Putting Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney
at the heart of Parliament
Thank you for taking the time to visit my webpage. As you may be aware I was elected to represent Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in Parliament on May 7th 2015, but as of 3/05/17, Parliament has been dissolved and I am no longer MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
I'm seeking re-election on June 8 2017, and this website is dedicated to my candidacy.
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney is my home, I’ve lived here all my life. Being raised in the village of New Tredegar where I still live to this day I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. I believe strongly that wherever you go in the world, you still won’t get a warmer welcome than Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
I’m a passionate advocate of these Valleys; we live in the beating heart of Wales. Since the constituency elected Keir Hardie over 100 years ago our constituency has been at the centre of British Politics. We’ve led the debate for better wage, we were the first people across the world to raise the red flag of social justice, and our representatives have included two leaders of the Labour party as well as the minister responsible for founding the NHS. We have been at the forefront of building a better Britain.
In my time as MP, I've tried to fairly represent our communities and values, putting them at the forefront of the British political debate as my predecessors have done. As a Labour representative I've put the values of fairness and justice at the heart of everything I do. I promise to stand up and speak out for equality of opportunity, and for all the people across the constituency. I
Over these pages I hope to give you an insight into my work and beliefs. I hope you find them useful; however should you wish to know anything further or have an issue that you feel I may be of help with, please feel free to get in touch using the contacts page.
Thanks again for visiting, I hope to you’ll call by again,
Putting Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney at the heart of Parliament Hi there, Thank you for taking the time to visit my webpage. As you may be aware I was elected to represent...
(Gerald Jones MP and Dawn Bowden AM with winner, Maja Marek)
Local Labour representatives Gerald Jones MP and Dawn Bowden AM have picked this year’s winner of their annual Christmas card competition. The competition, open to all Primary Schools across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney invited pupils to design the cover image for this year’s Christmas cards to be used by Gerald and Dawn.
This year’s winner, Maja Marek from Dowlais Primary School, was presented with a Certificate and a £30 Gift voucher for Argos by both Gerald and Dawn at a special assembly. Her winning design included a festive red-nosed reindeer drinking a large mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Two runners up were also selected, Hollie Jones from Fochriw Primary and Katie Williams from White Rose Primary, who each received an Argos gift voucher worth £15 and will supply the personal cards of Dawn and Gerald respectively this year.
Gerald Jones MP was particularly impressed by the strength of entrants this year:
“The Christmas card competition was run to showcase some of the creativity that local children in the constituency have, and we haven’t been disappointed”, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney said.
“There have been so many really creative entries and it was very difficult to pick a winner. But Maja’s stood out for us because of its vibrancy of colours and artistic design.”
Dawn Bowden AM was also very pleased with the response of local schools to the competition:
“I’m always really impressed with how talented and creative young people in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney are and I’m very proud what they can do.
“Working with young people and our brilliant local schools is a real privilege and I would like to thank them all for taking part in this year’s Christmas Card competition.”
(Gerald Jones MP and Dawn Bowden AM with winner, Maja Marek) Local Labour representatives Gerald Jones MP and Dawn Bowden AM have picked this year’s winner of their annual Christmas...
Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently attended a parliamentary event hosted by Ombudsman Services, one of the leading providers of redress in the UK, to learn more about local consumer trends in the energy and communications sectors.
Designed to provide support for MPs helping residents in their local areas with consumer issues, the Ombudsman Services team were on hand to offer a tailored overview of specific energy and communications issues affecting those in each area.
Last year, in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney residents made 70 complaints about energy and communications issues, from billing issues to switching suppliers. In total, consumers were handed back £4,448 - the equivalent of £63 per case - as Ombudsman Services corrected the injustices they had experienced.
As well as hearing more about current consumer issues in his constituency, Ombudsman Services invited Gerald Jones to show they take consumer rights seriously, by pledging to 'stand up for consumer rights', along with 29 other MPs from across the UK.
The event forms part of a larger drive by Ombudsman Services to develop a more systematic and proactive approach to consumer redress, with a view to tackling issues at source, and enhancing consumer experiences for everyone.
Gerald Jones MP is able to help residents with complaints, as well as many other issues, at his weekly surgeries. For ongoing energy and consumer complaints, residents should get in touch with Ombudsman Services by visiting www.ombudsman-services.org.
Alternatively, for complaints about public service providers, an independent care provider, or to report the breach of a Local Authority’s code of conduct by its Members, residents should contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Gerald Jones MP said: “I speak to a lot of people in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney about consumer rights and complaints, and often they don't know how to take a complaint further, so I’m keen to raise awareness of how people can tackle bad service.
