The Post Office Horizon scandal, ensuring cancer professionals can continue their work, Talk Money Week and DIY: SOS at Caswell - Weekly update 14/11/2020
This week, I was pleased to be able to speak in the House of Commons on behalf of all the sub-postmasters who were falsely accused and prosecuted during the Post Office Horizons scandal. Over 900 false prosecutions have led to ruined reputations, destroying families and careers. I called on the UK Government and Minister Paul Scully from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to ensure that there is a judge-led independent inquiry into how such an appalling miscarriage of justice could have been allowed to happen.
I was also pleased to tackle the Health Secretary on his plans to ensure that cancer professionals in England are not redeployed away from cancer care during this second month-long English lockdown, in my role as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer. We have a rising backlog across the United Kingdom and there are worrying signs that many people who have perhaps noticed some symptoms of cancer have not discussed them with their GP, for fear of putting added pressure on the NHS or from the fear of contracting the virus themselves. It is vitally important that we continue to check for the signs of cancer and that if we have any concerns at all, we raise them immediately with our GPs. Our NHS is still there to look after us all and Coronavirus does not mean that other serious illnesses are any less important.
With new figures out from the Office of National Statistics this week showing the rise in unemployment rates across the country, this will be a very difficult period for many. This week it’s Talk Money Week - and we as a nation are notoriously bad at discussing finances! We have to get better – not to be able to boast about how wealthy we are (wishful thinking!) – but to share our difficulties so that we can find the support that we need. It is not shameful to be struggling with finances – the economy has been hit hard and shouldering the pressure alone is incredibly burdensome. Citizens Advice Cymru are there to help and their trained advisers can help with everything from better budgeting to dealing with unpaid bills or debts, to navigating the benefits system. Please, if you are struggling, reach out and know that help is available.
On Thursday, we were able to see the fantastic work of the DIY SOS team and all the amazing volunteers who gave up their time and resources to help Surfability in the Gower. Based in Caswell Bay, Surfability is a fully inclusive surf school that helps children with even the most severe disabilities enjoy the thrills of surfing a wave amid our glorious scenery. This is a fantastic reminder that sport is and should be for everyone – no matter their gender, skill, or physical abilities. It’s about finding something you love doing, with people you get on with, and having fun while keeping fit. Ben Clifford, who founded Surfability, was operating out of an out-of-use bus shelter when he met Nick Knowles at a Pride of Britain Awards ceremony where he had won a community partner award. Along with the beautiful DIY SOS build, he has been given a £120,000 Children In Need grant to help deliver his surf-based activities. If you didn’t watch it on Thursday, catch up! And have your tissues ready – it’s a real tear-jerker!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 increase, 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!