Nick Smith MP

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Nick Smith MP has celebrated the news that the vital electrification of the Valleys line will give Blaenau Gwent a real chance to thrive for years to come.

The UK Government had cast doubt over the development after denying in March 2014 that they had made any promise to pay for the scheme.

But after negotiations with the Welsh Government they will now put £125m towards the scheme, putting it firmly back on track.

The Blaenau Gwent MP has been campaigning since his election for constant improvements to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff route.

His Move On Up campaign had previously pushed for electrification in 2012, quizzing hundreds of passengers on the line and taking their views to ministers in Wales and Westminster.

Speaking after the announcement, Mr Smith said the Welsh Government had done the borough proud by fighting to hold the UK Government to their commitments.

“I’m so glad to see the Welsh and UK governments have recognised the importance of new electrified railways for the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line”, he said.

“This hugely successful link is a life line from the Valleys to good jobs on the coast, so it's important the service is modernised. 

“The next challenge for the Move On Up campaign is to now take real advantage of these improvements. Every year I’ve run it, I’ve always been struck by how many youngsters are on the line going to University or work.

“I campaigned for electrification and campaigned for the passing loop, which are both being realised. Now we need to get that line humming with more trains more often and take advantage of the line’s success.”

Mr Smith challenged the Secretary of State for Wales on the funding issues as recently as October, and pushed for the passing loop – set to be completed by March 2016 - as part of the 2013 campaign.

“The story across the country is you build a good infrastructure that’s attractive to commuters going out and businesses coming in and those areas thrive”, he said.

“Our former industrial bedrocks are no longer there, but areas such as the Valleys haven’t been given the chance to compete once more.

“This is a real shot in the arm – but there’s still a lot of work left to do.”

Blaenau Gwent given chance to Move On Up after electrification funding secured

Nick Smith MP has celebrated the news that the vital electrification of the Valleys line will give Blaenau Gwent a real chance to thrive for years to come. The UK...

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Nick Smith MP has welcomed Gwent Police’s improved commitment to real crime figures, but urged more still has to be done.

The HMIC have published a report on crime data integrity that has savaged the police across Britain for a 19% under-recording rate of crime.

As part of the study, Gwent Police were judged to have recorded 58 crimes out of 67 – a 13.5% underrecording rate.

However, it follows on from Gwent Police’s own internal review in summer 2013 that revealed 25 out of 50 crimes hadn’t been recorded properly, prompting assurances from the police that they were looking at their internal processes to fix any problems.

In addition, the HMIC found Gwent Police had a 100% record when classifying a situation as not a crime – one of only two forces to do so.

Speaking after the release of the figures, the Blaenau Gwent MP said while things were not perfect big steps had clearly been taken in comparison to elsewhere in the country.

“It’s important that HMIC have conducted this study of police activity across the country. It is vital that we have confidence in our police because that hasn’t been the case in a while”, he said.

“Myself and colleagues put Gwent Police through the wringer in recent years because we cared about the people they serve. As a result, I’m pleased that in the HMIC’s study they found that not a single case Gwent Police had classed as a no-crime was incorrectly classified.

“While asking for a perfect record may be a tall order, Gwent Police should continue to strive for perfection and maintain public confidence as a result.

“For the future we must try to make sure that a strong emphasis is given to supporting victims.

“I have championed this in the past following several difficulties faced by constituents, and I am glad Gwent Police are also pushing this agenda forward.”

“Police must strive for perfection” after crime figure improvements

Nick Smith MP has welcomed Gwent Police’s improved commitment to real crime figures, but urged more still has to be done. The HMIC have published a report on crime data...

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NICK Smith MP has called for the country to “walk, dance and play our way to wellbeing” as he secured a debate on physical activity in the UK.

The Blaenau Gwent MP wants simple physical activities to be promoted by the Government and health services to the same levels as anti-smoking messages.

Heading the Westminster Hall debate, Mr Smith also called for local governments to increase their spending on physical activity and massively improve the health of the public as a result.

It came on the back of figures released in the most recent Welsh Survey that revealed 58% of adults in Wales are classed as overweight, with 22% classed as obese.

UKactive’s report into the “epidemic of inactivity” in Britain also revealed 30% of people in Wales failed to undertake any sport or physical activity in a week – with the figure rising to 40% for the most deprived areas.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Smith said more needed to be done to help deprived areas lead active and healthy lives.

“Former industrial communities such as mine have always struggled with poor health and the knock on effect it has in astronomical”, he said.

“Money is tight for everyone. But encouraging communities to take part in simple physical activities and providing the facilities to do so has a big knock on effect and can save money in the long run.

“Sports clubs, fitness classes, even something like taking a walk – all these are cheap or free ways to get off our sofas and start working towards a better bill of health.

“That’s why we should be treating this sort of campaign as seriously as a no-smoking campaign or the latest celebrity diet.

“Prevention isn’t only better than the cure, it is cheaper too. It keeps our NHS fighting fit to tackle the things we can’t do anything about and keeps us fighting fit to lead happy lives.”

Walk, dance and play to a healthy Blaenau Gwent

NICK Smith MP has called for the country to “walk, dance and play our way to wellbeing” as he secured a debate on physical activity in the UK. The Blaenau...


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