Update on my work in Parliament and the constituency
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News from your local Labour MP

Thank you for reading my February 2016 update on my work in Cardiff Central and in Parliament.

During February my team and I have held 10 advice surgeries for constituents, including specialist weekly immigration clinics and my first ‘Information Fun Day’ in Llanedeyrn. Details of upcoming surgeries are at the bottom of this email. You don't need an appointment for surgeries, please just drop in.

Also, this month in Parliament I led a debate on the Bedroom Tax and Lynx House and spoke in debates on asylum seeker temporary accommodation at Lynx House, on police funding and questioned the Secretary of State for Wales about the Cardiff City Deal.

Office Closure
Please note that the office will be closed for the Easter Weekend on Friday 25th March and Monday 28th March. We will be open as normal on Tuesday 29th March. For emergency contact only, please call 07858 001 304.

Information Fun Day

On Friday 19th February, Jenny Rathbone AM and I hosted our first Information Fun Day at the Powerhouse in Llanedeyrn. The event brought over 20 advice organisations and local services to the Powerhouse in Llanedeyrn during half term, with activities for children and adults alongside.

The day was a huge success. Wood cookie painting, marshmallow toasting, free bike maintenance and healthy cooking tips run by Communities First and Groundwork Wales were a big hit. There was lots of advice and assistance on offer at the event, courtesy of organisations like South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and rescue Service, Cardiff Bus, Citizens Advice Bureau, Speakeasy and Shelter Cymru amongst many others.

Thank you to all the organisations who took part and to the many local residents who came along. I hope to run similar events around the constituency, so please keep an eye out for details on my website, social media and in the local press.
Madhu Khanna-Davies, Chair of the Friends of Rhydpypennau Library group, came to meet me in Parliament this month as part of a national lobby of MPs by library campaigners across the UK. The event was to promote the value of local libraries and the threats to their future because of UK Government budget cuts. We are lucky to have so many fantastic local libraries in Cardiff Central and I have been working with local Councillors, Jenny Rathbone AM and Cardiff Council Cabinet members to seek to protect our library services.
I recently went to meet the team behind the Real Junk Food Café based in Cathays Community Centre. The Junk Food Café uses food items that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets and independent grocers. Instead of simply disposing of the produce, supermarkets and shops from around Cardiff deliver their unused produce to the Real Junk Food Café. The café operates a ‘pay as you feel’ policy, allowing customers to pay according to what they think the food was worth. Volunteers do a fantastic job making delicious meals using food that would otherwise be wasted.   
I also joined local resident Mike Fogg in Llanedeyrn for an impromptu litter pick around the Maelfa. The amount of litter we collected in just a short time – despite Cardiff Council working hard to keep Cardiff tidy – was a real shame. We can all do a bit more to help Keep Cardiff Central Tidy. Please spread the word!
It was fantastic to be able to celebrate the start of the 2016 Six Nations tournament at an event in Parliament. I got to see the Triple Crown and Six Nations trophy together for the first time. Although we started off the tournament with a draw, I’m still hopeful that Sam and the boys will pull out all the stops for the crunch game against England. The aerial shots of the stadium and city centre on television on the night of the French game were incredible and I'm really proud that once again Cardiff Central is showing off its prowess as a great host location for major sporting events.
I joined politicians and campaigners from across Cardiff at Cardiff City Hall to celebrate the saving of Llanishen Reservoir. Local campaigners have been battling away for fifteen years to retain the much-loved beauty spot. The site was drained by Western Power Distribution, forcing the local sailing and angling club to close. But recently, a deal has been agreed with CELSA steel company and Welsh Water to acquire and re-fill the reservoir. This has only been possible through the hard work and determination of dedicated campaigners and local politicians.

In Parliament

Lynx House, Newport Road
Speaking in a debate this month, I raised serious issues surrounding the privately run Home Office temporary accommodation on Newport Road.

