Jo Stevens

A strong voice for Cardiff Central

Jo Stevens - Labour MP for Cardiff Central

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Following the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, I am supporting the call for the UK to remain a member of the customs union. I have signed a parliamentary motion (Early Day Motion) to that effect. There will be a huge number of issues arising out of the decision to leave the EU, but the issues of the single market and the customs union, along with the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK to remain here, are in my view the most critical.

 

 

Almost two-thirds of Welsh goods are exported to the European Union free of any tariffs. So if tariffs (charges) are applied to those goods we export when we leave the EU, the impact on Welsh business will be devastating. This problem is even more acute in Cardiff. Of all the cities in the United Kingdom, Cardiff is the fifth most reliant on EU exports, with 61% of everything we sell going to the European Union.

 

For all the hot air and reassuring noises we hear from the Tory Government on life post Brexit, those statistics clearly demonstrate that any disruption to our trading links with the EU could put jobs in Cardiff Central at risk.

 

Being outside the Customs Union would mean that there would have to customs checks for all freight of a certain size entering Welsh ports, and that Welsh goods going to Europe would be subject to significantly greater checks and documentation requirements to be allowed through to Europe. All this makes our businesses and the goods we sell less competitive and less attractive to buyers.

 

Early Day Motions represent a chance for backbench MPs from any party to support statements that might not make it to the floor of the House of Commons to be formally debated. Whilst the Government does not have to formally respond to them, they can put pressure on the Government. For instance, over 200 MPs signed the Early Day Motion in the last Parliament condemning the proposed state visit to the UK by Donald Trump. There was no mention of the visit in this week’s Queen’s Speech.

 

You can read the full Motion below; 

 

This House notes the benefits of UK membership of the European Union (EU) Customs Union which removes costly and time-consuming customs processes and red tape for trade with other EU member states, allows the operation of a soft Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border that would be in jeopardy were the UK to leave, and allows the UK to fully benefit from 56 existing trade agreements signed with external countries which by leaving could result in less preferential terms under any other bilateral trade re-negotiations; and further notes that the terms of UK membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are currently governed by its membership of the EU Customs Union, and that by leaving in order to become an independent member of the WTO the UK’s existing WTO commitments would need to be renegotiated; and calls on the Government to negotiate for the UK to remain a member of the EU Customs Union following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Why we Need to Remain in the Customs Union

Following the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, I am supporting the call for the UK to remain a member of the customs union. I have signed a parliamentary motion (Early...

 

 

If we needed anything to confirm that Theresa May is in Government but not in power, this Queen’s Speech was it.

 

A thin, measly script that wouldn’t be fit for one year of parliamentary business never mind the two it will cover. Labour voters can be proud that through their votes they have stripped the Tory manifesto to its bare bones eliminating the majority of its flagship pledges; the possible repeal of the fox hunting ban; scrapping the triple lock and winter fuel allowance for pensioners; the dementia tax; grammar schools in England; scrapping school meals and a possible change of emphasis on the approach to Brexit negotiations. We’ll no longer be having the “Great Repeal Bill” instead, the “Repeal Bill.” Maybe Theresa May has finally realised leaving the EU isn't such a "great" idea after all?

 

So what are we left with? Having already failed to secure the deal they want with the DUP this zombie Government looks anything but strong and stable. Is legislating against allegedly bogus whiplash claims to boost insurance company profits above the already eye watering £8 billion a year really the government's priority?

 

Public sector pay will remain frozen whilst our public services and the loyal workforce that keeps them going will be asked to do even more for less. UK growth is at the bottom of the G7 tables, our productivity levels remain stubbornly low and the Government is still refusing to tell us where it wants to go as we lurch towards exit from the European Union. 

 

In complete contrast, the Labour Party's manifesto would move quickly to address the deep seated problems in our economy; investing to boost jobs and infrastructure; introducing a national education service and ending tuition fees; bringing in 10,000 extra police officers and working to end the long squeeze on wages and people’s pockets. 

 

It was the top rate tax cuts and the endless slashing of public service budgets that so angered people, and took away May’s majority, but they remain in place. Students will remain burdened with astronomical debt, the cost of using our railways will continue to increase on the back of public subsidy that ends up in the hands of the German, French and Dutch governments because Tories legislated to prevent public owenship of our railways. Far too many of the very real problems that we have will not be addressed by any of the measures brought forward in this Queen’s Speech. The people have spoken, but once again it seems that the Prime Minister has not listened. 

The Queen's Speech 2017

    If we needed anything to confirm that Theresa May is in Government but not in power, this Queen’s Speech was it.   A thin, measly script that wouldn’t...

Are you interested in film making or script writing? 

Enter your film or script into the Film the House competition and you could win prizes including work experience at Sky, mentoring and advice from leading industry figures, a day on a film set or your film being screened.

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The competition is a way to showcase what the UK has to offer, and to discover the talent in our communities who'll be leading the way in the industry in the future.

I know that here in Cardiff Central we have a wealth of talent in the creative industries. Not just through a thriving film and television industry, but in our schools, colleges and universities. I would be thrilled to see lots of entries from Cardiff Central and maybe even some winners at the House of Commons awards ceremony.

The Film the House competition is sponsored by MPs who are part of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Film and Intellectual Property, and the entries are judged by industry experts.

Local MPs judge the entries for the first round, and the local winners are judged by the national panel.

Key dates for the competition:

31 July 2017: Closing date for entries to MPs' offices

30 August 2017: Constituency nominations announced

24 October 2017: Award ceremony with screening at the House of Commons

Find out more, and enter now at filmthehouse.co.uk

Enter Now: Film the House Competition

Are you interested in film making or script writing?  Enter your film or script into the Film the House competition and you could win prizes including work experience at Sky,...

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