the Police and Crime...
I called for a complete ban on the domestic ivory trade in yesterday's Westminster Hall debate on the issue.
Here's my contribution to the debate:
I congratulate the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) on securing this debate on the back of a very popular petition, as well as the other hon. Members who I know have campaigned on this issue for a long time. It is clear from this debate that there is a collective will across party political lines for the UK to do more to protect the world’s elephants. As the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire (Pauline Latham) said, they are the most magnificent animals.
I very much support the aims of this debate and the call for a complete ban on the domestic ivory trade in the UK. As other hon. Members have said, 330,000 elephants are still killed every year for their tusks—a death rate of one every quarter of an hour. Africa’s elephant population is in serious decline, mainly because of high levels of poaching; 30% of Africa’s elephants have disappeared in seven years. That ongoing tragedy was highlighted really well in the excellent programmes made by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We should also appreciate the plight of endangered Asian elephants, as the hon. Member for Henley (John Howell) pointed out.
The Government’s announcement in September of a ban on the sale of worked ivory produced after 1947 is a step in the right direction but, as other hon. Members have said, there is still more that can and should be done. I thank my constituent Rob Hepworth, who is a former head for the convention on international trade in endangered species and an officer for the UN convention on migratory species, for his work. I also thank all the non-governmental organisations that briefed us for this debate on their campaigns. On Mr Hepworth’s behalf, I reiterate that it is felt that the Government’s proposals are too limited because they do not include older ivory products. Illegal ivory is often laundered and falsely claimed to be old ivory. As we have seen from the programmes and from work done by wildlife monitoring organisations, there is extensive evidence of current abuse and of ivory being smuggled to overseas markets, mainly Hong Kong.
On my constituent’s behalf, may I also raise with the Minister the Government’s actions at EU level? It is felt that they missed an important opportunity to act at the recent CITES conference in South Africa when they supported the European Commission delegation’s block vote denying maximum protection status to all African elephants. That action not only seemed to negate the pledges made in the last two Conservative manifestos to “press for a total ban on ivory sales” but simultaneously contradicted the Foreign Secretary’s criticism of the EU Commission at the Conservative party conference, in which he slammed the “absurd” EU veto on an ivory ban. Will the Minister explain why the Government acted in that way at the conference? That would really help campaigners out there.
It would also be good to get some clarity on whether the Minister is seriously considering stricter national measures to ban the UK domestic ivory trade altogether. While we remain in the EU, it would be useful to know whether she can press Brussels to amend the binding regulations that allow unrestricted sales in allegedly antique ivory without any checks or certificates, so that in effect EU countries would have to regulate ivory sales, too.
We can change the law, but—as my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) asked—what consideration are the Government giving to enforcement? Will they give more resources to agencies such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wildlife inspectorate, the national wildlife crime unit, the police and Border Force for extra enforcement support? That is really important.
Finally, on behalf of Rob Hepworth, may I ask what consideration is being given to the destruction of stockpiles? I understand that the US, France, China and African states have publicly destroyed ivory to highlight the trade. Have the Government considered that? The public certainly support more action on the ivory trade; in October, as has been mentioned, more than 100 conservationists, campaigners and politicians signed an open letter to the Government to that effect. It would be good to hear from the Minister what more we in the UK can do to lead the way and to help to secure a future for wild elephants while supporting the local communities that live alongside these extraordinary creatures.
I called for a complete ban on the domestic ivory trade in yesterday's Westminster Hall debate on the issue. Here's my contribution to the debate: I congratulate the hon. Member...
Speaking on the news that a deal with TATA is to be put to the ballot Jessica Morden MP said "Given where we were 6 months ago when things were very bleak, a commitment on investment leading to increased job security is welcome news for Llanwern and Orb and our community. However I know many steel workers will be worried about their pensions having paid in for years, and once full details of proposed changes are clear, will want to have their voices heard as part of the consultation. Crucially though there is still no real action from the Government on measures to help our steel industry including on energy prices, measures to stop dumping and procurement."
