Labour leader Keir Starmer recently launched the five-point plan for a better Britain that will form the backbone of our election manifesto and the pillars of the next Labour government.
Most people agree that Britain is not functioning properly at the moment. We have multiple crises compounding each other.
The Tories are merely scrabbling to get by week to week, papering over the cracks caused over the last 13 years.
Delivering short-term results, reacting day-to-day is not going to meet the scale of the challenge.
This is “sticking plaster politics” with no ambition for Britain.
Labour’s plan aims to break out of the cycle of Conservative ‘sticking-plaster’ politics, replacing it with a mission-driven Government.

Labour’s plan is to:
Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7
Make Britain a clean energy superpower
Build an NHS fit for the future
Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage
Make Britain’s streets safe

Each mission is targeted on the problems holding back Britain. To overcome them we need a break from business as usual and a new approach to government.
You can read more about Labour’s plan here.

Concerns about crime and policing are becoming all too common, here in Blaenau Gwent and across the country.
The Conservatives have run down our public services. Police have disappeared from our streets.
When crimes are committed, too often no one comes, nothing is done and there are no consequences.
After 13 years, the Conservatives are missing in action in the fight against crime.
During Crime Week last month Labour announced a series of promises, paid for by our plan to save over £350m in procurement and shared services.
Labour will:
Increase town centre patrol and expand neighbourhood policing teams
Put 13,000 extra neighbourhood police and PCSOs on our streets and a named neighbourhood officer in every community
Punish anti-social behaviour offenders with tougher sentences.
Protect communities with more police, more action to stop young people being drawn into crime, more prosecutions and by standing up for victims.

Illegal Off-Roading
I met with the new Blaenau Gwent Inspector and Gwent Police’s Chief Superintendent to ask about what plans are in place to clamp down on the menace of illegal off-road biking in our area this spring and summer.
I will also be putting together another of the roundtable groups I set up to discuss this issue with police, the council, landowners and others in the near future.
I would encourage anyone with information that may be helpful to police regarding illegal off-road biking to call 101, email or direct message @GwentPolice on Facebook or Twitter.
It is important to continue calling in incidents so that when we have these discussions the data reflects the true scale of this problem.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
A year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine I attended the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, where I delivered a speech on the horrendous crimes against humanity committed by Putin’s army in Ukraine and how reparations must be paid.
As I recently raised with the Attorney General, the UK government must not only continue to support the work being done by the International Criminal Court and the Ukrainian authorities to investigate and prosecute war crimes, but also help ensure that reparations are made.
I also recently signed and supported a letter calling on the government to do more by seizing Russian state assets held in the UK, seizing assets that are the proceeds of crime, and seizing undisclosed assets so that sanctioned oligarchs are no longer able to conceal their dirty money here.
Russia and its oligarchs must pay the price for its brutality. It must rebuild what it has destroyed.

Community kit room
It was great to recently visit the new Community Kit Room at Abertillery Leisure Centre, a fantastic initiative from Aneurin Leisure’s Sports Development team where donated items of sportswear can be picked up for free by anyone who needs it.
Good quality pre-owned t-shirts, shorts, tracksuits, trainers and more are all being kept in the kit room for anyone who might need some new gear.
A great idea and a brilliant way to bring down barriers to exercise and improve access to sport for all.
I hope it’s a big success and would like to see the idea replicated in other parts of the borough and even further afield.

Pleased to cut the ribbon at the new Pen-y-Cwm and Ebbw Fawr Primary Community Cafe and Pantry.
There was a lovely atmosphere thanks to all the children, parents and school staff attending. Lots of daffodils to brighten the day and much goodwill. I hope the cafe and pantry are a great success.
The café is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and anyone is welcome to pop in.

Surgery Beaufort
Great to hold my surgery in Beaufort Welfare Hall. Thanks to Cllr Dean Woods and Cllr Chris Smith for attending.
If you, or someone you know, wants to speak with me but could not make it, please get in touch via email at or call my office on 01495 313167.
I have more surgeries planned in the coming weeks. Please follow me on social media for updates.

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