Jo Stevens

A strong voice for Cardiff Central

News

This week, I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day Parliamentary Reception, organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

27 January is the day for everyone to remember the millions murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. HMD is a day to honour the survivors of these atrocities and learn the lessons of their experiences to challenge hatred and discrimination in the UK today.

At the Parliamentary Reception, the HMD Trust issued a call for any organisations to put on an event to commemorate HMD.

Extensive education resources and specially tailored guides for different settings can be accessed through the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website. A specific national resource for Wales, which includes local stories to help groups engage with HMD, is available here.

The HMD Trust are also running a series of workshops for those planning HMD events across the UK throughout the autumn. The closest for any Cardiff Central constituents considering running an event is taking place in Swansea on 19 October. For details and online booking please click here.

For any further information, you can visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trusts website by clicking here.

Would you run an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in 2018?

This week, I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day Parliamentary Reception, organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. 27 January is the day for everyone to remember the millions murdered in...

 

 

On 21st July, the Tory Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP, slipped out a written statement in parliament on the last day before the summer break cancelling electrification of the mainline between Cardiff and Swansea. The government have tried to present this as ‘good’ news on the basis there will be no disruption for passengers and residents living near the line as a result of electrification works.

 

The continued neglect of rail transport infrastructure in Wales by the UK government and this disgraceful broken promise on electrification is in stark contrast to the money that they are happy to pump into London and the South East, never mind their £1 billion bung to the DUP to prop up their minority government.

 

Wales has 11% of the UK’s total railway lines but we get only 1.5% of UK Government investment in the railways. This recent announcement forms part of a series of failures to provide adequate funding for transport in Wales. The failure to provide funding for basic maintenance and upgrades, such as safety and highway improvements connected to electrification, has allowed our railways to fall behind other UK regions. Most recently, the government’s failure to confirm vital funding for the new Wales and Border franchise agreement, which has cast doubt upon the future of the new South Wales Metro project, is very concerning. The UK government’s unwillingness to work constructively with the Welsh Government to fill the £1 billion funding gap is counterproductive and is letting rail passengers across South Wales down.

 

All 22 South Wales Labour MPs  wrote to the Transport Secretary and the Welsh Secretary urging the government to reconsider the decision to renege on electrification to Swansea, which would include the funding of safety improvements, highway upgrades, and commit £1 billion to secure a sustainable new Wales and Border franchise agreement. In the light of the Government's recent commitment to the £30 billion Crossrail 2 project it is difficult to justify their decision to end investment in rail infrastructure across South Wales. Similarly, if the HS2 rail project goes ahead as planned in England, Wales is owed £2 billion as a Barnett consequential, which would go a long way in helping to deliver the infrastructure improvements required that includes the redevelopment of Cardiff Central railway station.

My Call for Action on Rail Electrification

    On 21st July, the Tory Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP, slipped out a written statement in parliament on the last day before the summer break cancelling electrification of...

 

Recently I wrote to Boots plc with Labour MP colleagues about the extortionate cost of emergency contraception at their pharmacies. Boots were charging significantly more than other pharmacies such as Tesco and Superdrug. So I was pleased when they wrote to me to say they had made a decision to slightly reduce the price. I wasn’t so pleased that their lawyers had sent a threatening letter to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service about a legitimate and properly successful campaign.

 

I have also signed a parliamentary motion drawing attention to the gap between production and retail pricing of emergency contraceptives in the UK. Prices for contraception can be 5 times more than in other EU countries. This suggests that the cost of production and distribution are not the main drivers behind the price differentials in the UK and that maximising profit is.

 

 

I Call Retailers to Account on Emergency Contraceptive Prices

  Recently I wrote to Boots plc with Labour MP colleagues about the extortionate cost of emergency contraception at their pharmacies. Boots were charging significantly more than other pharmacies such...

 

I have written to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, along with 156 parliamentarians led by my Labour colleague Rushanara Ali MP, calling for government action to help end the appalling violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

 

The letter is below.


 

Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP,
Foreign Secretary,
Foreign Commonwealth Office,
Kings Charles Street,
London,
SW1A 2AH
 
6th September 2017,
 
 
Dear Foreign Secretary,
 
RE: Violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
 
We are writing to you today regarding our serious concerns over the unfolding crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar and the indiscriminate targeting of Rohingya Muslims.
 
