This week I wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to urge him to support the development of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Wales, which would be located on the Nant Helen surface mine and Onllwyn coal washery site at the head of the Dulais and Tawe Valleys. The Welsh Government project, with the support of Neath Port Talbot Council and Powys County Council, is set to include the construction of a rail test track for rolling stock and infrastructure as well as speed testing, a storage and decommissioning facility, and a training and research centre. This project is a fantastic opportunity for innovation and investment in rail both in Wales and in the UK and I am calling on the UK Government to designate the site and project as the preferred option for a strategic UK facility. This UK Government talk about levelling up and investing in the whole of the UK and this is their opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.
I was proud to chair a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hairdressing, Barbering, and Cosmetology this week. It has been a truly unprecedented six months and so many businesses and workers have been badly impacted by the consequences of the pandemic. Whereas many businesses have been able to adapt their business model and their mode of interacting with clients and consumers through the wonders of the internet, unfortunately, technology has not yet given us the possibility of having our hair cut via Zoom! Our hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons are vital to the health and vitality of our high streets and we must ensure that more is done to support these pillars of the local economy through these trying times. It was great to hear from all the representatives of the industry, including Keith Conniford, CEO of the Hair and Barber Council.
As an ethical vegan for many years, I was pleased to virtually meet with representatives from Fur Free Britain to discuss their campaign to ban the import and sale of fur in the UK. I am proud that the UK was the first country to ban fur farming two decades ago and that the subsequent EU bans on the importation of dog, cat, and seal fur will be retained in UK law after Brexit. However, although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur, it can still legally be imported and sold in the UK. It is also concerning that consumers may also be misled into buying real fur, believing it to be fake. According to Humane Society International, more than 100 million animals are killed for the global fur trade every year. Animals are treated terribly; farmed and kept in small cases and wild animals cruelly trapped and hunted. It is time that we legislated to prevent harm and pain being caused to animals in the UK and to prevent those who commit these cruel acts being able to earn from consumers in the UK.
As chair of the APPG on Sepsis since 2017, I was honoured to be one of the guest speakers at the Parliamentary virtual round table about tackling future infection rates chaired by Lord Grade. Sepsis is a highly under acknowledged, under diagnosed, under reported and under recorded condition, of which I have personal experience. Sepsis is time critical, so speed of treatment is vital. Dr Ron Daniels of U.K. Sepsis Trust spoke about the strong connection developing between Sepsis and Covid-19 and that we should stop talking about individual pathogens. We should talk about Sepsis and Antimicrobial Resistance AMR (no longer responding to antibiotics) together, as part of a holistic approach.
There was more worrying news regarding rising levels of coronavirus cases in Wales as Rhondda Cynon Taf saw tighter restrictions to deal with the spike in infections, following Caerphilly the previous week. From Monday, face coverings became obligatory in shops as well as on public transport in Wales, and I would urge everyone who is able to wear a face covering to please do so in shops and other public places. We must all work together to ensure that infection rates do not rise more and that we keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe.
The UK Government’s Internal Market Bill has caused ructions in Westminster and Cardiff this week. This appalling dereliction of duty by the UK Government in relation to their commitments made to the EU is ruining the UK’s reputation on the world stage as a reliable and honourable partner. The UK Government are executing a power grab to undermine our devolution settlement because they hate not being in power across the UK. The great challenges facing the UK over the next year, negotiating trade deals in the wake of Brexit and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, will require teamwork across the country and with our closest partners. This is not the time to be burning bridges.
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend, and remember – observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!