It was a proud moment for me last week as the Social Partnership & Public Procurement Act became law, a piece of ground-breaking legislation brought forward by me in my role as Deputy Minister for Social Partnership – the first piece of Welsh law given royal assent by King Charles III. My values as your Member of the Senedd have been shaped by the trade union movement and it’s been an absolute privilege to have led on this landmark legislation which will give workers more of a say in shaping public services, workplaces and Wales. Social partnership – bringing together government with trade unions and employers – has become a Welsh way of working over the course of devolution and this Act puts it in on a more formal footing.
While this new Act will help to make Wales a stronger and fairer place to live and work, the UK Government’s new Renters Reform Bill has been busy playing catch-up with legislation in Wales which has been in force since 2016 – Welsh tenants are already offered the most protection from eviction of any of the UK nations. Here in Wales, we believe everyone should have a home to call their own and we’ve never abandoned social housing in the way that England has – social rented housing accounted for 82% of all affordable housing built in Wales in 2021-22, compared with England where the figure was just 13%.
It’s half term this week and I hope families in Flintshire are enjoying some sunshine and time off from work and school. In case you missed it, Welsh Government confirmed recently that free school meals will be available during the holidays for eligible families and this now includes students in further education and sixth form. Back in 2020, Wales became the first UK nation to guarantee free school meals for eligible families during the holidays and an estimated 115,000 school learners are likely to benefit from the free holiday provision – local authorities can either provide lunches, meal vouchers or direct payments to families as part of the scheme.
I was pleased to recently help launch a new scheme in Wales to enable GPs to register to become ‘veteran-friendly’ and I urge Flintshire GP practices to sign up to provide specialist care for current and former military personnel. Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has created the new programme to enable GP practices to sign up voluntarily to undertake specialist training on veterans’ health and wellbeing and promote fair treatment and respect for people who have served with the armed forces and their families. Practices will need to stay up to date with the latest training and guidance on veterans’ health, so they can support their patients’ health most effectively.
Next week is Volunteers Week, an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across Wales through volunteering in their communities. Local volunteer groups like Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC) work tirelessly to develop active and involved citizens by enabling more people and communities to benefit from volunteering and this Friday, June 2, they are planning an event in Mold to showcase local volunteer organisations – you can find out more at www.flvc.org.uk.
As usual, if you would like advice and/or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on any of the following contact details – 52 High Street, Mold, Flintshire, on 01352 753464 or by email email@example.com You can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HannahBlythynForDelyn. Constituents are, of course, welcome to contact my office to arrange an appointment to see me, you don’t need to wait until an advice surgery.