There are many opportunities for an AM to raise issues on behalf of constituents. One of those is during questions to Welsh Government Ministers in the Assembly Chamber.
Quite often, you know before you ask a question that you’re not about to get an issue resolved, but it’s important nonetheless to raise that issue in order to put it on the Government’s radar. Sometimes, however, things move on directly as a result of questions asked.
I’ve raised the issue of broadband on Anglesey many times, the last time being after a Government statement earlier this month on the successor of the Superfast Cymru programme. I highlighted the fact that despite the Government being able to point to good statistics on the overall performance of the Superfast programme, in rural Wales, the experience often doesn’t match the stats.
The truth is that the easiest places to get to have been connected first, and there are plenty of them, so the % of properties connected appears very high. In rural Anglesey, I said, there were entire communities still waiting, and the experience here has been of a system that “isn’t fast, and certainly isn’t Super.”
As I say, I’ve raised the issue many times, but this time the Minister said “OK, let me come and see for myself.” Hallelujah! The upshot is that the Minister for Skills and Science will come to Anglesey in the new year, and I’ll try to paint a picture for her of some of the connection issues we face. I’ll keep you posted on the results, but this is an example of a case where if you keep plugging away, you can get Government to listen. The next step is to turn listening to action
Other issues I’ve raised in the Assembly over the past few weeks include the need to help and support armed service veterans, how we can ensure that we can keep and attract key workers to the NHS from outside the UK after we leave the EU, and the preparedness of our NHS for the winter months. I also used a short 90-second statement to draw attention to the new Blood Bikes service, where volunteers deliver life-saving products between hospitals helping provide vital treatments, and saving a fortune for the NHS.
In the constituency it’s been busy too, and I’d like to thank in particular all those who came to a very lively public meeting I held in Amlwch.