Parliamentary questions/spoken contributions
Covid-19 response: Miners https://bit.ly/2MVg1X7
Boundary review 1 https://bit.ly/37fpguh
Boundary review 2 https://bit.ly/2MKCbey
Future relationship with the EU: Negotiations https://bit.ly/2zldPow
Parliamentary Constituencies Bill https://bit.ly/2AXyDCL
Future relationship with the EU https://bit.ly/30sy1zZ
Written contributions / video / social media links
Health board update https://bit.ly/3cOwSoI
Coronavirus scam warning 1 https://bit.ly/2BGFmkX
Mental health awareness week https://bit.ly/2MJOkQY
Covid-19: Question to Health Secretary re: Miners https://bit.ly/3dP7VLf
Coronavirus scam warning 2 https://bit.ly/3dO1nfY
South Wales Argus column https://bit.ly/3f9iEAi
Letter to Health Secretary re: Miners and Covid-19 https://bit.ly/2Abfv4u
Campaign for carers to receive £500 bonus in full 1 https://bit.ly/3ha2QiC
Video: Public Accounts committee – water https://bit.ly/3fcR05P
Campaign for carers to receive £500 bonus in full 2 https://bit.ly/3h7PNyd
FCA action over rogue advisors https://bit.ly/3dNqoaV
South Wales Argus coverage “Pension Sharks” https://bit.ly/2zm6Njo
Carers’ Week https://bit.ly/2YgqAcu
‘Action need to prevent water shortages’ https://bit.ly/30kvkjU
The last few weeks saw some extraordinary scenes in British politics in which the Prime Minister entirely failed to address concerns around the conduct of his chief aide.
Boris Johnson doesn’t think he needs to bother himself with these concerns. He knows full well that his majority allows him ample room to manoeuvre as he likes, run policy through Parliament and keep the Conservative flag flying for four years.
This is an attitude which is likely to be demonstrated time and time again. For example, the boundary review is currently moving through Parliament, with the Conservative Government attempting to redraw the map in its favour.
Labour must fight tremendously hard to prevent this Government embedding its political position and ensure that democracy is defended over the coming years by holding the Conservatives to account.
Another issue that the Prime Minister is failing to address is the unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Keir Starmer has called for the Prime Minister to urge President Trump to respect peoples’ fundamental democratic right to protest peacefully, which is what the overwhelming majority have been doing.
Violence and vandalism are never the solution. But people are hurting.
And at moments like this, it is the role of our leaders to unite communities and heal divisions.
The dangerous rhetoric coming out of the White House only adds fuel to the fire.
The silence from the Prime Minister is weak and wrong.
The UK must openly recognise and oppose racism, clearly demonstrating that we will stand with those seeking to tackle injustice and inequality across the world.
British Steel Pension Scandal
It has taken a long time but last week the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced some measures to finally begin ridding the waters of pension sharks for good.
I am determined to see justice for those steel workers who were targeted by rogue advisors during the restructuring of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).
I have been talking about the scale of this scandal for some time and FCA investigations are beginning to reveal the true horror of what happened. The latest conclusion is that just a fifth of the transfers which occurred were appropriate with 47% being entirely unsuitable.
I am pleased to hear that contingent charging, where financial advisers only get paid if the pension transfer happens, will now be banned. This type of arrangement incentivises bad advice.
This and the other measures being introduced are a good start but I still want to see those who exploited steelworkers taken through the criminal justice system.
It has been more than two and half years since this scandal broke and justice delayed is justice denied.
Miners and covid-19
A discussion I had with the South Wales Miners Sec. evealed some concerns around death certificates for ex-miners who may have passed away due to covid-19.
The concern being that the families of former mineworkers can only access the compensation they are due if ‘industrial disease’ is recorded on the death certificate.
Miners who have existing respiratory problems are at a high risk from coronavirus and if covid-19 is recorded as the sole cause of death then families will be left without.
I co-authored a letter on this matter and I also raised it through a question to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
In response Mr Hancock said he would speak with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy officials about clearing this matter up.
I will be seeking to ensure he follows up on this promise so that not one grieving family is denied the compensation they are due.
Campaign for carers
In May, the Welsh Labour Government announced a special one-off £500 payment for care staff.
At the time my Welsh Labour colleagues and I wrote to the Conservative Government to make the case for this money to be tax-free, an appeal which has fallen on deaf ears.
This is absolutely wrong.
Every penny of that £500 should go straight into the pockets of our hardworking social care workforce who have done so much for so many during these difficult times.
No one who receives this payment should be disadvantaged in any way in respect of their tax status or social security entitlement. All care workers must receive this award in full.
Welsh Labour has now launched a petition to lobby the Tories to ‘let our carers keep every penny’.
The petition can be found at https://www.welshlabour.wales/let-our-carers-keep-every-penny/
I would urge everyone to sign and share if they are able.