"Today was a good opportunity to discuss the barriers and issues for customers when it comes to complaining, and to learn more about the redress sector. If anyone has an issue that can’t be resolved with the company, I would encourage them to come to one of my clinics, or approach the relevant Ombudsman.’’
Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “Knowing your consumer rights and the options available to you if you receive poor service is very important. We want to see a more proactive approach to consumer redress in the UK, so it’s great to see MP’s like Gerald Jones showing commitment to helping constituents, showing that this is not an issue to be taken lightly.
"Complaining should be an easy, hassle-free experience – if you’re still in a dispute with an energy or communications company after eight weeks, Ombudsman Services can look into the case for free and provide a resolution – it could be worth your while.”
What to do if you have a problem?
Anyone who experienced bad service has the right to complain, but it can be daunting. To make things easier, Ombudsman Services has pulled together some top tips:
- Firstly identify what you want to achieve, have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve from complaining
- Don’t get emotional – keep your anger in check and don’t get mad. Be assertive without being aggressive
- Don’t be embarrassed – it’s your right to complain if you’re not satisfied
- Admit your part in the problem if you have any fault
- Address one complaint at a time, ensure what you say is clear and fair
- Keep records of all correspondence, paperwork, bills and receipts, if asked to send them anywhere make sure you send photocopies and keep originals
- If you’re not getting results complaining directly to the company, identify the person or organisation who has the power to make changes and help
- If your complaint has not been resolved quickly (normally within eight weeks), you can take your complaint to an organisation like Ombudsman Services https://www.ombudsman-services.org/
Ombudsman Services provides an independent and impartial means of resolving disputes outside the courts at no cost to the consumer. It can investigate disputes between customers and suppliers that have been ongoing for eight weeks or more, or those that have reached a deadlock stage. Consumers must contact their supplier directly in the first instance before they can escalate the complaint to the ombudsman.
Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently attended a parliamentary event hosted by Ombudsman Services, one of the leading providers of redress in the UK, to learn more...
Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently attended a Parliamentary reception to discuss the work Asda is doing to tackle the obesity crisis.
During the reception, Gerald Jones met with representatives from across the business, including store managers and community champions who explained the outreach programmes they undertake to ensure school children in their communities are taught about the benefits of healthy eating.
Asda also demonstrated their new ‘wonky veg box’ which is currently being trialled in 100 stores. The box shows how Asda is working with the farming sector to ensure the products they produce are not wasted. This means that customers benefit from a cheaper alternative, as well as bringing down the cost on all produce as farmers are not having to try and recoup the loss of the misshaped fruit and vegetables.
Speaking after the reception, Gerald Jones MP said: “It was a pleasure to attend the reception, which showcased the important work Asda are doing. They are clearly taking their social responsibility seriously, which was clearly demonstrated by the enthusiasm when explaining their outreach programmes in schools.
“The ‘wonky veg box’ is a fantastic initiative which benefits both consumers and the agricultural community. They work tirelessly to produce the best quality products and it is right that we do all we can to support them.”
Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently attended a Parliamentary reception to discuss the work Asda is doing to tackle the obesity crisis. During the reception, Gerald Jones...
Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently welcomed 30 businesses from the Martyrs Business Network to the House of Commons for a networking and engagement event to promote local businesses from across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
The afternoon saw the business leaders network with MPs from across Wales and the UK, including four Shadow Cabinet Members, Nia Griffith, Emily Thornberry, Owen Smith, Peter Dowd and other Shadow Ministers and backbench MPs.
Through the course of the event, there were a number of short speeches from MPs and business leaders along with Paul Gray of Tydfil Training and and Merthyr Tydfil College principal, John O’Shea.
Speaking after the event, Gerald Jones MP said: “I was pleased to welcome the Martyrs Business Network to Westminster to showcase their important work to Parliamentary colleagues.
“We have a vast array of thriving businesses across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and events like these are very important to ensure local companies are provided with opportunities to network, share their ideas, and promote their fantastic work.
“In a period of uncertainty for many businesses, I will continue to work with my Assembly colleague Dawn Bowden AM and do all we can o support the building of business partnerships across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and I look forward to welcoming the Martyrs Business Network back to Parliament in the future.”
