By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

In the Welsh Parliament last week, I questioned the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales over funding to repair and reopen the section of the B5605 between Newbridge and Cefn Mawr closed since the landslide there caused by Storm Christoph in January. I asked her to respond to the Council’s statement that “the biggest obstacle will be securing funding this financial year to enable us to plan and carry out the works as soon as possible” and quoted affected constituents who wrote this month “many in these villages do not have cars, needing transport which involves walking miles to the nearest bus stops, or having to hire costly taxis”.

In September the UK Government launched a new £500 million Household Support Fund to help households in need buy essential items over the winter, with the Welsh Government receiving £25m of this, which they have match funded.

Questioning the First Minister about the impact of the rising cost of living on people in Wales, I asked how the £11.9m of the Welsh Government’s £51 million Household Support Fund not yet announced will be spent and how his Government will work in real partnership with, and empower, Councils, the voluntary sector, community groups and other social entrepreneurs to help deliver the solutions to the long-term problems of our most deprived communities.

I Chaired the Welsh Parliament’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee, when our main agenda item was an evidence session with the Welsh Government on the impact of COVID-19 on health issues; and attended the World Pancreatic Cancer Day virtual Senedd event, which discussed improving access to a life-changing tablet for pancreatic cancer patients – ‘PERT’, or Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy. Currently, only 3 in 5 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Wales are being prescribed PERT – despite its potential to help so many more. I have put my name to Pancreatic Cancer UK’s joint letter to the Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services, calling for action on this issue. We must ensure that everyone with pancreatic cancer is considered for this prescription at the point of diagnosis.

Other engagement included Glyndŵr University’s Honorary Fellows Dinner; HQ 160th (Welsh) Brigade Devolution Seminar; and visits to the Rural Futures programme project in Penmachno, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, supporting the community to develop their own ideas to tackle rural poverty issues, and to Denbighshire Music Co-operative, providing quality music tuition in the Denbighshire and Wrexham areas.

If you need my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.