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I hope that you've had a good start to 2023.

This is my first report of 2023 and, as always, it covers my work both in Newport East and Severnside and the work I do on your behalf in Westminster. 

The first couple of weeks back in Parliament have been incredibly busy with the government pushing through a number of controversial bills, such as the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill and the EU Retained Law Bill. 

In the constituency it's been busy too; the worrying idling of Liberty and the news that, once again, both Caldicot and Newport have been overlooked in their bids to the Levelling Up Fund. 

In terms of the things I am hearing from constituents, the Cost of Living crisis is still biting hard, with many struggling with bills and keeping the cupboards stocked. If you're worried about this or would like to raise any other issues with me, my team and I are always on hand to support you - please do get in touch if we can help with anything.

You can send me a message by clicking this link.

Read on to find out more about the work I've been doing on your behalf this month, and as always, thank you for your support. 
Hard news for Liberty Steel workers

The news that Liberty Steel will be idling its site in Newport is incredibly hard on the dedicated workforce and their families. The workers have shown utmost professionalism during unstable times for the company and the wider industry over recent years.

Whilst Liberty Steel and their parent company the GFG Alliance have clearly had their issues, last week’s announcement again draws attention to the urgent need for a long-term plan for the steel industry - something which we just haven't seen from the UK Government. Steel is at the heart of communities like ours in Newport East, and should also be placed at the centre of a forward-looking, green industrial strategy; it's an industry we need for our national security and for building the infrastructure of the future.

We need our steel!

I will be working with the trade unions who represent staff to pursue options available to the workforce at this very difficult time, and have also been raising concerns with ministers in Parliament this week in BEIS Questions.  In my question to the Secretary of State for BEIS, Grant Shapps, I asked why the UK Government had been far less supportive than other European governments when it came to supporting the steel sector with energy prices. 

I also featured on BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement to discuss the challenges facing the sector and the need for a strong domestic steel industry – you can listen to my comments here.

During January, I also led a Westminster Hall debate on the contribution of the steel industry on the UK economy. You can read that in full here. 
At the Dispatch Box for Business Questions

I stood in for the Shadow Leader of the House at the first Business Questions of 2023. In my response to the Business Statement from Penny Mordaunt, I criticised the government’s long line of unworkable and impractical bills, including the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, which features clauses that represent a huge government power grab from Parliament
Protecting the right to strike

Earlier this week I voted against the Tories’ regressive Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. This proposed legislation does nothing for public safety – in fact, safety is not mentioned once in the text of the bill – and represents an attack on workers’ rights. It’s yet another distraction tactic from a Tory Government out of ideas and running out of time. In power, we’ll end the Tories’ strikes chaos with a new partnership of cooperation between trade unions, employers and Government - meaning issues are resolved before strikes.
English Football League Parliamentary Briefing

In Parliament this month I chaired an EFL (English Football League) roundtable briefing for MPs representing football clubs in South Wales and South West England. In the meeting we discussed the need for an independent football regulator and improved financial structures in football. I was also pleased to use the opportunity to highlight the great work Newport County are doing as a fan-owned club, and a leading member of the Fair Game coalition.
Many constituents have been in touch regarding the EU Retained Law Bill. Here's what I had to say about in Parliament earlier this month. 

Physician Associates. What's the delay?

Constituents who are Physician Associates have been in touch many times, asking me to press the government on why it's taking so long to publish the public consultation on the draft legislation aimed at enabling the General Medical Council to regulate physician associates and anesthesia associates.

It was promised at the end of 2022, then early 2023, so I asked about it again in Parliament last week - why is this taking so long? 

Tap here to see the answer I received. 

The closure of the Lachin corridor and the humanitarian situation
in Nagorno-Karabakh

Also this month in Parliament, I took part in a debate on the closure of the Lachin Corridor and the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

It’s important that persecution and terrorisation of the Armenian Christian population of Nagorno-Karabakh is met with united, international condemnation. But it’s also important that the UK Government uses its unique leverage as a close diplomatic and trading partner of Azerbaijan in this instance. Our message to Baku must be clear – end this disgraceful, unjustified siege now, and end the wider pattern of repression which so many see as an attempt to drive Armenian Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh out of their historic homeland.

