From Jo Stevens MP <[email protected]>
Subject News from Your Labour MP Jo Stevens
Date March 1, 2020 4:57 PM
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Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency 

Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency

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Thank you for reading my February newsletter. Happy St David’s Day, Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant.

This month I’ve held nine advice surgeries including specialist immigration clinics. If you have an issue you’d like some help with, future advice surgery dates can be found at the bottom of this email and all future sessions on my website by clicking here. ([link removed])

** In Parliament

DCMS Committee re-election

I’m delighted to have been re-elected unopposed to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee for the Parliamentary term. During the last three years, DCMS Select Committee work has been a big part of my Parliamentary work.

We’ve completed ground-breaking inquiries into issues such as Live Music, Online Harms, Immersive Technologies, Brexit impact on the Creative Industries and the social impact of sport and culture. We’ve joined with Parliamentarians around the world to form Grand Committees to investigate fake news and disinformation and the integrity of our elections in light of the 2016 Brexit referendum, the 2016 US Presidential Election and others.

The Committee will now have a new Chair, as Julian Knight takes over from Damian Collins in the role. I’m looking forward to what comes next for the Committee and I’ll do my absolute to ensure that the ground-breaking work we’ve previously done will continue through the new Parliament.

Defeating Disinformation and Fake News

During February, I attended an international conference of Parliamentarians from Canada, the United States, France, Brazil and Mexico for a fascinating few days to learn more about the scale of the problem and the steps other Parliaments are taking or have taken to stem the tide. There are coordinated efforts at work to undermine democracy, the rule of law and faith in electoral processes worldwide through use of different online platforms. It reinforced to me that this is a global problem that needs global cooperation to resolve it.

Deaths of Women in Custody
Women make up a tiny percentage of our prison population but since the 2007 Corston Review over 100 more women have died in custody – often in avoidable circumstances.

You can read the report of justice charity Inquest, “StillDying on the Inside” to learn more. Government action is long overdue, and I asked the Government what action they’d taken to resolve the crisis.
You can watch my Question by clicking here. ([link removed])

Banning of Political Journalists from No 10 Downing Street

At the start of the month we saw the remarkable scenes of political journalists boycotting a Downing Street briefing after an aide of Boris Johnson banned selected reporters from attending. Reporters from the Mirror, the I, Huffpost and Politics Home (amongst others) were excluded from the briefing. These kind of Trump-esque tactics have been a hallmark of Johnson and Dominic Cummings’ time in Number 10, and they set a very dangerous precedent for our democracy.

I asked the Government how they were trying to square signing international media freedom pledges with their own actions.You can watch my Question here. ([link removed])

Caroline Flack

The awful news of Caroline Flack’s death raised further questions relevant to our DCMS Select Committee inquiry into Reality TV which we had started last year following the deaths of participants in Love Island and the Jeremy Kyle Show. I spoke to several broadcasters about our inquiry and the overlap with online harms and media regulation. You can listen here to the discussion I had on Radio 5 Live here. ([link removed])
Removal of 50 people from the UK to Jamaica
I signed a joint-letter with 170 of my Parliamentary colleagues in a bid to prevent the Government’s forced removal of 50 people to Jamaica. Despite this, and a successful legal challenge against move being successful, the Government pressed ahead with some of the deportations. Our letter called for this removal, and any subsequent removals to be halted until the Windrush ‘Lessons Learned’ review was published in full.
Heart Unions Week 2020
Heart Unions Week highlights the amazing work that trade unions do every day to offer everyone a voice at work and encourages people who aren’t yet in a union to join. As Secretary of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs and a lifelong trade unionist, I celebrate Heart Unions Week every year.

With workplace rights already under attack by the new Conservative Government, if you’re not a member of a Trade Union, please have a read of my blog which explains exactly why you need to become one. ([link removed])
Joint Letter on Floods in South Wales

We’ve all been devastated to see the effect of floods across South Wales. Their effect on homes, businesses, families and livelihoods will, for many, be life changing.

Whilst the Prime Minister doesn’t seem interested, the community spirit and volunteer action we’ve seen has been inspiring. But in order for our communities to recover, financial support from Local and Welsh Government needs to be matched by additional funding from the UK Government.

I’ve joined my Welsh Labour colleagues in writing to the Prime Minister asking him to take account of historical underfunding and provide the help needed to help our devastated communities recover.
#MakeEndsMeet Letter

• End the 5 week wait for Universal Credit
• End the two-child limit on Universal Credit
• End the need for people to rely on foodbanks

I’ve joined 23 university academics and 78 Labour MPs in writing to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on March 11th in support of the #MakeEndsMeet campaign to end old poverty and the scourge of foodbanks in the UK.

