Gerald Jones is the Labour Member of Parliament for the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency.
Caerphilly County Borough excluded from UK’s new EU funding replacement
When the list of the 100 priority areas to benefit from the Government’s new Community Renewal Fund was released recently, it was hugely concerning not to see Caerphilly County Borough included, despite having some of the highest economic deprivation across the Valleys.
The Community Renewal Fund is being rolled out as a precursor to the larger Shared Prosperity Fund, which is being introduced next year to replace EU funding. Although richer areas such as the Chancellor’s own constituency of Richmond were on the priority list, areas like Caerphilly County Borough and Bridgend were excluded.
Earlier this month I joined with fellow Caerphilly County Borough MPs Wayne David and Chris Evans, and Caerphilly Council’s leader Philippa Marsden, in writing to the Prime Minister to call for clarity over the criteria used for the fund, and urge the Government to take action.
It’s simply unacceptable for Caerphilly County Borough to be excluded from this much-needed support, and our communities deserve better. I and colleagues will continue to press the Government on this, and I’ll update constituents as things progress.
2021 elections approaching: supporting Dawn Bowden’s campaign for the Senedd
The elections for the Senedd, as well as our Police and Crime Commissioners, are now less than a week away, and during the past several weeks it’s been very encouraging to see so many people across our area and Wales registering to vote, including many young people – with thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds eligible to vote in a Senedd election for the first time.
During the past few weeks, since in-person election campaigning has been able to resume, I’ve been supporting Dawn Bowden’s campaign for re-election as our MS for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, speaking to local residents both across the Upper Rhymney Valley and around the constituency. It’s been great to see lots of support locally for Dawn, and to hear lots of positive feedback about her work as our MS, as well as on the Welsh Government’s handling of the pandemic.
Vaccination programme continues: huge thanks to all those involved
Along with other MPs and MSs, I am continuing to meet with both Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Boards on a weekly basis to receive updates on the Covid situation and the vaccine rollout.
The situation is continuing to improve and the sacrifices and efforts of so many people through a hugely difficult winter is now paying off. The NHS staff, HM Armed Forces and volunteers in our area and across the country helping with the vaccine programme have been absolutely amazing, and the rollout is sweeping through age groups at pace.
Aneurin Bevan Health Board is currently encouraging anyone in Gwent in the priority groups who has not yet been contacted for a vaccination appointment to get in touch and book in now. If you’re in any of the priority groups and you still for any reason haven’t yet been contacted, you can fill out an appointment request form via this link.
Flood recovery funding: working together to ensure much-needed support is delivered
In February 2020, many areas both in the Upper Rhymney Valley and across South Wales were badly affected by flooding, and I am continuing to work with colleagues to ensure that we get the resources we need to put adequate flood defences in place.
Despite being promised by the Prime Minister in February 2020 that he would passport the money needed through, it is only in recent weeks that the Welsh Government and then in turn our local authorities have started to receive some of the funding needed from the UK Government. I will continue to work together with Dawn Bowden and local councillors to ensure that the needs of our area are recognised.
Joint virtual advice surgery with Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent: May 14
I’m holding a joint virtual advice surgery with Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent branch on Friday May 14, 2pm – 3pm, for any constituents in need of support. Appointments are still available – please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01685 383 739 to book in.
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