FOLLOWING her recent re-election as Senedd member for Vale of Glamorgan – and appointment at Minister for Social Justice – we caught up with Jane Hutt.
Welsh Labour’s Jane Hutt was re-elected for the sixth Senedd earlier this month – she has held the seat since the Welsh Parliament first formed 22 years ago. She is the only MS to have served as a Minister in every Welsh Government to date.
Ms Hutt – who was a South Glamorgan County councillor for 12 years before first obtaining her Senedd seat in 1999 – said: “It was a lovely outcome – it’s humbling that people have put their trust in me and I’m very grateful.
“It’s an honour to serve people for the next five years. There’s so much to do and I’m hitting the ground running.”
MS Hutt has campaigned for equality for many years’ she became the first National Co-ordinator of Welsh Women’s Aid in 1978 and was a founder of South Glamorgan Women’s Workshop.
“I want safety for all people – men and women,” said Ms Hutt, who has recently had meetings with Vale of Glamorgan councillors and other agencies about how to make all areas safe for people.
Ms Hutt had engaged with Vale of Glamorgan residents throughout her years as an MS, with the coronavirus pandemic and effects of lockdown a concern for the community over the last year,
“It’s a very difficult time for people,” said Ms Hutt.
“I’ve been fortunate to serve in First Minister Mark Drakeford’s cabinet… and his approach is based on team-work and evidence – not just medical or clinical, but social.
“Every step of the journey I’ve focused on the impact [of Covid] on communities, including BAME communities and those with disabilities.
“Detrimental issues affecting the community and the people within it are at the fore-front, but I also work with police and the PCC. We have regular discussions about the impact of Covid, and lockdowns, and the easing of restrictions.
“I’ve been engaging with police and Vale of Glamorgan Council enforcement officers to protect our communities and encourage respectful visits to our beautiful coasts.”
Ms Hutt is also supportive of business ‘both large and small’ – and has also shown her support for Barry Hospital – in 2020 she campaigned against a planned closure of the 23-bed Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital.
“Barry Hospital does wonderful work,” said Ms Hutt.
The Sam Davies ward played an important role in the Covid pandemic and will continue to do so.”
Ms Hutt also praised volunteers in the Vale of Glamorgan – and across Wales – for the ‘tremendous support’ they’ve shown within their communities. Earlier this year she thanked a number of volunteers, including Cowbridge Male Voice Choir, for their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Hutt also engages with young people and supported The Schools Councils (Wales) Regulations 2005 which meant all schools in Wales need a council, enabling pupils to discuss matters relating to school, education, or other areas of concern, and to make representations on these to the governing body and the head teacher.
“This has helped pupils interest in being citizens and engaging with politics,” said Ms Hutt.
During the Senedd 2021 election – for the first time – people aged 16 and 17 were given the option to vote.
“It was lovely to meet families who has discusses parties and their manifestos,” said Ms Hutt.
“Many of the young people I spoke to had made up their minds [about who to vote for]. I’m glad young people felt empowered. They’ve been very much focused on the impact of the pandemic, but they’re also looking out for parents’ and grandparents’ generations in a caring way.
“To the young people who went to their polling stations [to vote] thank you for taking initiative – we will move Wales forward.
“People have put their trust in me and I will continue to serve all people across all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.”