This week is Heart Unions week, the annual event which showcases the vital work trade unions do and which I’m proud to celebrate in Wales. Every day of every year, trade unions help to make work and workplaces fairer, safer and more secure. More than that, trade unions are effective and resourceful partners to employers in assisting early identification and resolution of issues, in providing support on health and safety and in enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction.
In a time where unions are needed more than ever and are coming under a sustained attack from the UK Government, the message for all workers is clear – the best thing you can do is to join a union. Trade unions not only shaped my values but helped to give me my voice and I spent the best part of a decade advocating for a better deal at work. I was elected a trade unionist and will always be a trade unionist. So, this Heart Unions week and every week, I’d encourage everyone to join and get involved in a trade union. Ahead of Heart Unions week, it was good to have the opportunity to welcome the President of Unison, Andrea Egan to the Senedd last week and spend time with Unison Cymru Wales members over the weekend. It was a particular pleasure to congratulate North Wales duo Jan Tomlinson and Kim Russell in their new roles as Convenor and Deputy Convenor respectively and I look forward to working with them over the coming months.
I very much welcome the confirmation in the Welsh Government’s Roads Review Report that the so-called ‘Red Route’ (Flintshire Corridor) will not proceed. I have previously set out my position that I did not believe the ‘red route’ was the right solution for this time and that I would do all I could to ensure it was reconsidered. From the early days of the proposals being put on the table, I’ve worked to make sure the concerns of constituents and communities are heard – whether that be raising in writing, on the floor of the Senedd or calling for extra consultation events and activity.
As someone who is from here and lives here, I know first hand the very challenges we face when it comes to transport, whether that’s better bus services or traffic build up on the A55. We need roads, but simply doing things in the same way we have always done will not meet the needs of the future, not least as we tackle the climate crisis. I want to see a more sustainable approach to developing and investing in infrastructure, from continuing the work on additional train stations such as in Greenfield to seeing greater priority given to buses in any road schemes.
The Roads Review sets out a new multi-modal corridor level programme covering the A55, A494 and other SRN routes in line with any relevant recommendations of North Wales Transport Commission and aligned to the future road building tests A494 Aston Hill. Going forward, the Welsh Government will work with the Local Authority to develop options to improve air quality and support modal shift and resilience, aligned to the future road building tests. As always, I will continue to advocate on behalf of constituents and our communities.
Finally, have you claimed your Winter Fuel Payment? Eligible households, regardless of how they pay for their fuel, can claim a one-off £200 payment from their local authority to provide support towards paying their fuel costs. The scheme will be open to households where an applicant or their partner is in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits at any time between September 1, 2022, and January 31, 2023. For full details of the Winter Fuel Payment scheme, along with other support available, visit the Flintshire County Council website – this is a real help from your local authority so if you’re struggling with the cost of living I urge you to apply as soon as possible. All applications must be received by 5pm on February 28.
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/hannahblythynMS. 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.