Gerald Jones MP

Putting Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney at the Heart of Parliament

Scrapping Child Funeral Fees & Keeping our Communities tidy (MAR 2017)

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March 2017

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I was really pleased to attend the St Davids Day reception
with the First Minister and Shadow Wales team in London

 

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I'm extremely pleased that both Caerphilly County Borough Council and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council have a decision to scrap charges for children’s funerals. This is following a campaign by my friend and parliamentary colleague Carolyn Harris MP who herself lost a child some years ago and had to take out a loan to pay for the funeral. 

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Labour MP Carolyn Harris delivering an emotional address to the house over Child funeral fees

 

The Labour Party, along with the Daily Mirror is asking the Government to set up a national fund to take this added burden away from bereaved parents. Merthyr Tydfil CBC and other local authorities are leading the way in showing compassion and this is all the more appreciated given the financial pressure that all councils are under following Tory austerity cuts.

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In a recent session of PMQ’s I raised concerns regarding the UK Governments plans to introduce a cap on the amount of housing benefit a household is eligible for from 2019. 

This local housing allowance is set by the UK Government and it is different in each local area. In Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, the allowance is lower than the rents charged by housing providers and it will mean that housing benefit will be capped and any shortfall towards the rent will have to be paid by the tenant.

I asked the Prime Minister about the Proposals:

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Despite a plea to the Prime Minister to issue clear guidance, Theresa May did not have an answer.  

The Westminster Government’s welfare reform agenda has already caused significant hardship for many  people here in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney and now these further proposals create further anxiety & stress for people. I will continue to press the UK Government to address this issue and at the very least exempt older people. I will also be pressing for more consideration for a realistic local housing allowance rate for our area.

 

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I was very proud to be at to be at the LGBT flag raising ceromony
at Merthyr Civic Centre for LGBT history month

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A lot of recent work has been done by Keep Wales Tidy, local volunteers and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to clear fly tipping from mountain roads and other areas of the County Borough. All involved in the ongoing clear up deserve thanks and congratulations for what is often a thankless job.

It is unfortunate that much more work needs to be done. In addition, no sooner is an area cleared, more rubbish is dumped. It saddens me because at a time when our council’s budgets, like many across the UK, is being slashed as a result of ongoing austerity measures by an uncaring Tory Government, scarce funds should be utilised for services that local residents need such as schools, social services, leisure services, roads etc.

Instead, the council is forced to spend money clearing up litter and fly tipping. This is such a waste of money. It is well known that a mindless few cause this problem but the cost of dealing with it is met by us all through the public purse. Those responsible should be ashamed and the council deserve our support in prosecuting and naming anyone proven to be involved in this activity.

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I was pleased to Welcome Shadow Health Secretary Angela Rayner to Merthyr Tydfil
to deliver this years Keir Hardie Lecture

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I was very pleased to speak up for WASPI women at the demo and in parliament,
however I was very dissapointed that the government failed to take sufficient action in the Budget

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You can find out what else I've been up to by looking at my diary here

This piece is based on an article 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.

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