You can read our letter and more about the campaign here. ([link removed])

Justice Week 2020
The aim of Justice Week is to improve access to justice by boosting the profile of justice and the rule of law, placing them at the centre stage of public and political debate.

After a decade of savage cuts to the justice system including legal aid and astronomical rises in civil court fees and Tribunal fees, access to justice for people is severely curtailed. I see the effects of these cuts every single day and especially during my advice surgeries.

You can read more by clicking here. ([link removed])
Axe the Reading Tax
I met campaigners from the ‘Axe the Reading Tax’ campaign to support their campaign. The campaign is lobbying to remove the illogical levy of VAT (currently 20%) on digital publications including ebooks and audiobooks, which creates an unfair disparity in the way digital and printed books are taxed.
The result is that people who need or prefer to use digital reading materials, such as those living with sight loss or another physical disability, are hit by a 20% tax. The tax also disproportionately impacts children and young people – 45% of whom prefer to read digitally – and in particular those from low-income households.
You can read more and add your name to the campaign by clicking here. ([link removed])

Less Survivable Cancers
February 4th is World Cancer Day. Every year hundreds of activities and events take place around the world, by communities, organisations and individuals in schools, businesses, hospitals, marketplaces, parks, community halls, places of worship – in the streets and online – acting as an important reminder that we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.

In Parliament I met with cancer specialists and patients with first-hand experience of these ‘less survivable cancers’ to back calls to end a vicious cycle which has seen survivability stagnate amongst the six deadliest cancers over the last decade.

The ‘less survivable cancers’ are lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach, with an average five-year survival rate of 14% due to a legacy of neglect and underfunding. The Taskforce aims to double the survivability of these cancers to 28% by 2029.
Safer Internet Day and my Parliamentary Motion

February 11th was Safer Internet Day. Whilst technology has opened up amazing opportunities for so many, it has also opened up risks to users - especially the most vulnerable ones, such as children: privacy concerns, cyberbullying, disinformation, and exposure to potentially harmful content. I realised the scale of this during our DCMS Committee inquiry and subsequent reports into Online Harms.

Working with the NSPCC I recently tabled a Parliamentary Motion on online harms and children - calling on the Government to establish a duty of care regulator to keep children safe online.
Around Cardiff Central

South East Wales Transport Commission
Last week I attended a meeting of the South East Wales Transport Commission - the body who are tasked with making plans to alleviate congestion along the M4 in light of the Welsh Government's decision to not build the relief road. The Commission is headed by Lord Burns, and plan to release an interim report this coming Spring, before their final report is published at the end of this year. It was a constructive meeting with other MPs and AMs and I will be paying close attention to their recommendations.

St David's College Visit
Earlier this month I was pleased to be able to visit St David's Sixth Form to meet staff and students. St David's is just one of the many fantastic sixth form colleges we're lucky to have here in Cardiff Central, and I had a really interesting discussion with the Student Senate. It was a pleasure to visit and best of luck to all students at St David's for the rest of the academic year.

USW Celebration of Partnerships Event in Parliament

** I was thrilled to attend an event on Wednesday, hosted by the University of South Wales to learn more about their fantastic partnerships with external organisations. The USW is one of three renowned Universities we have here in Cardiff Central. USW hosts 30,000 students from across 200 countries, and the University itself generates £1bn in gross value added to the Welsh economy each year.
It was great to see the real impact the University having, both for students, and residents of Cardiff Central through their meaningful partnerships and programmes. You can read more here. ([link removed])

Elsewhere this month, I've had constructive meetings with the Department of Work and Pensions visiting Cardiff Job Centre to see the work of staff there. I also had a very useful meeting with CCHA housing association, who I know are responsible for housing many Cardiff Central constituents through their association. If you ruin an organisation or community group and you'd like me to meet with you, please don't hesitate to contact me.

** Upcoming Advice Surgeries
Friday March 6th - Roath
4pm - 6pm
Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road, Roath, CF24 3RU

Friday 13th March - Adamsdown
11am - 12 noon
Adamsdown Day Centre, Star Street, Adamsdown CF24 0JY

Saturday 21st March -Advice Surgery with Plasnewydd Councillors
10am - 11am
Penylan Library, Penylan Road

Saturday 21st March - Advice Surgery with Cathays Councillors
11am - 12 noon
Cathays Library, Fairoak Road, Cathays

Friday 26th March - Roath
4pm - 6pm
Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road, Roath, CF24 3RU

In addition to these advice surgeries, I run a specific weekly immigration advice clinic every Wednesday between 11am and 12 noon at my constituency office.

You can view all future advice surgery dates on my website by clicking here. ([link removed])

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