Mark Isherwood AM's column - 10th March 2020

Speaking at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Llangollen, I said calls to abolish the Welsh Assembly wrongly blame it for the separate Labour Welsh Government’s appalling record on education, the NHS and child poverty over the past 21 years, and that next year’s Welsh Parliamentary elections are an opportunity to give Wales a better future.

At the conference I also spoke at the Citizens Advice Cymru event and had useful meetings with MS Society Cymru, RCN Wales, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Community Pharmacy Wales, Smart Energy GB, Marie Curie Cymru, RNIB Cymru, RCOT, NFU Cymru, RSPB Cymru, and Leonard Cheshire Disability.     

In the Welsh Parliament, I called on the Environment Minister to respond to calls for independent, regular, unannounced visits to monitor air pollution around Chirk, following the recent fire at Kronospan panelling factory, the third in less than three years.

Speaking in the ‘Local Government Settlement 2020-2021’ debate, I criticised the Welsh Government for its unfair Local Government Finance Settlement for North Wales Councils and for rejecting their call for a Funding Floor in the settlement to protect services and work against above inflation council tax rises.  

I tackled the Housing Minister over the social housing waiting list crisis facing Wales and the fall in the number of new builds across the country, compared to the increase in England and Scotland.

Questioning the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, I asked why the Welsh Government is still pursuing false economies by cutting funding for voluntary sector organizations, rather than working with them to spend money better and deliver more.

Speaking in the Hate Crime Debate, I emphasised the need to understand why recorded hate crime increased by 17% in Wales in 2018/19, compared to a 10% increase across England and Wales.

I closed the Welsh Conservative debate on Looked-After Children, regretting that the number of looked-after children in Wales rose by 34% in the last 15 years and calling on the Welsh Government to assist in recruiting 550 foster families, investigate the support available to adoptive parents, urgently review local authority plans on reducing the numbers of looked-after children, and ensure parents and guardians receive free positive parenting courses.   

Assembly engagements included British Heart Foundation Cymru, St David’s Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast and Eating Disorder Awareness Week event.  

I also appeared on BBC Wales Live to discuss Children's Hospice Funding in Wales.  

It was a pleasure to attend the fantastic St David’s Day celebration in Flint.

If you need my help, please email mark.isherwood@assembly.wales or call 0300 200 7219.