BT has narrowly managed to avoid being legally separated from its Openreach division, which runs the UK’s broadband infrastructure. The telecoms giant is very lucky because the current level of service is dire to say the least. Superfast broadband is not being rolled out quickly enough in rural areas and I am receiving complaints on an almost daily basis. Even in towns there are more problems than usual with slower speeds. I am chasing BT to prioritise rural ‘not-spots’ and tell communities when they will be able to access a faster internet connection. Residents can then consider alternative routes, such as satellite broadband, and apply for funding support under the Access Broadband Cymru scheme if they face a long wait.
An important looking report recently pinged into my inbox from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Director of Public Health. I eagerly opened it hoping for an update on the proposed multi-million pound Specialist Critical Care Centre in Llanfrechfa, which has been discussed for nearly a decade, or perhaps some news on how ABUHB intends to overcome the shortage of GPs and paediatricians. Instead, a big chunk of the document was taken up with scaremongering about climate change and the musings of a fictional family getting sunburn on a globally-warmed beach in 2050. May I suggest to health chief’s that next year’s annual report contains a section on the state of the NHS in Gwent.
Three months on from the historic referendum decision to leave the European Union and we are still waiting for the predicted mass unemployment, tax rises, inflation, end of civilisation and third world war. We have also not seen the destruction of workers’ rights, the deportation of EU citizens who work here, or the end of environmental regulations. Nor will we - because that is the last thing anyone wants, including those of us who campaigned for Brexit.
On Friday (16 September), I am hosting Monmouthshire’s first Disability Confident reverse jobs fair at St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Chepstow. This event will challenge negative attitudes to disability employment by showcasing how people with a disability can be a major contributor to business success. There are still places available so if any local businesses are interested in finding out more about the financial, operational and social benefits of being a Disability Confident employer, please email email@example.com or telephone the constituency office on 01291 672817.
*Published in the South Wales Argus on 12 September 2016*