Column: Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami urges PM not to remove £20 weekly Universal Credit increase
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami writes a regular column on Deeside.com with updates on his work in Westminster and closer to home.
Last week, MPs voted on a motion to extend the £20 weekly Universal Credit benefit increase. This was aimed at pushing Boris Johnson to guarantee to struggling families that this benefit would not end in April. Just six Conservative MPs bothered to turn up to vote. I was disappointed to see all North Wales Conservative MPs following Mr Johnson’s lead and refuse to back the motion. Many of the people who would benefit from this are self-employed or have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus. A number of these people are already excluded from the furlough scheme. I urge the Prime Minister to listen to Parliament and not remove this extra support. People in Alyn & Deeside, who need a hand up in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, should be able to put food on their tables and pay their bills.
I joined up with my Welsh Labour colleagues to press Boris Johnson’s new Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, to support UK Steel. The Government should be supporting our steel industry and I urge them to commit to using British steel in British contracts – something that is vital to the future of the steelworks at Shotton. Steel underpins our manufacturing sector and I hope to hear Kwasi Kwarteng speak soon on his plans for protecting jobs.
This week I, and the Chairs of the other Cancer APPGs, met with the Health Minister to press for priority to be given to all aspects of cancer care during the pandemic. With best outcomes attained from early diagnosis and treatment, continuing to provide regular screenings and support is essential. We must work together to ensure other essential medical work continues, alongside coronavirus treatment.
Locally, I was pleased to respond to the Dee Estuary Cockle Fishery consultation. I called for greater access to cockles for Alyn and Deeside fishermen. This included offering suggestions to ensure more local fishermen are able to get licenses; making sure temporary licenses are allocated in cases when additional fish are available and that the cockle allocation in this case is fair.
Meanwhile, at border check points fishermen were fed up to the gills with red tape and bureaucracy, as lorries carrying fresh catches were stuck at the borders for days. The fishing industry has faced a turbulent time post-Brexit. Due to the fresh nature of the produce, these delays can be the difference between the fish being sold or thrown to waste. Fishermen’s income is based entirely on their catches sold. I urge the UK Government to promptly solve these issues to ensure fishermen are able to make a living.
Some good news this week: I was delighted by the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on boundaries for insurance claims due to the pandemic. The ruling was seen largely as supportive of small businesses and will force insurance companies to compensate many small business’ claims from the first national lockdown. This ruling was a huge step in ensuring small businesses receive the claims they are entitled to. Having also written to the insurance industry and regulators on behalf of constituents on this topic, I know this ruling will be welcomed by many small businesses in Alyn and Deeside.
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