Gerald Jones is the Labour Member of Parliament for the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency.
First Covid-19 vaccine dose received: thanks to our incredible NHS
Last week I received my first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Every dose administered is a step towards getting back to normality, and I want to pay tribute to all the amazing NHS staff and volunteers in our area, in Wales and across the UK who are working flat out to roll out the vaccination programme.
I want to encourage constituents offered an appointment for a vaccination to please attend as soon as you receive your invite, and do your part to help keep each other safe.
Working together to tackle local off-road biking concerns
Earlier this month I attended a virtual meeting with representatives from Gwent Police and parliamentary colleagues from across Gwent Police area for a discussion on illegal off-road biking in the area, following a number of concerns raised by constituents across the Upper Rhymney Valley.
I want to thank Gwent Police and Chief Constable Pam Kelly for the constructive dialogue in the meeting on how we can address this issue and engage with relevant partners and stakeholders going forward, and I’ll continue to update constituents on this as things progress.
One of the issues I have been keen to highlight is the need for cross-border work, as I know this is an issue in the South Wales Police area and my understanding is that both forces are liaising to look to address the concerns more widely.
Wales Questions: Government’s replacement for EU funding is not good enough
When we left the EU, our communities were promised ‘not a penny less’ of investment and development funding when European funding schemes ended. Now, the Government is planning to replace EU funding with its new Community Renewal Fund, which totals £220 million for the entire UK; in comparison to the £375 million Wales alone has received annually through EU funding schemes up until now.
This is simply unacceptable for communities both in Merthyr Tydfil and the Upper Rhymney Valley, and in Wales Questions on March 17 I called on the Government to set this straight and deliver what was promised.
When the Government published its list of 100 top priority areas for this new fund it was hugely disappointing not to see Caerphilly County Borough included, despite our communities having been in the greatest need of further support from previous EU funding schemes, and I and parliamentary colleagues will be pressing the Government to explain this decision to take vital funding away from some of the communities which need it most.
2021 elections: apply for your postal vote now
This year sees important elections in our area and across Wales for the Senedd, as well as our Police and Crime Commissioners. While arrangements are being made to ensure voting in person is safe, if you’d prefer to have your say without having to visit a polling station then you can register for a postal vote and cast your vote early. You can register for a postal vote online here – the deadline is 5pm on April 20.
During the next several weeks, I will be supporting Dawn Bowden’s campaign for re-election as our Member of the Senedd for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney in whatever way I can and within current guidelines.
Joint virtual advice surgery with Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent: April 16
I’m holding a joint virtual advice surgery with Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent branch on April 16, 2pm – 3pm, for any constituents with queries around benefits or welfare issues. Appointments are still available – please contact my office at email@example.com or on 01685 383 739 to book in.
I also want to encourage any constituents with queries or concerns you feel I can help with to please get in touch with my office at any time for advice and support.
Easter holidays: thanks to Caerphilly Council for supporting our young people
I want to thank Caerphilly County Borough Council for all they are doing to support local families through the Easter holidays, providing free school meals throughout the break for children across the county borough, made possible with continued support from the Welsh Government.
I know how much this support is appreciated by families across our communities, during such a difficult time.
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