Rhun’s Week – 19-23/7/21

Interview for Dros Frecwast

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Cymru’s Dros Frecwast to discuss the Welsh Government’s announcement that all NHS staff in Wales will receive a 3% pay rise. We’ve seen year on year real wage cuts within the health service, and we need some way of bringing levels back to what they were.

Farm Visits

I had talks with the Island’s Agricultural Unions – an opportunity to discuss topical agriculture issues with Union members at Trewyn farm and Tregynrig Farm. Some of the points discussed were NVZs, Broadband, TB on Anglesey. Talks about Solar Panels and Freeports were also discussed and I will act on these conversations.

Marie Curie event

I chaired the ‘Dying Well in Wales Lecture & Discussion Series’ event for Marie Curie. Kings College London was there and we had an update on the Marie Curie End of Life Program.

MônFM

I recorded my weekly bulletin which is broadcast on MônFM weekly, every Friday at 8pm – tune in!

Surgery

Like every week, I held my surgery to give people the opportunity to voice their problems or concerns and to offer them a solution or help.

Constituents

With the help of my team, I answered many emails and phone calls of several constituents throughout the week.

Reminded

The sun has been shining throughout the week, but I reminded people on social media to enjoy Anglesey and Wales safely! Although the rules are relaxed in England, rules here in Wales are different.

“Not good enough” that 1 in 4 patients do not start cancer treatment within the target 62 days

Rhun ap Iorwerth’s response to NHS waiting lists, and cancer waiting times

 

Responding to the latest figures from Welsh Government which show that 600,000 patients are on NHS Wales waiting lists, and that 1 in 4 patients do not start cancer treatment within the target 62 days, spokesperson for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“It’s been pointed out how much waiting lists have grown during the pandemic, but the truth is that these were already too high before the pandemic. Simply returning to ‘pre pandemic normal’ is not good enough.

 

“To turn things around, the Labour Welsh Government must introduce a concrete, ambitious recovery plan, that puts NHS Wales in a better position than we were at the start of the pandemic. This must include a workforce strategy to attract and retain health and care workers.

 

“As a matter of urgency, the plan must prioritise early cancer diagnosis, bringing the undiagnosed into the system and providing effective care for those patients in later stages of cancer who will need more complex treatments.”

RHUN AP IORWERTH MS RE-ELECTED AS CHAIR OF THE CROSS-PARTY GROUP ON DIGITAL

At the first Cross Party Group on Digital meeting in the sixth Senedd last week, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS was re-elected as Chair with M-Sparc re-elected as the CPG secretariat.

The meeting was attended by Members of the Senedd of all parties along with other organisations from the digital sector, and M-SParc took the opportunity to officially launch the Agri-Tech cluster in the Wales-wide forum. The Cross-Party Group was established to ensure that the nation is well-placed to benefit from the opportunities of the digital sector. The AgriTech Cluster promotes collaboration and innovation in a high-growth sector with economic benefits for the region.

In 2020 the UK invested £24 Million in AgriTech projects, leading to many exciting technological innovations in the agricultural sector, and the launch of the AgriTech Cluster will ensure north Wales can capitalise on this, helping the sector grow in the region.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said :

“I’m delighted to be re-elected as Chair of the Cross-Party group on Digital. I’m keen to ensure that Wales is well placed to benefit socially and economically from the sector, and the Cross-Party Group provides an opportunity for those innovating in the sector and those with an interest in driving the sector forward to come together to discuss ideas and share best practice.”

Menai Science Park Managing Director Pryderi ap Rhisiart said:

“To be re-elected as Secretariat of the Cross-Party Group for Digital in Wales is a very exciting opportunity for M-SParc to be involved in helping to move the digital agenda forward in Wales, collaborating with elected officials and a wide range of experts at the forefront of this field.”

“We are involved in many groups and projects in this sector and feel there is a ‘movement’ developing which we in north Wales can lead from the front on. There are clear opportunities in Digital in Wales across a range of sectors but there are challenges to overcome as well, and this gives us a platform to discuss those challenges and how best to build on the opportunities.”

