jess_steel_future_in_argus_(2).jpgIt’s been a very hard week for steelworkers with the confirmation that the SSI works in Redcar is being mothballed.  A couple of weeks ago I took part in a cross-party steel debate led by Anna Turley MP for Redcar, a fellow member of the All Party Steel Group. Steel MPs from across the UK called for more Government action to assist our industry which urgently needs help in a critical year for steel

The industry has been hit by multiple challenges – low steel demand, Chinese imports, business rates and energy prices which are higher than European competitors.

In the debate, I spoke about the situation at Llanwern following the announcement in August that up to 250 jobs are being lost this month.  I also echoed calls for an urgent steel summit which the Business Minister, Anna Soubry MP, has now agreed she will call. It was heartening to hear Jeremy Corbyn use part of his speech at Labour Party Conference in Brighton to urge the Government to do more to help. Some of the best steel in the world is made at Llanwern and Orb – we need Government action to be swift and bold.


I was honoured to welcome local resident Renate Collins to Parliament for an event that I co-hosted for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Renate was the last child to come to the UK on the Kindertransport. The event saw Holocaust survivors, genocide survivors and MPs brought together to help launch the theme for next year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.  2016’s theme will be ‘Don’t Stand By‘, exploring the role of bystanders during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides, and taking inspiration from those who chose not to stand by.


We still pay the highest toll in the UK on the Severn Bridges. The Government recently said it will reduce the tolls by the VAT amount when the concession ends in 2018, but the reality is that it would happen anyway.  That’s because VAT is no longer chargeable once the bridges are state owned again.  At the last Welsh Questions I challenged Minister, Alun Cairns MP to commit to making it a personal priority to press for a significant reduction in the toll once the concession ends, beyond the VAT reduction, and fight hard for that in Government.  He stated ‘the discussion and debate was ongoing’, but I will be keeping the pressure on to make sure we get a better deal for commuters and businesses locally.


A special mention and thanks to Maindee Councillor Majid Rahman for collecting for refugees. There’s been a great response locally to the collection at Eton Road and Majid will be joining the Unite Union organised convoy to deliver collected items to displaced people across Europe.




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