The last few weeks have been a time of solemn remembrance, as we gather to honour the sacrifices of those who have served in our armed forces and one of anticipation, as we look forward to Wales competing in the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Ultimately however they have been a time of deep and further anxiety for many people here in Blaenau Gwent and across our country, as we enter the winter already in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

The chancellor’s statement will do little to alleviate these fears; the same failed strategy which created this crisis remains stubbornly in place, even if the figures implementing it keep changing.

In the Senedd, I have repeatedly called on the First Minister and other ministers to commit to ensuring that the Welsh Government does everything within its powers to protect our public services from another round of Tory austerity and guaranteeing that people in Blaenau Gwent and across Wales have as much help as possible to deal with the cost of living crisis as they put together the coming budget.

We know that much of the most vital support will be delivered in the community, which is why I’ve been visiting around the borough to see what is already in place; from libraries and other public buildings that have designated as warm spaces to organisations which are assisting those with suffering with mental illness.

I have also written to the council regarding greater support for pupils with additional learning needs in schools across Blaenau Gwent.

Our communities will weather this crisis as we have in the past; through working and coming together as one borough across all three valleys.

As the nights grow longer and colder, we must also remember those struggling further from home – especially those fleeing war and persecution and those who live with both on a daily basis.

The war in Ukraine – the first land war in Europe for more than 20 years – continues to rage and exact a heart-rending toll on the civilian population.

This is why I am working with Senedd colleagues of all parties to raise funds and coordinate the delivery of medical and material supplies through the Senedd Cymru - Together for Ukraine appeal. You can find more information about this appeal and how you can help on Crowdfunder:

Let’s ensure that, as we head into the season of goodwill, that a helping hand remains extended to those who need it wherever they might be - even in these most difficult of times.