The government of Myanmar has every right to take action to defend itself against terrorism, however, it appears that rather than seeking to arrest terrorists from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) involved in attacks against government buildings on 25th of August, the military is using the attacks as a pretext for the mass clearance of the Rohingya population from large parts of northern Rakhine State.
 
Based on reports from the United Nations, human rights organisations and Rohingya organisations, we are witnessing human rights violations on a scale extreme even by the standards of Myanmar’s history. Estimates of people killed range from official figures of hundreds dead, to estimates by reliable Rohingya organisations of between 2,000-3,000 killed. Eye witnesses describe civilians being shot indiscriminately, people forced to lie down in rows and then shot in the back of the head, beheadings, rape, rounding people up into buildings which are then set fire to, and deliberate shooting of children.
 
At the same time, ARSA appears to have been targeting ethnic Rakhine, the Mro minority and people of other races and religions, exacerbating communal tensions and violence. More than 10,000 people have been displaced by such attacks, with more than 140,000 Rohingya having arrived in Bangladesh and it is estimated at least as many again are displaced in Myanmar. A major humanitarian crisis therefore currently exists in Myanmar and in neighbouring Bangladesh.
 
The twin priorities are to do whatever we can to halt the military offensive against Rohingya civilians, and address the urgent humanitarian needs. While we welcome the statement the Foreign Secretary made earlier this week calling on Aung Sang Sui Kyi to use her position to stop the violence, we believe it is vital that greater pressure is brought to bear on Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of the military in Myanmar. It is he, not Aung San Suu Kyi, who has the power to order the military to halt their attacks. While there is no single measure which can persuade the military to halt its attacks, any leverage that can be used must be used.
 
We also request that the government review its current approach towards the Burmese military in light of the serious human rights violations which they are committing now and have been committed in recent years. We request that the current training programme being provided to the Burmese military is suspended and an evaluation is carried out to assess its effectiveness and value for money. Any resumption should be conditioned on commitments from the military to abide by international law and the government should halt the export of any kind of equipment to the military.
 
Furthermore, the government should support an urgent resolution on the situation at the new session of the Human Rights Council, and support a resumption of the annual resolution on Myanmar at the United Nations General Assembly.
 
Additional funding must be provided to meet urgent new humanitarian needs, rather than coming from the existing budget allocated to Myanmar.
 
Longer term solutions to address the root causes of the problems in Rakhine State will be hard to implement as long as this current crisis continues. In this regard, we welcome the recommendations of the Rakhine Commission led by Kofi Annan and urge the British government to work with the government of Myanmar, providing both financial resources and expertise, to ensure they are implemented as swiftly as possible.
 
The scale of the human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Myanmar is unprecedented in its recent history. It requires the attention of the British government at the highest level. We hope that as in the past, the government will show global leadership in support of the people of Myanmar as they face this new crisis.
 
We look forward to hearing from you.

Letter to Foreign Secretary on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

  I have written to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, along with 156 parliamentarians led by my Labour colleague Rushanara Ali MP, calling for government action to help end the...

Tonight, I will be voting in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Bill has reached what is called the second reading stage of its passage through Parliament.

The Bill sets out the government's approach to how Britain will leave the EU and what role Parliament will play in the process. I will be voting against the Bill.

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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Tonight, I will be voting in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Bill has reached what is called the second reading stage of its passage through Parliament. The... Read more

The past seven years of Tory & Lib Dem austerity have taken many of our public services to the brink - especially council services. And dedicated public sector workers have borne the brunt of this destructive and disastrous political choice. Because that's what it is; a political choice not an economic necessity.

And whilst money gets poured into England for flagship projects like HS2, we can't even get funding for the tidal lagoon or the critical redevelopment of Cardiff Central station. I raised this again in Parliament this week and yet again, Alun Cairns had nothing to offer. Nothing to offer on replacement EU funding. Nothing for Wales.

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Fair Funding For Wales

The past seven years of Tory & Lib Dem austerity have taken many of our public services to the brink - especially council services. And dedicated public sector workers have... Read more

Do you want to transform your community for the better? Do you want to tell the people in charge of your city what you want to change?

UpRising, is a national youth leadership development charity.

Following a pilot programme in Cardiff in 2016, thanks to partnership funding from Cardiff Council, BBC Cymru Wales, Cardiff University and University of South Wales, they are now able to roll out the full nine month Leadership Programme for up to 45 young people aged 19-25 per year for two years in the City, starting this October.

