IT’S been a busy few weeks at the Senedd, with a host of new initiatives being announced to help stimulate employment, improve our health service and continue to support our servicemen and women here in Wales.

The Welsh Government is strengthening its support for veterans and serving military personnel in Wales, including unique services in the NHS and council tax relief.

The All-Wales Veterans Health and Wellbeing Service will be re-named Veterans NHS Wales to raise awareness of the special services it provides. It helps veterans access health services tailored to their specific needs, including the appointment of a veteran’s champion in every health board.

There will also be a £100,000 funding boost this year for Veterans NHS Wales, which already receives £485,000 annual funding from the Welsh Government. The extra funding is to improve access to psychological therapies for people with mental health problems.

The Welsh Government is also committed to protecting eligible military personnel from the effect of the UK Government’s abolition of council tax benefit. For the second year running the Welsh Government has maintained full entitlements for all those eligible for a council tax reduction, including serving members of the armed forces and ex-service personnel and their families.

Latest figures show our Jobs Growth Wales has helped thousands of young people into meaningful, paid employment opportunities.

The scheme that reimburses local employers for taking on young people aged 16-24 for the first six months and 80% of participants go on to paid employment, apprenticeships or further training opportunities.

I’m visiting an Aberbeeg company next month to see first-hand the benefit of the initiative here in Blaenau Gwent.

The Welsh Government’s innovative Housing Finance Grant is set to triple, delivering an extra 2,000 social and affordable housing units, thanks to a £250m extension of the scheme, Finance Minister Jane Hutt has announced.

The Housing Finance Grant was first launched last September. With the assistance of the Welsh Government, 19 Welsh Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) have worked together to secure a new source of finance for the sector.

The extra investment in the Housing Finance Grant will create over 5,000 jobs and the new scheme should become operational by 2017-18.

An £18m investment in essential equipment and facilities for the NHS by the Welsh Government will ensure the nation’s health service is fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

The investment in key hospital sites and diagnostic equipment will support the on-going reconfiguration of the NHS.

In other news, I’m holding a series of surgeries throughout the summer at various events around the borough.

To find out details log-on to my facebook or contact my office on (01495) 311160.