Jessica Morden

Labour MP for Newport East

News

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.

South Wales Argus column for December

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...

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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.

Out and about in Newport and Caldicot

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

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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

Carers Rights Day

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...

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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...

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