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Fairwater Labour News

Feb 2017


£20 MILLION TO BUILD HOMES FIT FOR THE FUTURE

Welsh Labour's Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant has announced a new programme to deliver innovative models of housing to help increase the number of homes built in Wales.

The programme, which will initially be funded by £20m over the next two years, will contribute to the 20,000 affordable homes target the Welsh Government aims to provide over this term of government. The innovative homes, which will help to significantly reduce or eliminate fuel bills, will inform the Welsh Government about the type of homes it should support in the future.

To qualify for support under the programme, homes must:
  • be deliverable quickly
  • be affordable and meet housing need
  • create jobs and training opportunities, supporting Welsh businesses wherever possible
  • significantly reduce or erase fuel bills and carbon emissions
  • be healthy and comfortable to live in, reflecting the needs of the occupant
  • be certified for quality.
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Housing related Welfare Reform in Torfaen/Wales

Debate in Welsh Assembly

Dadl Fer Short Debate
Y Storm Berffaith—Asesu Effaith Gronnol Diwygio Lles mewn cysylltiad â Thai yng Nghymru The Perfect Storm—Assessing the Cumulative Impact of Housing-related Welfare Reform in Wales
Lynne Neagle: If time allows, I have agreed to give a minute of my time this evening to both Peter Black and Joyce Watson, in that order.
I should start by saying that I do not see this debate as an opportunity for party-political knockabout, and I do not necessarily expect to win over any opposition hearts and minds. However, the impact of housing-related benefit reform will be so massive and the consequences so grave for the people and communities that we represent that I have no reservations about using my short debate to raise these issues once again. Every Member in the Assembly will have huge numbers of constituents affected by this, so whichever party they stand for and whatever their view on welfare reform more widely, these are issues that we all need to be alive to.
5.15 p.m.
That is not just because it is the poorest and most vulnerable who will be the hardest hit—the very people we are supposed to be in politics to stand up for—but because it is the Welsh NHS, Welsh social services, the Welsh third sector, local government in Wales and, ultimately, this Assembly, that will be left to deal with the fall out. Frankly, given the sheer number of changes to the benefits system, either already introduced or just around the corner, it is difficult to know where to start.
It is the so-called bedroom tax due to be introduced from April next year that is causing the most concern out there. It is a move that will see households in the social rented sector lose 14% of their benefit if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom, or 25% if they have two spare rooms. These penalties, despite the best efforts of Labour in Westminster, will also hit foster carers, families with disabled children as well as parents whose children visit at weekends or during school holidays. We are not just talking about a handful of households. Of all the nations and regions, Wales will be hardest hit, with the Department for Work and Pensions’ impact assessment predicting that 46% of working-age housing benefit claimants in the social sector in Wales will be affected compared with 31% nationally, 33% in Scotland and just 20% in the south-west of England. Without wishing to undermine the really significant impact elsewhere, that is 40,000 claimants in Wales. It is 40,000 households who lose, on average, £12 a week from incomes already stretched to breaking point, who are already facing rising fuel bills and who are dealing with the cumulative impact of a myriad of other changes to the benefits system.
I have been in regular contact with social housing providers in my constituency over this issue for some time. I know that they are doing everything they can to try to model the impact of the under-occupancy rules, raise awareness, communicate the change to tenants and work with them to better manage their finances and prepare for the future. However, the reality is that they fear, as I do, that this will hit communities like a tsunami when these changes are introduced in April.
The latest borough-wide data in Torfaen suggests that 1,700 households are at risk, with 1,100 considered to have one bedroom too many under the new criteria, and 600 with two or more bedrooms too many. There is strong evidence to suggest that the vast majority of tenants—nine out of 10, in fact—understandably do not want to uproot themselves from their home and community, away from friends and family, possibly from jobs, potentially take their children
