Young people growing up in Britain today have never experienced anything but a Conservative government in Westminster.

Many will have spent their whole life in a family struggling thanks to the policy of austerity, cuts year-on-year to financial support and to public services and now the cost-of-living crisis.

In so many homes, parents have been working long hours just to pay the ever-rising bills, and children lose out as a result.

This is the generation which has also seen rapid social changes as result of technology, and will face the worst consequences of failure to act quickly enough on the climate emergency.

When families are under pressure, some break, and one of the most important things we do as councillors is to act as "corporate parents" to children who are looked after by the council.

Very few referrals to children’s services in Monmouthshire result in children coming into care: we can often offer practical help, and even where parents are unable to care for a child, most are looked after by members of the extended family or by foster carers. But for a few young people, a children’s home placement is the best thing, and this month my council approved plans to develop new children’s homes in Monmouthshire.

In line with the Welsh Government’s commitment to remove the profit motive from children’s care, we will provide small group homes, employing local staff and keeping children’s links with their schools and family, instead of paying for placements in homes out of county, owned by private investors.

This is one of many ways where the Welsh Government is helping us invest to provide better services at a lower long-term cost. We are also continuing to recruit more desperately needed foster carers.

We offer support for all families and young people, and I am pleased that we are able to continue provide Flying Start and early years services, extra help and mental health support in schools and youth service provision in every town.

We are committed to working with town and community councils, charities, clubs and volunteers to ensure that children of every age have somewhere to go, safe and exciting places to play, someone they can talk to and a wide range of opportunities.

In our schools we have the new curriculum for Wales. Instead of the narrow focus on exam learning, Welsh educationalists learned from the best in the world to design a curriculum that supports children’s wellbeing and develops them as informed, resilient, capable and confident citizens.

Our challenge now is to ensure that teachers have all the support and resources they need to make this a reality.

But we are approaching the exam season, and I offer my best wishes to everyone taking exams this summer, and to their parents and teachers. I look forward to seeing successful results and to a brighter future here in Monmouthshire.