At the start of the week I was delighted to attend the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan to the South Wales Police Special Constabulary last night at Police HQ. Special constables make a huge contribution to both the Policing family and their wider communities, and give so much of their time to help keep our communities safe. I was proud to see the fantastic contribution that they are making and impressed by the dedication they show, regularly going above and beyond in so many different ways. I was also pleased to see Chief Officer Dale Cartwright recognised for his significant contribution as Chief Officer for 10 years. My Dad was a South Wales Police Special many years ago and so I know first-hand the commitment it takes but also the satisfaction that is gained by such an important contribution to the community. It was a great opportunity for me to meet these dedicated public servants and to give thanks for the work that they do.

Thoroughly enjoyed meeting members of the Nepalese Parliament this week to discuss devolution at the start of the week. We have a long-standing relationship with Nepal through the Gurkha soldiers, 10,000 of whom serve in British Gurkha units and have served over the years with distinction. It was, however, fascinating to meet with parliamentarians to discuss their federal-style republic of seven administrative regions and how they manage to ensure communication between the regions and the centre and ensure that government runs smoothly. It’s vital that parliamentarians from around the world are able to meet in this manner to learn from each other’s experiences of government so that we can take the best practices in order to improve the lives of all our citizens and to understand more about one another.

Armed Forces Day is one of the most important days in the year. It is a chance to pay thanks to both our serving and retired Armed Forces personnel. They protect and defend our country and we will be forever in their debt. I, alongside many others, joined an event Caerphilly on Friday to celebrate our Armed Forces. As well as the annual flag raising ceremony at the Cenotaph, the Council presented the scroll for the Freedom of the County Borough to the Royal British Legion. The event was an excellent opportunity to show our thanks for the work of the Armed Forces, at home and abroad, and to show our support for serving men and women and veterans. Over the past couple of years, the Armed Forces have had a significant role in supporting the UK through the Covid pandemic as well as continuing their deployments around the world.

It is clear that the cost-of-living crisis is a major concern for constituents across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. With food bills rising, energy costs rising, transport costs rising, there is real concern here that with wages failing to keep up with the rising costs, families are going to struggle to pay their bills. The UK Government are too concerned with fending off scandal after scandal to understand the real issues facing families across the UK. It’s time they put aside petty attempts to set people against one another and instead focused on improving living conditions for everyone. For those facing immediate difficulties, Citizens Advice Cymru are there to offer free help and advice to those who need it. Visit their website:

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing or by calling on 01685 383739.

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