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added: “I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the AgriTech cluster project and its aims – it is the exact type of collaborative working that we need to ensure that the sector grows here in north Wales, and I’m excited to see it develop. “

Rhun’s Week – 12-16/7/21

COVID-19 UPDATE
I responded to the Government’s Covid-19 update. Overall I was pleased that the Government agreed with my calls for the regulation of mask wearing to remain in place. But I called for clarity on the measure the Welsh Government will use when the time comes to confirm the relaxation on the 7th of August.

Border Control Infrastructure
I asked the Welsh Government for an urgent statement on the developments at Holyhead port – we now know that HMRC has bought the Roadking truck stop, where people are going to lose their jobs – there is a clear lack of transparency and communication from HMRC. I hear that the Welsh Government may be moving their development from Parc Cybi to the Roadking development. The community of Holyhead and the people of Anglesey need to know what is happening as a matter of urgency.

CPG – Digital in Wales
I was re-elected chair of the Cross-Party Group on Digital in Wales. The group re-elected Menai Science Park as Secretariat and took the opportunity to launch AgriTech which is the use of technology and technological innovation to improve the efficiency and output of agricultural processes. That is, applying technology to improve all elements of the farming and growing processes.

Health
I met with the deputy minister for mental health to discuss Plaid Cymru’s vision of establishing mental health hubs for young people across Wales. We also had the first meeting of the Health Committee in the 6th Senedd this week.

Jobs at stake at RAF Valley 
I spoke on Radio Cymru to discuss my concern at hearing that 70 jobs are at risk of being lost at the Royal Air Force site in Valley according to Unite Union.
I will be writing urgently to the Ministry of Defence for more information on their commitment to the affected staff.

Meetings
I had a number of meetings during the week including meetings with MônCF, Natural Resources Wales, Cerebral Palsy Wales, NFU Cymru and FSB on small businesses.

Facebook Live
Another Monday night and another Facebook Live session. Shorter session this week, but it was nice to catch up with constituents again this week to discuss issues arising around the pandemic or any other issue.

MônFM
I recorded my weekly bulletin which is broadcast on MônFM weekly, every Friday at 8pm – tune in!

Surgery
Like every week, I held my surgery to give people the opportunity to voice their problems or concerns and to offer them a solution or help.

Constituents
With the help of my team, I answered many constituents’ emails and phone calls throughout the week.

Abuse towards hospitality staff is “wholly unacceptable” says Ynys Môn MS.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has condemned abuse to hospitality staff, following a string of concerns that have been posted online by local hospitality businesses in recent weeks. Dylan’s, a North Wales restaurant chain, turned to social media this week to express the distress caused to their staff following “verbal and physical” abuse at their three North Wales restaurants.

 

He has previously called out abuse on supermarket and retail staff who have echoed concerns during the pandemic.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, has offered his support to sector staff who are working tirelessly under continued Covid-19 regulations. He said:

 

“The abuse that staff at Dylan’s and many other hospitality workers have had to face during the pandemic is utterly shameful. They are operating under strict guidelines to keep their customers and themselves safe, and deserve nothing but praise for that – even if it does mean that you are having to wait slightly longer for your food and drink.

 

“I’ve worked in a bar myself, you work hard to try to give the best service you can under normal circumstances, so it’s not a lot to ask customers to be patient and courteous whilst they continue to operate in circumstances that are far from normal. It’s wholly unacceptable that a small majoirty of people feel the need to abuse staff, verbally and physically at what is a busy time for these businesses, who are trying to get back on their feet following months of lockdown. The same applies for staff working in retail and those key workers who have provided essential services over the last year. Abusive behaviour must be condemned and called out on.”

 

He added:

 

“The pandemic has been hard for everyone, but abusing staff is never the answer – we rely on them, and they deserve our respect.”

