Nick Smith

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Nick Smith MP has called on the Government to tackle TV programmes being “bookended by burgers and packaged with pizzas” and help ease pressure on the NHS.

The Blaenau Gwent MP today led the Parliament debate he had secured on the public heath challenges of the 21st century the NHS faces in the build-up to its 70th anniversary.

He used his speech to urge the Government to honour the legacy created by Aneurin Bevan by addressing modern problems such as rising obesity rates, particularly amongst children, and diabetes rates - with a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising as part of the solution.

Surveys have shown 70% of Blaenau Gwent’s adults are classed as overweight or obese, with the latest figures from the Child Measurement Programme revealing 15.1% of four-to-five year olds in Blaenau Gwent are in the obese category.

“We should all be worried by that trend – a trend being replicated across Britain”, he said.

“Obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. Diabetes leads to significant complications including, in extreme cases, amputation.

“The consequences for our society are massive.”

While current advertising laws have clamped down on advertising during childrens’ programming, prime time programmes and top sporting events– likely to be viewed by the whole family – have escaped regulation.

In addition, organisations such as Cancer Research UK and the head of the NHS Simon Stevens have called for updated rules so junk food adverts do not just saturate the internet and social media instead.

Mr Smith also used his speech to praise the good work of the Park Run initiative, with more than 30,000 runners across Wales taking part last year.

“My local Park Run group are the Park Bryn Bach Running Club, and I can say first-hand what a difference these initiatives can make,” he said.

“After a year of running every week, my blood pressure is down and I have tightened my belt a few notches.  I’m grateful for the esprit de corps of my local running club, they are so supportive.”

He ended his speech with a call for the Government to honour the 70th anniversary of the NHS “Not with pomp and ceremony, but the sort of action that people will celebrate another 70 years from now.”

“When Nye wanted a Tredegarised NHS, he wanted a service built on community”, he said.

“Where we all bought in and all had a stake. In that spirit, the public health challenges we face 70 years on shouldn’t be tackled alone.

“To truly ‘take care of yourself’, you need a society that sets you up for success. A system that has your back. A public service that recognises what needs to change and how to do it.”

For a full transcript of the speech, please click HERE

End pre-watershed junk food ads, says MP

Nick Smith MP has called on the Government to tackle TV programmes being “bookended by burgers and packaged with pizzas” and help ease pressure on the NHS.

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Nick Smith MP was given a warm welcome as he visited a borough school looking to give children with communication needs the best start in life.

The Blaenau Gwent MP popped in to Pen-Y-Cwm Special School in Ebbw Vale to talk to the children and hear about the work the school is doing to help those with speech and language difficulties.

The visit came about after Nick used his Prime Ministers’ Question in Parliament to call on the Government to commit to a cross-Government strategy that puts this issue at the heart of policy.

Along with talking to teachers and pupils, Nick also got to see facilities such as the school’s swimming pool area and rebound room, where part of the flooring has been installed with a sunken trampoline.

He also visited the art studio, where the children had been inspired by Nathan Wyburn’s Tommy Cooper toast portrait to make their own food portrait of the comedian.

Pen-Y-Cwm’s last Estyn inspection saw them receive a good rating across the board, with the school being singled out for their staff, leaders and management having a strong commitment to school improvement and high quality learning experiences.

Speaking after the visit, Nick said the school was doing a wonderful job in giving as many children as possible some very happy school years.

“Each child is so different here, with so many specialist demands and needs, but it’s a testament to the kindness and dedication of the team here that they’re loving Pen-Y-Cwm”, he said.

“We should all be proud of this school in Blaenau Gwent. The move to the new campus has given them a fantastic space to work with, and all the smiling faces I saw in the classrooms and corridors were proof this is a special place.”

Visit to Pen-y-Cwm School after PMQ on communication needs

Nick Smith MP was given a warm welcome as he visited a borough school looking to give children with communication needs the best start in life.

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Nick Smith MP joined other coalfield colleagues to meet with mining union leaders and work on a better pension deal for ex-miners.

The Blaenau Gwent MP met with the chiefs of the National Union of Mineworkers to discuss the latest report into the Mineworkers Pension Scheme.

The current arrangement sees the government and pensioners share any profits made by pension investments on a 50/50 split.

The Treasury has banked an incredible £3.4 billion from this arrangement since 1994 without ever having to pay in a penny as guarantor.

The independent report, commissioned by the NUM, put forward several alternative surplus sharing arrangements for the MPS, which would see members receive improved pensions while still remaining attractive to the government as scheme guarantor.

Mr Smith secured a debate on the issue in Parliament in December, where he said the Government should “do the right thing by retired mineworkers and their families.”

Speaking after the meeting, Nick said the report had spelled out that it was time for the Government to take a serious look at this issue once more.

“Mining was a big part of my family. I know what my three collier uncles went through to keep the family warm and fed”, he said.

“This country was built on the backbone of industry and, though those industries may be gone, that doesn’t mean we should not respect that legacy.

“As I said in Parliament, The time has come for a better way to help the trustees support our communities.

“This is the miners’ money. They earned it through years of hard work at the coalface, and they deserve a better and fairer share of it.”

Labour MPs, the NUM and the trustees of the scheme are all committed to renegotiating the terms of the MPS pension agreement.

Further meetings between MPs and both the trustees and government ministers will be arranged in the coming months.

 

Nick meets with NUM to work out fairer deal for mining pensions

Nick Smith MP joined other coalfield colleagues to meet with mining union leaders and work on a better pension deal for ex-miners.


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