Swansea AMs Rebecca Evans, Mike Hedges and Julie James are backing Heart Unions week - a time to celebrate the work that trade unions and trade unionists do to give working people a voice.
They said “The eight-hour day, the weekend, paid holiday and parental leave, the minimum wage, protection from discrimination, equal pay and healthy, safe workplaces were all won by trade unions. It is easy to take for granted all of the things that unions have fought for, and won. But the challenges of Brexit, inequality, and insecure work mean there has never been a more vital time to join a union.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed the award-winning Marie Curie Mumbles and Gower fundraising group to the Senedd.
At an event in the Senedd, the fundraising group learned that they had won the title of South West Wales Fundraisers of the Year.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I am delighted that our local fundraisers have had their hard work recognised by Marie Curie. Together, the group has not only established Marie Curie’s profile in Gower, but has also raised more than £50,000 since 2012. That is a fantastic achievement - congratulations!”
Marie Curie provides support to people with a terminal illness and their loved ones. Help ranges from the provision of clear information about living with a terminal illness, to expert nursing care at home.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has sent her good wishes to pupils of Pontarddulais Comprehensive who will be taking part in a prestigious RSPCA debating competition, 'The Great Debate,' later this month.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I am thrilled that pupils from Pontarddulais Comprehensive will be taking part in this competition, and I would love to see them debating in the Wales-wide final.“
The pupils between the ages of 11 and 14 will be debating against other young people as part of the RSPCA’s education and prevention scheme, Generation Kind. The scheme aims to nurture and encourage the values of kindness, empathy and compassion in young people; while simultaneously inspiring students about citizenship and the country's decision-making process.
Rebecca Evans said: “The programme is a central part of the RSPCA’s work in supporting the education of young people about animal welfare, helping to create compassionate and confident young people. I wish the team from Bont all the very best!”
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed the third anniversary of the New Treatment Fund, which has cut the time it takes for new medicines to become available to patients from 90 days to an average of just 13 days.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Creating the fund was one of Welsh Labour’s top six pledges in our 2016 Manifesto for the National Assembly Elections. It is being delivered, as promised, and is having life changing impacts on patients across Wales.”
The new treatment fund is an £80m five-year fund to help speed up access to treatments and drugs for life-threatening and life-limiting new medicines. £16m is available to health boards and NHS trusts every year through the fund.
Rebecca Evans AM added: “The New Treatment Fund means the latest life-saving and life-changing medicines for people with a huge range of diseases are now available faster than ever before in the Welsh NHS, wherever people live in Wales.”
Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, has written to the UK CEO of the Lloyds Banking Group, following the announcement that the Mumbles branch will be closing in May 2020.
Rebecca Evans AM said: "We all know the pressure that the high street banking industry is under because of advances in technology and changes in customers' banking behaviour. However, it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most, and the closure of one bank after the other across our communities is just not good enough. I call on the UK Government's Economic Secretary to the Treasury to develop a much more strategic and innovative approach to community banking to stem the tide of banks leaving our high streets in Wales.
"Mumbles has numerous independent retailers, and small businesses tell me that they need access to a local bank in order to manage their money.
"I am also very concerned about our older residents, for some of whom online banking just isn't a realistic option. Lots of older people prefer to use cash and manage their household budget on a week to week basis. Travelling considerable distances to use the bank is not as easy as it sounds for many people."
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is backing the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales’ campaign to ensure that everyone who is entitled to Pension Credit is claiming it.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Pension Credit can make a really positive difference to older people’s lives, but every year thousands of older people in Wales miss out on millions of pounds in unclaimed financial entitlements.”
If your weekly pension is less than £167.25 (or £255.25 for couples), you may be eligible for Pension Credit, which tops up your income and unlocks a range of other entitlements, such as council tax discounts, free dental treatment, and help with housing costs. You may still be entitled to Pension Credit even if you own your own home, or have savings and other income.
Rebecca Evans added: “The average amount of Pension Credit received by people who claim it is £58 a week, which could boost your income by as much as £3,000 a year.”
It’s really easy to claim Pension Credit - all it takes is a phone call. You just need your national insurance number, your bank details and information about your income and savings. Call the Pension Credit claim line now on 0800 99 1234 to make sure you receive what you’re entitled to.
