Here's the latest Argus column by Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies:

IN SEPTEMBER I am hosting a Blaenau Gwent Town Centres Focus Event looking at how we might overcome some of challenges faced by our high streets.

As well as looking at the Blaenau Gwent retailer's experience and what the main challenges are, we will be talking about successful town centre projects and case studies from across the UK to consider how we might apply the lessons learnt here in our borough.

There will be a number of speakers, talking about examples of supporting creative and resilient high streets and sharing best practice on how to face these challenges.


If you are a Blaenau Gwent town centre business, it would be great to hear from you.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 3, from 10.30am until 3pm at the General Offices in Ebbw Vale.

To book your free place you can register at: or for further information please contact my office on 01495 311160.

- As parents and carers across Blaenau Gwent think about school uniform for the next school year, I want to remind them that they could be eligible to receive up to £200, to help with the costs, via the Pupil Development Grant (PDG) –Access.

The grant can be used to help buy school uniform, equipment, sports kit and kit for activities outside of school.

Learners eligible for free school meals can apply for the Pupil Development Grant if they are entering reception class or year three in primary school; entering year seven or year 10 in secondary school; are aged four, seven, 11 or 14 in special schools, special needs resource bases or pupil referral units.

Funding for looked-after children is available in every school year.

Pupils should not miss out on opportunities or feel excluded because of their personal circumstances.

This money is to help pupils in Blaenau Gwent reach their full potential.

I would urge parents and carers to contact the local authority to find out if they are eligible.

- Finally, this September also sees the end of letting agent fees in Wales, thanks to a new law passed by the Welsh Labour Government.

This means that tenants cannot be charged for things such as an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, or renewing a tenancy.

Letting agents and landlords will only be permitted to require a payment for rent, security deposits, holding deposits, a payment in default (when a tenant breaches a contract), and payments in respect of council tax, utilities, a television licence, or communication services.

I supported this ban because it is the right thing to do for tenants in Blaenau Gwent, ensuring that they no longer face unfair fees which can often act as a barrier to finding a suitable home to rent.