LAST week the UK coalition government set out for the first time its detailed public spending plans for 2015-16.

Even though we knew it was looking to make £11 billion of savings, we had no idea where the axe would fall, until now.

Our budget settlement (in Wales) is £15.1 billion, a two per cent cut and in real terms our budget will be lower by £1,680 million in real terms than it was in 2010-11.

Despite repeated calls by the Welsh Labour Government for capital investment to stimulate growth and protect jobs, the settlement does not increase funding available and does very little to boost our economy.

We are now faced with working out priorities and explaining how we plan to spend our money, which we will outline by the autumn.

To say it is going to be a challenge is an understatement, however we are resolute in out determination to come up with the best deal for the people of Wales, and I for one will continue to fight for the issues that matter to the people of Blaenau Gwent.

In other news, I read with interest the Argus story regarding the BBC programme by Mark Easton on grim Blaenau Gwent.

This weekend I joined in the Armed Forces Day celebrations at Bedwellty Park, Tredegar.

Hundreds of people coming together to honour those brave men and women, some of whom are from these Valleys, who protect our country.

In Six Bells, many more gathered for the Pit Party, to commemorate the deaths of 45 miners who perished in the colliery disaster of 1960.

It was a time to remember those lost, but also a celebration of the village.

I found no evidence of the “unbearable sadness of the Valleys” as reported by Mr Easton.

War veterans saluted proudly as servicemen and woman marched passed them in Tredegar. Children danced to the music in Six Bells.

There are issues here, there is no denying that, but there is still a lot of pride in being from Blaenau Gwent – lets not forget that.

And finally, its great to see so many people still supporting our ‘Use It or Lose It’ campaign.

Keep supporting this fantastic facility.