I was very pleased to join the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Law and Policy this week. Migrants are hugely important to the UK and, as we have seen so much during the pandemic, play an incredible role in the delivery of our key services. However, many migrants face considerable difficulties. This group will look to consider some of the regulatory and legislative barriers they face and will identify solutions to inform policy makers in the future. The group will also provide opportunities for MPs and immigration lawyers to discuss and work together on key areas of immigration law and policy. There is often little useful debate on the subject of immigration, with too many resorting to misleading headlines and emotive disinformation to articulate their views. We need a forum where ideas can be discussed and break through some of the rhetoric and racism that too often mars this debate.
Usually in October, the Association of Convenience Stores would come to Parliament to talk to MPs about the importance of the convenience sectors in towns across the country. Of course, that won’t be possible this year but it’s still important to note their contribution. There are 62 local shops in Neath who provide local jobs for 598 people and provide access to essential goods for our communities. Local shops are hugely important, and this has only been magnified by the pandemic, with local shops now providing over 600,000 home deliveries a week in their communities across the UK. I am proud to support our wonderful convenience stores in Neath and I want to thank them for all the great work that they’ve been doing and I’m sure, will continue to do.
We marked Arthritis Day this week and I want to extend my support to the #SendStrength campaign. Sadly, society often dismisses arthritis as ‘just aches and pains’ or ‘a bit of wear and tear’. But the reality is, unfortunately, very different. A recent study found that musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the highest contributor to global disability, with 20-33% of the global population living with a painful MSK condition. In Wales, 887,000 people live with arthritis or an MSK condition and it is so important that we ensure they have the support and care that they need. The NHS has faced huge challenges during the pandemic and have performed admirably, but unfortunately, this meant that across the UK, many services were suspended. We need the UK Government to ensure that all devolved areas of the UK have adequate resources to help the NHS catch up on the care that had to be suspended. We need national plans to restart orthopaedic services, as well as a cancer recovery plan, to support the NHS across the whole UK.
I was very disappointed – but unfortunately not surprised – when Welsh Tories voted against protecting Welsh farmers from being undercut by poorer quality produce in any trade deals this week. We wanted to ensure that the Agriculture Bill guaranteed that any food imports coming into the UK as a result of future trade agreements meet the same standards for food safety, animal welfare, and environmental protection that UK farmers are currently required to meet. Public opinion is strongly against products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef. The UK Government says that they will not compromise on our food standards, but given the number of u-turns taken by Boris Johnson and his cronies, can we really trust a word that they say?
If you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch about matters that fall under my work as an MP, 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!