out of school and move to a smaller property, but will instead try to make up the shortfall in rent themselves. The predicted loss for this group of tenants is set to be £1.3 million in Torfaen alone, which is a significant sum that will be taken out of the local economy, as households reprioritise budgets already stretched to breaking point. It will take food off the tables of hard-pressed families and put cash in the pockets of loan sharks who prey on the poor and the vulnerable. Of course, under-occupancy is a real issue when there is so much pressure on the supply of social housing, but you do not solve one problem by creating another. There simply are not the smaller homes available for people to move to. Of the nearly 354 general needs properties advertised through Torfaen’s choice-based letting scheme, only 73 were one-bedroomed flats.
This will compound enormous existing pressures. Last year, there was a 25% increase in applications for affordable rented homes on the Torfaen housing register. In case any Members here think that this somehow will not affect their constituents, it is worth noting that recent Community Housing Cymru research showed that there is not a single housing association or social landlord in Wales that has the housing stock profile to meet potential downsizing needs. North or south, east or west, this will hit every corner of the country, and we should listen carefully to the stark warnings we heard from the Welsh Tenants Federation recently, gravely predicting that these changes could lead to 4,000 households being made homeless.
All this would be bad enough were it happening in isolation. In Torfaen, a DWP pilot is under way to test the effect of plans to pay the housing element of universal credit directly to tenants. Bron Afon Community Housing Limited in my patch is taking part, not, I should add, because it supports the change—quite the opposite, in fact—but because it is mindful of the need to model the potentially very serious impact on its tenants and on levels of arrears. It is right to be concerned. Given the experience of the London & Quadrant Housing Association, which trialled a similar scheme that was subsequently scrapped by the previous Labour Government after arrears rocketed by 80%. Many social landlords are predicting a doubling in arrears because of the change, with one predicting an annual rise from £417,000 to £750,000 a year, which is a worrying figure when you consider how important the financial stability of housing associations will be in helping to meet the need for affordable homes in the years ahead.
The fact is that, almost universally, tenants do not want direct payments. Bron Afon’s annual tenant survey indicated that 86% of its residents would prefer their housing costs to be paid directly to the landlord. More than half stated that the shift to monthly payments would make it more difficult to manage their budgets and 35% said that they were not confident that they could keep up with their rent payments. This is not surprising when you consider that 14% of these tenants do not even have a bank account of their own.
The DWP pilot scheme in Torfaen is about to be extended to the group of tenants thought to be most at risk from direct payments, namely those with a history of financial difficulties and significant debt problems. Does it not show how in touch the UK Government is with the pressures facing families that tenants are being pushed into this scheme in the run-up to Christmas? I dread to think of the choices that families, particularly those with children, will be forced to make, especially when Bron Afon’s survey found that, of the most vulnerable social housing residents, nearly half have struggled in the last year to pay for food and 39% have been unable to afford fuel.
It is not as though these measures are the Government’s starting point for welfare reform. Over the last 18 months, we have already seen the introduction of a whole range of changes that have hammered the incomes of some of the most hard-pressed households in Wales. These are reforms like the thirtieth percentile change to local housing allowance, which has left nearly 50,000 of the poorest households in Wales £9 a week worse off; the ending of
excess payments, payable when rent was lower than recipients’ LHA-calculated housing benefit, which acted as a lifeline for many who were struggling to make ends meet; and we should not forget the decision to uprate significantly non-dependant deductions, which had been frozen for many years under Labour, a move that modelling suggests is having an impact on 102 tenants per housing association and which is commonly cited by housing professionals as a leading cause of family conflict and breakdown.
When I met with benefits advisers at Torfaen citizens’ advice bureau recently, it was clear that they are already seeing real hardship out there on the ground. They have seen a 34% leap in the cases of threatened homelessness in the past 12 months, an incredibly worrying trend underlined by data from Shelter Cymru, which has helped the families of nearly 6,500 individual children in Wales affected by homelessness or potential homelessness in the past year. All this is at a time when, across the country, CABx, Shelter and the wider advice sector are facing enormous pressures of their own, dealing with burgeoning caseloads and, in many cases, having to shed paid adviser posts because of Government cuts.