MORE COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPARENCY NEEDED ON HOLYHEAD POST-BREXIT PLANS

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS calls on Welsh Government for urgent clarification on their Border Control infrastructure.

 

The Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn has called on Welsh Government for an urgent statement on their plans for post-Brexit Border Control infrastructure in Holyhead, set to be in place to facilitate checks on EU goods at the end of the year. In recent weeks, it has come to light that HMRC have failed to identify an alternative site for their new customs post in Holyhead and have therefore proceeded with the purchase of Roadking Truckstop, resulting in the loss of 24 jobs.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth stressed that the lack of transparency and communication from HMRC on their plans emphasised the importance of informing the community of Holyhead and the people of Anglesey on Welsh Government’s plans for the new Border Control post.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

 

“I’ve called on Welsh Government for an urgent statement on borders infrastructure in the port of Holyhead. There are parts of the infrastructure that are the responsibility of the Welsh Government and parts that are the responsibility of the UK Government. Clarification is needed – I’ve had enough of the lack of transparency and communication from HMRC, and am yet to receive a response from them following the recent understanding that they have purchased the Roadking truck stop, where people will be losing their jobs.

 

“We need to know exactly what the position of the Welsh Government is on this. What discussions have Ministers had with the UK Government on jobs and assurances for people working in Roadking now, in terms of getting jobs in the new tolls development? Will they be able to move immediately there without a break in their employment? What will happen to the lorries that have been parking in Roadking? It’s such an important resource, as part of the port infrastructure.

 

“I’ve also heard that the Welsh Government is moving the development that was being prepared from Parc Cybi into the Roadking development. The community of Holyhead and the people of Anglesey need to know what is happening as a matter of urgency.”

 

Lesley Griffiths MS, Trefnydd, responded to Rhun ap Iorwerth’s statement in the Welsh Government’s Business and Statement Announcement, and said:

 

“I’m sure the Member is aware that the Welsh Government was brought very late to the party by the UK Government in relation to the borders infrastructure that is going to be needed, both in Holyhead and, obviously, in south-west Wales. The Minister for Economy is leading on this area, and I know he’s currently looking at some advice around this. I will ask him to bring forward a written statement when he has more information to share with Members.”

Rhun’s Week – 9/7/21

Holyhead Free Port

I asked the Welsh Government to undertake work on the economic impact of free ports. All options for new opportunities for the port of Holyhead need to be considered, for many years I have explored the possibilities of creating a free port. But it needs to be very clear about potential advantages and disadvantages.

Webinar

I joined the Anglesey Alaw Solar Farm webinar, I will be looking closely at developments over the coming weeks.

Plenary meeting

In rejecting a specific inquiry into Wales, the spotlight on what has happened in Wales is inevitably weakened. I called in the Senedd for a specific inquiry into how the Welsh Government has dealt with the pandemic.

Health

I asked about health service recovery, referring to several areas. It’s worrying to think of thousands of people — over 4,000 according to Macmillan — who may not have had a proper cancer diagnosis. But I am concerned, of course, that what has happened in the last year is to amplify an existing problem, and one problem we had in cancer services was the lack of workers to diagnose patients.

I’m really worried about young people, right now, as restrictions are lifted. From my role as co-chair of the Long COVID cross-party group, I see a surprisingly high proportion of the people I talk to who have fallen ill through their work in health and care. I want to know what the Government is going to do to support them.

 IIGA – 5k Challenge

I participated in the IIGA 5k challenge which was virtual this year. My time running the 5k was 00:27:26 and I encourage many more to take part in the challenge.

Wales’ Trains

I met with the Chief Executive of Transport for Wales to discuss two issues that many constituents have raised, the temporary closure of Valley and Llanfairpwll stations during the pandemic and the issue of congested trains on the north Wales line.

I expressed my disappointment that Valley and Llanfairpwll stations had closed since the start of the pandemic. Transport for Wales told me that they are still looking for a solution to this issue, including improved PPE equipment and training. In the meantime, they have made available a ‘call a cab‘ option for passengers who want to travel from these stations to the nearest station to get on train services. I had an interview with the BBC about this issue.

