As Secretary of State for Wales, I was privileged to attend the National Police Memorial Day service in Cardiff on Sunday. Just as we honour the service and sacrifice of our armed forces, it is vital that we commemorate police officers in the UK who have died or been killed on duty. It was particularly moving for me having served for many years as a special constable with the British Transport Police. I have the deepest respect for all those who wear the uniform. Policing is not just a job, but more of a way of life. While it is one of the most challenging careers you can choose, it is also one of the most rewarding. Gwent Police has a number of opportunities coming up, so if you are interested in making a difference and want to help keep our communities safe, take a look at www.gwent.police.uk/police-forces/gwent-police/areas/careers/join-us
I also had the great pleasure of welcoming US Ambassador Jane Hartley to Wales last Wednesday on her first official visit to our nation. I met the Ambassador during Wales Week London 2023 in March, when I took Monmouth Male Voice Choir to perform at Winfield House – and she still talks very fondly of that wonderful evening! We discussed the huge amounts of inward investment taking place in Wales, with American-owned companies like General Dynamics playing an important role in employment, and the massive potential for Welsh lamb in the US market. The first consignment in decades has already been exported and it is fantastic to see world-class Welsh lamb back on American menus. I look forward to our continued work together.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was absolutely right to change the way we reach our net zero targets. The UK Government policy of becoming net zero by 2050 still stands and will be met. But there is a danger that if we went too quickly, we could have imposed an unnecessary financial burden on families and lost the support of the public. We have led on reducing emissions faster than any other major economy and are so far ahead of every other country in the world - which is why our new approach will be pragmatic, proportionate and realistic. Because the upfront cost for families is still high, and to give us more time to prepare, you will still be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035. This brings us in line with countries like Germany and France and is a sensible transition to net zero without imposing heavy-handed measures on the British people.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 27 September 2023 and Abergavenny Chronicle on 28 September 2023*