Column 13th June 2017

It’s been a week since the General Election and the country is still waiting to know what Theresa May’s Government is planning for the new parliamentary term. There is all sorts of speculation as to what will be cut from the Tories’ programme to be announced in the (delayed) Queen’s Speech. You’ll remember the controversial Tory manifesto policy on social care and the “dementia tax” and Mrs May’s flip-flopping on the issue. What an absolute mess just when talks are due to start on Brexit.

I’m pleased to say the Labour Welsh Government is in no such disarray. On social care, the Welsh Government has unveiled plans to curb the use of zero-hours contracts and to protect care time in the social care sector. These new proposals which are out for consultation, mean employers will need to offer workers in the care sector on zero-hours contracts the choice of moving to a minimum hours contract after three months of continued employment. There are also proposals for providers to show the difference clearly between travel time and care time when preparing employees’ schedules, which will help make sure care time is not rushed.

I very much welcome the news of money from the Welsh Labour Government for superfast broadband in our schools. This means pupils in Pembrokeshire will be able to take full advantage of current and future advances in digital technology, making sure they have the digital skills necessary in the modern world.

Now summer’s on the way our thoughts turn to the great outdoors. Wales’ iconic National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are to have over £12 million from the Welsh Labour Government this year. This includes money for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Wales has a lot we can be proud of, although as I heard on the doorsteps in West Wales during the last weeks, of course there’s always more we politicians need to do on the things that matter to our communities. Which brings me back to Brexit. We need to deliver a Brexit that is a success for Wales. I hope you’ll follow what happens at the “Brexit: One Year On” conference I’m holding in Hay-on-Wye on Saturday 24 June. Speakers include amongst others, Labour’s Brexit Shadow Minister Sir Keir Starmer, Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, author of Article 50 Lord John Kerr, and my Mid and West Labour AM colleague, Joyce Watson.

For tickets see: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/brexithay17

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