Assembly Voice: 16 May 2018

At the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno last month, First Minister Carwyn Jones AM announced he is to stand down as Leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister of our country later this year. Over the past nine years, Carwyn has steered Wales through the stormy waters of austerity and we are seeing the positive impact of his government’s actions in far-sighted policies like the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and real infrastructural improvements like new school buildings and the new Aberdare Coleg Y Cymoedd campus. In my role as Chair of the Welsh Labour Group of AMs, it has been a pleasure to work with Carwyn during these past months.

I recently visited a Welsh Government funded project in the south of Cynon Valley, with Minister for Housing Rebecca Evans. The charitable housing association Hafan Cymru have received £3 million in funding to deliver services, including the safe house for young women fleeing domestic abuse or troubled lives which I went to see. Supporting the most vulnerable is at the heart of what a Labour government stands for. I wish Hafan Cymru well for the future and will do all I can to support their work. To find out more, please go to

We know that 200,000 women in Wales have been affected by changes to the age at which they can claim their state pensions. A few years ago, the Tory Government in Westminster brought forward these changes without warning. They also didn’t give the women affected the chance to put alternative arrangements in place. During a debate on this subject in the Senedd, I spoke about the challenges many faced in having to work for longer or develop new skills, and also described how many of them are facing a ‘double burden’ of having to care for grandchildren, parents or other relatives. This is frankly an injustice, and the debate sent a strong message to Westminster that Ministers must put in place the transitional arrangements for which this current generation of women worked all their lives.