While the picture that I have painted this evening has been almost unrelentingly bleak, it would be remiss of me to not recognise the fact that valiant work is going on up and down Wales to try to mitigate the impact of these reforms. I have already touched on the work that social landlords are doing with their tenants to help them to plan and prepare, but there are countless other examples, such as the efforts to promote digital inclusion being pioneered by Melin Homes in my constituency so that tenants are prepared for universal credit, which will rely on their having basic IT skills; the deals that have been struck in some areas between social landlords and credit unions so that tenants without access to basic bank accounts can receive direct payments; and, more widely, the many examples of collaboration that we are seeing not just between social landlords and local authorities, but between social landlords themselves. The Gwent welfare reform partnership is one example, where seven social landlords have come together to tackle these issues.
It is crucial that the kind of issues raised tonight feed into the recently announced and very welcome Welsh Affairs Committee inquiry into the impact of housing-related welfare reform on Wales. Equally, these are matters that need to be at the forefront of the Welsh Government’s root-and-branch review of the advice sector, a review that must take into account the need for specialist housing advice, as well as the more general advice networks and the one-stop shops that we hear so much about.
Ministers also need to ensure that social landlords exercise the maximum possible discretion when it comes to dealing with tenants who end up in debt and arrears as a result of these reforms, building on the good work that Shelter has done around preventing homelessness by making eviction the very last resort. There is also an important role that the Welsh Government can play in ensuring that local authorities are making much more effective use of discretionary housing payments, inadequate as they may be. I was deeply dismayed to see such huge disparity between different local authorities in Wales in terms of the amount of discretionary housing payment available per housing benefit claimant. It cannot be right that in Ceredigion there is £24.47 available per claimant, but the figure is just £4.46 in Caerphilly. There is a real job to do in ensuring that every council in Wales follows best practice and makes maximum possible use of discretionary housing payments that will become so very important in the period ahead.
Finally, it is incumbent upon all of us, as individual Assembly Members, to ensure that not only are we fully alive to these changes and the fall-out that will inevitably result, but that we properly support and represent our partners on the ground who deal with the impact of housing-related welfare reform on a daily basis, not least because it is our own surgeries and constituency offices up and down Wales that will be, for many, the first port of call in what really is the perfect storm.
Peter Black: I thank Lynne Neagle for bringing this topic to the short debate. I also have concerns about the way in which these changes are being brought in and how some of them will be implemented. I think that one of the reasons why we are still waiting for the regulations is because there are still a lot of battles going on behind the scenes where, in particular, Liberal Democrats Ministers are trying to moderate some of these changes and make sure that we are able to bring in changes that will not have the sort of impact that Lynne Neagle suggests. I expect that there will be some impact but, hopefully, we will be able to moderate those by the time the regulations come forward.
I also welcome Lynne’s contribution in terms of discretionary housing payments. An extra £30 million has been allocated by the UK Government to discretionary housing payments. I think that Lynne is absolutely right in saying that councils need to be more consistent about how the payments are applied, because many councils underspend their allocations in that area.
Finally, these changes are based on the local housing allowance, which was introduced by the previous Government in 2008 and already applies to private sector accommodation. Clearly, there were teething problems when that was introduced in 2008, as there will be teething problems here too. I think that everyone needs to work together to try to move through those teething problems.
Joyce Watson: I thank Lynne for raising this debate today. I wish to outline the case of a woman living in a small town in rural mid Wales. She received notice from the county council about changes to her housing benefit. She lives alone in a two-bedroomed house that she used to share but can no longer do so, through no fault of her own. As one of the bedrooms is unoccupied, her housing payments are being cut and she will not be able to cover the cost of living. There are no one-bedroomed homes in her area, but she is thankful for the job that she has as there are few about. She works part-time because that is all the hours that her employer can give her. She does not drive, so if she looked for work elsewhere she would have to move. The Tories talk tough on welfare but, in my opinion, the welfare reforms are very tough on people. That is just one case that I have of the many yet to come.
