There’s now less than a month to go before the single-use plastics ban is introduced in Wales. In December 2022, Wales made history by becoming the first part of the UK to legislate against a thorough list of single-use plastics when the Senedd approved legislation to ban selling unnecessary, disposable products to consumers. This will come into effect on October 30 and the ban includes single-use plastic plates and cutlery, food and drink containers made from foam or polystyrene, plastic balloon sticks and single-use plastic straws.
In my previous role as Deputy Minister for Environment, I played a key role in establishing Refill Wales, alongside moves towards a more circular economy to reduce waste and keep things in use for as long as possible. I was also proud to launch the consultation that this new law stemmed from, while on a beach clean on Ynys Môn, and I am pleased to see it finally coming into place. Wales is continuing to lead the way when it comes to action to tackle plastic pollution and this new law is a key step in reducing the flow of damaging plastic waste into the Welsh environment, something I know communities here in Delyn and across the country rightly really care about. There will be exemptions for those who need them to eat and drink safely and independently – more information on these bans can be found at www.gov.wales/single-use-plastics-draft-guidance.
Last week I spoke at the Equal Power Equal Voice (EPEV) launch event – EPEV is an organisation which aims to increase the diversity of representation in public and political life in Wales by offering mentoring, training and support and many of the organisation’s programmes saw mentees gain positions such as councillors, MPs, public board appointees, school governors and charity trustees. Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales leads the programme, in partnership with Disability Wales, Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST) Wales and Stonewall Cymru and it’s funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Welsh Government. As someone who grew up thinking that being a politician was not an option for someone like me, I know how important programmes which unlock people’s potential are – as the old saying goes, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, so schemes like EPEV are vital in increasing diversity in Welsh public life.
I also attended a Unison backed event at the Senedd which the union rolled out presented the case for a National Care Service, including the challenges around who owns the infrastructure that supports care services. The report set out at the session, reveals how £1.3bn per in rent is being paid to private landlords across the UK and brought home the need to ensure a system that is not used for profiteering and has stronger links rooted in local authorities and the communities in which it works. The Welsh Government is committed to moving towards National Care Service in Wales and working in social partnership to achieve this long term ambition.
Finally, the British Gas Energy Support Fund reopened for new applications on October 2nd and residents who are struggling to pay energy bills could qualify for a grant of up to £1,500. The British Gas Energy Trust has given out more than 21,000 grants to householders as part of a drive to help people with their bills and the support the trust offers includes grants to cover energy debts for consumers and small businesses, non-repayable credit to prepayment customers and funding for advice centres and charities. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk/british-gas-energy-support-fund.html.
As always, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.