Jo Stevens

A strong voice for Cardiff Central

News

Following the recent tragic Grenfell Tower fire, there is understandably a lot of concern about other high rise flats around the country. Cardiff Council has put together the most up to date information about fire safety in their Council high rise buildings, and it is available below.

 

Cardiff Council has 9 high rise blocks of flats:

•             Lydstep Flats, Gabalfa (3 blocks)

•             Beech House & Sycamore House, Holybush Estate Whitchurch

•             Loudoun and Nelson House, Butetown

•             Channel View, Grangetown

•             The Maelfa, Llanedeyrn

 

The highest block that the Council has is 16 storeys, with most being 11 storeys high.

Fire safety

A Fire Safety Management Plan is in place and, in accordance with this plan, fire risk assessments are carried out on all Council high rise blocks annually and these assessments are reviewed every 6 months.  All fire risk assessments are carried out by properly qualified staff.

Caretakers carry out fire safety checks on a daily basis. All communal areas are kept “sterile” clear of any objects which could catch fire or help a fire to spread and any tenants’ belongings in the communal areas are also removed. These actions are designed to help prevent the spread of fire.

Each high rise block is built to be fire proof and able to contain a fire within the individual flat where fire breaks out. Extensive checks take place each time high rise flats become vacant to ensure the compartmentation between flats is suitable and sufficient to stop fire spreading between flats.

All flats have smoke detectors fitted and these are checked annually. A gas safety check is also carried out annually.  Where tenants do not allow access, court orders are sought to gain access to the property and carry out checks.

The Compliance Team have a good working relationship with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and have carried out training exercises at most of the high rise flats. 

The Fire Service has advised that the safest place for residents during a fire is their own home, unless their property is directly affected by the fire.  They will arrange evacuation if needed. Since recent events Cardiff Council officers have made contact with the Fire Service and they have confirmed that their advice remains the same. A letter will be sent to all tenants to reassure them and to further clarify the safety measures in place and evacuation arrangements. 

Council high rise have sprinklers in the bin chutes which are a particular risk, but not elsewhere in the building.  The need for sprinklers will be discussed further with the Fire Service.

All fire safety procedures will of course be reviewed in the light of the tragic events at Grenfell tower and lessons learnt will be monitored as more information becomes available.

Information About High Rise Council Blocks from Cardiff Council

Following the recent tragic Grenfell Tower fire, there is understandably a lot of concern about other high rise flats around the country. Cardiff Council has put together the most up... Read more

 

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, I raised the issue of legal aid availability in Parliament with the Government's Solicitor General. The Government has announced that it will appoint a Public Independent Advocate to support the victims and families of deceased victims after disasters. We don't yet know whether the Advocate will simply be a referral point for advice, or whether the Advocate will legally represent victims and victims' families and that this representation will be provided through legal aid. I also wanted to know whether the many people who live in high rise buildings that don't comply with building regulations and fire safety regulations and who want to bring legal action against landlords, would be granted legal aid to do so. 

 

Thank you Mr Speaker, can the Solicitor General confirm that if families that live in highrise,

 

 for example but obviously have thankfully not suffered the same disaster that Grenfell has,

 

wish to bring any legal action on health and safety grounds that they will be entitled to legal aid?”

 

 

You can find the Solicitor General's reply in the video below;

 

 

 

Background

Amnesty International found that in the first year after the introduction of the legal aid cuts that the number of cases where assistance had been granted had fallen 46%. This has led to a surge of cases where applicants are representing themselves, or going into debt to afford legal representation. As it stands Legal Aid can only be applied for in cases where a landlord has allowed a rented property to fall into a state of “disrepair”, so it would not have covered a decision to install unsafe material or not provide sprinkler systems for example.

 

 

I challenge the Solicitor General on Legal Aid and Health and Safety

  Following the Grenfell Tower fire, I raised the issue of legal aid availability in Parliament with the Government's Solicitor General. The Government has announced that it will appoint a...

