DCMS: Over 75s Licence Fee, WW1 Commemoration Report Published

This week in DCMS Select Committee I questioned BBC Director General Lord Hall on the removal of the free TV licence fee for over 75’s. This change will hit over 3,610 households in Cardiff Central.

This change is only happening because the BBC were ambushed by the Government during the quickest and least transparent negotiations on the BBC Charter renewal, ever. The BBC then had the rug pulled from under their feet further by a broken Tory 2017 manifesto pledge.

You can watch the exchange below.

This week we published our ‘Lessons from the First World War Centenary’ report. We evaluated the successes and reflections of a number of commemorative events that spanned a four-year period to learn lessons for future commemorations. Our Report will be a resource for Governments to draw upon when planning similar commemorations in future.

You can read our report by clicking here.

Next week we will be publishing our report into garden tourism, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Welfare Reform

On Wednesday I attended the Disability Benefits Consortium report launch. Research found that unsurprisingly, changes to the welfare system over the past ten years have left people with disabilities financially four times worse off than those without. I heard a powerful speech from Adam, a young man who has learning disabilities & autism, describing his terrible experience of applying for Personal Independence Payments.

I know from the huge amount of casework I do that Adam’s case is not an isolated one. The Government must consider the 22 critical recommendations for change contained within the report. The current system is simply not fit for purpose.

You can read more about the launch and the report by clicking here.

Young Legal Aid Lawyers Campaign

With Warren & Cynthia from the The Speakeasy Law Centre in Roath

I was proud to take part in celebrations to mark 70 years since the introduction of Legal Aid and to support the #TakeYourMPToWork campaign highlighting the lack of access to justice through savage cuts to legal aid. Before you elected me as your MP, I worked as a legal aid solicitor which over the years became less and less available to help people access the courts and uphold their rights.  

I recently wrote about why we need to restore early legal help for people in more detail in an article, which you can read by clicking here.

I’m here in this photo (above) with Warren & Cynthia from the The Speakeasy Law Centre in Cardiff Central who everyday through their work, show just how vital access to justice is.

Brexit

On Thursday, MPs voted with a clear majority (315-274) to block the new Prime Minister from proroguing (or suspending) Parliament to being able to force through a disastrous no-deal Brexit. We will find out who the next Tory leader and new Prime Minister is next week.

In other Brexit news, the official Government spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) confirmed that a no-deal Brexit would cost the UK £30 billion a year and cause a full-on economic recession.

I was quoted in this piece by Politics Home to say you cannot have Brexit and an end to austerity.

Finally, some good news to end the week. After voting the week before to introduce equal marriage and abortion rights to Northern Ireland, I was able to vote again this week in support of these rights after amendments to the legislation were introduced in the House of Lords and I was delighted that we were again successful. Equality is universal and must in my view, apply to everyone. The clue is in the word!

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