By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

As a Patron of Mold-based ‘TheFDF Centre for Independent Living’, which supports disabled people across North Wales, I attended their extraordinary meeting to hear from disabled people about the impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on them.

This will help inform my work in the Senedd as Chair of the Cross-Party Groups on Disability and on Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency, and as Shadow Minister for Social Justice. The disabled community need to be heard.

Although ‘TheFDF’ receives no public funding, most of the over one hundred new referrals they receive weekly come from public bodies in North Wales.

On World Curlew Day (April 21st), as Wales Species Champion, I again emphasised that this threatened bird species will disappear as a breeding population in Wales in just 11 years unless urgent action is taken and expressed my support for the letter Mick Green, Welsh Ornithological Society and a member of Gylfinir Cymru /Curlew Wales, sent to the Welsh Minister for Climate Change, calling for assurances “that direct funding will be available to save the Curlew from extinction and that Welsh Government ensures its own projects do not further jeopardise this species”.

As Parliamentary Champion in the Senedd for the Conservative Disability Group, an independent organisation made up of UK Conservative Party members who want to see a more inclusive society for disabled people, I attended the group’s Executive Meeting.

As Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care, I met with the Group’s Secretary, who is also Hospice UK’s Policy and Advocacy Manager Wales. Discussion included plans for completing our current inquiry into experiences of end of life during the pandemic.

Following my introduction of ‘Link International’ to the Welsh Government in Plenary on 15th March, I am pleased that the charity and its Ukrainian Link Programme is now working with North Wales local authorities in collaboration with other statutory agencies and the Welsh Government, and to bring together community and faith groups and third sector organisations, to support Ukrainians arriving in North Wales.

Communities in North Wales are being handed control of £126 million over three years by the UK Government, which has delivered on its pledge to replace EU funds for Wales. Wales is still receiving EU funding until 2024/25. As that tails off, UK Government funding ramps up.

Although Labour Welsh Government previously received billions in EU funding, the prosperity gap between Wales and the rest of the UK has become entrenched.

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