From Stephen Kinnock MP <[email protected]>
Subject June 2021 Newsletter
Date June 21, 2021 10:10 AM
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** June 2021 Newsletter

** Call to protect vital steel safeguards

THIS month I gave a speech in Parliament warning about the potentially devastating impact removing vital steel safeguards could have on the industry which provides thousands of jobs here in Aberavon.

I have called for vital steel safeguards to remain in place beyond their current expiry date of June 30 after a UK Government-appointed body recommended the removal of nine of the 19 safeguards created to protect UK steel from import surges.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament I said the recommendations of the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID) must be rejected by the UK Government and added: “These trade defence measures were put in place in order to guard against import surges caused by President Trump’s Section 232 tariffs, and it is absolutely essential that they are retained until such time as the 232 tariffs are dropped by the Biden administration.

“The TRID’s recommendations are tantamount to dismantling the flood defences just as the tidal wave is about to hit.”

** Justice for Skewen: Victims condemn minister for failure to visit

VICTIMS of January's devastating flood in Skewen have condemned a UK Government minister for failing to visit them since the disaster despite travelling hundreds of miles across the country for ministerial work.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the minister in charge of the Coal Authority, has pledged twice in the House of Commons to visit residents in the village of Skewen whose lives were turned upside down on Thursday January 21 when a disused mine shaft burst and sent a torrent of sludge and dirty water into their homes.

In her latest letter to me she confirmed any visit would now take place in August at the earliest due to COVID restrictions despite evidence showing the minister has, in the months since the devastating flood, travelled hundreds of miles across the country to carry out ministerial visits in locations including Somerset and Humberside.

Skewen flood victim Emma Jones said: “I find it absolutely disgraceful that Anne-Marie Trevelyan has not visited Skewen even once over the last four months despite visiting numerous other sites around the UK over this last month.

“We have had a category one disaster, there’s not a corner of people’s lives that hasn’t been turned upside down, has she forgotten about us or have we simply been discarded?”

Last month I joined Coedffranc councillor Mike Harvey and victims of the Skewen floods to launch the Justice for Skewen campaign which is calling on the Coal Authority and the UK Government to cover all uninsured losses, cover any gaps not covered by insurance and ensure not a single victim of this horrendous man-made incident is left out of pocket.

The minister assured me twice at the Despatch Box – once in February and again in March this year – that she would visit the victims of the awful floods in Skewen.

While I appreciate ministerial duties have required her to travel, it is deeply disappointing that, five months after the horrendous incident in Skewen, the minister is still yet to see for herself the dreadful damage caused.

** Justice for Skewen: Wear a sticker and join the campaign!

YOU can join the Justice for Skewen campaign by collecting a Justice for Skewen sticker from The Tea Shed Skewen on Dynevor Road manned by volunteers including flood victim Liz Francis (pictured below) who will be waiting until next year to return to her home on Jubilee Crescent.

You can also help by signing this petition calling for compensation for flooding caused by former mines [link removed] ([link removed])

** DVLA brings battle for workers' safety to Westminster

EARLIER this month I joined hard working members of the DVLA and fellow MPs in a demonstration outside the Department for Transport calling for safe working conditions for the many thousands of employees at the agency in Swansea.

Together with PCS Union officials we staged a demonstration outside the DfT in London and hand a letter calling for safer working conditions to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The DVLA has insisted staff come into work in their offices despite the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic and, since March last year, 600 employees have contracted the virus with one tragically losing his life.

People come to work at the DVLA because they want to serve the public, taking strike action is always a last resort.

It is also deeply disappointing that, after painstaking negotiations between union leaders and DVLA senior management, a potential deal to halt any further strike action was scuppered at the 11th hour by the Department for Transport without any explanation.

The Department must immediately return to the table and agree a deal with the unions and DVLA management to ensure the safety of the dedicated members of staff who have literally been putting their lives at risk by being forced to work from their office rather than from home.

Everyone has the right to a safe working environment and we, as elected members of Parliament, stand in total solidarity with the workforce of the DVLA until an acceptable deal is reached and the staff feel they are no longer in danger merely by doing their job.
I also spoke in Parliament against the abhorrent practice of fire and re-hire which is now spreading like wildfire across the UK with one in 10 workers being subjected to these tactics since last March.

