From Stephen Kinnock MP <[email protected]>
Subject January 2020 Newsletter
Date January 31, 2020 4:36 PM
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** January 2020 Newsletter

In my first newsletter since the election I wanted to thank you for your continued support. I am deeply honoured you have re-elected me your MP for Aberavon. It has been a privilege to serve you and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so.

I will work tirelessly across the constituency and in Westminster to defend and promote the interests and priorities of the whole community, from Margam in the east to Skewen and Briton Ferry in the west, from the Afan Valley to Sandfields. As your MP my door is open to everyone.

** Steel: It’s a question of political will


Tata’s announcement in November that 3,000 jobs will be lost across their European operations and the Sunday Times interview with the chairman of Tata Sons in which he cast doubt on the future of the works, were extremely disappointing.
Instead of threatening job losses, Tata Steel must show the same qualities of tremendous strength, patience, courage and resilience, that steelworkers have shown in the face of difficult times.

But this must also be a wake-up call for the government. For the last four years I, along with colleagues, have set out five key asks for a successful steel industry: action on electricity prices, action on business rates, commitment from the government to buy more British steel, support and time to meet emissions targets, and measures to tackle illegal steel dumping.

Four years on and the UK government is still only buying 50% of its steel from UK sources, energy prices are double that in Germany and 50% higher than France, while half-baked promises are leaving UK steelmakers fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

Before Parliament was dissolved for the election the Steel APPG met with the Minister about closing the huge gap between energy costs for steelmakers in the UK and their counterparts in Germany and France.

Following the election Welsh steel MPs met with the Secretary of State for Wales and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to push the Government to act now to protect and strengthen our steel industry.
We know what needs to be done, the government have been given the blueprint, its just a question of political will.

** This Month Around Parliament

Our democracy is open to dirty money and dodgy data
As Chair of the APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency I launched the groups ground-breaking report which sets out 20 recommendations on how to protect future elections and referenda from dirty money and dodgy data.
Our electoral law has not been updated properly since 2001 and since then we’ve seen the rise of social media and the use of it in elections. We need 21st century laws for 21st century campaigns.
Recommendations include allowing unlimited fines and allowing the Electoral Commission to prosecute law-breakers.

Queen’s Speech
Before Parliament was dissolved I spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate on funding for Wales. Austerity has meant a decade of diminishing budgets for the Welsh Government and slashed local government budgets.

While the government have stood by, our communities have stood up, taking responsibility for community facilities. The Government needs to show commitment to Aberavon and Wales by giving us the funding we desperately need and deserve.

Backing Lisa Nandy for Labour leader
I believe Lisa has the ability to win the trust of those who voted Conservative for the first time in Labour's dreadful election defeat on 12 December.

** This Month Across Aberavon
* October finished with the presentation of certificates to Whole New World participants. The programme helps armed forces veterans to gain the skills needed for job applications and improve interview techniques.

* November started with the Richard Burton 10k. It’s a fantastic event which attracts almost 3,000 runners and raises thousands of pounds for local causes. It was my fifth Richard Burton 10k on the bounce, and let’s just say I’m not getting any quicker! It was all back to the rugby club after the race for the presentation ceremony.
* It was great to take part in Port Talbot library’s 1940s coffee morning as part of the Armed Forces Festival and build up to Remembrance Day. They also had a fantastic display celebrating Port Talbot service heroes.

* I was so proud that after more than two years of preparation and planning the ballot to establish a Business Improvement District in Port Talbot was convincingly won. There’s a lot of work to do to get Viva Port Talbot ready to launch in April, but I’m looking forward to working with businesses on great new projects to enhance our town centre.

* It was an honour to pay my respects and lay wreaths to the fallen at the war memorials in Port Talbot and Briton Ferry. I also went to visit the impressive display of poppies in Jersey Park.

* I paid a visit to Thrive Women’s Aid new community hub and chatted with survivors and staff about exploring better ways of working together in the community. Thrive also celebrated their 40th anniversary with a week of activities which included the official launch of their new community hub.

* I really enjoyed the Christmas Fair at Ysgol Bae Baglan. It was great to see so many people at this wonderful event. I even managed a bit of Christmas shopping!

* Helle and I got into the Christmas spirit at the Cwmafan Christmas Parade. It was a brilliant event which really had a bit of everything: Santa, a craft market and even some reindeer!!
* I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sandfields Primary’s modern take on the nativity story, the children were marvellous.

** Media Highlights

I spoke with BBC Radio Wales in October about an election and the Government’s decision to pull the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
During the election I did an interview on Port Talbot with the New Statesman and I appeared on Any Questions.

On election night I did an interview with BBC Wales News and the following day I was on Question Time.

As MPs returned to Westminster I was interviewed on Sky News, BBC Breakfast and Channel 4 News about the election results.

I was also on the Daily Politics panel up against Tory Gillian Keegan MP, and on Wales Live up against Plaid’s Liz Saville Roberts.

I also wrote an article for the New Statesman and the Mirror on Labour’s election defeat.
At the start of the year I wrote a piece in the South Wales Evening Post on the future of steel.

I wrote an article in Politics Home and gave an interview to TalkRADIO on why I’m backing Lisa Nandy in the leadership race.

All the best,

Stephen Kinnock
MP for Aberavon

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