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

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

During April my team and I have held 11 advice surgeries for constituents, including specialist weekly immigration clinics. Details of upcoming surgeries are at the bottom of this email. You don't need an appointment for surgeries, please just drop in.

In Parliament I raised the lack of action by the Government and HMRC on tax evasion with the Attorney General, planned civil service job cuts in Cardiff with the Business and Skills Minister and opt-out (presumed consent) organ donation legislation with the Prime Minister.

Also this month I voted in favour of allowing 3000 unaccompanied refugee children into the UK. Sadly the vote was lost because only a handful of Tory MPs supported us. I was very disappointed that the UK Government refused to provide sanctuary for these children at risk of trafficking, violence and death.
MP for a Week

I took part in the House of Commons #MPforaweek campaign last week. This was an opportunity for MPs to use social media to share what we do day to day. Lots of MPs took part and I had some interesting conversations with constituents about what I do in Parliament and here in Cardiff Central.

I have created a Storify story of all my content from the week. Click here to read it and see what I got up to.
Out and About
I was pleased to join Cardiff Students' Union President Claire Blakeway, university staff and other students, at the launch of the union's new campaign to tackle 'lad culture' on Cardiff University's campuses. The NUS defines lad culture as 'a group or 'pack' mentality residing in activities such as sport and heavy alcohol consumption and 'banter' which is often sexist, misogynist and homophobic'. This new campaign strategy is aiming to change both the culture and behaviour in Cardiff University to create campuses that are safe and inclusive for all students.
I joined representatives from Unison trade union in Parliament this month at the launch of their campaign to make the Water industry a 'Living Wage Sector'. Unison is calling on water companies to become Living Wage employers. I have long campaigned for the Living Wage - which provides people a properly calculated hourly rate of pay sufficient to live on. I was pleased to hear that Welsh Water is discussing accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation.
I visited Rhydypenau Primary School in Cyncoed earlier this month. I was given a fantastic tour of the school by pupils Ruth and Ben before meeting with members of the school council to find out about their role on the council and to answer their questions about being an MP. I heard all about their election campaigns and I reckon there were definitely a couple of budding MPs amongst them.
Also this month I attended the Rotary Champion of Change awards. Alison Sutherland, from Cardiff Central, won the award for our region for her voluntary work with asylum seekers and refugees including organising community litter picks. I was honoured to help present Alison with her award alongside the Minister for Civil Society.
I had a very warm welcome in Adamsdown at a unique refugee project run by Taff Housing earlier this month. I listened to very powerful accounts of what residents had fled from in their home countries and about their aspirations for the future. Without exception, they told me they had received support and a warm welcome from people in Cardiff and one resident has already learnt some Welsh. We also had a bit of a chat about football and a kick about in the back garden! 

In Parliament

Investigatory Powers Bill Committee
This month I have been scrutinising the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) with my Labour colleague Keir Starmer QC. We have been working through the 233 clauses of this extremely complex Bill and challenging the Government Minister and Solicitor General.

I have some serious concerns about key areas of the Bill including the lack of privacy protection, the operational case for bulk powers, judicial authorisation, the protection of sensitive material, internet connection records and their storage. It is essential that new legislation governing investigatory powers by the security services, police and other public strikes the right balance for our privacy, security and democracy.

Speaking up for Cardiff Insolvency Service Staff
Cardiff civil servants working in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and their trade union are extremely concerned about planned job cuts, particularly to the Insolvency Service following a leaked set of documents setting out proposals to axe hundreds of jobs in Cardiff.  

I have seen the leaked report that sets out up 40% job cuts, way beyond the numbers asked for by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his spending review. I called on Ministers to justify their plans in a debate on Tata steel, in Welsh questions and on the collapse of BHS. I will continue to press the Government on this. 

Click here to find out more.
PMQs: David Cameron refuses to match the Welsh Labour commitment on opt-out organ donation
On 13th April I asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about whether he would support the campaign I am part of, for 'opt-out' (presumed consent) organ donation law across the rest of the UK, following ground breaking law passed here in Wales last year. 
 
The Prime Minister said he didn't personally support the campaign. He prefers improving the organ donor registration system but didn't explain how. He wrote to me afterwards reiterating his position. I hope he reconsiders. I am working with other MPs who support the campaign and will keep you posted on progress.

You can watch my question to the Prime Minister here.
Justice Questions
I asked the Justice Secretary to stop talking and start acting on tackling the prison crisis following yet another critical report from the Chief Inspector of Prisons stating that prisoners were being kept in their cells for 23 hours a day. A similar report on Wormwood Scrubs revealed high levels of overcrowding, vermin and violence.

You can watch the exchange here.
Attorney General Questions
Tax evasion and abuse concerns many constituents so I questioned Attorney General Jeremy Wright about the Government's woeful performance on tackling tax evasion. Following the Panama Papers, Labour has forced the Prime Minister to come clean on his tax affairs and got HMRC to admit that there have been just 11 prosecutions in the past 5 years for tax avoidance. Thank you to everyone who contacted me about the issue.

Click here to watch the exchange.
Trade Union Bill Back in the Commons
The Trade Union Bill was back in the House of Commons this week for MPs to debate and vote on the amendments to the Bill that the House of Lords have passed. I was pleased that, thanks to hard work and campaigning by the trade union and Labour movement, we were able to get the Government to agree to significant changes to the Bill. However, there is a lot left in the Bill that will prevent millions of trade union members from being able to organise and campaign and we couldn't defeat the Bill as a whole because of the Government's majority. No Tory MPs were willing to rebel.

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

Friday 13th May, 11am - 12 noon
Advice surgery at St German's Church Hall, Adamsdown

Friday 20th May, 2pm - 3pm
Advice Surgery at Rhydypennau Library, Cyncoed

Saturday 21st May, 10am - 11am
Advice surgery with Plasnewydd Councillors at Penylan Library

Saturday 21st May, 11am - 12 noon
Advice surgery with Cathays Councillors at Cathays Library

Friday 27th April, 3.30pm - 4.30pm
Advice surgery at the Powerhouse, Llanedeyrn

Full details of upcoming surgeries are listed on my website.

Copyright © 2016 Jo Stevens MP, All rights reserved.


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