I started the week with a very busy Monday! I was on PoliticsLive where I was able to congratulate Emma Raducanu for her fantastic achievement in winning the US Open. To be able to cheer on and watch a young British female athlete win a major tennis tournament was incredible. It is even more incredible considering the disruption that has been caused to training and travel because of Coronavirus – including the fact that her family were unable to be courtside cheering her on. Well done Emma!
We also discussed the shocking figures released this week which show that more than 300,000 people are suspected of breaking Covid-19 quarantine rules when entering the UK. The UK Tory Government have repeatedly let us down with their failure to get a grip on our borders, allowing people to travel here potentially with new variants. During a global pandemic, ensuring that those entering the country do so safely and without risking the health of those residing within its borders must be a priority. The UK Tory Government’s complete failure to ensure that Border Control were given adequate resources has risked public health time and time again. It is failure after failure with this Tory Government and it is simply not good enough.
I was moved to join fellow officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm this week at a meeting with families left bereaved by gambling related harm. It is so tragic that people take their lives as a result of the consequences of gambling addiction, and the UK Government must do more to make the decisive reforms that we need to ensure that those affected by gambling addiction are protected from the predatory and immoral actions of much of the gambling industry. For them, encouraging a gambling addict to gamble means more profit; for a bereaved family somewhere, it means heartbreak. There is some interesting work happening in Scotland to link gambling related harm to public health and so I was pleased to Chair an APPG session on Tuesday of the Group to discuss the work that is happening in Scotland between the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. We have to have a more holistic approach to issues such as gambling – an addiction is a public health issue, it is a justice and legal issue, and it is a social care issue. It affects employment, family life, social isolation – and we need to recognise that if we are to address it properly.
Along with Iain Duncan Smith, I wrote for the Times newspaper this week to discuss the UK Government’s long overdue White Paper on reforming our outdated gambling laws. 16 years after the last Gambling Act was passed, society has changed immensely. Internet usage continues to rise and more of our lives are played out in the virtual sphere. We must have digital laws to fit the digital age and our current laws are simply not fit for purpose. Will the government seize this critical opportunity and rise above the increasingly intense and well-funded lobbying by the betting and gambling industry? With 55,000 children already being categorised as problem gamblers, potentially one in four people who gamble are being harmed by it and the tragedy of people taking their own lives as a direct result of gambling addiction, shows that the UK Government certainly need to. The profits made by the gambling industry are currently being put above the wellbeing of problem gamblers and vulnerable children – this cannot be right, and the UK Government must make significant changes to protect these people.
I wrote for Fabians Cymru this week on the menopause and on the Menopause Revolution that we are fighting for. For too long the word menopause has barely even been whispered, referred to in roundabout terms and phrases such as ‘the change’. This has to end. We need to be able to shout about menopause from the rooftops because only then will we be truly serving the needs of the half of the population who will experience it and the other half who will likely live with someone or be very close to someone who will experience it. You can read the full blog post here.
I was thrilled to speak at a virtual funding event for the People’s Postcode Lottery this week. More than £10.6 million, raised thanks to People’s Postcode Lottery players, funded thousands of community groups and good causes across Britain last year with over £68,000 previously being given out to good causes in Swansea East. I was a strong supporter of the campaign to raise charity lottery limits and I was delighted that last year the Government finally saw sense and decided to raise these limits, freeing up more funding for good causes like the People’s Postcode Lottery. The last couple of years have been very tough on the charity sector but despite the challenges that they’ve faced, charities have continued to step up and go the extra mile to help their local communities.
To continue the Menopause Revolution, I was delighted to attend a virtual coffee morning with the Co-op to discuss the work of the menopause campaign. The Co-op have a Menopause Support Policy that ensures that the menopause is viewed among employers and employees at the Co-op as a workplace issue as well as a women’s issue, and that considers the role that everyone can play in supporting those women who are experiencing symptoms. It encourages discussion of the issue, both to raise awareness and to work to remove the stigma around the topic. I think this is fantastic and this is exactly the sort of thing we with the Menopause Revolution want to see rolled out across employers across the UK. You can read the policy and take ideas for your own workplaces – it’s a fantastic initiative.
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 email@example.com – my team and I are here to help.