You may have been feeling as unsettled as me over the last week if you’ve been following events in America. In the Assembly this week we debated the Annual Equality report for 2015-16. I’m proud to say that Labour is the party of equality. It was a Labour government that introduced the Race Relations Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, new rights for disabled people and changed the law to allow same sex civil partnerships. Equality and inclusion are at the heart of the Welsh Government’s decision making process. Labour is committed to social justice and equality of opportunity for all.
Equality of opportunity also means we need good education and good employment opportunities. The economic challenges for rural Wales are many and varied. The Welsh Government have a number of strategies to enhance the economy. There is a sector-specific approach in addition to a place-based approach founded on the City Region model. There is however no strategy which specifically covers vast areas of rural Wales. As I’ve travelled round the region, I’ve been meeting businesses and listening to the views of community leaders. It’s really important, especially with the Brexit vote, that we start working on a new model that delivers better for rural Wales building on our traditional industries and looking ahead to the future.
This week you’ll have heard lots of talk about schools in the news. The latest school categorisation figures have highlighted those schools still needing the most support. I’m speaking to the regional school improvement body today and will be visiting schools round the region in the weeks ahead. I know that there is plenty of really good work happening at schools right across the region, so I look forward to sharing that so that our young people get the best start to their education.
There are already ideas to share about keeping our health services as local to communities as possible. Hywel Dda Health Board’s decision to create a Primary and Community ‘Walk-in’ Nurse led service at Tenby Hospital, following a successful pilot in the town last year, is good news. It’s welcome and right that this work will include members of the local community to develop a service that meets local expectation and visitor need.
If you’d like to share a comment or get in touch with me over a local issue of concern, call my regional office on 01437 765588.