Jessica Morden

Labour MP for Newport East

News

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It was lovely to catch up with Newport Mind in Parliament today ahead of tonight's Children and Young People Now awards in London.

Wishing you all the best of luck!

Newport Mind in Parliament

It was lovely to catch up with Newport Mind in Parliament today ahead of tonight's Children and Young People Now awards in London. Wishing you all the best of luck!...

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It was a pleasure to meet up with Guide Dogs in Parliament this week to support their Access All Areas Campaign.

Guide Dogs are a fantastic organisation doing great work in our area and across the country, allowing thousands of blind and partially-sighted people to live independently and go about their day-to-day business in the same way as anyone else would. As constituents have told me, the impact of an assistance dog can be life-changing.

It's vitally important that we all continue to speak up for guide dog users in the community, and to support the work of this extraordinary organisation.

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Guide Dogs - Access All Areas

It was a pleasure to meet up with Guide Dogs in Parliament this week to support their Access All Areas Campaign. Guide Dogs are a fantastic organisation doing great work...

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Friday 25th November will mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We will see women and girls across the globe campaigning to end the terrible epidemic of violence.I believe men have an important role to play in ending violence against women and girls. Men can be positive role models for other men and boys, challenge abusive behavior or language where we see it, and question unhealthy attitudes.

In the run-up to November 25th, I want to encourage my constituents to take a stand against violence. Join me in signing-up to the White Ribbon Campaign: I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men's violence against women in all its forms.

Make your White Ribbon Pledge here - www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/makepledge

White Ribbon campaign

  Friday 25th November will mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We will see women and girls across the globe campaigning to end the...

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I’m backing USDAW’s Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from the 14th-20th November.

Respect for Shopworkers Week, which forms part of the union’s wider ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, aims to raise awareness of violence, threats and abuse against retail workers during the often-hectic build-up to Christmas.

It seems wrong that the festive season should ever be a time for undue stress, but we know that each year the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping causes tensions to flair – and all too often shopworkers are on the receiving end of this. USDAW’s Freedom From Fear campaign is an important way of reminding everyone that abuse should not be part of the job for hardworking retail staff, who themselves often work long and unsocial hours in the run up to Christmas.

We need to respect shopworkers at Christmas and throughout the year, and ensure that all incidents of violence and abuse are taken seriously and reported promptly.

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Respect for Shopworkers

  I’m backing USDAW’s Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from the 14th-20th November. Respect for Shopworkers Week, which forms part of the union’s wider ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, aims...

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Today I spoke on behalf of women in my constituency affected by the Coalition Government's changes to the state pension age.  Many of these women were given insufficient notice from the Treasury to plan their retirement, or have had difficulty working for longer due to illness or caring responsibilities. In Newport East, 3,100 women are affected among 135,000 in Wales.

Read my contribution to the debate below:

"My thanks go to the hon. Members who secured this important debate. I want to contribute on behalf of the women in my constituency who find themselves affected by the change to the state pension age. They are angry about the pace at which the change has been accelerated, angry about the way it was done and how it was not communicated properly—many learnt about it from the media, not a Government body—and angry that the Government have not acted to help them."

"As my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern) said, clearly the Government have failed to listen over successive years when the issue has been raised. As other hon. Members have mentioned, there has been debate after debate, and question after question.

"The women affected in my constituency are not just angry but anxious and worried, because they face real financial insecurity. I will focus on that. Some 3,100 women are affected in Newport East, and 135,000 are affected in Wales. Many have been hit particularly hard, with significant changes to their state pension age and, as was mentioned earlier, a lack of appropriate notification.

"Last week, a new constituent—I very much welcome new constituents—contacted me. Her story illustrates the financial insecurity facing many people. She had to sell her long-term family home in Bristol and move away from her children, parents and friends in order to make ends meet and to tide her over until she is 66. This is a woman who, as a single parent, received no support when her children were small. She worked all her life and then discovered, far too late in the day, that she will have to survive for longer. She is recovering from breast cancer but does not feel able to work at the moment, and she is trying to navigate the disability benefits system. This is a woman who explained to me how she would ring the DWP every single year when she was working to check that she had paid enough contributions to get her full pension at 60. In her words:

“'This is not the retirement I planned at all—I live in a constant state of worry due to the cancer and financial pressures. The goal posts have been moved twice'”.

"She said that this is surely discrimination against women at its worst."

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"Another constituent explained to me the impact of her pension date being deferred for the second time with little time to make compensatory arrangements. She has worked for 45 years and paid her way, and the changes to the pension age, which mean that she is not in receipt of her state pension at 60, will deny her more than £38,000. She, too, has cancer and is considering whether she has to give up work.

"The change to the state pension age is affecting people who are ill and on disability benefits, and the Government should look into that.

"My constituent who has cancer and is considering giving up work tells me that instead of seeing retirement as a positive development, she is dreading the financial insecurity after having worked for 45 years. These women had a picture of what their retirement might look like and it has been cruelly taken away. They did not expect the Government to change the rules. It would be good to know whether the Minister gets just how tough it is for many trying to find work at this stage, especially those who are ill or who have a disability. What will Ministers do for that group of women?

