Cynon Valley Leader column – 5th January 2023

The Welsh Government has published its draft Budget for 2023/24, reprioritising spending to focus on supporting people, public services and businesses. An additional £165 million is being allocated to protect frontline health services and an extra £227 million will go to Welsh councils to safeguard the services they deliver, such as schools. This will also deliver the commitment to pay social care staff the Real Living Wage. Bad decisions made by the UK Government have effectively taken £3 billion out of the Welsh budget over the period between 2022 and 2025, through a combination of the cost of living crisis, high energy prices, inflation and recession, but the Welsh Labour Government is continuing to support our communities and the services on which we rely.

The Cwmbach Community Wetlands are a fantastic and unique local habitat, home to swans, otters, kingfishers and an array of other wildlife. Every Sunday members come together for a litterpick to keep the wetlands pristine. Along with Cllrs Mustapha Maohoub and Sheryl Evans (pictured), I joined them for one session in December to find out more about this special area. I committed to help the group access future funding, improve fencing and facilitate a meeting with Asda to attempt to resolve the long running issue of abandoned trolleys, and have already started work on delivering these promises.

The jobs event for former staff of Garth Bakery and other local residents I helped arrange in Abercynon in December was a great success. I worked alongside RCT Council, Welsh Government and a whole host of other providers to put this on, and it was good to see details of the over 200 local job vacancies that were on offer. I am pleased to be able to report that most former employees of Garth Bakery have now found new jobs after the company went into administration at the end of last year.

If I can ever be of assistance, please email me ([email protected]) or telephone my Aberdare office on 01685 881388.