Philip Jones, Business Development Manager at Merthyr Town FC added, “The Martyrs Business Network s fastest growing business network in South Wales and to receive such recognition with an invitation to hold an event at Westminster from Gerald Jones MP is further evidence of the influence of the group.
“Over 30 businesses and educational providers travelled to London and represented those who have been at the start of a business journey or indeed those companies who have joined in the past year and those whose first involvement was in London.
“Gerald has been an instrumental part of the development of the business arm of Merthyr Town FC and with his help, and the support of MPs and AMs across the Heads of the Valley we will look to broaden the influence of Merthyr Tydfil and the Network.”
Some of the photos from the event are below:
Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently welcomed 30 businesses from the Martyrs Business Network to the House of Commons for a networking and engagement event to promote local...
On Wednesday 1st November, Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney joined the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Director General of The Royal British Legion, and over 90 Members of Parliament raced alongside serving members of The Armed Forces on an exercise bike to raise money for The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.
The 12 hour bike ride was held from 8am to 8pm in Portcullis House, Parliament and aimed to raise money for the Legion’s national Poppy Appeal. Gerald Jones MP represented his constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney by cycling as far as he could in 5 minutes, with the hope of topping the leader board, beating their fellow colleagues. Gerald managed to cycle 1.54km in 5 minutes.
The bike ride was organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) and The Royal British Legion following on from the successful bike ride held in 2016 (where 77 MPs and Peers cycled a total of 128.8 miles in 12 hours). This year’s race emphasised that The Royal British Legion will once again be asking the nation to ‘Rethink Remembrance’ and consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance and hope.
MPs were encouraged to donate as they take part, with all of the money raised on the day going to help The Royal British Legion provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community. The Central Parliamentary Poppy Appeal is the only charity that can fundraise in Parliament.
Gerald Jones MP said: “I would like to thank the Industry and Parliament Trust and The Royal British Legion for arranging this event. The Royal British Legion provides invaluable support to The Armed Forces community; as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Defence, I am delighted to be able to support the outstanding work I know the Royal British Legion do for our veterans and Armed Forces personnel.”
Nick Maher CEO of the IPT said: “The work of The Royal British Legion is essential to the lives of the whole Armed Forces community across the UK and I am delighted that MPs and Peers are supporting us in our efforts to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. The support and enthusiasm from parliamentarians and service men and women has been fantastic”.
On Wednesday 1st November, Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney joined the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Director General of The Royal British Legion, and over...
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones has welcomed Theresa May’s announcement to u-turn on plans to cap the Local Housing Allowance at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
The UK Government had proposed to introduce the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Cap in 2019 for Social Housing Tenants and for those in Supported Housing meaning that, in some cases, tenants would have had to find an extra £500 a year.
A case study by Merthyr Valleys Homes, the largest social housing provider in Merthyr Tydfil, found a 90 year old who has lived in the same 3 bedroom house in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil for the past 54 years with a rent of £83.32 would have only received £67.76 in LHA. Under the UK Government’s proposals, she would have had to find an additional £15.56 a week towards her rent out of her single person’s pension.
Mike Owen the Chief Executive of Merthyr Valleys Homes described the decision to end the local housing allowance cap as “very welcome news”. He said “the proposal was wrong from the start, our tenants in Merthyr Tydfil have some of the lowest rents in the UK but under the now dropped proposals they would have had to make the largest contributions to top up their rent from their Universal Credit of any tenants in the UK. We supported Gerald Jones MP in his campaign and we valued his support in asking questions to the Prime Minister on behalf of our tenants.”
Housing providers across the country have welcomed the news given the significant hardship that it would have caused to tenants. Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the membership body for Welsh housing associations, has undertaken analysis which demonstrates that if the UK Government applies the LHA cap to social housing from April 2019, it will make social housing unaffordable for those who it was intended for.
Gerald Jones MP said, “It is clear that the geographical nature of the Local Housing Allowance cap was an attack on less well-off people in our communities and would have hit people on low incomes in places like Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney hard. The need for secure housing lies at the heart of people’s needs in order that they feel part of a caring society.”
“I challenged the Prime Minister on this issue earlier this year and therefore, I welcome the Prime Minister’s u-turn in that it will save tenants across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney from further hardship and stress in relation to the security of a home. However, this change is just one glimmer of light amongst the many hard-line, regressive policies being pursued by this Tory Government.”
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones has welcomed Theresa May’s announcement to u-turn on plans to cap the Local Housing Allowance at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions. The UK...