Facebook Live
Another Monday night and another Facebook Live session. Shorter session this week, but it was good to catch up with constituents again this week to discuss issues arising about the pandemic or any other issue.

MônFM
I recorded my weekly bulletin which is broadcast on MônFM weekly, every Friday at 8pm – tune in!

Surgery
Like every week, I held my surgery to give people the opportunity to voice their problems or concerns and to offer them a solution or help.

Constituents
With the help of my team, I answered many constituents’ emails and phone calls throughout the week.

Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth meets with Transport for Wales’ Chief

 

Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth has met with Transport for Wales’ Chief Executive to discuss two issues that several constituents have raised with him and that continues to be a matter of frustration for Rhun – the temporary closure of Valley and Llanfairpwll stations during the pandemic and the issue of overcrowded trains on the north Wales line.

 

Rhun expressed his disappointment that both Valley and Llanfairpwll stations have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic.  Transport for Wales told the Ynys Môn MS that they were still looking for a solution to this issue, including improved PPE and training for guards.  In the meantime, they have made a ‘call a cab’ option available for passengers who wish to travel from these stations to the nearest station to board train services.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “I am astounded that in more than a year, no solution could be found that kept staff safe but that also allowed the service to do what it’s there to do, which is to pick passengers up and drop them off at stations!”

 

Another issue that a number of constituents had contacted Rhun about was the overcrowding of trains on the north Wales line.  TfW told him that they were looking at options that would help such as volunteer guards to walk down the train.

 

Speaking after the meeting, Rhun said: “Even though they said that compliance in terms of mask wearing etc has been quite good, they agreed with me that there needed to be better messaging, especially after the UK Government’s announcement this week and the confusion that may cause for travellers travelling between England and Wales.  They also told us that new trains are being used for driver training at the moment, and once they’re available, that should be a boost for the service.”

 

“I will continue to press for these changes and I appreciate all of those who have been in touch with me to share their recent experiences on the trains.”

Rhun’s Week – 2/7/21

Plenary

I responded to the Prime Minister’s statement on reforming the union today, saying that the key question the First Minister should be asking is how can the interests of Wales, and the interests of the people of Wales best be protected in the future, how could we build a nation that is best able to meet the aspirations of the people of Wales, who can plan for a fairer, fuller, more open and prosperous future.

CPG – Coeliac

I was elected Chair of the Cross Party Group on Coeliac this week.

Meeting

I had a number of meetings this week including a meeting with the RCN, M-SParc, Golwg 360 and meeting with HSBC to call on banks to come up with ideas such as community hubs for non-branch or former branch locations .

Driving the Future Event – M-SParc

At the end of last week, I visited M-SParc to visit their future driving events which focused on how vehicles and green transport were developing. It was a great event and a chance for me to see all kinds of brand new technology.

Tŷ Gobaith Visit

I had the pleasure of visiting Tŷ Gobaith to visit the team there, I was guided around the place by Angharad and the team who did an amazing job there. Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Elective Surgery

After writing to the Health Board earlier this month calling on them to detail what action they will take to address the extensive waiting lists, following an announcement by them that they will resume elective surgery. I received a response detailing how they intend to address waiting times across the Health Board.

Follow this link to read their response – https://www.rhunapiorwerth.cymru/startback…/

Dementia Friend

I and my team received training from Alzheimer’s Wales. We can therefore say that we continue to be a Dementia friendly team. Many thanks to them for the great training.

Facebook Live

It was really nice to catch up with constituents again this week to discuss issues arising around the pandemic or any other issue.

MônFM

I recorded my weekly bulletin which is broadcast on MônFM weekly, every Friday at 8pm – tune in!

Surgery

Like every week, I held my surgery to give people the opportunity to voice their problems or concerns and to offer them a solution or help.

Constituents

With the help of my team, I answered many constituents’ emails and phone calls throughout the week.