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Westminster Matters

By Albert Owen MP

22nd August 2016

Getting Anglesey Connected remains a priority of mine and since my election I have promoted the Island as a place to live, work and visit. Local residents, workers and visitors require 21st century services and facilities, which require 21st century infrastructure.

Transport is vital and I have long campaigned for a more integrated system to and from Anglesey, and will continue to do so. I will return to transport improvements in coming weeks.

Today we live in the digital age, however, many residents locally and nationally feel left out as we find it impossible to get minimum download speeds or even an adequate mobile signal.

In Parliament I have led the campaign for a universal service across the UK, in principal we have won this argument after much resistance from the Tory government. Indeed, I have suggested that the Isle of Anglesey would be an ideal pilot project. It has urban and rural areas, a coastline, and has a major port on the periphery.

I have put the case forward and will continue to do so, the Digital Economy Bill offers to put minimum provisions into law. It creates a legal right to minimum internet download speeds for customers and providers to provide compensation to customers if these requirements are not met. I believe that internet and mobile communication is a basic utility in today’s digital age and it needs to be put into law.

This Bill offers this, and we are moving towards it. Nevertheless this will take a few years (by 2020) and we must push for basic connections NOW, which is why I am working with individuals, businesses and other politicians at all levels to put pressure on local, Welsh and UK government to roll out the necessary infrastructure to get the Island connected. There have been improvements, but too many areas are being ignored. We have the technology, however it’s the financial case that’s always hard to make and that is why it is the best way forward to make it a legal right.

Communities on Anglesey have so much to offer locals and visitors alike. Let’s tell everyone that Anglesey is a modern destination, as well as a naturally beautiful place full of heritage.

Anglesey Show

Westminster Matters

By Albert Owen MP, Ynys Môn

August 2016

Again the summer recess offers me the opportunity to get out and about. I have recently held surgeries and met residents in Amlwch, Beaumaris, Holyhead, Newborough and I have more planned in Llangefni this week.

In addition, I have attended community events and met with local community groups and individuals. We have rich and diverse communities on the Isle of Anglesey and the fetes, festivals and open days reflect this.

At the time of writing I am looking forward to attending the Anglesey Show – the Premier show of its kind. It brings together a cross section of the Island as well as visitors from far and wide.

To me, politics is about people and engaging directly with them is so important. I will continue to promote the Island at every opportunity as a place to work, live and visit.

Politics, nationally and globally, is at an important juncture. Post-Brexit, we need to plan for a better future. Many investments and projects face uncertain times; I will put the case for the Island, and to limit the impact that external issues will have. This is why I work with groups, individuals and government at all levels and across the political divide.

Over the coming months I will be having more engagements in order to gather views on how we can best work together for a better future.

On a positive note, as I go out and about, there is a general agreement that the Island has so much to offer and we are lucky to live in this diverse Island community.

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Westminster Matters

A Week in Westminster by Albert Owen MP

July 2016

Brexit and the fallout continues to prevail and dominate Westminster, and last week we saw a new Prime Minister and Government. Theresa May made major changes to her front line, not least the sacking of George Osborne as Chancellor. Frankly, he should have gone years ago. He has failed to meet any of his major fiscal targets. We still have a deficit, debt and prolonged austerity that is hurting the most vulnerable in our society. Osborne was political in all of his decisions, he and Cameron put politics and their party before the interests of the country. They failed to convince people of the merits of remaining in the EU and used scaremongering slogans that have now led us into political turmoil. Moreover, they did not have a contingency plan for Brexit. I hope that Mrs May can steady the ship in these uncharted and choppy waters.

Sadly, the Labour leader has also not provided the leadership required during or after the EU referendum and has failed to surge ahead in public opinion. At this time we need both a credible government and opposition. In the leadership election I have nominated Owen Smith who has the combined skills and vision to take us forward, not just as a party, but as a strong United Kingdom. Labour needs to convince the People that it can be the radical, reforming government that gave us the NHS in the 1940s, social legislation and the minimum wage between the 1960s and late 90s, and not an inward looking party as in the 1980s. That is the challenge and, post-Brexit, we need a fresh start.

In the constituency I have attended many events, met with local businesses, been engaged in a number of campaigns and held advice surgeries. Over the coming weeks of recess I will continue this work.

The Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland.

HMS Victorious was the second of the four ballistic missile submarines to emerge from the Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow, where she was officially 'launched' on 29 September 1993. Based at Clyde Naval Base, HMS Victorious' is continuing the Royal Navy's proud record of over 40 years of uninterrupted nuclear deterrence, as at least one of the four 'bombers' is on patrol at any time.

