Mark Isherwood AM's column - 30th June 2019

I am a member of the Welsh Parliament’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee. Speaking in the Debate on our Inquiry into Diversity in Local Government, I said the 2017 UK General Election delivered the most diverse House of Commons ever, “reflecting the direction of travel already set in this Welsh Parliament. However, as our report states, women, black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, disabled people, LGBT people, the young and those with lower incomes are markedly under-represented in Welsh Local Government – and work seeking to remedy this has not achieved sufficient progress”.

I also said that, in her evidence to Committee, the Minister stated that Council Officers are accountable to Local Authority backbenchers – and that this also needs strengthening in the forthcoming (Local Government and Elections) Bill.

Questioning the Finance Minister over funding of domestic abuse services for both female and male victims, I quoted the Crime Survey for England and Wales which estimated 2 million victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales last year: 65 per cent women, 35 per cent men.

Questioning the Minister for International Relations, I noted that although not in the EU, Turkey is in the EU Customs Union, and that although goods from partner countries can therefore enter the EU at reduced or zero tariff rates and then flow free into Turkey, Turkish companies don't benefit from reciprocal tariff cuts when exporting to those countries, and highlighted the implications for the UK if we remained in the Customs Union outside the EU.

It was good to meet North Wales Tourism and Toyota Deeside at an event in the Welsh Parliament to celebrate the Japan - UK Season of Culture, and local food and drink providers at the ‘Discover North East Wales’ event held there.

Other Cardiff engagements included Chairing the Cross Party Autism Group, British Veterans Association, Armed Forces and Reserves Week, Project 360 for military veterans, Brynawel Alcohol and Drug Rehab, and Cross Party Groups on both Policing and Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood.

As the Shadow Minister for North Wales, I was delighted to join the Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet visit to Anglesey, during which I met  Medrwn Môn, the Voluntary Council for Anglesey, Menter Môn, which provides solutions to the challenges facing rural Wales, and Morlais Marine Energy.  

It was a pleasure to attend Your Space’s Lottery launch and funday in Llay. Registered charity ‘Your Space’ supports children and young people who are on the Autistic Spectrum.

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