Nick Smith MP

Working for you in Blaenau Gwent


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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...


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...

ImageVaultHandler_aspx.jpgNick Smith MP has called for a new deal for the Valleys to revive our economy after the decimation caused by the loss of industry in the eighties.


In a Parliamentary debate on coalfield communities, the Blaenau Gwent MP said the Tory destruction of the mining industry had for decades crippled areas such as South Wales.

He added without the infrastructure and support for those communities to have a shot at bringing in business, the UK Government were hobbling areas such as Blaenau Gwent all over again.

He said: “We can all recognise that jobs and opportunities are clustered in the big cities or rich areas such as South East England, but that shouldn’t mean boroughs such as the one I represent being left to rot.

“If this Tory Government is going to continue to attack public services – and we’ve all seen the cuts it has forced our councils to make – then they have a duty to give our communities an equal chance to compete.

“I’m proud of my home and the childhood and chances it gave me. I want to know that for the generations coming through, they will realise their potential.

“This is why I’m calling for a Valleys agenda. With promises such as the Jobs Guarantee scheme, I’m confident a Labour Government could lead the way to a better future.”

The speech was as follows:

A few weeks ago, my borough of Blaenau Gwent had the privilege of screening the Welsh premier of “Still the Enemy Within” in our historic and award-winning Market Hall cinema. That moving documentary about the ’84 strike captured the most important trade union dispute of our lives. It reminded me of the worry that I felt for my family—the knot that I had in my stomach for that whole year, when nearly all my uncles and cousins were colliers on strike. It took me back to the time when the community was united in standing by our lads. It also reminded me of Tory Minister Nick Ridley’s insidious plan to take on the miners—the miners whose side I would always be on and for whom I would always work.

Blaenau Gwent was built on the two pillars of coal and steel. The community and the culture were as strong as those pillars. There was not a lot of money in anyone’s pocket. I remember picking coal off the mountains as a small boy to heat our home during one strike. Families knew the toll that the heavy industries took—a terrible legacy that is shown these days in our poor health record. Despite all that, we had strong roots to rely on and high hopes for the next generation.

In the 30 years since, Blaenau Gwent has had a fight on its hands to get back on its feet. The two pillars are long gone and not enough private sector industry has filled the gap. Blaenau Gwent is slowly pulling itself up by its bootstraps, but we need a new deal to get us properly back on our feet. We have received good support from the Welsh Government and Europe for towns such as Ebbw Vale, which has a new school complex, a new hospital and much more on the site where the steelworks once stood. We now need support that not only strengthens our public services, but gives us a chance to thrive once more.

Blaenau Gwent is not alone. Our neighbouring valley boroughs need support too, and we need a valleys agenda to help us move forward. That is why I will continue to campaign for infrastructure improvements, such as the electrification of the valleys rail network and a new metro system. That would help to improve the access that valley people have to the bigger jobs market on the coast.

We need first-rate guidance for young people to dramatically improve their social mobility and access to the professions, so that they can get well-paid work and do not get trapped in low-skilled, low-paid jobs. We need a range of employers to be given every incentive to make coalfield communities such as Blaenau Gwent their home. Half measures are not enough. We have a strong responsibility to give every young person in Blaenau Gwent the chance to succeed. They do not have to pick coal off the mountain during strikes like we did, but they have their own difficulties in getting a good start in life.

The people in the south Wales valleys towns deserve the best possible support and a new deal for a better future. Only a Labour Government can see that job through.

Valleys still hurting three decades after strikes

Nick Smith MP has called for a new deal for the Valleys to revive our economy after the decimation caused by the loss of industry in the eighties.   In...

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