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

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

During October my team and I have held 10 advice surgeries for constituents, including specialist weekly immigration clinics. Details of forthcoming surgeries are at the bottom of this email. You don't need an appointment for surgeries, please just drop in.

This month I was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and a member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet. As always you, my constituents in Cardiff Central, remain my highest priority and I will continue to work hard in representing and helping you, being accessible and visible.
Out and About
I attended the Cardiff and Vale College Annual Awards Evening. I was privileged to be present at a fantastic evening of entertainment performed and produced by CAVC students, and the vast range of achievements of students at the college was extremely impressive.
I've long been a supporter of Show Racism the Red Card, who work to educate young people in schools across the UK about what racism is and how to challenge and eradicate it. My team and I were proud to support the #WearRedDay campaign to stop this.
I had my flu jab at Westminster Flu Day this month. In addition to getting MPs to have their photos taken having a flu jab, the day exists to raise awareness of the need to make sure eligible patients get their flu jab each winter. If you need to get your flu jab, or you're not sure if you are eligible, contact your GP as soon as possible. Click here for more information.
I attended the memorial service marking 50 years since the Aberfan disaster with the local community, including survivors of the disaster and Welsh politicians. It was a very moving ceremony, marked by the minute's silence at 9.15am. I continue to be  amazed by the strength and resilience of the Aberfan community in the face of such tragedy.
I took part in the first litter pick and launch of Keep Cathays Tidy. Local Councillors Chris Weaver, Sarah Merry and Sam Knight were joined by local residents, the President of Cardiff Students' Union and a huge team from Al Manar Centre to clear litter from the Senghennydd Road area. Keep Adamsdown Tidy and Keep Penylan Tidy have also recently launched. Look out for events in your area on my website.
I visited the Big Issue offices in Cardiff. It was great to find out more about how they work with people who are facing homelessness or who are marginalised in other ways to provide training, support and activities. I also met vendor Maurice who has benefited hugely not just from selling the Big Issue, but from activities organised by the Big Issue team in Cardiff.
I joined thousands of people from Roath and beyond at the 2016 Made in Roath festival this month. The festival covers a huge area including Plasnewydd, Penylan and Adamsdown with work and projects by artists of every style. I also enjoyed the Blas food festival at the Mackintosh Centre.
I was also pleased to visit the Madni Community Centre this month with Councillor Ali Ahmed. A new centre is currently being built in Cathays and will be a fantastic facility for the local community.

In Parliament

Cardiff University Breakfast

This month I hosted a breakfast seminar with the Cardiff University and their Welsh Governance Centre on the impact that leaving the European Union will have on higher education in Wales. MP’s from all parties and areas of Wales attended.

The discussion covered a wide range of issues including the international students and Government immigration policy, the Diamond Review and Cardiff University’s recent innovation and research achievements.

The Wales Governance Centre, took us through some post referendum Welsh polling and an outline of the legal steps that will be required to exit the EU. 

Although the vote in Wales and the UK as a whole was in favour of leaving the EU, the majority vote in Cardiff Central and Cardiff wide was to remain. I will continue to support and fight for my constituents' views to be heard in the decision making about both the approach to the negotiations and the negotiations themselves that will lead to eventual exit.

WASPI Petition

On 11 October I presented a petition in the House of Commons on behalf of Cardiff Central constituents during which petitions were presented from 199 other constituencies across the UK.

The 200 petitions called on the Government to provide fair transitional arrangements for 1950s-born women who are being hit by changes to the state pension age.

The UK-wide petition was launched by the campaign group WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality). My petition was started at the recent protest held by WASPI campaigners from across Wales outside the Senedd.

The changes to the State Pension Age for women were started by the Conservative Government in 1995. In 2011, the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition Government accelerated the changes to the State Pension Age, increasing it for a second time for women who were born after 6th April 1950. The women who are worst affected have seen their State Pension Age increase from 60 to 66 years.

Many of the women received little or no notification, leaving little or no time to make savings or put plans in place. This has caused uncertainty, worry and financial hardship.

I have been campaigning alongside the women affected, speaking about the unfairness and supporting and attending in national and local days of action.

I hope the Government will finally listen and put fair transitional arrangements in place. These women have suffered great hardship solely because of their date of birth. They deserve better. 

Respecting Shopworkers

I joined retail union Usdaw on their annual Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff. The shop workers union, Usdaw, highlight the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14 to 20 November.
Too often, shop-workers are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public. It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.

Wales Questions

This month I was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and have joined the Shadow Cabinet. It's been a very busy month because as well as appointing a new Shadow Wales Team, I have been working with the Welsh Labour Peers in the House of Lords on the Wales Bill, meeting with First Minister Carwyn Jones regularly and catching up with our Labour Assembly Members. I've also met with key Welsh organisations and I had my first appearance at the despatch box as Shadow Secretary of State for Wales in Wales Questions.

I took the opportunity to start Wales Questions by paying tribute to the spirit and resilience of the people of Aberfan, 50 years on from that terrible disaster. Later the same day, the Prime Minister and the Labour Leader gave their marks of respect during Prime Minister's Questions.

During Wales Questions I asked the Government Minister why there had been a delay, and so far a refusal, to accelerate funding for feasibility work on the expansion of Cardiff Central Rail Station. This is all the more concerning because the £106m EU funding for the South Wales Metro has not been guaranteed to be replaced by the Government. The Government has invested in expansion and improvements to Birmingham and Edinburgh stations but not in Wales.

I also questioned the Minister on his and his Government's plan, four months on from the EU referendum result, to secure the jobs, trade and investment Wales receives as an EU member to include replacement funding.

Wales and the UK are facing unprecedented uncertainty whilst the Government dithers and refuses to provide Parliament with any information about its priorities and allows us to properly scrutinise them before Article 50 is triggered. 

Other Parliamentary News

My team and I have been helping many Cardiff Central families who have not received their tax credits due because of chaos inside Concentrix, the private company who were awarded the contract to assess and pay tax credits. Following pressure by Labour, the Government will bring the contract back in-house to HMRC next year and accepted Labour's call for a full inquiry into Concentrix's abysmal performance.

This month I also welcomed to Parliament Tracy Brabin, Labour MP for Batley and Spen. Tracy won the by-election brought about following the murder of my friend Jo Cox MP. I know Tracy will represent the community of Batley and Spen with the same dedication that Jo did.

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 November 11am - 12 noon Llanedeyrn
Churches Together Shop, Maelfa, Llanedeyrn CF23 9PL

Friday 11th November 4pm - 6pm Roath
Constituency Office, 116 Albany Road, CF24 3RU

Saturday 19th November 10am - 11am Penylan
Penylan Library, Penylan Road, CF23 5HW

Saturday 19th November 11am - 12noon Cathays
Cathays Library, Fairoak Road, CF24 4PW

More dates to be added. Full details of upcoming surgeries are listed on my website.

Copyright © 2016 Jo Stevens MP, All rights reserved.

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