 

 

Today I got my chance to ask the Prime Minister a question in the House of Commons. I asked her about what plans her Government had to deal with problem gambling and the Fixed Odds Betting Machines that are now in all of our bookies. 

 

"I know the Prime Minister is well aware of the misery and suffering caused by reckless gambling. 

 

Following her own recent experience of reckless gambling and the turmoil this had led to for her friends and colleagues,

 

will she now commit to legislating against Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, the cause of so much hardship in our communities? 

 

For the Prime Minister's answer, see below; 

 

 

Background

 

British gamblers lost a total of £13.8 billion last year, £1.8 billion of this was lost on B2 betting machines, these Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are essentially casino machines that are calculated to pay out in certain ratios. The betting shops set these ratios. This means you are guarenteed to lose out if you use these machines regularly.

The amount lost betting on these machines rose by £57 million last year. Overall the amount lost on these machines has increased 73% since 2009, despite their number only increasing 9%.

An analysis of the location of these FOBTs found that they are clustered in areas of high deprivation. It also found that problem gamblers and the unemployed were the most likely to bet the maximum stake of £100. Study of playing patterns also found that individual players were losing up to £13,777, over half the average UK wage, in just 10 months of gambling. 

 

My Question to the Prime Minister June 2017

    Today I got my chance to ask the Prime Minister a question in the House of Commons. I asked her about what plans her Government had to deal...

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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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,... Read more

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is now one of the leading national initiatives working to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.

The aims of Refugee Week are:

  • To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility
  • To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK
  • To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector
  • To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences

Our ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution.

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Refugee Week 2017 in Cardiff Central

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts,... Read more

I have recently been in contact with National Rail regarding some changes in access to Splott Road Bridge and Adamsdown Foot Bridge whilst electrification work is on going.

Splott Road Bridge

The road will be closed to all vehicles from 13 August. Network Rail are aiming to reopen the bridge on 4 September.

There will be no pedestrian access over the bridge between:

20:00hrs on 19 August – 11:00hrs on 20 August

07:00hrs on 22 August – 19:00hrs on 22 August

07:00hrs on 23 August – 00:01hrs on 25 August

23:00hrs on 25 August – 13:00hrs on 28 August

During these times, a minibus service, with wheelchair access, will be available to transport members of the public from one side to the other.

The second reconstruction phase will commence in early 2018.

Splott Road Bridge/Adamsdown Foot Bridge Update

I have recently been in contact with National Rail regarding some changes in access to Splott Road Bridge and Adamsdown Foot Bridge whilst electrification work is on going. Splott Road... Read more

Cathays Labour Councillor Ali Ahmed and members of the Muslim community have invited everyone in Cardiff to join them at two special events to celebrate Ramadan Iftar, breaking fast.

Supported by Cardiff Council, the community events are set to take place outside City Hall on Friday, June 16 and Friday June 23, between 9pm and 10pm. 

As part of the Holy Month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day, breaking their fast with Ramadan Iftar each night at sundown, and it is customary to invite neighbours to share in the celebrations.

Along with extending an invitation to everyone in the city, the organisers are particularly keen for the community events to benefit some of Cardiff's most vulnerable, and the celebrations have been co-ordinated with the Salvation Army so that homeless people in the city can enjoy a meal and be a part of Ramadan Iftar. A special invitation is also being offered to the refugees resettled in Cardiff.

 

Join Cardiff's Muslim Community for Iftar

Cathays Labour Councillor Ali Ahmed and members of the Muslim community have invited everyone in Cardiff to join them at two special events to celebrate Ramadan Iftar, breaking fast. Supported... Read more

I have been so pleased to see that a number of Great Get Together events have been planned across Cardiff Central over this coming weekend.

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#MoreInCommon Great Get Together Events This Weekend

I have been so pleased to see that a number of Great Get Together events have been planned across Cardiff Central over this coming weekend.          ... Read more

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