Its been another busy week in Westminster! On Monday I was able to speak during the question session to the Home Office and I asked the Minister what recent assessment had been made by the department about the trends in the levels of suspected modern slavery offences. Prosecution and conviction rates of perpetrators of modern slavery are surprisingly low, but evidence from Justice and Care’s victim navigator programme shows that with appropriate support more victims would have the confidence to help investigations, resulting in more prosecutions. I called on the Minister to consider giving all confirmed victims at least 12 months’ support in the country so that they can feel empowered to engage with the justice process.
Following on from my questions on Monday, I joined a meeting led by the Centre for Social Justice about modern slavery and the impact of the new Nationality and Borders Bill. Despite the Modern Slavery Act 2015, organised criminal modern slavery networks are continuing to operate with impunity. The Nationality and Borders Bill includes a number of measures on modern slavery, however, rather than helping to tackle the low prosecution rate, aspects of the Bill risk making identification of victims and getting access to support more difficult. This will inevitably lead to vital intelligence being lost and ultimately only serve to empower traffickers to continue running their highly profitable illicit business at the cost of human lives. We have to make sure that we are doing all we can to protect vulnerable people from exploitation but this Bill risks marginalising them further and preventing them from receiving both protection and justice.
I was thrilled to sponsor a drop in on Westminster this week for the Welsh Air Ambulance. They provide such a vital service across Wales and have become the largest air ambulance operation in the UK – and one of the most medically advanced in Europe. The service is a partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and NHS Wales and delivers highly effective critical care for patients, with a specialist paediatric team. It is so important that we continue to raise awareness of the vital work that they do as they rely on raising £8 million every year to keep flying. Find out more about how to donate or join the fundraising campaigners on their website.
It was such an honour to receive an award for Campaigner of the Year at the Spectator’s Parliamentarian of the Year award this week. I really enjoyed spending the evening in the company of such fantastic colleagues – Parliamentarians who work so hard to represent their constituents. Of course, I have a lot of people to thank for supporting me in my work. My family and friends as well as my fantastic office team who work so hard behind the scenes and I’m so lucky to work with them on the campaigns that we run. The Menopause Revolution is truly underway and we are now working hard to ensure that this year’s Everyone Deserves a Christmas campaign reaches all those across the constituency that need our support.
During Business Questions this week, I was able to raise the awareness of the House on the existence of Beauty Banks. Beauty Banks is a fantastic charity dedicated to tackling hygiene poverty. Colleagues across the house, working with the charity, regularly distribute products to community groups and refuges. This Christmas they have launched their Make A Wash Appeal, encouraging the public to pledge a gift of giving. Every pledge enables even more personal care and hygiene products to reach those in need. I asked the Leader of the House to join me in championing this appeal and in congratulating the amazing Jo Jones and Sali Hughes for their relentless hard work and commitment to tackling hygiene poverty. You can find out more about Beauty Banks and donate on their website.
It was great to make my traditional visit to Swansea Delivery Office today and to speak to some of the hard-working staff there. It’s such a busy time of year and they are obviously all under a lot of pressure, but I wanted to thank them for all their work making sure everyone’s cards and parcels get to where they need to be!
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.