AT our annual meeting at the end of May we cemented an agreement with an independent and a Green Party councillor to join with us in a formal coalition to provide steady, stable control of your county council.

Since the elections all over England last month, Labour is the party of local government in Britain with the highest number of councillors.

One of our big successes since we took office in Monmouthshire has been to concentrate on affordable housing and the recent Labour pledge to make land cheaper for local government to buy for such housing strengthens our ambitious plans.

Many of those who work in our county – key workers among them–cannot afford to live here and spend time and money travelling into Monmouthshire.

And the cost of living crisis has not been helped in Wales by the way a Westminster government of a different hue has deprived us of our fair share of support.

They have claimed that their funding delivers on the commitment to match the previous EU funding from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund. Is that really true? Our Welsh government believes that it has received less than half of what would have been paid out.

By contrast Labour has pledged that in power it would introduce a windfall tax on energy companies, which are making huge profits for shareholders while bill-payers suffer the consequences of huge price hikes. That could transform local government budgets, too.

Let me remind you, too that here in Monmouthshire we have a MP who has done nothing to redress these imbalances and who was a keen supporter of the disgraced former prime minister.

We need to put this right, when the time comes by electing a Welsh Labour MP who will work alongside the county council and fight the case for Wales and Monmouthshire. We have an excellent prospective candidate in Catherine Fookes. Whenever a general election is called, she will be ready to show what fairness and quality local representation is really like!