Mid-Term Report – Dawn Bowden AM

Believe it or not we have now passed the mid-point of this 5th Assembly term. I was elected in May 2016 and I always remember that to be your AM is an honour and a privilege.

So this month I thought I would use my first monthly report of 2019 to provide you with a far more detailed written report than is normal. You can find the report by opening the link here.

Mid Term Report 2019

The report covers both the wide range of my work as your local AM, and the general progress being made by our Welsh Government since the last Assembly election in May 2016.

The work of a constituency Assembly Member is of course hugely varied, and very interesting, involving both the time spent on business in the Assembly and on local constituency engagements.

In looking back at the last twelve months I can see that my local engagements in 2018 included visits to schools and other local services, meeting with employers and the providers of our public services, meeting community/voluntary groups to discuss their projects and supporting a wide range of local events. The work can sometimes involve serious and often confidential casework in housing or health and care, as well as listening to and speaking up for residents on their local concerns.

Do not hesitate to get in touch if you think I can help on any issue or to make an appointment.

DAWN BOWDEN AM

 

A consultation on the Welsh Government’s new plan to combat the greatest public health challenge facing Wales

Dawn Bowden AM welcomes the new Welsh Government consultation on encouraging healthier lifestyles and for leading a healthier life to meet the challenge of obesity.

Actions to address the greatest public health challenge of our generation – obesity – announced.

Called ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’, the consultation outlines the actions to be taken to help people in Wales maintain a healthy weight.

The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Western Europe. In Wales, twenty seven percent of four-five year olds and sixty percent of our adults are overweight.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing major health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is also a risk to people’s mental health leading to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

The proposals set out in the consultation have a strong focus on prevention and are supported by research and international evidence from Public Health Wales into what can help the people to be a healthy weight.

The evidence has informed the content of the plan which is broken into four themes:

  • Leadership and Enabling Change– strengthening national and local leadership to deliver change through Local Health Boards, Local Authorities, their partners and with communities themselves.
  • Healthy Environments– creating an environment that helps everyone to make healthier food choices and creating opportunities in daily life for people to be active. Including to legislate on price promotions, calorie labelling on foods eaten out of the home, banning the sale of energy drinks to children and to bring together a range of programmes to develop active environments across communities.
  • Healthy Settings– ensuring our education, work and leisure facilities promote and provide opportunities for people in Wales to access healthy meals, snacks and drinks and be physically active. Including strengthening support for early years and schools settings to enable healthy eating and daily physical activity opportunities.
  • Healthy People– providing the opportunities and inspiring people and communities to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Including support for parents and families, focussing on the crucial first 1000 days and early years and to review delivery of the All Wales Obesity Pathway.

Vaughan Gething said:

“Too many people in Wales are overweight or obese.

“Our high rates of overweight four to five year olds is a matter of national concern. This government is not prepared to let a poor diet or physical inactivity be defining features in the lives of our children and young people.

“We know that many of us want to eat healthier or do more exercise. However, fitting this into our busy lives can appear to be an overwhelming challenge. Creating an environment where it is normal and easy for us all to eat well and be physically active can make a significant difference and nudge us to change our daily routines.

“We want to encourage people to manage their own health and wellbeing, to lose weight and to be active. The long term sustainability of the NHS is at stake.

“We want people in Wales to have long, healthy happy lives.  Being a healthy weight is a central part of achieving that goal.

“Tackling the root causes of why people become overweight is complex; it will require intervention at every level. We are under no illusion – there is no quick fix or easy solution to this problem. The proposals outlined today are based on the best evidence available of what could work to turn the tide on obesity.

“This is an issue we simply cannot ignore, it is the greatest public health challenge facing our generation and I urge people to engage fully with this consultation.”

Dawn Bowden AM welcomes Welsh Government support for  hard pressed families

Dawn Bowden AM has welcomed the Welsh Labour Governments continued commitment to the council tax reduction scheme.

The scheme helps a number of hard pressed families in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney to pay their council tax bills.

The announcement will ensure that approximately 300,000 vulnerable and low-income households in Wales will continue to be protected from any increase in their council tax bills.

Dawn Bowden said: “This is good news for many hard pressed households across my constituency who will continue to receive support with their council tax bills”

“Households that in many cases have felt the full force of the UK governments cruel and shambolic welfare reforms.”

“I would urge residents who think they may be entitled to support with their Council Tax bills to contact Merthyr Tydfil or Caerphilly Council as appropriate”.

“This is another example of our Welsh Government going an extra step to help a significant number of families facing cost pressures in my constituency”.

The approach taken by the Welsh Government is in stark contrast to the situation in England, where local authorities have been left to design their own schemes and manage the associated funding shortfall.  As a result, council tax liability varies by local authority, a multitude of different schemes operate and over two million low-income households are faced with having to pay more of their council tax bill.

If you are liable to pay council tax, either as a homeowner or a tenant, and you live in the property as your main residence, you might be able to get a CTR. To be eligible you must:

  • have a low income, or
  • receive certain welfare benefits.