From Stephen Kinnock MP <[email protected]>
Subject July 2020 Newsletter
Date August 4, 2020 11:21 AM
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** July 2020 Newsletter

** UK Government have been weak on steel and have failed to back UK steel makers

The UK government are continuing to let down Port Talbot steelworkers. The UK government have been weak on steel and have failed to back UK steel makers.

The budget lacked any long-term strategy for the UK steel industry, with no emergency Covid-19 funding being offered to Tata steel and no attempts to address the long-term concerns over electricity prices.

The latest suggestion is that the negotiations taking place between the government and Tata are centred on replacing the blast furnaces with electric arc furnaces.

It is deeply disappointing that Tata steel appears to be sending potentially game changing proposals to the UK government without first discussing them with the workforce, who have shown nothing but total professionalism, hard work and dedication in response to the huge challenges that the industry has faced in recent years.

Port Talbot steelworkers make the best steel that money can buy—thanks in large part to our blast furnaces which enable the production of a wider range of specialist steels than an electric arc furnace can deliver.

The blast furnaces in our Port Talbot works are the beating heart of the primary steel-making process, and together with the steel unions I will be fighting tooth and nail to ensure that blast furnace-based steel production continues to be an integral part of the British steel industry.

David Rees and I had an online meeting with senior management of Tata to discuss these reports and our profound concerns. We were told that protecting jobs will be a central factor in the negotiations with the UK Government.

I’m also supporting the new multi-union Britain, We Need Our Steel campaign which is delivering the absolutely vital message that we can have no post-pandemic economic recovery without a strong and healthy steel industry.

** This Month in Parliament


** Trade Bill—NHS
I supported the Opposition amendment to the Trade Bill that would have stated explicitly that the NHS would be exempt from the provisions of future trade agreements. This would have protected our NHS from trade deals that lock in privatisation, protected it from any form of control from outside the UK and potential price hikes in drugs.

Government MPs voted down this amendment, so there is now no legal safety net preventing this or any future Government from including the NHS in its trade deals.

I also supported a clause which would have stopped trade deals being signed unless they were approved by Parliament. A means for MPs to protect the NHS in trade negotiations. This was also defeated by the government.

** Russia Report

The long-awaited Russia Report has been published. It exposes deep systemic failings in the Government’s approach to security.

It outlines a litany of Hostile State Activity, from cyber warfare, interfering in democratic processes, acts of violence on UK soil and illicit finance. On every level the Government’s response does not appear to be equal to the threat.

** Cumberlege Report
I took part in meetings in the run-up to the publication of the Cumberlege Report which found that children suffered ‘avoidable harm’ from the failure to regulate a drug for hormone pregnancy test.

Those affected, including my constituents, have campaigned for this acknowledgement for decades.

** Choice At End Of Life
I joined the Choice at the End of Life virtual meeting and heard examples of choice at the end of life from other countries.

** Shadow Minister Round-up

I responded as Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific to an Urgent Question on the on Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to suppress Uyghur birth rates in Xinjiang.
The Chinese Communist Party has already incarcerated one million Uyghur Muslims into “re-education” camps. A new report points to horrific, draconian measures used to suppress Uyghur birth rates, including IUD insertions and sterilisation. I challenged the UK government how it plans to respond.
I also took part in Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions asking the Government what steps they are taking to forge alliances with key partners in the EU, NATO and the Asia Pacific democracies, to build an international consensus that will enable us to push back against Beijing’s increasingly belligerent behaviour.
Successive Conservative governments since 2010 have been naive and complacent, and Beijing has exploited these weaknesses.

** This Month Across Aberavon

* I’ve continued to meet constituents online to talk through issue they have and to help them with problems. Anyone wishing to have an online meeting please see information below on how to book an appointment.
* I met some of the wonderful volunteers in Cwmafan who have been helping the community throughout the pandemic and some of those who have been helped by the volunteer effort.
* I also spoke with the ladies of the Patchwork and Quilting Group who have been busy making scrub caps and masks for the NHS. My final visit was to see Joey the pebble snake!

* In the afternoon I was ‘on-call’ for RADAR to help and run errands for those living in Aberavon. The group has been doing some brilliant work to support the most vulnerable during the crisis. I was able to help out by picking up some shopping for a resident.
* Working together with the People’s Postcode Lottery I hosted an online funding workshop to help local groups and organisations with their applications for funding. It was a great event and people were able to pick-up handy tips on what to do and not to do on applications.

* Following that I visited Rototherm in Margam. During the crisis they reconfigured their operation and starting making face shields, and ended up producing thousands of them every week for the NHS. I was shown around their facility and heard about the amazing work they are doing. They have now won a major government contract to produce millions of facemasks for people across the UK to use. The speed at which they’ve ramped up their production capability is truly breath-taking. Welsh manufacturing at its best!

* I visited Age Cymru and met some of the brilliant volunteers who have been putting together and delivering food parcels. I even joined them by lending a hand packing food parcels for delivery to our senior citizens and vulnerable people. The work that volunteers and staff have been doing is truly inspiring. Aberavon community spirit at its finest!

* In the afternoon I went to the Port Talbot Foodbank and spoke with volunteers there about the tremendous work they’ve been doing to keep this vital support going through the pandemic.

** Media Highlights

I gave interviews to BBC Radio Wales ([link removed]) andITV Wales News ([link removed]) about ensuring that blast furnace-based steel production continues to be an integral part of the British steel industry.

I spoke to talkRADIO ([link removed]) and LBC ([link removed]) about the deeply concerning videos from Xinjiang, Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur people and the UK government’s response.

I wrote an article for Politics Home on China’s increasingly belligerent behaviour and the need to develop a new China strategy.

** Office Arrangements

Although the office is no longer open to the public, I and my team are continuing to work remotely to help and support residents.

The number of cases we are dealing with continues to be high and we are working hard to assist everyone.

Please bear with us as we work through this increased number of cases.

You can still get in touch with use by calling the office on 01639 897660. If you leave your name and number we will call you back.

Alternatively please send an email to [email protected]

We’ve also introduced online advice surgeries which can be booked online at [link removed] check the website or Facebook for details of the next one.
All the best,

Stephen Kinnock
MP for Aberavon

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