Speaking on the news that a deal with TATA is to be put to the ballot Jessica Morden MP said "Given where we were 6 months ago when things were... Read more
Here's my contribution to yesterday's debate on Tidal Lagoons, which have great potential for Newport and South Wales:
I too congratulate the right hon. Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Stephen Crabb) on obtaining this timely debate. He mentioned that the Hendry review is with the Government this afternoon, and I share the desire to hear about it from Ministers as soon as possible. The debate is a demonstration of how much cross-party support there is in this place, as my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris) said, for the development of tidal lagoons. That support is pretty unique, and indeed there is also cross-party support in the Welsh Assembly and elsewhere. I should also mention that my hon. Friends the Members for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty) and for Ogmore (Chris Elmore), who are upstairs in a Bill Committee, want their support for the project to be stated.
We all hope that the Minister will have something to say this afternoon about when he will share the Hendry report with the House, as it was not mentioned in the autumn statement. The delay is frustrating, because we want the Swansea bay tidal lagoon to go ahead—and, as others have said, not just as a one-off or a stand-alone project, but as a pathfinder for yet more tidal lagoons across Wales and beyond, including in Newport, as set out in Tidal Lagoon Power’s plans. A couple of streets away from my home there are the most beautiful views of the expanse of the Severn Estuary. From my constituency office on the banks of the Usk we can watch the dramatic rise and fall of the second highest tidal range in the world every day. It is an amazing natural resource on our doorstep, and we are just not using it. At a time when we desperately need clean, secure energy, year-round, entirely predictable energy, tidal lagoon technology is the key to delivering a low-carbon energy future in Wales. We have to grasp that opopportunity.
The benefits for Wales and elsewhere have been clearly spelled out in this debate. They include the chance for Wales to be a global leader in the technology, starting in Swansea. More than 2,000 direct jobs would be created in the manufacturing and construction process, and many more would be created in tourism and the supply chain. There would be a huge boost to the Welsh economy. There would also be the potential for long-term cost reduction as more lagoon technology was built, and, importantly, for exporting the technology. A Newport lagoon further down the line would bring construction jobs and the chance to use Welsh steel, which my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Stephen Kinnock) mentioned—it has been an incredibly difficult time for that industry. The Liberty House Group in my constituency supports the project; a lagoon in Newport would be less than a mile from its steel plant, which I visited recently.
The project is not only a matter of renewable energy generation and playing our part in meeting climate change targets. There is also a chance for coastal regeneration and a boost to recreation and tourism. The leader of Newport City Council, Debbie Wilcox, has given it her backing and said it is a “marvellous opportunity for Newport”. There is huge added value in the project—not least from up to 33,000 jobs at the four lagoons in Wales, were they to go ahead. It is an amazing opportunity that we should grasp for Swansea, yes—but also for Newport. I urge the Government to make a timely decision.
Here's my contribution to yesterday's debate on Tidal Lagoons, which have great potential for Newport and South Wales: I too congratulate the right hon. Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Stephen Crabb)...
I've called for action from the UK Government following last week's announcement that the Severn Bridge tolls will be rising again in 2017.
For many of my constituents on the Tories' minimum wage, the cost of travelling across the bridge is now almost equivalent to an hour's pay, and is actually above it for people under 21. That means they are effectively losing an hour's pay every day that they cross the bridge.
Meanwhile the UK Government has still not provided any clarity on its plans for the bridges' return to public ownership in 2018. All we do know is that the government have announced that the tolls will come down next year when the contract comes to an end, but there is still no sign of the public consultation that was promised.
BBC Wales reported the story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38182358
I've called for action from the UK Government following last week's announcement that the Severn Bridge tolls will be rising again in 2017. For many of my constituents on the...
