Justice for Jasmine
In 2013 Operation Jasmine, one of the biggest investigations into care home abuse in the UK, collapsed. Affecting more than 100 families across South East Wales, the seven-year investigation cost more than £11m and took 4,126 statements. Yet the case collapsed because the Director of Puretruce Care Homes, Dr Prana Das, was deemed unfit to stand trial.
I spoke to the heartbroken families involved and was shocked by some of the evidence the police collated. As a result, I’ve campaigned both in Wales and Westminster to make sure lessons can be learned from this terrible event and elderly people can be protected from future harm.
In Wales, I am proud to have worked alongside the likes of Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, to press home to the Labour Welsh Government about the need for an Independent Review into Operation Jasmine. They listened and that review is now ongoing, when last year it seemed there was no hope for the families involved.
Meanwhile, I have been working with Age UK to get the Tory Government to amend the Care Bill making its way through Parliament. My amendments were given cross-party support and would mean the owners of care homes could face fines or even jail sentences for abuse in their care. However, the Government missed the opportunity to take a strong stance against abuse in care homes. With cases continuing to appear in the media, I intend to keep campaigning for good standards of care and peace of mind for us all.
Move on Up
The government’s electrification of the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line is a great victory for local commuters who participated in our “Move on Up” campaign.
This decision has been welcomed by rail users throughout Blaenau Gwent who have helped with my campaign, as well as local businesses and job seekers. Quality infrastructure is essential for the economic development of the borough. A modern and effective train service will open up local labour markets and make Blaenau Gwent a more attractive place for business investment.
As part of the “Move on Up” campaign in 2012 I surveyed over 350 passengers on the line to seek their views, and over 70% of users said that they were in favour of electrification. Armed with this information I met with ministers from the Department of Transport and the Welsh Office to put the case for electrification, and raised the issue in the House of Commons.
Through this campaign I was surprised to find out how many young people use the line, with nearly 40% of passengers being between 16 and 25. It is important that young people have access to job markets in Cardiff and South Wales to prevent our best and brightest leaving the borough.
In 2013 I carried on my “Move on Up” campaign to bid for the redoubling of the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line. This would give the line the potential to have more trains and run more frequent services. The line is a massive success, far more than anticipated, and 89% of you agreed with me that maximising this service with more trains and more journeys was vital.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in this campaign so far, but more work needs to be done. I am still in contact with the Department for Transport and the Welsh Government to stress the importance of these issues. We have to keep up the pressure on the government to keep this project on track and prevent this vital investment from being delayed.
To support this important campaign please ‘Like’ our Facebook page below:
Move on up facebook page
For too long we have buried our heads in the sand about ticket touts and the secondary market. Touting has evolved from the shouting salesman outside the stadium to the sophisticated spiv armed with inside contacts and sophisticated computer programs.
The Tory Government has argued that touting is filling a gap in the market and touts who rip off real fans with massive markups are swashbuckling entrepreneurs. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With the Rugby World Cup meaning so much to Blaenau Gwent and beyond, I felt something had to be done. I have campaigned to make the RWC an event of National Significance equal to the Olympics – so tickets would be protected from resale by touts and kept in the hands of real fans.
I have also been a part of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, and informed many of the recommendations for its report that was used to challenge the Consumer Rights Bill in the House of Commons.
With the RWC tickets on general sale as of September, I will continue to challenge the Government on this issue until they acknowledge what we all know already – it’s time to give the power back to the fans and give them a fair deal.