I co-chaired another meeting of the Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing All-Party Parliamentary Group this week. We heard from a number of doctors and representatives of organisations concerned with the prevalence of skin cancer in the UK and discussed the important role which the beauty sector can play in skin cancer detection and prevention. Hair, health, and beauty professionals are in a unique position to support clients to seek health advice when perhaps they do not realise they need to. This is a fantastic initiative and could help so many people access the early intervention that is vital in our fight against cancer. To find out more about the programme and to register, visit the MASCED website here.
Betting companies were once again in the news this week with an article in the Guardian on banning betting companies from being front-of-shirt sponsors for football clubs. To me, and to many other ministers and activists, this is one of the most obvious things that we can do to tackle the prevalence of the betting industry in family-orientated arenas, and I am confident that a new Gambling Act will outlaw shirt sponsorship either in the autumn or new year. We will, of course, need to allow clubs to wean themselves off betting sponsorship, in the same way that they needed to find other avenues of funding when tobacco advertising became illegal, but sponsorship must be appropriate to the audience. There are so many children and young people watching games and seeing betting being normalised, instead of viewing it as something that can be as addictive as dangerous substances. Football always has been, and always will be, a family environment, and clubs need to recognise that with their sponsorship deals.
A report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Justice and Care has found that there are at least 100,000 modern slavery victims in the UK, more than 10 times the number previously estimated by the UK Government. There are fears that the pandemic could threaten a further increase as the main drivers of modern slavery – poverty, lack of opportunity, and other vulnerabilities – will intensify following the outbreak of coronavirus and increase the levels of exploitation and abuse. Reports of modern slavery have risen by 119%, but the conviction rate has only increased by 9%. We need to see strong political leadership on this issue and a clampdown on those who are exploiting others for their own gain. It is not right that modern slavery is allowed to exist in 21st century Britain and the UK Government need to properly resource the police to investigate reports thoroughly so that convictions increase. We must not tolerate this abhorrent crime in this country.
I have been continuing to organise the distribution of donations to our wonderful frontline workers this week as part of the Swansea Together initiative. I was thrilled to see donations go to Cwmbwrla Ambulance Station, Matt’s Café, and South Wales Fire and Rescue Team. We also gave donations to the fabulous team at Sway Road Surgery and the RNLI team. Thank you all for your hard work – please know that we all appreciate your dedication and care.
The Welsh Government announced this week a targeted Land Transaction Tax holiday and funding to build modern social homes. This means there will be no tax on main residential property purchases up to £250,000 until 31st March next year and £30 million of funding will be released to support the construction of nearly 400 new, energy efficient social homes. We need more social housing to support our growing population, but we also need to ensure that that social housing is fit for the 21st century. Making our homes energy efficient will not only support our climate action goals, but also help to make homes more affordable for those who are struggling most in our society. With energy efficient homes, we will see less waste energy and therefore lower energy bills, so that people can afford to heat their homes. We need to rebuild following this crisis, but we need to rebuild in a way that does not contribute to a climate crisis further down the line.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you all keep well and remember – stay safe, follow the guidance – and keep washing your hands!