Guest post by Julie Morgan
Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.
I’m Julie Morgan and I’ve been working hard for constituents in Cardiff North as their Assembly Member since 2011. It’s an area that I care deeply about and I was also MP for the constituency from 1997-2010.
In my time as Assembly Member I’ve worked flat out for my constituents, running a fully-staffed office open five days a week in Whitchurch and holding surgeries twice-weekly. My office has dealt with more than 3,000 cases since I was elected in 2011 and I will always go the extra mile to help people. I’ve chaired seven Cross-Party Groups at the Assembly – including on children, cancer and nursing and midwifery – and served on three committees: Environment, Public Accounts and Finance.
I’ve attended thousands of events and supported local causes, charities and schools. Just in the last 12 months I’ve organised events myself including my 15th Macmillan Coffee Morning (more than £10,000 raised over the years), a Velindre Coffee Morning, an Older People’s Event, an Environment Event, a green belt protest, a music and movement class for older people and a food waste event.
I’m standing for re-election again in 2016 because there’s still work to be done! On health I’ve lobbied long and hard for the £200m new Cancer Centre at Velindre which is now set to become a reality but I’m still lobbying for a Maggie’s – a drop-in support centre for cancer patients – to be built in the grounds of Velindre and hoping for good news on this soon.
I’ve worked for many years with a group of patients affected by the NHS contaminated blood scandal who contracted the disease Hepatitis C as a result. Last autumn we had excellent news when the Welsh Government agreed to fund a new drug which has already cured many of Hepatitis C but I’m still lobbying both the Welsh Government and Westminster on behalf of this group over what I fear will be a watered-down system of payments for them (this is currently under review by the Conservative government in London).
On the Environment I’ve lobbied for years for a green belt for the land north of the M4 which will benefit all Cardiff North residents and would secure this precious land for their children and grandchildren. I’ve submitted two major petitions on this – the most recent in 2015 – and we have at last succeeded in persuading the planners to give the area some protection, although in the form of a green ‘wedge’ not green belt. This means it will be protected for the next 10 years but the campaign for full, lasting protection continues.
I’ve been involved with the Reservoir Action Group in Lisvane and Llanishen for the long 15-year fight to stop the redevelopment of the reservoirs – and at last there has been good news on this. Now the reservoirs will revert to the ownership of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and it has promised to re-open them for the enjoyment of the public. There’s still work to be done on this to make sure we can get sailing, fishing, walking and nature conservation back there.
One of my new campaigns I’ll be launching will be to ensure there is enough childcare provision in Cardiff North to enable people to take up Welsh Labour’s promise of 30 free hours of childcare a week for three and four-year-olds of working parents. Two nurseries have closed in the constituency while I’ve been AM (despite organising protests) so I feel this is a very important issue.
I’ll also be continuing my campaign on the control of dangerous dogs – dog microchipping comes in this April which is a step in the right direction but there’s more to be done – and for a ban on the use of snares which can trap wild animals and domestic pets especially cats.
Lastly one of my newest campaigns is on the subject of food waste. I held a debate in the Assembly on this which sparked a lot of interest and I will be campaigning for the supermarkets to be required by law to partner with charities to give away unwanted food, as new legislation in France has recently required them to do there.
I hope you’ll support me in my fight to win the Cardiff North constituency once again this year so I can carry on serving constituents and charities as I’ve done for a large part of my working life.
By Julie Morgan