I was pleased to mark Small Business Saturday in Maindee this Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is now the biggest annual celebration of small businesses in the UK, and enables us to put centre stage the great work that small businesses do. As well as encouraging shoppers back to Britain’s High Streets and to use small shops, it is about banging the drum for entrepreneurs and small businesses in all sectors.
Small and medium-sized businesses play a hugely important role in local economies across Britain - including here in Newport East - and it's important to support them as much as we can.
Pictured above - John Griffiths AM, Cllr Deb Davies and I enjoying a refreshing cuppa in Friends Cafe in Maindee.
I was pleased to mark Small Business Saturday in Maindee this Saturday. Small Business Saturday is now the biggest annual celebration of small businesses in the UK, and enables...
From this week's South Wales Argus 'Your MP Writes' column:
There were slim pickings for Newport East and Wales in last week’s Autumn Statement. Yet again the government have treated Wales as an afterthought, with virtually nothing to say on the significant challenges facing our country.
Yes, the additional money announced for Wales for the next five years is welcome, but it is simply a consequence of the Barnett formula rather than any real show of intent or support for Wales.
There were calls in the run up to the Autumn Statement for investment in big spending infrastructure projects, in view of the uncertainty in Wales around Brexit. Existing EU funds are worth around £650 million to Wales every year, and the government have yet to say if they will replace the funds Wales will be losing out on.
That means there is still uncertainty for ambitious projects like the South Wales Metro, despite last week’s the warm words of support for it from the UK transport minister. The Metro could help to integrate Newport East transport with the rest of South Wales, including better links with the Valleys, and a significant economic boost for our area. There’s huge potential in this project, but in addition to the Welsh Government’s funding, the UK government needs to give concrete assurances that they will provide the funds to guarantee that Wales will not lose out.
There was also no news on the day for tidal lagoons. There is much support for the pathfinder Swansea Bay lagoon, which could lead the way in kick starting a new energy sector in Wales, with big potential for more lagoons in Newport and Cardiff.
There was also little mention of help for the steel industry in the autumn statement, and it is clear we must continue to make sure the government uses UK steel in new infrastructure projects.
This month I spoke in an important debate on police safety on behalf of various families in Newport. This was raised again in PMQs, and I will continue to support the hard working police officers and their families that are being stretched thin by government cuts.
As my next column is after Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all organisations working across Newport East.
It’s a lovely time to meet so many constituents at the events, markets, and fairs.
I’ll be out and about and I hope to see many of you.
From this week's South Wales Argus 'Your MP Writes' column: There were slim pickings for Newport East and Wales in last week’s Autumn Statement. Yet again the government have treated...
A busy few days - with John Griffiths AM at the Caldicot Christmas Lights switch on, and to the nativity service at Caldicot Methodist Church. I then went knocking doors in Beechwood with Deb Davies, Mark Spencer and Graham Berry, over to the national tree day event in Woodland Park. Finishing up with the St John's Church and St Julians Baptist Church Christmas Fayre's.
A busy few days - with John Griffiths AM at the Caldicot Christmas Lights switch on, and to the nativity service at Caldicot Methodist Church. I then went knocking doors... Read more
Each year 121,320 people take up a caring role in Wales yet Carers UK’s research shows that many take years to recognise their caring role and miss out on support as a result.
There are around 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK who provide care and support to family, friends and neighbours, saving the country an estimated £132 billion each year – the equivalent cost of a second health service.
Carers Rights Day is an important opportunity to thank the selfless individuals – including over 9,000 in Newport East – who provide unpaid care for loved and make a huge contribution to our society. Too often they go without the support they need because they simply don’t know what support is available or don’t see themselves as a carer. We must all play a role in helping to identify and support people who are looking after ill, older or disabled loved ones and making sure they get the right information and advice about the support they are entitled to as early as possible.
For more information and advice about caring, go to www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice
For information about Carers UK’s Carers Rights Day campaign go to www.carersuk.org/carersrightsday
Each year 121,320 people take up a caring role in Wales yet Carers UK’s research shows that many take years to recognise their caring role and miss out on support...