Assembly Voice: 17 November 2016

I am delighted that RCT Council will be piloting the Welsh Government’s flagship free childcare policy. The pledge from our manifesto, giving 3-4 year olds 48 weeks of free childcare a year if a parent works over 16 hours a week, will be the most generous package of childcare support available anywhere in the UK. I have secured assurances from the Education Secretary that our new childcare offer will complement and enhance the current nursery education provision offered in different schools in Cynon Valley and beyond, for example by providing childcare during school holidays. From speaking to people in Cynon Valley, I know that this policy will make a real difference locally.

It was great to welcome Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens to Careers Wales in Aberdare. When we leave the EU our contributions will go straight back to the Westminster Government with not a penny guaranteed to come back to Wales. At this meeting the key work done by Careers Wales with EU funding was highlighted: supporting 5,000 people back into work after redundancy, upskilling thousands of young people not in education, employment or training, and with over 800,000 people using their website per year. Having seen these benefits I am confident that Keir and Jo will press the case for Wales to receive fair funding from Westminster after we leave the EU.

On my first Remembrance Sunday as Cynon Valley’s Assembly Member, it was moving to join so many people from all our communities in paying respect to those who had given so much to defend our freedoms. At all three of the services I attended in Aberdare, Abercynon and Ynysybwl the support for our fallen was evident. My thanks also to those who laid wreaths at other services on my behalf: Margaret Walters in Hirwaun, Elfed Morgan in Llwydcoed, Wendy Treeby in Mountain Ash and Barrie Morgan in Cilfynydd. I will be joining residents of Penrhiwceiber on Sunday 20 November for their Remembrance Service. “We will remember them”.