I’D LIKE to start by wishing everybody a happy new year.
This is the time when most of us will start thinking about our new year’s resolutions or what the coming 12 months will hold.
So I thought I’d set out my resolutions as Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent, and what I will be looking out for in 2013.
As well as doing more exercise and trying to eat more broccoli, my new year’s resolution for 2013 is to carry on standing up for the people of Blaenau Gwent.
My constituents have been hit particularly hard by the recession and are still suffering as the economy struggles to grow.
The latest figures show 3,483 people in Blaenau Gwent are unemployed, an increase of more than 7 per cent from last year. I will continue pressing George Osborne to drop his failed austerity experiment which has caused the economy to flatline.
After my Move on Up campaign with residents and the Welsh Government, the Department for Transport announced the electrification of the Cardiff to Ebbw Vale railway line.
This will improve access to the constituency and allow constituents to commute to Cardiff.
The work is not yet done – we must ensure there are no delays and that work presses on full steam ahead.
It was also great to hear the Welsh Labour Government is planning to invest £40 million dualling the A465 Heads of the Valleys road.
This is another important project that will open up Blaenau Gwent to South Wales and the rest of the UK. High-quality infrastructure is vital to grow a local economy, and these projects will link the constituency to labour markets, and make the area more attractive to investors.
The Heads of the Valleys Development project to build a world-class racing track could put Rassau on the map.
This is a wheelie important project that could bring much needed jobs, tourism and investment to the area.
I’ll follow this development closely and hope it stays on track.
Many people are struggling to cope with the cost of fuel. In my rural constituency, a car is essential for getting about.
According to last year’s census 71 per cent of people living in Blaenau Gwent owned a car. I’ll be urging the government to do more for drivers to ease the pressure at the pumps.
Best of luck for 2013, I hope you have a fantastic year.