With the Senedd elections right around the corner, I’ve been thrilled to take the opportunity to get out and about and talk to people about what a Welsh Labour Government has achieved and what else we can achieve together. It was great to be out with colleagues, meeting people on the doorstep and having (socially distanced) chats about the year that we’ve had and what we all want to see happen next. Thank you to everyone in Barry, Newport, Rhondda, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Neath and Aberavon for the kind welcome and I look forward to more campaigning with fantastic Welsh Labour candidates in the run up to Polling Day on Thursday!
On Tuesday I was pleased to join a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Online and Home Electrical Safety. Due to other increasing commitments, I stood down as Chair of the APPG at the start of this meeting and was delighted to hand over the Chairmanship to my fellow Labour MP, Yvonne Fovargue. We were able to hear from Martyn Allen, the Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, about the Office for Product Safety and Standards’ Product Safety Review and their call for evidence, as well as the impact of e-commerce, such as online marketplaces, on product safety, and the reasons for the safety review. The current framework, though substantial, is familiar for businesses who use it regularly, but with the rapid spread of online marketplaces and businesses looking to develop innovative new products or means of supply, this framework needs adapting to the circumstances today. So many people today would not think twice about using the internet to shop instead of visiting a physical store, but this should still mean that they are protected by the regulations that govern physical purchases. The UK Government are looking to hear from a wide range of individuals, businesses, and organisations that interact with all aspects of product safety, including manufacturers, trade associations, consumer, and consumer organisations. You can contribute to the call to evidence here.
On Thursday I Chaired an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm meeting on land-based venues (casinos and bingo halls). We heard from Simon Thomas, the Chief Executive of Hippodrome Casino, Miles Baron, the Chief Executive of the Bingo Association, and John O’Reilly, the Chief Executive of the Rank Group. We wanted to hear about their perceptions of the levels of problem gambling happening in their venues and the impact of the products that are available within their venues. We often think of problem gambling occurring online, but we have to think about the risks to people in physical venues – in casinos and even at the bingo. These venues and their management have social responsibility to ensure no one is harmed as a result of their venues. It was interesting to hear from the panellists about the work of the Gambling Commission and the changes they would like to see from the Gambling Review.
On Thursday evening I was thrilled to attend the South Wales Evening Post Community Awards and was humbled to receive the Ambassador Award. It is an incredible honour to be considered among those who have done such amazing work for our wonderful community during this incredibly difficult year.
On Wednesday of this week, we marked International Workers’ Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember everyone who has lost their life at work over the past year and resolve to fight for better conditions for workers everywhere. Covid has exposed huge injustices in our societies and our key workers and the lowest paid have been most likely to die. Our NHS staff, our bus and train drivers, our supermarket workers, and our care staff have given so much of themselves this year – they have sacrificed time with family, they have spent hours and hours in uncomfortable and painful personal protective equipment, they have faced abuse and yet they have continued to go to work and look after us. We simply must rebuild a fairer society in which our workers are safe at work and are given a fair wage for the work that they do.
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 – my team and I are here to help. And remember – stay home, observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!