Thank you for reading my August newsletter.

I hope you, your friends and family are safe and well and you had a good bank holiday weekend. 

This month has been dominated by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as the Taliban have retaken control of the country. My team and I have been working tirelessly to get as many Cardiff Central constituents (and their families) to safety as we can. Parliament is still in summer recess - so I've spent most of August out delivering my annual reports across Cardiff Central, and enjoying constituency visits. 

My team and I remain on hand to help with any queries you may have, about Afghanistan or otherwise. If you need some help with an issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the details at the bottom of this email.


Everyone will have seen the horrific situation that has unfolded in Afghanistan over the past few weeks as the Talban have taken control of the country. This terrible humanitarian crisis affecting so many people, adults and children, has shocked us all.

My team and I have been trying to help get evacuated, several hundred adults and children who are either from Cardiff Central, or are relatives of Cardiff Central residents who are in significant danger. There are two schemes in place announced by the UK Government, but only one is properly functioning at the moment which is the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Programme (ARAP) for relocating and resettling Afghan interpreters and their families who have supported the British mission in Afghanistan. Details of the second scheme promised by the Prime Minister (although limited to just 5,000 people this year) are still awaited.

The actions of the Prime Minister and his Government have demonstrated a monumental failure of leadership and accountability in my view. To learn this weekend that over 5000 urgent emails on behalf of desperate constituents that my office and other MPs offices had sent specifically on the instruction of the Foreign Secretary hasn’t even been opened and read exacerbated an already dreadful situation.
For any constituents or family members needing assistance please email me at [email protected] with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Home Office reference number
  • Passport / travel document number
  • Have they already obtained a visa
  • Do they have a visa application pending (if so, please provide the reference)
  • Individual(s)’ contact details:
  • Family member’s job title or profession if this is what’s putting them at risk (e.g. government worker, interpreter etc):

Please note that Foreign Office information for British nationals and their families is available on the Gov.UK website here.

COVID-19 Update

Current Case Rates

Current case rates in Wales have begun to rise once again – the current weekly case rate is now above 300 cases per 100,000 people again, but due to high levels of vaccination, hospitalisations remain stable and relatively low. The Welsh Government have now invited every 16 and 17 year old to have their first dose of the vaccine.

Wales has now moved fully to Alert Level 0. This means there is no current limit on gatherings, either indoor or outdoors. Masks are being retained on public transport and in shops, and the Welsh Government are asking you to wear one where practical in hospitality settings.

You can see the Welsh Labour Government’s full plan for the weeks ahead here. Here’s a reminder of the current rules in place:

Walk-in Vaccinations at Bayside MVC

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board are now holding walk-ins for first and second* doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Bayside Mass Vaccination Centre and Holm View Leisure Centre in Barry.

You can attend either site between 8.30am and 7.30pm, Monday - Sunday.

You can walk in if:
💉 You have not had your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, are aged 18 and over and live or work in Cardiff and the Vale
💉 You are due your *second dose of Oxford AstraZeneca and it has been at least 8 weeks since your first dose
*Please note the Centres are unable to offer second dose walk ins for Pfizer so you will be contacted directly.

Advice for Those Previously Shielding

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton has written out to those who were previously shielding with advice and guidance on staying safe as restrictions continue to ease. You can see this information here.

Self-Isolation Rules Have Changed

As of now, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18 you won’t need to self-isolate if you’re identified as a close contact. You’ll still need a PCR test on days 2 and 8. 

If you’ve tested positive, you must isolate for 10 days. This has not changed. More information is available here.

To claim the Self-Isolation Support Payment, Cardiff Council have information here, or call their Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 for assistance.

In Parliament

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report 

August saw the publication of the shocking IPCC report on Climate Change. The report is our starkest reminder yet that the climate crisis is here right now and is the biggest long-term threat we face.

In the same month, we had the news that 75,000 green jobs have been lost under the Tories.

It’s clear we can no longer afford the inaction of the current government, who are failing to treat the crisis with the seriousness it deserves. Tackling the climate crisis needs to be at the heart of everything we do. We've had a decade of broken promises on climate under the Tories - less than 100 days out from the UK hosting COP26, the Government need to start stepping up and leading by example.

A Labour government would deliver the action we need to drive down emissions, with progressive solutions and leadership on the international stage to ensure a global effort to tackle the climate and nature crisis and limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.

You can read more about our plans here.

Universal Credit Cut

Throughout the summer Labour has increased its campaigning for the Government to cancel its planned cut to Universal Credit. 

This cut equates to a loss of £1,000 a year for the nearly 4,000 people receiving Universal Credit in Cardiff Central. New statistics from the Resolution Foundation show that more than 730,000 more children risk being plunged into child poverty if this cut goes ahead. 

Even six former Tory Work and Pension Secretaries have spoken out, urging the Chancellor to make the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift permanent. 

The Government should be supporting vulnerable families through this crisis, not cutting essential support. We will keep making the argument for the uplift to be made permanent.

Labour's New Deal for Workers

Labour has launched our new deal for workers. In recent years, incomes have stagnated, millions are in insecure work and in-work poverty is at a record high.

On top of this, Covid has brutally exposed both the economic and social injustices that have been growing over the last decade under successive Conservative (and Lib Dem coalition) Governments. For prosperity to be felt by everyone, we need a fundamental change of course.

