The start of a new year is always looked upon with optimism and hope, at least initially. It is clear that the big political issue of 2017 will be triggering article 50 and starting negotiations to leave the European Union.
As an individual and a Labour Party member, I campaigned for the UK to remain within the EU as I believed and still do that there are many more positive aspects of our EU membership than there are negative ones, however, I and my party respect the result of the referendum and the decision taken by the British public. The task now is to ensure that we get the best possible deal from our exit.
My understanding is that once Article 50 is triggered a clock will start to tick and we will have 2 years to agree the terms of our departure. If no agreement is reached, we will still leave without agreements in place.
I have met with people and businesses across Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney who are deeply concerned about the future for their businesses because of the uncertainty that exists. I have been highlighting these concerns in Parliament and pressing Government Ministers to give clarity on what their plans are following EU exit. Unfortunately, the Government have shown little sign as yet that they even have a plan let alone start to implement it.
Gerald visiting businesses in Merthyr Tydfil for Small Business Saturday where the Governments plan for Brexit was a reoccuring topic of concern
The news that Caerphilly County Borough Council is likely to keep their council tax increase to a minimum (1%) is welcome. The UK Government’s austerity cuts have had a huge impact on local communities and local families and any additional financial burden would cause further hardship. The Council, like all local authorities and public sector organisations have had huge budget cuts as a result of UK Government austerity and with all the pressures on council services, the council have done well to prioritise and ensure that any additional financial burden on residents is kept to a minimum. I understand that a 1% increase works out at around 19p per week for a band D property.
Caerphilly Council offices in Ystrad Mynach
I would like to offer my congratulations to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and partners inc. Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust on securing grant funding for Cyfarthfa Park. Cyfarthfa Park & Castle is a significant part of our industrial heritage and it is hugely positive that funding will be available to enhance the facilities to ensure they remain in place for future generations as well as remain a key part of our local tourist trail.
Gerald at Cyfarthfa Park
I met with Network Rail recently to discuss their work at Tirphil station. I am aware from issues raised by local residents that there been a number of concerns that have caused frustration to residents and motorists using the A4049 through the Upper Rhymney Valley. Although Network Rail have had a number of complications with regards to timescale from highway issues to legal agreements with utility companies etc. all of this has hampered progress on site. The new access ramp (including the gradient) has to be constructed to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act to ensure that people with disabilities can access the station. The recent meeting was positive in that Network Rail confirmed that they have resolved outstanding issues and are hopeful that work will be fully completed by the end of February.
Progress at Tirphil is encouragingand the improvements should be complete by February
Just a reminder for anyone needing help or advice on an issue, I hold fortnightly advice surgeries around the constituency. If the surgeries are not convenient, my constituency office is open at Oldway House, Castle Street, Merthyr Tydfil, Monday – Friday during office hours. Alternatively, please call 01685 383739 or email Gerald.firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published by the Merthyr Express and the Rhymney Valley Express. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised or would like to know more, feel free to contact Gerald using the contact tab above.