Brexit will be complex and requires careful negotiation if we are not to be left economically isolated and our quality of life damaged. There are many agencies which unify the standards of products and safety across the 28 countries of the EU both for import and export into and out of the region. How we agree on a varied range of issues from space and satellite development, nuclear power regulation, fisheries and seed quality will be critical to future trading.
Locally the most important issue will be tariffs. I am especially worried about the possibility of tariffs and the impact on Ford and TATA as well as the numerous Small and Medium sized manufacturing, service sector and mineral product companies across the constituency.
Accessing funding for future skills training will also be vital as new products are developed and a technically skilled workforce is ready to provide maintenance and support.
The decline in the value of the pound is hitting companies trading in dollars, delaying business decisions and hitting families with higher food and utility prices.
Securing the future for those from Europe who have chosen to settle in the U.K. or in the EU is vital. We must be wary of making it impossible for our young people to study, work and fall in love in Europe and then to return home with qualifications and marriages that may not be recognised for settlement and employment here, as they are at the moment.
Across Europe, countries are facing similar pressures and uncertainties created by multiculturalism, migration and terrorism. The greatest threat after Brexit is how we face these challenges while at the same time maintain our values and adherence to the rule of law. In particular workers’ rights need to be enshrined in UK law.
Locally my priorities will focus on ensuring this is a safe and secure environment across Bridgend in which to live and work. We need to build more affordable homes and social housing.
During the last Parliament I supported campaigns to secure justice for police widows (being denied their late spouse’s pensions if they remarry or cohabit); to get a fair deal for women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age delayed (the WASPI campaign); to hold the government to account over the way Personal Independence Payments for disabled people are administered, and particularly the number of people who have had their entitlement removed unfairly; and pursued the government to end credit card surcharges which are being unfairly (and in some cases illegally applied).
The future of the NHS must be secured by ensuring there is adequate funding. I am deeply worried by the lack of clarity of how social care will be funded. I will oppose legislation requiring that all of an individual’s assets, including the value of the family home up to the last £100,000, is used to fund domiciliary and social care. It will also be vital to have clarity on the impact of changes to social care funding on the Barnett formulae payments to the Welsh Assembly and Bridgend County Borough Council. Like Aneurin Bevin I believe that disability and ‘Illness is neither an Indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune the cost of which should be shared by the community.’ If you have specific questions on areas of devolved policy such as health, you will need to contact Carwyn Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At the moment, we don’t know what changes there may be to National Insurance payments, pensions or general taxation. I will oppose all increases that leave the majority of local people worse off. I will also be opposing any cuts to the winter fuel allowance that places local families at risk of fuel poverty.
Education has always been important in Wales and I will do all I can to support local schools so that access to quality education is assured for all children. I do not support the building of new Grammar Schools or the growth of Free Schools.
I have had a long term interest in defence and security and valued my regular contact with South Wales Police. Policing has changed with increased pressures to address sexual abuse, social issues including mental health, suicide and domestic abuse. Cybercrime, terrorism and internet safety now sit alongside public order and crimes such as theft, anti-social behaviour and robbery. Ensuring we have sufficient skilled police officers will be a priority for me.