Welcome back to my monthly newsletter!
It was a real honour to lay the wreath on behalf of the Labour Party at the Haverfordwest Remembrance Sunday Service and then to join our Labour team parading through the streets of Neyland. It was powerful to be a part of both communities coming together to commemorate the lives of those who defended our country to preserve the freedom we have today.
“It’s the economy, stupid,” a phrase coined during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 Presidential election, is making a comeback in the face of the Tories truly dire economic record over the past 13 years. The two headlines from Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn statement were a cut in National Insurance paid by employees from 12% to 10% and a tax break for businesses that allows them to save on corporation tax by investing. However, even with these cuts the tax burden is at a 70-year high, growth has been downgraded in each of the next three years, and national debt as a proportion of GDP will be 28% higher next year than when the Tories took power. The combined effect of this Tory economic record is that we are witnessing the biggest hit to living standards on record. A Labour Government that is fiscally responsible, partnering with business, and with a plan to make working people better off cannot come soon enough.
The approach to post Brexit trade deals has been yet another example of Tory failure. In October 2020 the UK-Japan trade deal saw the announcement that the government would deliver geographical protections for Welsh specialties which included Pembrokeshire earlies. It was boasted that these new protections would be in place by May 2021 and yet over three years later the government has failed to secure any. Added to the shameful betrayal of the Australian and New Zealand trade deals that sold out Welsh farmers, and we can see a complete disregard for rural communities such as Pembrokeshire. I have written directly to the Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, to remind her of the promises that were made to Pembrokeshire and Wales and demand that she takes action to secure the long-overdue protections that our specialty exporters need and deserve.
I was delighted to join a number of scout groups from across Pembrokeshire at County Hall as part of UK Parliament week. We were joined by Mark Drakeford, who took questions from the scouts which ranged from his day-to-day routine as First Minister to energy policy for the Milford Haven Waterway. Next up, in my bid to become Pembrokeshire’s slimiest politician I took part in a gunge-fest raising money for BBC Children in Need at the Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium. We raised just over £1,000 and were featured on the front page of the Western Telegraph. I was also pleased to get back out litter picking in Pembroke Dock with the local McDonalds team, PCSO Patrol our very own Cllr Josh Beynon. Working with local businesses and Dyfed-Powys Police is a vital part in creating safe, clean, and vibrant communities in Pembrokeshire. On the topic of policing, it was encouraging to see the work being done by Dyfed-Powys at their Open Doors event, fostering transparency and trust between the police and local communities is critical to ensuring communities in Pembrokeshire feel safe and secure. I look forward to working closely with Philippa Thompson, our new candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.
As ever we have been out right across the county knocking on doors. A big thank you to all those that have joined. It is very important for us to keep the momentum going as with a general election on 2nd May the beginning of the short campaign will be at the end of March, meaning we have 15 weeks or around 100 days until it all kicks off.
We have been making good progress but still have work to do, particularly in areas like Milford. In terms of the more rural parts of the constituency we need a considerable push from the phone banking team to reach out to those communities. Our phone banking team leader, John Bramley, is keen for volunteers so please let him know if you have an hour or so spare to make some phone calls. Our digital team is also up and running, please contact Jo Ambrose to get involved with the campaign online. Ben Levy will pass you on if you contact him on 07596596351 or email email@example.com.
It is important to remember that as the Tories have yet to select their candidate, we have a head start and we must make the most of it. Finally, I am excited to announce that we have a new campaign centre opposite the Welsh Bakery in Haverfordwest. Once up and running we will be operating an open-door policy so please drop by and get in touch with Ben Levy if you have some Labour memorabilia for decoration!
As always, thank you for your support!
Very best wishes,
Parliamentary Candidate for Mid & South Pembrokeshire