By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Recently, I was delighted to visit the North East Wales Skills Academy to see how they are using nearly £330,000 worth of UK Government Shared Prosperity funding. The Academy offers Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or Forklift Truck (FLT) training which incorporates numeracy, or vocational number skills.

A special thanks goes to Gatewen Training Services and JCB for their innovative approach, which has already seen 60 local people sign up to receive this free HGV and FLT training. Several Wrexham-based businesses are looking for HGV and FLT drivers and I was able to see for myself how this free training the Academy is providing Wrexham residents with the skills to do these roles. The Academy not only bridges the employment gap and reduces economic inactivity, but also empowers future generations.

This is a win for local people and a win for local businesses. It is fantastic to see how this UK Government funding is making a difference in our community - well done to all involved for making this possible!

Turning to health, many constituents have recently contacted me about the potential cut to the Metastatic Cancer Nurse position in Wrexham. Recently, I wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to raise both mine and residents’ concerns. In their response, which I received weeks later, the Health Board confirmed that this post is being funded for a further three months whilst an evaluation is carried out on the service, after which the Health Board will decide on the permanent funding for the post.

As a former nurse, I know how important the support and guidance provided by the Metastatic Cancer Nurses is to patients fighting cancer. It is deeply troubling that this cut is being considered by the Health Board due to financial challenges. At a time when only 52.9% of Welsh patients are starting treatment within two months of a diagnosis, well below the 75% target, resources should be provided to enhance cancer services in Wrexham – not scale them back or remove much-needed nurses.

The Welsh Government, which is responsible for running the NHS in Wales, consistently argues that it does not receive enough money from the UK Government to sufficiently fund health services in Wales. This is simply untrue. The Welsh Government has the money available and in fact, receives £1.20 for every £1 spent on healthcare in England. Yet, last year, the Welsh Government chose to spend only £1.05 per person.

Despite receiving £18 billion a year from the UK Government to run Wales and an additional £170 million in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, the Welsh Government continues to underfund our Health Board and neglects Wrexham’s health service. Instead, Labour invests £32 million on a blanket 20mph policy, £52 million on Cardiff airport and £120 million to increase the number of politicians at the Senedd. On top of this, the Welsh Government are handing out £1,600 per month (equating to £19,200 per year) to illegal migrants coming to Wales.

I have written to the Minister for Health and Social Care to press for more funding to be provided by the Welsh Government to ensure that the Metastatic Cancer Nurse in Wrexham remains in post and permanently funded, so that they can continue to provide invaluable support to local patients.

In addition, please join the efforts to save Wrexham’s Metastatic Cancer Nurse. Please fill in my petition on my website homepage ( now to ensure that Wrexham patients do not miss out on vital services. This will then be sent to the Health Board and the Welsh Government.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Wrexham AFC on winning promotion to League 1, achieving back-to-back promotions is an outstanding achievement. Credit to everyone involved with the football club. Like many residents, I am already looking forward to next season!

If you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: