THE Welsh Government is making good progress with the Welsh economy, with the unemployment rate dropping and staying below the UK average.

The latest figures show that unemployment in Wales is 71 per cent, lower than England and its most deprived areas in the North East, North West and the West Midlands.

Jobs are being created, and the recent announcement that Pinewood would be building a new studio in South Wales is welcome news for individuals looking to work in the creative industries.

Last month, the landmark Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill was passed by the National Assembly for Wales. This new legislation will improve services for users, and will most importantly safeguard the most vulnerable individuals in society.

With the release of recent Flying Start figures, it was great to see the scheme making such a difference both in my constituency and across Wales.

The scheme offers eligible parents free quality childcare for children under the age of four, as well as providing support, an enhanced health visitor service and assistance with children’s early language development.

A total of 1,835 children in Newport benefitted from Flying Start services during 2012/13, and Welsh Government ministers are investing more than £254 million in the programme over the next four years.

I recently visited the Upmarket Galleries in Newport Market to see the fantastic work on show from a group of female artists who were displaying their work to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Several more exhibitions from the group are planned for this year, and for more information visit

Applications are now open for the Newport Women’s Forum grant. The awards support women by providing funding to assist in their personal development. Women aged 18 and over and who live in Newport are invited to apply for a grant up to £1000 and applications must demonstrate how the money will make a significant difference to their lives.

Applications must be received by May 21st, and for further information and to download the form visit or call 01633 222523.

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