Every year since I’ve been an MP my staff team and I have helped 800-1,000 local people. And every year, some of those we help are people affected by terminal illnesses and their families. Like many people around here, I know how much the system seems to be weighted against people with serious medical conditions. I don’t think this is right or fair – that’s why I’ve always campaigned for change.
I recently joined BBC presenter Jeremy Vine and other campaigners in Parliament to demand the UK Government fast-track benefit claims for people living with terminal conditions. This was at a joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Terminal Illness, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Marie Curie charity.
At present, medical professionals have to say there’s a reasonable expectation of death within six months before people get access to certain benefits. I think the UK Government should scrap the six months rule and follow those other countries which have a fairer definition of terminal illness that’s based on clinical judgement, not a random and often inaccurate timescale. A sensible change wouldn’t cost the Government any more money. It would cut red tape and protect terminally ill people and their families in our area and across the UK.
Since our meeting, Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd has announced that the Government will review the system. That’s a step forward but we need action and we need it soon. I’ll continue to press the UK Government until we get the changes that people with terminal conditions and their families deserve.
Nature doesn’t come much finer than the Clywedog Valley and the area around the Nant Mill Country Park, Coedpoeth. This former corn mill which serves as a visitors’ centre is a great venue for a family visit or for walkers. The local history and wildlife by the River Clywedog are outstanding – and there’s the brilliant 6.5 mile Clywedog Valley Walking Trail to enjoy in part or whole.
I was delighted to meet recently with Councillor Krista Childs and other local residents who have come together as the Nant Mill Community Trust. I feel very honoured that the Trust has made me their Patron. I believe the park has a huge amount of potential as a destination for visitors. It has a fascinating history which is well documented thanks to the efforts and dedication of volunteers. We would all like to see more tourists and schools use the site, but for that to happen we need to make sure that proper facilities are provided and maintained. I am confident Nant Mill Community Trust will turn around the fortunes of this wonderful park – and look forward to working with them in doing so.