YOUR MP WRITES: Nick Smith Blaenau Gwent MP

Postcard from conference - WELSH delegates were in upbeat mood last week as we punched above our weight in Manchester.

Our message was devolution is working in Wales and the UK is stronger for it.

We’ve a Labour government in Cardiff, taking difficult decisions, against a background of £2.1bn of Tory-driven cuts in funding.

Yet £40m will be found for the Brynmawr to Tredegar section of the A465 Heads of the Valley dualling programme.

Such improvements in our infrastructure are essential to boost jobs and growth.

Carwyn Jones and new Shadow Secretary for Wales, Owen Smith, spoke proudly of Labour’s values of social justice and looking out for one another. Values that gave the UK our NHS and will ensure that regional pay for NHS workers will get short shrift in Wales.

Labour’s leader Ed Miliband wowed everyone with a clear and bold One Nation commitment to voters everywhere.

One Nation - where everyone has a stake and prosperity is fairly shared. Where we’re really all in it together, as it will be a long haul to rebuild our economy.

Of course the economy is the public’s number one concern.

Labour must show credibility and rebuild trust. Yes, we must get the deficit down – but it’s going up not down as the recession persists.

And for those who say that Labour is still policy-lite; I’d say that no Opposition party can set out a manifesto over two years before a general election.

But we have given some key pledges, such as radical reform of our banking system and our energy markets and investment in affordable homes to rent and to buy.

Finally, it was great to celebrate our summer of sport with Olympic and Paralympic medal winners, multi-medal winning cycling coach, Dave Brailsford and gamesmakers too.

Their individual stories were heartwarming, but their common message hit home: ● National lottery funding is essential.

● Individual talent and grit win medals but competitors need a highly trained team of professionals behind them.

● Investment in school sport is a must.

● Our own Paralympic triple medallist, Mark Colbourne, had great training facilities.

It was a thrill to celebrate his success in the crowd at Bedwelty House, Tredegar, when he was given the freedomof the town.

The political challenge now is to deliver the legacy of the games we promised our children.

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