As we come to the end of the summer, we enter the 18th month of the pandemic which has changed almost every aspect of our way of life.

The Welsh Government’s announcement of our move into Alert Level 0 marks a significant shift and it has been made possible due to the incredible dedication of our NHS staff and everyone who has worked to make our vaccination programme one of the best in the world – as well as every single person who has come forward for their jab.

While our progress is extremely encouraging the pandemic is not over and we must continue to exercise caution, but our move out of most legal restrictions does enable us to focus on our recovery and this must be resolute.

We need a dedicated economic recovery agenda for areas like Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys, building on the support for town centres and the Welsh Government’s support to businesses throughout the pandemic and the transformational investment in our infrastructure through the £450 million dualling of the A465 and the forthcoming £70 million upgrade to the Ebbw Vale train line, and I will be pressing for this throughout my discussions with and questions to Ministers.

We also need to remember that the conditions and illnesses which have dominated our health service prior to Covid have not gone away and continue to limit and shorten the lives of people throughout our communities.

The Welsh Hearts Bill, which I introduced and which passed with cross-party support in the last Senedd, aimed to zero in on one of these, by making sure that lifesaving training and equipment are made far more readily available and I am looking to reintroduce this during the autumn.

Having experienced and only survived a cardiac arrest last year due to the presence of bystanders who knew precisely what to do and how to do it, I am absolutely committed to ensuring that others who end up in this position have the same chance of survival as I did.

Sadly, we know that more than 90 per cent do not – changing this by enshrining into law commitments when it comes providing resources such as defibrillators – whose prompt use helped to save my life and whose effect we saw particularly starkly in the case of Christian Eriksen earlier in the summer – is a cause which matters greatly to me on a personal level and one which I believe should be at the centre of our NHS and community recovery going forward.