THE MERTHYR TYDFIL WE LOVE
……IS NOT THE TOWN OF “THE VALLEYS COPS”
Merthyr Tydfil is a great town with a strong, warm heart. On every day of every week we know of local people and groups doing fantastic work across our local communities. The town has award winning regeneration schemes and has been restored as a key hub in the valleys of South Wales. It is a vibrant town with a growing reputation in the arts and culture, not least our Merthyr Rising festival, the Redhouse and Welsh language activities at Theatr Soar. We know there are many others working hard in the world of sport, youth services and voluntary services, creative arts, drama and music including our famous local choirs. It is a town of talent, creativity and award winners.
So much progress has been made to turn around the fortunes of this town. It is a good news story we are proud to share.
That is why we add our voices to those who have expressed disappointment at the image of the town portrayed by the TV programme “Valleys Cops”. We have not rushed to judgement. We work alongside our local Police and we value their work. We know that in any town with the social and economic history of Merthyr Tydfil there will be problems, indeed we deal with many of these in meetings with constituents through our regular advice surgeries.
But we share a view that the TV programme reinforced the negative stereotypes that the town, and its people, have worked so hard to overcome. In a short space of time it felt like we were being asked to take several steps back.
Well we won’t. We welcome those voices which have chosen to speak up for our community and we hope this will continue. We will support you, and our town.
So let us turn this negative in to an opportunity to highlight the positives and we will continue working with local groups across our communities and speak up for Merthyr Tydfil.
THE MERTHYR TYDFIL WE LOVE ……IS NOT THE TOWN OF “THE VALLEYS COPS” Merthyr Tydfil is a great town with a strong, warm heart. On every day of every week...
Gerald Jones MP showed his support for Macmillan Cancer Support on Wednesday 18 October by attending a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event in Parliament. The occasion marked the launch of a new report, ‘Am I Meant To Be Okay Now?: Stories of Life After Treatment’, that focuses on the challenges people face after cancer treatment ends.
Following the success of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year on Friday 29 September, which saw thousands of people come together across the country, the charity hosted a parliamentary Coffee Morning at which MPs and Peers had the opportunity to meet with and hear from people living cancer who were featured in the report.
Following the Commons event, Gerald Jones MP said,
“Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is a fantastic annual fixture and I was really glad to have the opportunity to attend the event in Parliament.
“The focus of Coffee Morning has always been about encouraging people to get together and talk about all the issues people living with cancer have to deal with. This year’s event provided a really important opportunity to hear more about the physical and emotional challenges that people can face after finishing cancer treatment.
“I also welcomed the chance to learn more about the support that Macmillan offers to people affected by cancer. Whilst a cancer experience is always significant - life with cancer is still life - and it was great to hear about how Macmillan supports people to live it in the best possible way.”
Having raised over £29.5 million in 2016, the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year – and there is still time to get involved. For further information, please visit: www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee
Gerald Jones MP showed his support for Macmillan Cancer Support on Wednesday 18 October by attending a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event in Parliament. The occasion marked the launch of...
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones, recently met with firefighters in Westminster to recognise and celebrate the invaluable work firefighters do keeping our communities safe.
‘Love Your Firefighters’, hosted by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), was attended by more than 60 MPs, who met firefighters and union officials.
MPs were asked to support investment into the fire and rescue service by FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. He urged the MPs to take the message back to their constituencies that the maintenance of a world class, professional fire and rescue service is something all political parties should support.
Matt Wrack said:
“It was a privilege to have so many MPs from across the spectrum here with us to celebrate the work of our members. We want support for firefighters and our fire and rescue services from all politicians. We would urge MPs from all parties to get behind their firefighters now and support the invaluable work they do in their communities, keeping us all safe.”
Gerald Jones MP said:
“It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet some of the professional firefighters who do such invaluable, challenging work.
“Day in, day out, firefighters have their training and professionalism tested while working to keep us safe. It is crucial that all Members of Parliament show our support for our fire and rescue services, in the interests of both public and firefighter safety.”
Two films were shown at the event. ‘Operator’ (bit.ly/2dtilVA) won the Bafta short film award last year (2016) for its depiction of a control room operator taking an emergency fire call.
‘The Firefighters’ Dilemma’ (bit.ly/2sek2dr) was made this year to convey the stress fire crews are under when they turn out to a fire if they have to wait for a second fire engine before entering the premises due to service cuts.
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones, recently met with firefighters in Westminster to recognise and celebrate the invaluable work firefighters do keeping our communities safe. ‘Love Your Firefighters’, hosted...