Thursday 30th January will mark Young Carers Awareness Day, an annual campaign to highlight the challenges young carers face and the importance of giving them the support they deserve.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, said: “Wales has a large number of young carers who selflessly dedicate themselves to looking after their loved ones. Research continues to highlight that young carers are more likely to have poorer physical health and educational outcomes than their peers, which can have life-long consequences.”
Carer services in Wales support children as young as five years old and note that bullying, low self-esteem and even self-harm is not uncommon.
Mrs Evans added: “Today is a day to pay tribute to the inspiring contributions made by young carers, and commit to working alongside schools and charities to ensure that these young people are given every support to ensure that as they help others they are not putting their own health at risk.”
Young carers across Swansea can find out more about the support available to them via the Council’s website.
Rebecca Evans AM is supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the myths and stigma which surround the common virus HPV and get the facts out.
Last year, Wales led the way in moving to a far more sensitive HPV test, which will save lives - but it also means that many more women will be told they have HPV. Rebecca Evans AM is teaming up with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to tackle the misconceptions about the virus.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “ In the majority of cases, HPV infection goes away without doing the body any harm. Sometimes it causes cells to change which, if not treated, could develop into cervical cancer. The new test for HPV is far more accurate than anything we have had before, and it is estimated to prevent almost 500 diagnoses of cervical cancer every year.”
New research conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a third of women consider HPV a taboo topic and would not want anyone to know if they had it. A quarter haven’t heard of HPV and one in five would feel embarrassed if they were told they had the virus. Calls to the charity’s Helpline about HPV have already risen 50% over the past year.
Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “HPV can be confusing but it is nothing to be ashamed of. 80% of us will get at least one type of HPV in our lives and in most cases the immune system will get rid of the infection without it causing any harm. We need to get the facts out about HPV and get rid of harmful myths and stigma around this really common virus.”
● At some point in our lives, 4 out of 5 (80%) of us will get at least one type of HPV. In most cases the immune system will get rid of it. Around 90% of HPV infections clear within 2 years
● HPV infections do not usually have any symptoms, so you may not even know you had it.
● HPV lives on our skin, so it is easy to get and difficult to completely protect against.
● There are over 200 types of HPV. About 40 HPV types affect the genital areas
● Most genital HPV types are low risk. They can cause conditions like genital warts
● About 13 HPV types are linked to cervical cancer. These types are called high-risk HPV.
● You are at risk of getting HPV from your first sexual contact, whatever that is – it doesn’t have to be penetrative sex
● We can have HPV for a long time without knowing about it, so it is hard to know when we got HPV or who we got it from
● Cervical screening (a smear test) can find a high-risk HPV virus and changes early, before it develops into cancer.
● For more information:https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/hpv
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has met with people living with a stoma as part of the #BeTheChange campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the needs of ostomates.
Speaking after an event in the Senedd, Rebecca Evans AM said: “Assembly Members had the chance to hear from people from all walks of life who are living with a stoma - but one thing they all had in common was having had experience of discrimination and a lack of understanding about their needs.”
Using disabled toilets is a particular concern. You cannot tell that someone has a stoma, so many ostomates reported having nasty comments from other people when using the disabled facilities.
Keith Thomas who lives in Llanelli and is a bus driver in Swansea said: “Hidden disabilities are just that - hidden. It’s time for people to open their eyes, and stop judging others.”
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is backing ambitious new proposals set out by the Welsh Labour Government which would lead to all new homes in Wales being heated and powered only from clean energy sources from 2025. The move would make all new homes more energy efficient and cheaper to run.
The consultation proposals unveiled by Welsh Labour’s Housing Minister, Julie James AM, are part of wider Welsh Government plans to address the climate emergency it declared last year.
Rebecca Evans AM said:
“The Welsh Labour Government’s proposals will not only help tackle climate change, but they will also help to keep down household energy costs now and in the future.
“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time and housing is a key contributor to it. Housing currently accounts for 9% of Welsh greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we are to tackle the climate crisis and meet the ambitious target set by the Welsh Labour Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95% by 2050, we need to take action now.”
The consultation on the new proposals closes on March 12th 2020 and can be found at: https://gov.wales/building-regulations-part-l-review-0