The Menopause Revolution is well underway! I was pleased to host a meeting with representatives of health and women’s groups this week to discuss my Private Members Bill, the workplan for the All Party Parliamentary Group and how we can work together to bring about change. Among the attendees were the CIPD – the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. It is so important that we get organisations such as this involved so that we can spread the ideas throughout human resources and development teams across all sectors in society. We need health and wellbeing to be included in how businesses think about their staff and their development so that everyone is able to continue working and contributing in the way that they would wish to.
Also joining us were Women in Sport and the Women’s Health All-Party Parliamentary Group. The menopause will affect all women in some way and can have an impact on all aspects of their lives – why should enjoyment of sport be affected because of it? Just as we need changes in employment to allow women to continue working, we need sports teams and providers to understand how they can best support women to continue participating, especially considering how important sport is for other aspects of health and wellbeing.
It was fantastic to talk to everyone – including Balanced Bodies, Menopause Support, Pausitivity, The Menopause Team, the Perimenopause Facebook Support Group, Health Tech, and the Latte Lounge. We know that there is support for women out there and there and it is fabulous to see the wealth of experience that does exist that we can draw on to bring about the Menopause Revolution!
I was pleased to join the panel on Politics Live on Wednesday (in person!) to discuss the football – of course – the UK Government’s plans to remove the Covid restrictions currently in place, the possibility of a 4-day working week, plans to end the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and the furore that has been raised in Cardiff over the plans to have the Union Jack on the side of a building. It’s fantastic to see England doing so well at the Euros – of course I wish it was Wales in the final but as a Brit and a Chelsea fan, I am really proud of the way England have played. It was an interesting discussion around Gareth Southgate’s coaching and how he has brought people in with diverse experiences and backgrounds to support the team. As I said, I have never achieved anything in politics without working cross-party: the Children’s Funeral Fund was set up with cross-party backing, and now the work I’m doing on gambling and the menopause are both doing well with cross-party support. We all achieve things when we work together.
Iceland have been running an experiment on the possibilities of a 4-day working week and there is now debate around the possibilities for the UK. Personally, I do not think we should be spending our time on this debate, at the moment, when there are so many other issues with working conditions to deal with already. From the uncertainty and instability of zero-hour contracts without holiday or sick pay, to the appalling hire-and-fire tactics being used by some companies in the wake of Covid, to the low pay leading to working families living in poverty, we have a responsibility to fix the problems that exist before we start discussing a 4-day week.
We also have a responsibility to support families that are struggling as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, which is why I was outraged to hear of the government’s plans to end the £20 uplift to Universal Credit as soon as this Autumn. Whilst my Conservative counterpart on the panel seemed to think that the extra money was an unnecessary luxury, I set him straight with the reality of how for some struggling families it really can make the difference between being able to put food on the table and not.
I am thrilled to once again be on the judging panel for the British Kebab Awards. Kebab takeaways have become a fixture of our local high streets and have undergone quite the transformation in recent years. Once thought of only as an unhealthy late-night snack, perhaps after a few drinks, they are now seen as a proper meal, with many places offering sit-down menus and an assortment of dishes. The British Kebab Awards are a chance to recognise the contribution of our local restaurants and takeaways to our communities and to say thank you to everyone working in them. The kebab industry alone is worth a staggering £2.2 billion to the UK economy and has been an integral part of UK culture for decades. I am thoroughly looking forward to being a part of this great event once more and to meeting some fantastic restaurant and takeaway owners and their teams!
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!