The end of last week saw Tata Steel announce the devastating news that they plan to close both blast furnaces at its Port Talbot plant, putting 2,800 skilled jobs at risk and threatening even more in the supply chain. Steelmaking is a sovereign industry and this hammer blow would leave the UK as the only G20 nation with no ability to create steel.
Sadly, this news of mass job losses in steelmaking will very much have resonance here in Flintshire. While it may now be more than four decades since that devastating day in 1980 when more than 6,000 jobs were axed in a single day at Shotton Steelworks, the memories are still raw for many and the impact long-lasting. It remains to this day western Europe’s largest single mass redundancy and so many families, including my own, lost their livelihoods in the 1980s as an axe was taken to the industry.
Like many of my generation, I was politicised by the decimation of our industries and it led to me working in the trade union moment. I stand with our steelworkers and trade unions and the UK Government needs to step up, step in and save steelmaking in a way that provides a sustainable way forward for the sector and those who work within in it.
In the Senedd last week, I announced the publication of the Welsh Government’s fifth Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, which provides an update on the range of support provided across Wales to the Armed Forces community. As a government, we are committed to supporting all those who serve, those who have served and their families and we will continue to work with all our partners to maintain our commitment to upholding the Armed Forces Covenant. It is vitally important that we recognise the value and sacrifices of our Armed Forces community – you can read the full report at www.gov.wales/armed-forces-covenant-annual-report-2022-2023.
Back home in Flintshire, on Friday I attended a meeting with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to get an update on plans to create a national park for north east Wales. NRW is the designating authority with a statutory responsibility to determine the case for the proposed park and the organisation reported that it has completed the mapping of the initial ‘area of search’ and is now proceeding with the more detailed evidence gathering and evaluation stages, as well as a more active communication and engagement phase. I intend to keep a close eye on how the proposal is progressing and I’d welcome any comments from Delyn residents and businesses – you can contact me on the details below and I will be happy to put your questions to NRW.
I’ve also recently heard that funding is now available to support local community groups from the ASDA Community Grassroots Grants. Groups will be able to apply through their local community champions and each store has £1,600 available to donate to local groups. The application window is open now until March 1st – for more information on how to apply, see www.asdafoundation.org/how-to-apply.
Finally, it’s been brought to my attention that the A55 between junction 36 at the Warren Interchange and the Wales/England border will be subject to some major resurfacing roadworks from January 26 to the end of March, so motorists are asked to plan ahead before using that stretch of road as delays are likely.
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.