"Women who have contacted me from Newport East add their voices to the calls for more reasonable transitional arrangements that are particularly mindful of those who are ill, who depend more on the state pension in retirement and who have limits on their ability to work. We need the Government to move on this issue and ease the impact of the changes on those most affected. The Government have an opportunity in the autumn statement. There are a number of options on the table and they are all ways in which the Government could act. We need them to take responsibility for what has happened to these women."

 

Parliamentary debate on WASPI women

  Today I spoke on behalf of women in my constituency affected by the Coalition Government's changes to the state pension age.  Many of these women were given insufficient notice...

Remembrance services in Newport and Severnside this weekend saw thousands of people paying their respect at the Newport Cenotaph, with services also in Magor & the sunset service at the Celtic Cross war memorial in Caldicot.

The role of the Merchant Navy was also remembered at the Newport Mission for Seafarers.

Remembrance Day

Remembrance services in Newport and Severnside this weekend saw thousands of people paying their respect at the Newport Cenotaph, with services also in Magor & the sunset service at the... Read more

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It's clearly a difficult time for steel generally but it was good today to join the First Minister on his visit to Liberty in Newport to highlight the substantial investment by Liberty Steel in Gwent. As Sanjeev Gupta said today ‘Newport has a special place in the Liberty Group and the news that we could see up to 600 jobs at the Newport plant over the next two years is warmly welcomed and he paid a special thanks to the workforce.

I spoke about Liberty's 'Green Steel' plans to recycle scrap metal to produce steel as part of a debate on the future of the steel industry in Parliament last week, where we talked about the need for more Government help.  I've invited UK Ministers to Newport to see Liberty’s operation for themselves.

Liberty Steel investing in Newport

It's clearly a difficult time for steel generally but it was good today to join the First Minister on his visit to Liberty in Newport to highlight the substantial investment...

I've joined Parliamentary colleagues in signing a letter to the Chancellor of Exchequer calling on the Government to show its support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in the upcoming Autumn Statement.  The letter calls on the Government to ‘send a message to the world that it is not afraid of large and innovative infrastructure projects’.
                                                                                                                                                                                
A Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would provide a substantial economic boost for South Wales, and has the potential to create a significant amount of regular, carbon-free, UK-sourced energy. It would also present an opportunity for the Government to show its support for our steel industry. As members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel we’ve been pushing the UK Government to look at its procurement policy on steel, and this is exactly the sort of major infrastructure project that could serve as an important vote of confidence in one of our key strategic industries.
 
It’s also really important that we treat the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon as a starting point for further investment in lagoon technologies across the UK, and as I’ve emphasised to Ministers in the past, there’s no reason why a Newport Tidal Lagoon shouldn’t be on the agenda in the near future. It would provide a great opportunity to harness the immense power of the Severn Estuary, and could create jobs that utilise the skilled local workforce we have in Newport and the wider Gwent region.

Support for a future Newport tidal lagoon

I've joined Parliamentary colleagues in signing a letter to the Chancellor of Exchequer calling on the Government to show its support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in the upcoming...

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A consultation on disability benefits assessments are long overdue for those who have suffered the current Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process.

The WCA assessment system currently assesses a person’s ability to work. It then categorises people on whether they are unable to work at all or if they are potentially capable of some work. After changes brought in by the coalition Government in 2011, The Labour party as well as disability charities and campaigners have long argued that the changes to these assessments no longer take into account the daily realities of life for those with physical disabilities and mental health issues, especially where symptoms can differ from day to day.

I know from helping many disabled constituents just how cruel the current processes have been.  This and the recent benefit cuts for people in work-related activity groups by £30 a week under the Tories in Government has caused huge amounts of anxiety and stress. 

Statistics show that 59% of the appeals made by those found fit to work have had the decision overturned, showing the scale of incorrect decisions being made in the first place.  In fact, ever since key changes were made by the Coalition Government in July 2013, the percentage of overturned decisions has been greater than those upheld in every single month.  We need a system that gets it right first time.

I also welcome the news that those with severe and chronic health conditions who are clearly not going to get better will no longer be forced to be retested every six months.  This is something Labour politicians have long called for.

We need a system which identifies people’s barriers to work in a far more personalised way than the current system. Offering appropriate support to help people back to work whilst ensuring that those unable to continue to receive the support they need would help.

Long overdue consultation on disability assessments

A consultation on disability benefits assessments are long overdue for those who have suffered the current Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process. The WCA assessment system currently assesses a person’s ability...

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There is still no news on the public consultation for the future of the Severn Bridges.

I have asked for more details on the timing of the consultation, or when they return to public ownership.

I told the BBC: "According to the last estimate, the bridges will return to public ownership as early as the end of 2017 - that doesn't leave much time for the government to sort this out."

"I welcome the government looking at free-flow technology and lower tolls - although I would like them to reduce the cost even further."

"I also want Ministers to give assurances that if we do go for free-flow, then we keep the jobs associated locally for those who currently work for Severn River Crossings plc"

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Severn Bridges update

There is still no news on the public consultation for the future of the Severn Bridges. I have asked for more details on the timing of the consultation, or when...

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