Assembly Voice: 8 March 2017

The ‘Foundational Economy’ is the sector of the Welsh economy that we see around us in our everyday lives, including the retail, food and utility industries, but also infrastructure and key public services such as health, education and care. Two out of every five jobs in Wales are located in the Foundational Economy and it is critical to ensuring the future economic prosperity of Wales. With this in mind, I tabled a motion in the Welsh Assembly with three of my Labour colleagues noting the potential of the Foundational Economy to communities across Wales and calling on the Welsh Government to maximise its impact by placing the Foundational Economy at the heart of a renewed economic strategy, that also includes measures to improve employment conditions in these sectors.

With walking being the most accessible form of exercise, if we could encourage Welsh citizens we would not only improve their health but also reduce the £314 million that physical inactivity costs the Welsh economy every year. On St David’s Day, Rambler’s Cymru launched their ten year vision to get more people in Wales walking. I spoke about this in the Assembly, and also congratulated Tracy Purnell of Mountain Ash who has become Ordnance Survey Champion 2017. Tracy’s role is to encourage people to join her on local walks to improve their physical and mental well-being – here in Cynon Valley we are blessed with many excellent walks right on our doorstep.

When it comes to accessing the right source of healthcare, there are lots of choices out there so it is important we know which option is best. I recently visited Hope Pharmacy in Mountain Ash to talk about the ‘Choose Pharmacy’ scheme, piloted here in the Cwm Taf area. This directs people to a pharmacist if they are affected by ailments such as ear infections. I also joined Health Secretary Vaughan Gething at the Ambulance base in Aberaman to find out more about their Community Paramedic Pathfinder initiative, which directs individual patients to the most appropriate source of medical care. Both services can help relieve pressure from GPs and hospitals.