Lynx House has been under a lot of scrutiny recently, initially due to the practice of forcing asylum seekers to wear identifying wristbands to access meals, but I have also raised concerns with the Home Office Minister and in the press about overcrowding, unsafe and unsanitary conditions. 

Following a request from the Fire Service, Cardiff Council inspected Lynx House and has issued legal notices requiring enforcement of the maximum numbers of occupants and essential repairs.

I highlighted these issues and the government's failure to robustly monitor and scrutinise these taxpayer-funded private contracts.

I demanded answers from the Immigration Minister to questions I had raised in letters to him and during the debate. I’m pleased to confirm that he has agreed to meet me in March when I will be pressing for a proper response to all the outstanding questions and assurances about the future running of Lynx House.

You can watch my speech here.

Taking a Stand Against the Bedroom Tax
I led a debate on the regional impact of the Bedroom Tax in which I spoke about the impact the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Bedroom Tax is having in Cardiff Central and across Wales. It is costing affected households £3500 during the course of this parliament.

The debate came on the back of the Government’s recent Court of Appeal defeat when judges decided that the Bedroom Tax discriminates against the families of severely disabled children and victims of rape and domestic violence. Shamefully, the Government has decided to appeal against this decision to the Supreme Court.

The Bedroom Tax is an unfair, ill planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families. It doesn’t work, it causes severe hardship and it hits the most vulnerable. The Government need to listen to the public. It’s time for the bedroom tax to be binned.

Watch my speech here.
Cardiff City Deal
I continued to press this month for answers on the Cardiff City Deal. This deal is a fantastic chance for Cardiff to continue its rapid growth and increase investment in the city and surrounding region. 

I continued to press this month for answers on the Cardiff City Deal. This deal is a fantastic chance for Cardiff to continue its rapid growth and increase investment in the city and surrounding region. 

The Welsh Labour Government has pledged £580m for the project.

Last month I asked Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb MP, whether or not the UK Government would match this investment of £580m. I didn’t get an answer so I asked again this month. 

Yet again Stephen Crabb refused to answer my question. There are only so many times he can dodge the question. I’ll try again next month!

You can watch the exchange here.
Debate on Police Funding
The Labour Party secured an opposition day debate on Wednesday 24th February on Police funding and crime and community safety. The debate was well attended by Labour MPs and we challenged the Home Secretary about the impact of Westminster cuts on our police and communities.

36 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales are having their funding slashed. I took the opportunity to raise the £3.5m cuts to South Wales Police in their 2016/17 funding and their obvious effects with the Home Secretary. Police officers have raised their concerns with me directly but the Home Secretary clearly wasn’t interested. She sat there just shaking her head.

Neighbourhood policing is the cornerstone of crime prevention. It enables officers to serve the public, remain vigilant to threats, and gather the most accurate intelligence about terrorism and gain crucial 'local-to-global' intelligence, whether for use in the fight against terror or the fight against child sexual exploitation.

We need more resources to protect neighbourhood policing, not fewer. There’s only one thing that you get for less—and that is less.

Watch the speech here.
Attorney General Questions
On Thursday 25th February I questioned the Solicitor General Robert Buckland MP on the failings of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in delivering adequate levels of care for victims of rape and sexual violence. In its latest review, the Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service found that the care given to victims fell well short of what was is expected. It is clear that the Government needs to do far more to reduce instances of rape and domestic violence, as well as doing more to support victims.

Watch the speech here.

Upcoming Advice Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries around the constituency. All surgeries are drop-in, no appointment is needed.

Every Wednesday, 11am - 12 noon
Immigration Clinic at Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road

Friday 4th March, 4pm - 6pm
Advice surgery at Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road

Friday 11th March, 11am - 12 noon
Advice surgery at St German’s Church Hall, Adamsdown

Friday 18th March, 3.30pm-4.30pm
Advice Surgery at the Powerhouse, Llanedeyrn

Friday 8th April, 4pm - 6pm
Advice surgery at Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road

Full details of upcoming surgeries are listed on my website.

Copyright © 2016 Jo Stevens MP, All rights reserved.

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