Highlighting the problems at the DVLA (again), accurate data and the impact of a trade deal with Australia on our farms - weekly update 29/05/21
In light of the atrocious conditions that we continue to hear about at the DVLA in Swansea, I was able to tackle the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this week on the issue of improving the enforcement of workplace health and safety laws. It is simply incomprehensible that the UK Government are so unwilling to protect workers at the DVLA. Minister Kwarteng said that this is a responsibility for the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales but perhaps he is unaware of the fact that the DVLA is a UK Government agency and ultimately, it is the UK Government who are responsible for the people who work in their agencies. It is clear that this is a case of out of sight out of mind. The UK Government has taken a cavalier approach to public health throughout this crisis and their irresponsible behaviour is putting workers in Swansea at risk.
I was also able to tackle the Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse this week on the importance of improving data and transparency in the police, particularly relating to reporting rape. With some police forces reporting a rapid rise in sexual offending by women, I asked him what steps he and his department are taking to ensure that all police forces accurately record and collect data on the sex of both the victims and the perpetrators in all cases of rape and sexual violence? I was pleased to hear the Minister agrees with me that recording accurate data on sex when reporting crimes is vital. Recording data accurately is one of the most important steps in understanding and therefore tackling these horrendous crimes.
Labour are calling on the UK Government to join the rest of the G7 in supporting US President Joe Biden’s proposals for a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate in order to clamp down on the immoral tax avoidance that is frequently committed by multinationals and online giants. Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan support the US’s calls for cooperation on a global scale to ensure that states receive the tax revenue they deserve and that multinationals begin to pay their way on the huge profits they earn. Recovery from the pandemic will only come with a strong local recovery and local businesses are vital in regenerating local economies. We need to ensure they are not put at a disadvantage by multinational tax avoidance. The tax revenues from multinationals will also help our public services recover from the pandemic and the decade of punishing austerity that this Tory Government has wrought.
I am deeply concerned about the UK Government’s trade deal with Australia and the terrible impact it could have on our fantastic local Gower farmers. At a time when we should be supporting British farmers and producers and rebuilding our local economies, the UK Government have decided to pursue a deal that would see our farmers undercut and our animal welfare standards and climate change goals undermined. From speaking to people around the constituency, the public don’t want to buy meat from the other side of the world. We have excellent quality beef and lamb here in the UK, in Wales – why add the carbon footprint from transporting other produce of a lower quality? It makes no sense and I am calling on the UK Government to reconsider and stand behind our fabulous British farmers.
I was able to intervene in the debate on the Environment Bill this week. We are in a climate and ecological emergency, but the Tories are continuing to fail our environment, with air pollution at illegal levels, wildlife in freefall and more communities exposed to catastrophic flooding. The Environmental Audit Committee called the draft Bill a “missed opportunity for taking a holistic approach to environment and climate change, placing them at the heart of Government policy.” In the debate, I suggested that the UK Government would do well to look at the commitments made by the Welsh Government, including the appointment of a Minister for Climate Change.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!