With the economic impacts of coronavirus continuing to bite, I know that businesses and employees are struggling here in Neath and across the country. This week the Office for National Statistics reported on the rising unemployment rate, with 16-24-year-olds particularly affected, and a rise in the unemployment rate in Wales of 3.8%. This week it’s Talk Money Week and it’s really important that people do not suffer in silence and reach out for help when they need it. The Money and Pensions Service can help you have those conversations and Citizens Advice Cymru are there to help with everything from budgeting to navigating the benefits system. There is no shame in struggling in these truly unprecedented times and it’s best to reach out for help as soon as you need it and know that support is available.
On Monday of this week, we marked the first Social Media Kindness Day. Held on what would have been presenter Caroline Flack’s birthday, it is a reminder to us all that words do have a significant impact on our sense of self and wellbeing. I’ve seen so many messages sent online that no one would dream of saying in person and yet somehow people feel it’s perfectly acceptable to send vile abuse and hate online. There is a time and a place for legitimate criticism, but there is also a way of wording such criticism so that it is not gratuitous and not directed at someone personally. Social media is a wonderful thing – being able to keep in contact despite the distance with friends and family and being able to interact with people you might never meet in real life. But throughout all our interactions, we must all remember to be kind and think before we type.
I attended a meeting this week with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gaps in Support to discuss the issues facing those who are ineligible for Government support during this pandemic. The UK Government keep talking about how much support they’re offering and yet some three million taxpayers – that’s around 10% of our workforce – have been excluded from any meaningful support in the form of the furlough or self-employment schemes. Three million taxpayers, who have contributed to society both through the products and services they offer and the tax they pay, are now unable to work in many cases and are having to struggle along alone. It’s incredibly unfair and incredibly short-sighted of the UK Government, considering that we will need all the help for the economy to support us through this pandemic and to support
I chaired a Delegated Legislation Committee this week where were we considered three pieces of legislation relating to vehicle standards post-Brexit. This is the seemingly boring but very important work that goes on in Parliament outside of the House of Commons Chamber. It’s very important that as we leave the EU, important pieces of legislation that are in place to protect road users and UK citizens become UK law and this was the case with the items we discussed. Perhaps most important among them were the considerations of regulations around carbon dioxide emissions. We know how important it is that we ensure that our air is as clean as it can be, particularly given the increase in respiratory diseases we’ve been seeing in major cities and the possible impacts they have on recovery from conditions such as Covid-19. We must not allow lax rules post-Brexit to endanger the lives and wellbeing of UK citizens and so these pieces of legislation must be considered and discussed.
On Armistice Day, I was privileged to lay a wreath at the Memorial Gates in Neath in memory and honour of all those brave men and women who have fought in service to their country and those who have died. We will never forget.
As always, 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, and remember – observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe.