Please find below a report of my work during September and October. Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let me know your views. Surgery dates are listed on my website www.jessicamorden.com and my contact details are listed below. For updates on my work please follow me on twitter @jessicamordenmp or facebook.
During last week’s budget statement the chancellor said austerity was coming to end, but it was a budget of half measures with little in there to help those in Newport East who have suffered real hardship over the past eight years. Despite what the Chancellor says, low pay and insecure work continues to be a problem as highlighted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
There was no extra money for neighbourhood policing despite forces expected to shoulder extra pension costs without any promise of additional money.
Since 2010, 86 per cent of tax and benefit changes have come from women, and there was no recognition of the plight of the women hit by the changes to the state pension age, who protested in the gallery last week.
It was also deeply disappointing for Wales with little on infrastructure – including local rail capacity – and little to help other local industries, including steel.
You can read the Labour Party and Welsh Government responses to the budget via the links below:
Ahead of the budget, I also signed Unison’s letter to the Chancellor calling on the Government to address the shortfall in local government funding across the UK. You can read the letter in full here: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2018/10/lg-budget/
Universal Credit and ESA
In a recent Parliamentary debate on Universal Credit I raised concerns on behalf of constituents who are already on the new benefit and are experiencing problems. In the debate, I called on Ministers to halt the roll-out, fix the problems identified so far, and fully fund this policy so that Universal Credit claimants do not bear the brunt of the Government’s cuts. You can read my contribution in full here: https://www.jessicamorden.com/uncategorised/2018/10/18/universal-credit-debate-2/
Last month I also sought urgent clarification from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) following the news that up to 180,000 people were underpaid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You can read my question to the Minister here:
After two years of failure in Brexit negotiations, it’s clear the Tory Government will be unable to deliver the Brexit deal we need to protect jobs, the economy and rights. The customs arrangements set out in the Prime Minister’s Chequers’ proposals are complex and unworkable; there’s nothing to protect our services industries; it doesn’t protect workers’ rights and environmental standards; and it won’t prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland. As it stands, the proposals do not meet Labour’s key tests for a Brexit deal.
As Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel, I called on the Government to take action to support our steel industry, which includes Cogent Orb, Llanwern and Liberty Steel in Newport East.
You can read more on my call for a sector deal for the steel industry here:
Road Safety Debate
In a cross-party Parliamentary debate last month I called on the Government to consider all options on the table to improve road safety.
I spoke on behalf of the Smith family from Llandevaud, who tragically lost their daughter Rhiannon in a collision in March last year and have been campaigning passionately on road safety issues. You can read more on my contribution to the debate online here: https://www.jessicamorden.com/news/2018/10/23/road-safety-debate-in-westminster-hall/
Menopause and the workplace
In a recent Women and Equalities question I called on the UK Government to do more to address the challenges women with menopausal symptoms experience in the workplace.
There are over 213,000 workers in Wales who may be working through or post menopause. You can read more on my question here: https://www.jessicamorden.com/news/2018/09/13/menopause-and-the-workplace/
Leading companies in the Welsh aerospace sector have voiced concerns about the need for safeguards for the industry in Wales after Brexit. I highlighted these issues in Welsh Questions on behalf of the many Newport East constituents who work for Airbus in Newport and Filton. You can read more on my question here: https://www.jessicamorden.com/news/2018/10/24/aerospace-industry-in-wales/
Since 2010, against a local and national increase in recorded crime, Gwent Police has seen its budget reduced by 40%. This has led to the loss of around 350 frontline police officers, and over 200 members of staff.
Gwent Police has recruited 176 new officers this year, but this has only been possible because of our local PCC Jeff Cuthbert taking action and increasing the precept for local residents. Meanwhile the Government’s police pensions shortfall will add £5million in extra costs to Gwent Police’s budget by 2020/2021, equating to the costs of maintaining 100 police officers
Home Office data handling
The Commons Home Affairs Committee has criticised the Home Office for its data handling and losing original immigration documents, which has certainly affected a number of constituents in Newport East.
Last month I called on the Government to provide MPs with a chance to scrutinise Ministers on this. You can read my question and the Government response here: http://bit.ly/2P302JN
Folic Acid Campaign
I welcome the UK Government’s announcement of a consultation on the fortification of flour products with folic acid. Congratulations to Newport East constituents Liz and Paul Walbyoff, who have been campaigning with charity Shine UK for this, to help prevent debilitating neural tube defects like Spina Bifida. It’s a huge credit to campaigners like the Walbyoffs, whose daughter Sara lives with the condition, that have worked with MPs like myself to lobby the Government.
Some of my other recent work in Parliament:
- Meeting with local women affected by state pension age change campaigners in Parliament
- Supporting Usdaw campaigns on Offensive Weapons Bill and Justice for Injured Workers
- Question to Transport Secretary on the need to improve overcrowded, unreliable cross-border rail services
- International Development question on the need to improve global nutrition beyond the 2020 nutrition summit
- Meeting with Spina Bifida charity Shine on behalf of constituents
Paul Flynn to stand down
After more than 30 years representing Newport West, Paul Flynn has announced that due to health problems he intends not to put himself forward as a candidate at the next General Election. Paul is and always has been a fantastic MP for Newport West. Despite his recent illness he has continued to help people. When he does stand down at the next General Election he will be greatly missed as a passionate Newportonian and one of the great parliamentarians. And on a personal level, I couldn’t have had a lovelier MP neighbour and he has always been enormously supportive of me.
In the constituency
These are a few examples of events and meetings I have recently attended in Newport East
- Visit to new CAF train factory in Llanwern
- Elvis Night for Mayor’s charities at Ringland Labour Club
- Visit to Pro Steel Engineering in Caldicot
- Newport 50+ Information Day
- City of Newport Male Choir 75th Annual Concert
- ‘Steel Remembered ‘ event at Lysaght Institute
- Opening the new warehouse at AB InBev Brewery in Magor
- Newport Food Festival
- Macmillan Coffee Morning in Milton Court
- Meeting with Inspectors at Maindee Police Station
- Newport Women’s Institute talk
- Interview with Winding Snake production company