The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage (Huw Lewis): I thank Lynne for raising this topic for debate, which helps to keep the plight of those relying on benefits uppermost in all our minds. Let us be clear, what we are talking about in respect of these benefit cuts is that these are not benefits received by some small section of society; they are benefits like council tax benefits, claimed by three 330,000 people in Wales, 30,000 of whom are in work but on low income, or housing benefit claimed by 48,000 people in Wales. The list goes on. Referring to welfare reform, Iain Duncan Smith said that he was delighted by this Bill, which will fundamentally change people’s lives. They will fundamentally change people’s lives all right, but ‘delight’ is not the word that I would choose to describe my feelings at the prospects for my constituents or for the people of Wales more widely.
5.30 p.m.
The impact of these reforms poses some very real threats to our ability to protect people from poverty. Already we know that, as a result of the reforms that have taken effect this year, an additional 600,000 children could be taken into relative poverty. That is not my assessment—the Department for Work and Pensions, which has responsibility for taking forward the UK coalition Government welfare reform agenda, has produced impact assessments at every stage of the process. Its facts are clear about the cumulative effect of welfare reform between April 2011 and April 2013—that is, the April 2011 changes, the local housing allowance changes and the benefit cap. Based on DWP figures, the cumulative effect will, on average, amount to a benefit reduction of £97.50 a week. That is £5,000 a year.
I have asked officials here to request information from each of the Welsh local authorities on the potential impact of welfare reform on their communities. When this information is available, I shall refer it to the ministerial task and finish group. I have already received information from Cardiff and Flintshire, and the findings are extremely worrying. In respect of the benefit cap alone, which will kick in next April, 400 households will be affected in Cardiff alone, with 100 families losing over £100 a week. Ninety-five per cent of these families have children. Five hundred and seventy single people will lose around £42 a week, as they will only qualify for a room in a shared house. Owner occupiers will also feel the full impact of the reforms, with the support for mortgage interest rolled up into the universal credit; it is expected that the capital limit for interest payments will be halved, and that the qualifying period for payment will be extended from 13 weeks to 39 weeks. How can a family maintain its mortgage interest payments for nine months when someone has, for instance, lost their job or is unable to work due to illness? I guess that this is alright if you live in Dave’s world or in George’s world, and have a wealthy family that can step in to help out. However, this is not the world that the vast majority of our citizens in Wales inhabit.
It will not stop there. As we have heard, the welfare budget will take a further hit as George Osborne’s plans for growth have failed to materialise. The suggestions have been a freeze on benefit uprating and a withdrawal of benefit for under-25s. We did some work as a Welsh Government earlier this year, when this was first mooted, and we were advised by the DWP that 22,230 under-25s would be affected in Wales. There can be a gap of nine years between a young person leaving education and reaching the age of 25. What are young people expected to do? What about the circumstances of family breakdown or of domestic abuse? The detailed proposals are unknown, but it is hoped that there is a safety net for those who are simply unable to live at home, as there is now for those leaving care, for instance, or those estranged from parents.
In October 2013, universal credit will be introduced and, as I have said, I would welcome a simplified system. However, the proposed system is fraught with potential problems. It is digital by default, meaning that there will be no paper claim forms and all will have to claim universal credit electronically. We know that not everyone is IT literate. Does everyone have access to a computer? No. What about those who have reading and writing difficulties? What about those who are vulnerable, or have health issues? Universal credit will be paid calendar monthly in arrears, directly to a named person in the household. How does that work for families where the payee has problems with drink or drugs, or in situations where one partner is fleeing abuse? Will the money find its way to the right places—for rent, food or fuel—or even to the right person in those circumstances? Worryingly, less than a year before universal credit is implemented, there are multiple aspects of the new system that are yet to be finalised. What kind of support will be received by those who are unable to access IT systems to make a claim? Universal credit will be delivered centrally. Will someone from the DWP arrange a home visit? Will the local authority be asked to provide a face-to-face service? We do not know. What we do know is that the intention of the UK Government is that either we, the Welsh Government, or local authorities should pick up the pieces, with little or no extra money from the UK Government available. We are already seeing this with the deficit of upwards of 10% when council tax benefit support is devolved. These are the obvious costs. What is difficult to quantify is the cost to our communities and our public services.
