Last week thoughts turned to coronavirus and the Omicron variant as the first cases appeared in Wales. These are, unfortunately, already on the rise due to the highly infectious nature of this variant and the very fast rate at which it spreads.

So the First Minister announced that the Welsh Government would move to weekly review cycles – meaning there will be another review this Friday when guidelines could change. He also provided an update to the nation on Monday evening on BBC Wales on the booster programme here and plans to offer every adult a booster jab by the end of the year.

There is much speculation about what may change but the best current advice is to limit social contacts when you can, to ‘flow before you go’ (if you can get lateral flow tests due to a sudden shortage but they should be available in libraries and pharmacies) and, of course, to take up your booster jab appointment.

Two vaccine jabs plus a booster seems to give the best possible protection against omicron based jabs on current scientific evidence, but data is still emerging about the variant.

Things are changing fast and the health board is doing its best to adapt and step up the pace of the booster programme – which is already delivering 30,000 jabs a week and the aim is to double this rate.

Currently the health board is asking people not to turn up at vaccination centres without an appointment and not to ring their GP. The clear message is ‘wait for your appointment’.

All adults over the age of 18 are due for a booster and some walk-in clinics are being planned. At the time of writing these have not yet been announced so please keep an eye on the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board’s website for updates:

Meanwhile the ‘flow before you go’ advice applies if you have to attend any event or even if you are just going shopping. The First Minister last week also asked people to wear face masks when going to pubs and restaurants when not eating. Masks must already be worn by law in Wales on public transport and in other indoor public spaces including cinemas and theatres.

Mark Drakeford also reiterated the Welsh Government’s advice that people should work from home if they can. This has advice has remained constant in Wales whereas there has been chopping and changing in England.

A bright spot on the horizon is, I hope, my ‘Christmas cheer boxes’ which will be going out to 200 families this week and next. My team and I contacted all schools in the constituency to find out which families we could offer the boxes of treats to.

It is a stressful time of year for families in particular and the timing of the £20 cut to Universal Credit, combined with steeply rising fuel and food costs, means it’s a perfect storm for many. So I hope the boxes will make Christmas just that little bit better for some families.

The boxes will be delivered thanks to community organisations like Parkfields in Mold and schools which have offered to act as distribution hubs for us to deliver from. This is a relief as we could not have stored 200 boxes in my office!

Lastly, there is some good news for those struggling with energy bills this winter. The Welsh Government’s Winter Fuel Support Scheme opened this Monday [December 13] – meaning you may be able claim a one-off £100 payment from the council to help pay your winter fuel bills.

The council will be contacting eligible households [see below] to invite applications for the payment. If you think you’re eligible and have not been contacted you can now submit a claim via the council’s website.

The £100 payment will be available to all eligible energy customers regardless of whether they pay for their fuel on a pre-payment or a credit meter.

Winter Fuel support scheme £100 payment: Who is eligible?

You must receive one of these benefits (below) and have been claiming these benefits at any time between 1 December 2021 and 31 January 2022.

  • Income Support.
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Working Tax Credits.

You must also be responsible for paying the energy bills for the property.

Get in touch and I’ll do my best to help

If you have an issue you’d like to speak to me about, I will do my best to help.

You can drop me a line by emailing or get in touch by using the contact form on my website:

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