Gerald Jones is the Labour Member of Parliament for the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency.
Calling on the UK Government to reinstate free TV licences for the over-75s
While the BBC’s decision to extend the free TV licences for over-75s concession to August this year due to the pandemic was very welcome, it could never be expected to fund the policy indefinitely without support from the UK Government.
In Parliament last month, I urged Government ministers to step up and give the BBC the funding it needs to continue this vital concession for the elderly in our communities.
Since the Government passed responsibility for the policy to the BBC without the necessary funding, it’s been unable to continue providing it.
Now, only over-75s who receive the means-tested Pension Credit benefit will be eligible to receive it.
You can check if you’re eligible to receive Pension Credit online here: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/eligibility/.
As we go into winter and more people face local lockdown restrictions, older and more vulnerable people will rely on their TV more than ever for news, entertainment and also companionship as a result of the isolation caused by the pandemic. The UK Government must take action now to guarantee this vital lifeline for over-75s across the country.
Urging the chancellor to support those who’ve been excluded from financial help
Due to falling through the gaps in the UK Government’s coronavirus support and furlough schemes, as many as three million people across the country were excluded from financial help earlier in the pandemic.
Now, with the Chancellor’s coronavirus schemes due to end on October 31, he’s announced further measures as part of a ‘Winter Economy Plan’, but these do not even come close to what’s needed to support our economy and our communities through the coming months.
In Parliament last month I called on the Chancellor to ensure that these measures don’t continue to exclude those who’ve already been harshly left out of government support.
His response was predictably disappointing, and I’ll continue to press him and the government on this going forward.
Number 3 Bargoed-Merthyr Tydfil bus service reinstated
Having raised concerns with Stagecoach during the past several months, Dawn Bowden MS and I were very pleased to see them reinstate the number 3 bus service running between Bargoed and Merthyr Tydfil to an improved timetable earlier in September.
A number of constituents from across the Upper Rhymney Valley contacted me to raise concerns about the reduced service which had been operating up until recently, with many residents left without an important means of transport. I’m pleased that the Welsh Government’s £10 million recovery fund for local buses has helped to reinstate the service.
Dawn and I are continuing to work with Stagecoach on the possibility of reinstating further local bus services across the constituency.
Following a rise in concerns over antisocial behaviour in our area, Dawn and I have also been continuing to meet regularly with the police, local authority and other community partners to find solutions for tackling these issues, and we will continue to work together on this going forward.
Registrations still open for annual Funding Fair
If you’re looking for funding for your local charity or community group, then sign up for this year’s Funding Fair, which I’m hosting jointly with Dawn Bowden MS via video on Zoom on Friday, November 6.
There’ll be a wide range of key organisations in the sector available to speak to, including the National Lottery Community Fund, the Big Lottery Fund and the Arts Council of Wales.
The deadline for registering is Friday , October 16 – please contact my office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01685 383739 to sign up.
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