The free to attend Programme is aimed at participants from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds (be that race, gender, sexuality, economic etc), and follows a structured curriculum covering a variety of subjects such as Leadership, Media, Politics and Policies held at a weekly evening session. Speakers from all industries and backgrounds give their time to speak to the participants and participants are matched with mentors at the end of the Programme.

Recruitment for the Cardiff Leadership Programme is now open and they have already received a number of online expressions of interest. 

Cardiff UpRising Leadership Programme

Do you want to transform your community for the better? Do you want to tell the people in charge of your city what you want to change? UpRising, is a... Read more

I have now confirmed the dates for my advice surgeries in September. All surgeries are drop in's, so you don't need an appointment to come and speak to me about an issue. These are the details of my September surgeries:

Friday 1st September 11am - 12 noon Adamsdown

St German’s Church Hall, Star Street, Adamsdown CF24 1LA

Thursday 7th September 2pm - 3pm Cyncoed

Rhydypennau Library, Llandennis Road, CF23 6EG

Friday 15th September 4pm - 6pm Roath

Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road, Cardiff CF24 3RU

Saturday 16th September 10am - 11am Roath

Penylan Library, Penylan Road, CF23 5HW

Saturday 16th September 11am - 12 noon Cathays

Cathays Library, Fairoak Road CF24 4PW

Thursday 21st September 10.30am - 11.30am Llanedeyrn

The Powerhouse, Roundwood, Llanedeyrn, CF23 9PN

Friday 29th September - Macmillan Coffee Morning and Drop-In with Jenny Rathbone AM

The coffee morning will run from 10am - 12 noon in Waterloo Tea, 17-19 Clearwater Way, Cyncoed.

 

For more information, including for future surgeries, please click here.

 

Advice Surgeries in September

I have now confirmed the dates for my advice surgeries in September. All surgeries are drop in's, so you don't need an appointment to come and speak to me about... Read more

The People's Postcode Lottery have made £4 million in funding available for local charities and groups to apply for.

Applications for the latest round of funding are now open and will close on the 28th August.

Both charities and community groups are eligible to apply for the grants of between £500 and £20,000.

The funding will be allocated through one of three Trusts, which support different categories of projects:

  • People’s Postcode Trust seeks applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights, equal rights and conflict resolution for some of society’s most vulnerable groups.
  • Postcode Local Trust supports wildlife, sustainability, play areas and green spaces.
  • Postcode Community Trust focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living programmes.

Over 400 projects were awarded with grants in the last funding round. With previously funded projects ranging from sports clubs, to mental health groups, to wildlife conservation charities, this is a fantastic opportunity for groups to access funding to make a difference in the local community.

Funding Available for Local Groups and Charities

The People's Postcode Lottery have made £4 million in funding available for local charities and groups to apply for. Applications for the latest round of funding are now open and... Read more

Last week the government tried to sneak out its announcement that the mainline from Cardiff to Swansea won't be electrified, despite numerous promises over a long period of time that it would be.

This is the latest in a long catalogue of delay, disregard and decision making that ignores Wales and our infrastructure needs.

Since being elected in 2015, I have taken every opportunity to press government ministers on rail electrification to Wales, with the need to fund improvements to Cardiff Central Station and for them to give the go ahead to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon as this is a pathfinder (pilot) project for the Cardiff and Newport Tidal Lagoon. This world-leading marine energy scheme would not only bring thousands of new, highly skilled jobs to a generation of people in South Wales, it would also deliver clean, green energy for Wales and the rest of the UK.

It makes you wonder what the point of having a Secretary of State for Wales is. Either the case for Wales is not being made strongly enough around the UK government cabinet table, or its not being made at all.

We've learnt that promises from government ministers mean absolutely nothing.

Why does electrification matter?

It's not just about getting to and from London a bit quicker, though connectivity between Cardiff and the UK capital is an important consideration for people doing business in our city. Electrification would also improve journey times between Cardiff and Swansea – a key commuter route – and electric rather than diesel powered trains would be much better for our health and the environment.

With organisations like BBC Wales moving their headquarters to Cardiff Central, and the number of high-profile events – like the Champions League Final, Rugby World Cup, test matches at the SWALEC and Ed Sheeran's record four-night run at the stadium – on the increase, we need infrastructure fit for purpose.

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Investing in the Transport Infrastructure Cardiff Needs

Last week the government tried to sneak out its announcement that the mainline from Cardiff to Swansea won't be electrified, despite numerous promises over a long period of time that... Read more

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