Mark Tami Column: Good news for Airbus jobs and a call for immediate removal of flammable cladding
Updated: People aged 70 and over in North Wales are being urged to call a vaccination helpline if they haven’t received an appointment for their jab. More here.
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami writes a regular column on Deeside.com with updates on his work in Westminster and closer to home.
The first phase of the vaccination drive is going well. Across Wales, over 440,000 top priority people have been vaccinated, including a majority of over 80-year-olds. If you or someone you know is over 80 and hasn’t yet had the vaccine, don’t wait for an appointment letter – you can now call 03000 840004 to book an appointment. This number is only for over 80s.
Locally, it was good news for jobs as Airbus workers at Broughton voted for a plan to temporarily cut working hours to avoid compulsory redundancies. This is a positive decision by workers to stop more colleagues from facing unemployment. The UK Government must now match this effort and protect the aerospace sector from further damage.
As regular readers of this column will know, I recently wrote to the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, to press for action to protect UK Steel. Mr Kwarteng responded, saying he recognises the importance of our steel industry and spoke of general investment commitments for the upcoming years. While I appreciate the warm words from Mr Kwarteng, we need action. The protection of steel is vital for Alyn and Deeside – we need more concrete promises. The Government must commit to using British steel for British projects.
In Parliament, I am glad we debated the leasehold cladding crisis. We called for the immediate removal of flammable cladding from homes and for residents to be protected from being forced to pay for this. Many of these residents are living in unsafe homes, after rich building-owners focused on cutting costs. Forcing residents to pay to make building-owner’s fire trap properties safe is disgusting. Leaseholders shouldn’t have to pay to fix buildings that they don’t even own. The Government told Conservative MPs not to vote on this, in an attempt to play politics. Sadly, despite some speaking in favour of it, all 363 Conservative MPs did not vote on the issue. Nobody should be living in unsafe housing. The Government must not waste time and act now. We must learn from the past so that history and tragedy do not repeat themselves.
The other night, I re-watched the excellent David Baddiel documentary in which he made contact with holocaust deniers. It has been 76 years since the end of the Second World War, yet the anti-semitism, stirred up to spread hate at rallies, started years before. The battle against this hate still exists today, but much of the focus has shifted to online. History teaches us the events of the past, but it is also a warning for our future. This is why I was pleased to take part in the Holocaust Memorial Day Debate in Parliament. I also supported an early day motion to remind us of the lessons to be learned and the threat of anti-semitism in today’s society.