Tap here to see what I had to say. 

Anything I can help with? Get in touch! Tap here to send me an email.

Other January activities in Parliament

Tabled and received responses to written questions on a range of issues including: complaints to the DWP; accommodation for refugees; the Gambling Act White Paper; the Homes for Ukraine scheme; greenhouse gas emissions; electricity prices facing the steel sector; steps to mark the contribution of police officers and other emergency service workers killed in the line of duty; decarbonisation; the Fan-led Review of Football Governance White Paper; the number of gambling adverts on television; the Access To Elected Office Fund; the Energy Bill Relief scheme; the need for regulation of physician associates; government responsiveness to written questions from MPs; and more.

Are you getting all the support you can with the rising cost of living? Click here for my cost of living support guide to check.
Earlier this month, John and I were joined by the Welsh Government Minister for the economy, Vaughan Gething and Community Union's Rob Edwards at our Newport East Labour Party meeting. Ahead of the meeting, we sat down to talk about the steel industry in Newport East and across Wales.
The current Tory government in Westminster has no plan, and perhaps no desire, to ensure that steelmaking in Wales, and across the UK is invested in and protected - it would seem that only Labour has a real plan for steel.
Beer Beer!
One of my first local visits of this year was to meet with Toby - one of the owners of the rather wonderful Anglo Oregon Brewery - the only brewery on the Gwent Levels. 

It was great to catch up with Toby, to hear about the success of their nano-brewery, and to find out more about the inspiration behind some of their beers' names, which include a trio of Gwent Levels-themed beers, a Chartist trilogy with artwork by Josh Cranton, and a Newport Ship beer. 
Community Cohesion Event in Newport
Last week, I joined community members, other local politicians, The High Sheriff and the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent with the Islamic Society for Wales to celebrate and talk about community cohesion. It was a wonderful event which I'm so glad to have been a part of. 
Reuse or recycle

Just before the end of last year, Ruth and I visited the Reuse Centre in Maindee to hear about their computer recycling which, by the way, is brilliant.
They take old laptops and desktops, and either recycle them or refresh them for sale.
If they’re to be resold, and old data is completely destroyed - it’s completely wiped.
The computer is rebuilt and it’s then resold at a price that means someone can pick up a piece of tech on a budget.
If the device isn’t able to be refreshed it’s taken apart, all bits are kept for use in repairs or recycled, and the hard drive is destroyed, meaning that nothing goes to landfill.
Hit the link for more information
Find a round-up of Newport East's Warm Hubs here
Campaigning with Catherine
Earlier this month, I joined the Monmouth Labour Parliamentary candidate for the next General Election for a spot of campaigning. Catherine Fookes  is a fabulous candidate and I look forward to supporting her and helping her to win the Monmouth seat from the Tories. 
Is your passport holiday-ready? Tap here to find out more
Supporting and working with local businesses

Earlier in the month, I took part in an event promoting the Disability Confident Scheme with the DWP at Rodney Parade. It was great to catch up with local businesses and to hear about how this scheme is encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people.
To find out more about this scheme, click here. 

Following that event, last week, I hosted another business event, this time with Nat West. The round-table event focused on how they're finding the current climate, how they're recovering post-Covid and on what support they felt they might be able to benefit from. It was a really worth while and I'll be following up on many of the conversations over the coming months and weeks. 
Book an appointment for my next surgery by clicking here

Since January 1st, my team has dealt with more than 250 pieces of new casework - up 25% compared to the same timeframe last year.

As you can imagine the Cost of Living and the government's attack on the right to strike have been pretty high on the agenda, but we are also seeing lots of issues with Immigration (with one constituent still waiting on an initial asylum application interview after almost three years!), and pensions - particularly from those who have deferred their state pension. The WordCloud below highlights the range of topics we have been contacted about. 

As always, if there's anything my team and I can help with, we are on hand. Please use the contact information at the bottom of this update should you need to get in touch.
Jessica Morden is promoted by Deborah Davies, on behalf of Newport Labour, both at Ringland Labour Club, Ringland Circle, Newport, NP19 9PS.
Copyright © 2023 Jessica Morden MP, All rights reserved.

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