That's almost 3,000,000 people who have been forced to accept lower wages and longer hours or be sacked.

It is completely unacceptable that our key workers how have sacrificed the most in our national effort against Covid are the very people who are now being threatened by these bully-boy tactics.

You can watch my speech here: [link removed]

** Virtual funding fair to launch in Aberavon

THE last 12 months have been very difficult for groups and organisations, but if you are looking for funding then why not join us at our first ever virtual funding fair and receive advice from a number of national and local funders.

The event will take place on Zoom on Friday July 16 from 10am to 1pm and the following are confirmed to be attending so far:

• The National Lottery Community Fund
• Sport Wales
• Heritage
• Coalfields Regeneration Trust
• Moondance *NEW*
• Wales Co-Operative Centre *NEW*
• NPT Physical Activity and Sports Service
• People’s Postcode Lottery
• Pen Y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund
• Lloyds Bank Foundation *NEW*
• Charity Bank *NEW*

Also attending will be Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service providing advice on how to apply for funding and support to local voluntary organisations.

As this year’s Funding Fair will be online there are some changes. We are asking everyone to register in advance, which you can do by following this link - [link removed] ([link removed]) - and completing the short form.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and what to expect on the day one week before the event.

During the Funding Fair you’ll still have the opportunity to speak to the funders but unfortunately these cannot be private one-to-one discussions.

I hope you, or someone from your group, will be able to join us. It’s a chance to ask the experts – don’t miss out.

Please email me at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) for more information.

** This Month In Parliament

Standing up for Wales

ON June 8 I spoke in a debate on the Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund and what it all means for Wales.

UK government announcements make it sound like the Conservatives are investing more in Wales, but the reality is that there is no new money - because government are simply changing the names of various funds.

For instance, the Levelling Up Fund effectively replaces the Growth Fund, while the Community Renewal Fund is effectively the first year pilot for the Shared Prosperity Fund which is replacing EU development funding.

The extra danger is that the Conservatives are making local councils compete for a pool of cash, rather than distribute money to areas statistically most in need of investment - such as South Wales, which was in the highest priority bracket for EU funding. As Chair of the APPG on the Shared Prosperity Fund I'll keep fighting to make sure the government gives South Wales the funding it is due.
Standing up for Democracy

It doesn't feel right to me that Westminster elections are run through a different, more unequal system to the Welsh Senedd elections where every vote cast holds significant influence . Westminster elections use 'first past the post' - a system which results in millions of voters feeling that their vote makes little difference due to their MP never changing. I've been standing up for the principle of 'every vote counts', which would mean the UK elections moving a step closer to the Welsh system.

On 10 June I spoke at a Labour Campaigning for a New Democracy event to promote the principle of proportional representation.

You can watch the event here: [link removed] ([link removed]) .
Standing up for British values and interests

In my role as Shadow Minister for Asia & Pacific I have been standing up for democracy, international law and human rights around the globe - principles that we must protect if liberal democracies such as Britain are to flourish.

Authoritarian regimes like China are on the rise, so I was proud to speak at a rally supporting the people of Hong Kong whose freedom of speech is being curtailed by Beijing.

Hong Kong needs the free world, and the free world needs Hong Kong.

I also spoke in Parliament on the same issue, calling for more sanctions on senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials, for British judges to withdraw from Hong Kong Courts given they are now only serving to legitimise a broken system, and for the UK government to undertake an audit of its relationship with China.

You can watch my speech here: [link removed] ([link removed]) .
In Parliament I also stood up for the British Council - a cornerstone of UK cultural influence abroad which has helped make Britain a soft power superpower, but which now faces the closure offices in 20 countries due to a shortfall in government support through Covid.

I made clear to the Minister the importance of the British Council. Let's hope he listens.

** Media Highlights

I wrote an article on the crucial importance of steel ([link removed]) safeguards ([link removed]) to the industry which featured in The Times newspaper.

** Contact Details

YOU can get in touch with us by calling the office on 01639 897660.

Alternatively please send an email to [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or follow this link to subscribe to my newsletter [link removed]

We are not currently operating a drop-in surgery in the office, but you can book a call-back or Teams appointment with a caseworker, Monday to Friday, by completing this form [link removed]
All the best,

Stephen Kinnock
MP for Aberavon

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MP for Aberavon
Water Street Business Centre
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Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot SA12 6LF
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