The ministerial task and finish group on welfare reform has commissioned further research on the impact on our public services and on the Welsh economy. Potential implications that are already being discussed are the increased demand on health and social care services, due to increased stress and family breakdown; local authorities anticipating a greater reliance on temporary accommodation and increased cases of homelessness; and the potential for increased crime as police numbers are cut and a small minority turn to crime to make up shortfalls in household income.
In terms of housing, I am extremely concerned about the implications of a reduced collection of rent and what that will mean for our ability to invest in building more social housing and for reaching the Welsh housing quality standard. These are very real issues that we will not necessarily fully comprehend until we are in the midst of the UK Government’s welfare reform programme.
This Welsh Government is considering what we can do to mitigate the impact, for example through our financial inclusion work. We are trying to ensure that low-income families are given the support that they need to manage monthly budgets. This includes a network of housing advisory services across Wales that are easily accessible and can help people at any stage in their housing need. Good advice will have to be our first approach to maintaining people in their homes, and this will be a major focus of the housing Bill that I intend to introduce.
We continue to fund many of the advice services supporting vulnerable homeowners, including Shelter Cymru and the housing debt helpline run by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service. My colleague Carl Sargeant is in active dialogue with stakeholders through his overall review of advisory services. However, the reality is that we will not be able to mitigate fully the real impact that these reforms will have on Wales and its people. A change of direction will only come when a majority of people see through the coalition’s thoroughly hateful demonisation of the poorest and those on the lowest incomes. The coalition continually portrays the poor as feckless. Peter Black scoffs at this.
Peter Black rose—
Huw Lewis: I will give way to Peter in a moment. Here are the words of one of his coalition partners, conjuring up visions of the feckless poor:
‘dysfunctional families … blighted by worklessness, educational failure, family breakdown, problem debt’.
Before I allow Peter to intervene, I just want to suggest that words like that might serve to describe some sections of society—it springs to mind that half the nonentities seen on celebrity television, or, come to that, a goodly proportion of the British aristocracy, could fit well into that definition—but they do not describe people on low incomes and they do not describe poverty. This is a wicked smokescreen for a re-making and a dismantling of the welfare state.
Peter Black: A lot of the criticism that you have outlined also applies to the welfare reforms brought in by the previous Labour Government, many of which are reflected or carried on in what has been proposed by the current Government. Some of the other things that you have outlined are, of course, pure speculation and not even agreed policy on the part of the UK coalition Government, such as Iain Duncan Smith’s remarks, which have not been agreed by the coalition and are not Government policy.
Huw Lewis: The general bleating of the Liberal Democrats is, ‘Of course, we are not really part of this demonisation of the poor, or this distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor that we wish to plant in the public mind’. That will not sustain the fortunes of the Liberal Democrat party through the crisis that we are heading towards. It is a shameful, disingenuous display and, Peter, your party will be electorally damned for it by the people of Wales for generations to come. If you cannot see that, you are politically blind to the consequences of the scale of what is coming down the track. Poverty causes dreadful damage to people, families and society as a whole. Iain Duncan Smith, the Liberal Democrats and the coalition as a whole all know this, but they clearly do not think that it matters enough to
change course.
I thank Lynne for choosing this subject for her short debate today.
Sandy Mewies: That brings today’s proceedings to a close.
Daeth y cyfarfod i ben am 5.40 p.m. The meeting ended at 5.40 p.m.











