In the constituency this month, I organised a well-attended event in Ystrad Mynach for women in the constituency, born in the 1950s, who have been affected by changes to the state pension laws. These women have suffered a huge injustice as a result of the decision of the Tory-led Coalition Government in 2011 to move to equalisation of the state pension retirement age without allowing them sufficient time to adjust their pension plans. As a result, many women in the constituency have lost a lot of money.
This month I also attended the Spring Fayre at Parklands residential home Bedwas, a Cymanfa Ganu at Tonyfelin Welsh Baptist Chapel at which I spoke, a concert at St Helen’s Church Caerphilly and an Aber Valley Male Voice Choir concert in Abertridwr. I was also given an interesting tour by the volunteers at Caerphilly Workmen’s Institute to learn about developments there and plans for the future.
I have held meetings with the trade union NAPO about the future of the Probation Service and with the Jeff Francis Foundation to discuss the future provision of music opportunities for youngsters. It was encouraging to take part in a well-attended consultation event to discuss how best to develop the grounds at Caerphilly Miners Centre, of which I am the Chair.
In addition, I met up with Caerphilly businesswoman Nicola Downie at her florists to talk about the work she is doing to reduce the shop’s usage of single use plastic.
It’s always a pleasure to see visitors from the constituency at Westminster. This month I welcomed 2 sets of visiting constituents and was delighted to meet with a local apprentice from General Dynamics. One of the highlights was meeting with pupils from Nant Y Parc Primary School in Senghenydd during their visit to Westminster. They took the opportunity to ask some interesting and challenging questions!
In Parliament itself, I joined with other Welsh Labour MPs in a debate challenging the decision by the Conservative Government to close Department for Work and Pensions offices across South East Wales, including in Caerphilly. In Wales Questions I asked about the impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts on homelessness in Wales. In my role as a Shadow Defence Minister, I participated in a debate on the role the UK will play in Common Security and Defence Policy missions post Brexit and I asked a question in Defence Questions about whether the Government will award the contract for the Fleet Solid Support Ships to British Shipyards.
I also attended Welsh Labour Party Conference in Llandudno, where I chaired a roundtable hosted by the health and welfare charity Leonard Cheshire, and went to an interesting Unions Together fringe meeting on Brexit.