Nick Smith MP report June 2023
Nick Smith MP report June 2023

It has been a very difficult time for families in Abertillery over the last few weeks, with the loss of 250 jobs at
Tillery Valley Foods.
I visited the site to speak with staff in the days following the initial announcement that jobs were at risk and I
invited representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to attend and support staff at short notice, which I am thankful they were able to do.
I coordinated a Jobs Fair for former Tillery Valley Foods staff, and I’m glad to say that it was a very busy and
successful day.
25 employers attended and eight partners supported on the day, with more than 140 people coming through the door.
I’m delighted to be told that there were five immediate job offers on the day as well as 278
follow up interviews booked.
As a result of this recruitment event and other work by the DWP in the Abertillery area, so far there have been nine starts with Kepak in Merthyr, 26 starts with Zorba in Rassau and 62 people signed up for inductions at RF Brookes in Risca.
This is great to hear.
We must do all we can to support the loyal and skilled TVF workforce to get back into work as soon as

I followed up the recruitment event with a visit to Zorba to meet with management and speak with some of the new staff.
I was really pleased to hear that 26 former Tillery Valley Foods staff are now working at Zorba, with another 15 or so being inducted on the day I visited. I’m told that the hope is that around 50 will be taken on altogether.
I was also told that transport issues are affecting some former TVF staff from Abertillery and I am speaking with the DWP to see if anything can be done to help

Financial Regulators
After all the work I’ve done around the British Steel Pension Scandal over the last six years, it’s good to see that millions of pounds of compensation are now making their way through the system to steelworkers.
Less pleasing are the reports I’m receiving from the FCA about firms making unsolicited offers of small amounts of compensation to their clients in an to attempt to circumvent the redress scheme I campaigned to put in place.
Thankfully, the FCA appears to be on top of this and is
taking action.
I also hope that there will be some progress on the new Financial Services and Markets Bill I have sought to amend in order to ensure much better scrutiny of our financial regulators and better protection for consumers.

I joined the Open Reach team last week to hear more about the ongoing installation of full fibre broadband in Blaenau Gwent.
I am continuing to push for us to be kept up to speed and not left behind in the roll-out of ultrafast broadband.
Although there is still some way to go I am pleased by the
progress that’s being made and happy to hear that we are now at just under 30% coverage.
Please take a look at to check if your area has full fibre coverage.

Elite Clothing Solutions
Congratulations to Blaenau Gwent social enterprise Elite Clothing Solutions for winning the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the 2023 Welsh Business Awards, rightly recognising their commitment to promoting equality and championing inclusivity.
Elite employs disabled and disadvantaged people, producing clothing for workplaces, including the NHS.
I visited the team last week to hear more about the business and chat with the team.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS next month I am helping organise a special parkrun event at Parc Bryn Bach at 9am on Saturday, July 8th.
I will be inviting all of our local GP surgeries and schools to come along.
I’m also taking the opportunity to invite our GP surgeries to become ‘Parkrun Practices’ – a great public health initiative that encourages GPs and their staff to feel confident in ‘prescribing’ and promoting parkrun to patients.
If anyone wants to join in the special NHS 75th parkrun please come along and help make it a day to remember.

Thanks to Cllr Jenny Morgan for joining me for my advice surgery in Hilltop last week.
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.

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