On Friday the First Minister announced the next set of “easements” of the restrictions following the fifth review of the legislation and current situation in Wales. Again thanks to your efforts we are in a position to continue easing the restrictions and see more aspects of our “normal life” reintroduced. In addition to hairdressers and barbers, pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating, and self-contained accommodation reopening, the First Minister also set out plans for the next three weeks. These plans include play areas and community centres being allowed to reopen from next Monday and indoor venues such as cinemas, museums, beauty salons and being able to sit inside pubs and restaurants.
Whilst we see more parts of society and the economy reopening, it is worrying to see the announcements of job losses across the UK and indeed here in Flintshire. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Welsh Parliament and the Trade Union movement to engage positively with employers to ensure that they receive as much support as possible before having to take such difficult decisions.
I recently met with representatives from Job Centre Plus who provided me with an update on their work during the coronavirus pandemic. I was concerned to hear that the number of claimants from Flintshire has doubled since January, which gives us a stark reflections of the impact coronavirus has had on our communities. I have previously raised concerns with the Secretary of State for the DWP regarding aspects of the welfare system such as the five week wait for Universal Credit and sanctions that are hitting those least able to bear the burden the hardest.
Continuing the Welsh Government’s plans of investing in local economies in our coastal towns, I launched the sixth round of the Coastal Communities fund, encouraging businesses and public bodies to come up with innovative ideas to create sustainable jobs and benefit our towns and villages. Since 2012 the Fund has awarded over £16 million to communities, creating 350 directly funded jobs as well as 780 indirectly and safeguarded jobs in the supply chain. Further information on the Fund can be found by visiting The National Lottery Community Fund website and searching for “Coastal Communities Fund”.
I’ve always done my best to support local businesses and continue to highlight various businesses through my social media. This week I have added my support to local producers, whether bakeries or dairy farms, or breweries and distilleries, joining in the Welsh Government’s “Caru Cymru Caru Blas” campaign. We have lots of great Welsh producers in our area and so I have collated a list of around 40 producers to share on my website – HannahBlythyn.cymru – and encourage readers to have a look and see what wonderful Welsh produce you can buy right on our doorstep. If you are a producer or know of someone I have missed off, then please let me know and I will be sure to add them.
Last week I also had the pleasure of writing to three projects across the constituency to congratulate them on being awarded other funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, to support the work they have been doing throughout the pandemic. The FDF Centre for Independent Living, Daffodils and the Counselling Hub, are just some of the brilliant initiatives that have continued to support our most vulnerable and have received funding to allow them to continue with their plans. If any other organisations or community groups have projects which could benefit from additional funding, please get in touch and I would be happy to discuss how I can help.
Residents of Lloc have recently been experiencing regular power cuts which has impacted their ability to work and live their lives well. I have written to Scottish Power to ask for a detailed explanation of the causes of the power cuts and what actions have been taken to prevent them reoccurring in the future. If you would like to be informed of Scottish Power’s response, or have any other issue which you would like to raise with me then please get in touch with me on 01352 762102 or at Hannah.Blythyn@senedd.wales.