Welcome to my occasional E-newsletter. This E-newsletter will inform you about what I’m doing in Parliament and in the constituency. I hope you enjoy reading it. To ensure this E-newsletter provides what you want I have included a short survey, which you may want to complete.
Within this edition:
- The NHS in Wales
- Good news for pub landlords
- Update on Severn Bridge
- The best of Monmouthshire
- Visit Parliament
- Your chance to be heard
DAVID CALLS FOR RETURN TO A COMPLETELY BRITISH NHS
Mariana Robinson is one of a number of constituents who have been badly let down by the NHS in Wales. She has spoken out here on the unfairness of a system which prevents her from being able to get access to the shorter waiting times and treatment available to patients in England.
I make no apologies for raising the issue of unacceptable waiting times in Wales and you can see a video of me speaking out about this in Parliament here and speeches I have given on the matter here and here. This is not a criticism of individual nurses and doctors but a criticism of the way the NHS is managed. The Labour-run Welsh Government has cut the NHS budget and refused to implement the reforms which in England have brought down waiting times and increased choice.
There is no proper scrutiny of what is going wrong because the Labour Chair of the Welsh Assembly Health Select Committee is refusing to take evidence from witnesses like Labour MP Ann Clwyd or even the ,Surgeon General who is concerned that troops based in Wales face unacceptable delays in getting treatment.
I believe we should return to the days of a NATIONAL Health Service. I would like the UK Government and the Welsh Government to agree that patients in Wales who want to be treated in England should have the right to go there with the money for their treatment being removed from the grant given to the Assembly every year. Similarly, patients living in England who want to be treated in Wales should have the right to do so with the money being added to the Welsh grant every year. In this way, we could all enjoy the benefits of a truly National Health Service and governments in London and the UK would be under pressure to deliver the best system possible.
I have made an amendment to the Wales Bill calling for this and you can learn more about this here. If you agree with me that it is time to return to a NATIONAL health service, please sign my petition.
LATEST BUDGET PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR LOCAL PUBS
Recently I conducted a survey of pubs in Monmouthshire. This is because I am a firm supporter of well run local pubs, which provide a great service to local communities and are also the lifeblood of the local economy. I wanted to hear from publicans about the key issues they were facing, so I could take action on their behalf.
It was clear that one key factor harming pubs was the price of alcohol, in particular wine and spirits. I made these feelings clearly known to the Chancellor by writing a number of letters to the Treasury.
I was pleased to see that in the Budget the Chancellor took moves to support our great British pubs by cutting tax on beer by 1p, freezing duty on whisky and other spirits, freezing duty on Cider and scrapping the Alcohol Duty Escalator. You can see my statement on this news here.
SEVERN BRIDGE SAGA UPDATE
In my last newsletter I mentioned that I was going to meet the Transport Minister to discuss the future of the Severn Crossings and what would happen after the bridges revert to public ownership in 2018. At the moment, no decisions have been made about what will happen when the current concession agreement ends but the Minister has confirmed that VAT would not be legally payable once the bridges are in public ownership. This strikes me as very good news and on that basis, on this occasion, I will be supporting nationalisation.
THE BEST OF MONMOUTHSHIRE
There are many wonderful businesses in Monmouthshire. I could never mention them all but that shouldn't stop me mentioning any!
Today I want to shamelessly plug the Parsons Nose whose fine locally produced meats can be tasted every Saturday outside the Rolls Hall in Monmouth. Here is their website.
I enjoy welcoming visitors to Parliament and I am able to arrange guided tours of the Palace of Westminster for constituents. If you live in the Monmouth constituency and would like to be given a tour of Parliament, climb Big Ben or do both, please contact my Parliamentary office on 0207 219 3391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME TO HEAR FROM YOU
This is my third E-newsletter and it is proving a useful way of getting in touch with constituents.
I want to make sure this E-newsletter reflects what you want. I would therefore be grateful if you could fill in the short survey I link to here so you can leave your suggestions on how the newsletter could be improved and what additional items you would like to see.