Please find below an update of my work since my last parliamentary report. Please do get in touch if you have a case you wish me to raise or would like to let me know your views. My contact details are listed below. Please ring or email for details of my advice surgeries. For updates on my work please follow me on twitter @jessicamordenmp or facebook.
Standing up for the Steel Industry
I spoke in the recent debate on the future of the UK steel industry highlighting the enormous potential of Llanwern, Cogent Orb and Liberty Steel in Newport East and calling on the Government to ensure that the UK maintains its steelmaking capacity. I highlighted concerns in the steel industry about the situation at Ford in Bridgend, and problems in the automotive sector. Tata Steel’s Zodiac plant at Llanwern and the auto-finishing line depends on work from the automotive sector. Steel is a foundation industry and a national asset. We need the Government to urgently do all they can to ensure that our steel and automotive industries are open for business that’s why I also co-signed a letter to the new Business Secretary, Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP. You can read it here.
Universal Credit injustice for under-25s.
Save Free TV Licences
I remain angry for the 3,770 households in Newport East who are set to lose their licences following the announcement that the TV licence concession for over-75s will be linked to pension credit. That’s why I spoke in the recent Westminster Hall debate on this following an e-petition signed by over 170,000 people. I highlighted that the decision to link the concession to pension credit is hugely problematic, especially given that that DWP estimates show that two in every five people eligible for pension credit are not claiming the benefit. The UK Government should take back the funding and administration fee for the free TV licence scheme and let the BBC focus on its job of being a brilliant national broadcaster.
You can read more about Labour’s campaign to save the free TV licences here.
Cross-Border Rail Services
The UK Government is holding Wales back by continuing to place restrictions on cross-border rail services. Many of my constituents travel to work in the Bristol area, and rely on rail services from Newport and Severn Tunnel Junction which have all too often been unreliable and overcrowded. With the need for greater capacity, commuters will rightly be asking why the new Wales and Borders franchise operator (Transport for Wales) is being held back from offering an optimum service for the many thousands of Welsh workers who travel to work across the border. I asked the Department for Transport why the UK Government will not allow Transport for Wales to run additional services to Bristol Temple Meads. The responsibility for this ultimately lies with Ministers in the Department for Transport, and as the most recent written response shows, South Wales clearly falls low on their list of priorities.
Benefits for terminally ill people
I called on the UK Government to scrap the so-called ‘six-month’ rule which prevents terminally-ill people being fast-tracked for benefits. The Government’s decision to review the existing benefits system for the terminally-ill is long-overdue. It’s vital that this review leads to a fairer system which enables people with complex and unpredictable terminal illnesses, such as motor neurone disease, to apply for benefits in a way that is far better suited to their needs and circumstances. You can read more about this issue here.
For over three years now, the Tories have bungled Brexit negotiations, and the uncertainty is causing real damage: dragging down the economy and putting jobs at risk. Their threat to pursue a No Deal Brexit is also completely irresponsible – this would be the worst possible outcome for the people of Newport East and the country as a whole, and one I am opposed to.
Labour has attempted to respect the result of the referendum by putting forward an alternative Brexit plan to protect jobs and rights, but the Tories have refused to compromise. Labour would campaign to remain in any referendum against either No Deal or a Tory deal that doesn’t protect jobs and living standards.
Some of my other recent work in Parliament:
- Attended ‘Time is Now’ mass climate lobby in Parliament, meeting with the RSPB and constituents from Newport and Caldicot
- Asked Welsh Secretary to visit Orb in Newport and look at what could be done to develop supply chains to support the steel industry
- Attended Great Western Powerhouse report launch with Jayne Bryant AM and Cllr Debbie Wilcox
- Raised concerns of constituents working in the defence procurement industry in Defence Questions
- Attended Cancer Research UK parliamentary reception
- Met with the RNIB
- Signed letter to Tory leadership candidates asking them to take action on behalf of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Iran
- Signed public letter to the Chancellor calling for an end to VAT on high-factor sun screen
- Signed APPG Vaccinations for All letter to Government on a UK pledge on global eradication of polio
- Attend Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services parliamentary event on youth work
- Attended Steel APPG meeting to discuss a steel sector deal and the situation at British Steel
- Attended 25th Annual Parliamentary Beer group dinner and Beer Champions event looking at the impact of beer duty
- Supported the campaign to waive visa fees for Commonwealth citizens who have served in our Armed Forces
- Meeting with Lord Terry Burns about the new Commission looking at alternatives to the M4 Relief Road
- Maindee Festival
- Mayor-making service for Cllr Dave Evans in Caldicot·
- Equali-Teas event in Newport
- Parkrun day in Newport with fellow Gwent MPs and AMs
- Serenata Ladies choir concert at Caldicot Methodist Church, raising funds for Crownbridge School
- Launch of Chartist graphic novel at Westgate Hotel
- Visit to Langstone Primary School
- Opening of St Mary’s Community Garden in Maindee
- Sea Sunday service at Newport Mission to Seafarers
- Visit to Newport Galvanizers
- Meeting with Gwent Music
- Advice surgeries in Newport and Caldicot