Since my last column, I am pleased to have followed in the footsteps of Ogmore politicians, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Janice Gregory and Ray Powell in joining the Labour Whips office. I'm delighted to have the chance to serve and I’m looking forward to getting to work, especially as, in the coming months we have many key issues facing the UK Government including the Brexit negotiation, Child Poverty Bill and the Digital Economy Bill to debate (to name a few). I was very proud to have been one of the MPs to present the petition from the WASPI women and their families about the implementation of the Pension Act 2011 which has left thousands of women with their retirement plans ruined. It’s not the first time I’ve supported WASPI, I attended their rallies in Westminster and in Cardiff earlier in the year. They are protesting against the changes made to state pensions of those born in the 1950’s. The changes were brought in too quickly and have shattered many people’s pension plans. There is a real need for contingency funding to be put in place by the UK Government. I’m pleased this week to be chairing my first All Party Parliamentary Group on Coalfield Communities. I’m looking forward to discussing with the group the need to secure investment for coalfield communities and developing a new programme for the All Party Group. Coalfield Communities are amongst those parts of the UK that have largely been left behind when the economy is growing and are the first to suffer when the economy struggles. This is of course not only manifested in the local economies of these communities but in low educational attainment and the health and well-being of the population – something I want to address. What is pleasing is how many communities in Ogmore punch above their weight in education, but clearly, more support is needed on regeneration and improved health outcomes. There is a need for the UK government to ensure that Ogmore, Wales and the UK gets the best possible deal following the decision to exit the EU. As I have said many times I accept the decision of the British people and our job now is deliver for our communities once we leave. I was pleased to speak in a Westminster Hall debate on the effects for Wales, once we leave the EU, especially in support of the many farmers who live, work and contribute to the local and wider economy in Wales. It is vital plans are put in place beyond 2020 to allow them to plan. Away from Westminster, I look forward to opening the Pencoed Autumn fayre on Saturday. The Pencoed Town and District Twinning Association have worked incredibly hard to organise the fayre and table top sale, and I’m delighted to be opening it. The funds raised will go towards the twinning scheme. In November I have these upcoming advice surgeries:
- Friday 4th November in Maesteg Town Council from 10 am until 12 pm
- Wednesday 9th November in the Richard Price Centre, Llangeinor from 10:30 am until 12 pm. - Saturday 19th November in the Llanharry Community Centre, from 10:30 am until 12 pm. There is no appointment needed to any of these surgeries. Just turn up. If you have an issue but cannot attend, please email email@example.com or call my office on 01656 860 034.