Trident Replacement and Nuclear Disarmament / Adnewyddu Trident a Diarfogi Niwclear

I am writing to all constituents who have contacted me on the decision to replace Trident and wider nuclear disarmament.

I have a consistent view on the nuclear deterrent and believe in multilateral, not unilateral nuclear disarmament.

The UK has reduced its nuclear forces by over half since the peak of the Cold war. It has done this via multilateral negotiations under the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The UK has also dismantled its maritime technical capability and RAF free-fall bombs. Indeed, in recent years warheads have been reduced from 160 to 120, with a reduction in on-board patrols down from 48 to 40. The UK retains its minimum and credible deterrent known as Trident.

I respect those who oppose nuclear weapons in principle and understand the issue of costs. The cost of replacing four new successor submarines is £31billion to build over thirty-five years, plus a contingency of £10billion. This is on average 0.2% of Government spending. The in-service costs are around 6% of the Defence Budget.

I believe that in a growing economy we can have a deterrent as well as improved services.

The Labour Party introduced the nuclear deterrent post World War Two and built the National Health Service at the same time. It is not ‘either/or’. It is not about the threat of terrorism. It is about a deterrent that has worked since the introduction of nuclear weapons.

The replacement of Trident is in line with the NPT and the UK will continue to reduce its capability through multilateral means and retain its independent deterrent and play a role in NATO providing security in an ever changing and dangerous world.

I know that this will not please many who have written to me; however, I voted to retain our minimum deterrent for the reasons I offer above in line with my position and in an honest manner.

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‘Rwyf yn ysgrifennu at yr holl etholwyr cysylltodd â fi ynglŷn â’r penderfyniad i amnewid Trident ac ar y mater o Diarfogi Niwclear .

Mae fy safiad ar destun diarfogi niwclear wedi bod yn gyson a rwy’n credu mewn diarfogi aml-ochrog yn hytrach ‘na diarfogi unochrog.

Mae’r nifer o arfau niwclear Prydain wedi cael eu lleihau gan fwy na haner ers uchafbwynt y Rhyfel Oer. Cyflawnwyd hyn trwy gyfrwng trafodaethau amlochrog dan Cytuniad ar Atal Twf Arfau Niwclear.  Yn  ychwanegol, mae Prydain wedi datgymalu ei gallu technegol morol and bomiau rhydd-ddisgyn yr RAF. I fod yn wrthrychol, mae Prydain wedi lleihau y nifer o arfbennau o 160 lawr i 120 yn y blynyddoedd diwethaf, gyda gostyngiad pellach o 48 i 40 o arfbennau ar fwrdd.  System Prydain yw Trident sydd gyda’r isafswm o arfau tra’n parhau yn ataliad credadwy.

Yr wyf yn parchu y rheiny sydd yn gwrthwynebu arfau niwclear o ran egwyddor ac deall yn union unrhyw bryderon am gostau’r adnewyddu. Y ffigyrau ar gyfer yr datblygu ac adeiladu pedwar llong tanfor newydd yw £31biliwn ar draws tri deg a phump o flynyddoedd, yn ogystal a £10biliwn wrth gefn. Ar gyfartaledd mae’r gwariant hyn yn 0.2% o wariant y Llywodraeth; hynny oll tua 6% o’r Gyllideb Amddiffyn pan fydd y system yn gweithredu.

Credaf y gall economi sydd yn tyfu gynnal arf ataliol a gwasnaethau gwell.

Creuwyd yr ataliad niwclear gan y Blaid Lafur yn dilyn yr Ail Ryfel Byd ac adeiladu’r Gwasnaeth Iechyd ar yr un pryd. Nid mater o’r ‘Naill Un neu’r Llall’ yw hi. Nid yw hyn yn ymateb i fygythiadau terfysgol ond system ataliol sydd wedi bod mewn defnydd ers cychwyniad arfau niwclear.

Mae adnewyddu system Trident yn unol â’r Cytuniad â’r Atal Twf Arfau Niwclear a bydd Prydain yn parhau i leihau ei gallu trwy dulliau aml-ochrog ac i gadw ei ataliad annibynol a chwarae ei rhan oddifewn NATO i sicrhau diogelwch mewn byd sydd yn ansicr a pheryglus.

Rwy’n gwybod na fydd hyn yn plesio y nifer sydd wedi ysgrifennu ataf; eto, er hynny yr wyf wedi pleidleisio i gadw ein system ataliol lleiaf am y rhesymau rhestrais uwchben a gan mai hyn yw fy marn onest ar y mater.