Our plan would mean:
  • security at work by giving workers full rights from day one
  • the right to work flexibly
  • stronger trade unions
  • quality jobs and a jobs-promise for young people
  • £10 minimum wage
  • An end to fire and rehire

Visiting Coventry: The UK's Capital of Culture 2021

In my capacity as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport I visited Coventry, as the city celebrates its year as the UK’s Capital of Culture for 2021.

I started the day with a walking tour of the city centre to see the work the local Labour Council had put into transforming it into a welcoming place for families to visit. I was shown around on the visit by Councillor Patricia Hetherton, Coventry's Cabinet Member for City Services.
I was then taken on a tour of the 2Tone exhibition at The Herbert Gallery and Museum, which is the first ever major exhibition in the UK devoted to 2 tone music. As a big 2 Tone fan this was something I enjoyed massively. The exhibition was filled with fashion items and memorabilia, including an iconic 2 Tone suit, Roddy Radiation’s pork pie hat, Fred Perry polo shirts and a Harrington jacket.

I then saw the Small Bells Ring project by Studio Morison, aboard the RV Furor Scribendi, a fully-functioning narrowboat featuring the UK’s largest collection of short stories as part of the #SummerOnTheCanal series of events.

My Annual Report

I’ve spent most of August out and about delivering my annual report across Cardiff Central to local residents. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me deliver my annual reports so far - there’s no way I could deliver the tens of thousands of reports without such a great team of volunteers.

My annual report is a snapshot of the work I have done on your behalf both in Cardiff Central and Westminster over the past year. If you’d like to read the report online, you can access it here.

Visiting Cardiff University's New Centre for Student Life

I visited the site of Cardiff University's new Centre for Student Life on Park Place as construction is nearing completion and it is a hugely impressive building.

As well as some absolutely spectacular views from the roof, the new Centre will provide a new home for expanded student support services offering additional social study spaces, consultation rooms, a 550-seat auditorium, quiet contemplation spaces and a new frontage to the older Students’ Union building we're all so familiar with.

Alongside the physical development, the University is investing in improvements to student support services, including mental health and wellbeing.

The Centre has been designed with an important focus on sustainability - reducing energy consumption, supplying energy efficiently, and where possible using renewable technology to keep the building’s carbon footprint to a minimum.

The Centre is on track to be completed and handed over to the University ready for new and returning students arriving in Cardiff next month. I'm looking forward to returning to the Centre to meet the new officers at Cardiff University Students' Union for what should be an exciting year ahead.

Visiting the Mackintosh Tennis Club with the Lawn Tennis Association

I had lots of fun trying my hand at tennis at the Mackintosh Sports and Social Club earlier this month with Simon Johnson, CEO of Tennis Wales and Rhys Morgan, the head coach at the club.

It was good to catch up about how the club and Tennis Wales have got through the pandemic and their plans for the future now that restrictions have eased.

My visit also coincided with a 4 week summer camp currently running at the Mack with lots of local children - it’s great to see the club buzzing once again.

If you want to try playing tennis, with 5 floodlit courts and full coaching and competitions available, the Mackintosh is the perfect place. You can find out more about tennis at the Mackintosh here.

Cyncoed Post Office

Please see above for an update from the Post Office on their search for a replacement premises after the previous Post Office closed last summer.

I’ve been in regular contact with the Post Office to stress how disruptive this closure has been for residents - and they stress that they are continuing explore options for a replacement premises, but have so far not been able to find anywhere suitable in the local area.

I will stay in regular contact with them until this service is restored. As soon as there is any update I’ll post it on my social media.

Art Exhibitions in Cardiff's Arcades

Seven pieces of hanging art have been unveiled in Cardiff arcades to celebrate this year’s ‘City of Arcades’ campaign – The Art and Soul of Cardiff. These wonderful artworks are the result of a collaboration between the alumni of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and FOR Cardiff.

Education, history, green spaces, music, arts and theatre, food and drink, and sport are the key themes - celebrating the ‘art and soul’ of our city.

It’s definitely something to look out for next time you’re having a wander through the arcades! You can see more about this here.

Cardiff Council's Active Travel Consultation

Cardiff Council's draft Active Travel Network Map is now out for public consultation. The consultation period will end on October 31st. It's really important that as many of us as possible feed our views in to ensure we hit our targets and the city's transport network works for everyone - information on how to take part is here.

Cardiff Bus Timetable Changes

Cardiff Bus are making improvements to their services by increasing frequencies and reintroducing earlier and later times, including some evening journeys from Sunday 5 September 2021.

Details of the changes are listed here along with new timetables. Services not listed will remain the same and follow their current timetables.

Local Venues Take Over Cardiff Castle for a Successful Weekend of Live Music

Last weekend saw four nights of live music curated by Cardiff’s grassroots music venues as part of a Cardiff Council plan developed with Cardiff Music Board, to support live music and put culture at the heart of the city’s recovery from Covid-19.

Famous Cardiff venues Clwb Ifor Bach, Porters, Fuel, and The Moon curated the music and retained all the ticket income, providing much needed support for an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic. The weekend saw local favourites like Afrocluster and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard playing the famous Cardiff Castle stage over 4 nights that showcased Cardiff’s diverse music scene at its best. It truly was a fantastic way to welcome the return of live music in Cardiff after many long months of restrictions.

Advice Surgeries Returning from September

Subject to public health advice, I will be restarting in-person advice surgeries in September. They will be running slightly differently going forward, with an appointment system in place. Once finalised I will share the dates on my website and social media pages – if you would like to book an appointment please call 02921 329736 or email me at [email protected].

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