The document and reproduction of presentations regarding the 2012 Local Government Elections is promoted and published by Rose Seabourne 15 Dale Path Fairwater NP44 4QR on behalf of the Labour Party Candidates.


20 April 2012

Torfaen’s Labour Team - your voice in tough times

Check out the link below for full advert:

http://mail.aol.com/35919-211/aim-6/en-gb/mail/get-attachment.aspx?uid=29952624&folder=%2fElection+2012&partId=3&saveAs=Torfaen_Advert_Final.pdf

The Labour Party organised an advertisement in the South Wales Argus unfortunately the print was not good however I have reproduced the text below;

More than ever, our communities in Torfaen need Labour councillors to stand up for them, with a Tory Government costing local jobs and threatening local services.
Take the recent budget, which hit thousands of struggling families and pensioners in the pocket, whilst giving millionaires a tax cut.
Labour has selected a team of local candidates in Torfaen with the balance of experience and new blood that is needed. With budget cuts flowing from Westminster, the next few years won’t be easy. Empty promises just won’t cut it – what we need is a plan of action to protect local services and stand up for local people.
The last thing we need is independent Councillors siding with the Tories and LibDems rather than standing up for local people.
We’ve drawn up a manifesto that lays out our key pledges, which can be found at www.labourtorfaen.com. In the tough times to come, we will work to protect the young, the old and the vulnerable, whilst safeguarding the local jobs that the Council provides and keeping Council Tax bills down.
To send a message to David Cameron and Nick Clegg, and to deliver a team of Labour councillors who’ll work hard to deliver for local people, vote Labour on May 3rd.

Labour’s pledges to you:

1. Standing up for our older people
We will re-appoint an Older Person’s Champion to speak up for the needs of our older citizens. We will also stand up for the vulnerable and the services they rely on.

2. Standing up for our young people
We will put in the investment needed to deliver schools fit for the 21st century, focusing on raising attainment at secondary schools.

3. Standing up for local jobs
We will publish a further strategy for local jobs to encourage business creation and apprenticeships in these tough times.

4. Standing up for communities & the environment
We will work with the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and work to make our communities cleaner and greener.

5. Standing up for you
We will maintain frontline public services whilst keeping Council Tax as low as possible, and hold regular surgeries to listen to your concerns.

Don’t be fooled by their name - the ‘independent group’ are a political party in all but name. Worse, they have voted with the Tories in Council 21 TIMES since the last local elections!
Local residents are also suprised that the ‘independent group’ have not stood against the sitting Conservative councillors in New Inn. It’s clear that only Labour will stand up to the Tories and send a message to Clegg and Cameron. Independent or Closet Tories your choice!

Please use your Vote with Care.

Abersychan    Gwyneira Clarke        Giles Davies    Wayne Tomlinson    Blaenavon    Lewis Evans    Alun Furzer    Alan Jones

Coed Eva    John James    Croesyceiliog North    Cynthia Beynon    Richard Clark

Croesy S    Glyn Caron    Llanyrafon S    Darrell Dewar    Cwmynyscoy    Neil Waite  

Fairwater    Phil Seabourne    Rose Seabourne

Greenmeadow     Mandy Owen    Bob Wellington    Griffithstown & Sebastopol    Anthony Hunt    Norma Parrish    David Yeowell   

Llantarnam    David R Daniels    Linda Joseph    Llanyrafon N    Veronica Crick     New Inn    Maurice Morgan    John Turner    Marian Williams

Pontnewydd    Stuart Ashley    Brian Mawby    Jessica Powell

Pontnewynydd    Gaynor James     Pontypool    John Killick         St Dials    Stephen Brooks    Kebba Manneh

Snatchwood    Barry Taylor    St Cadocs    Neil Mason
Trevethin    Lewis Jones    John Marshall    Two Locks & Henllys    Pam Cameron    Peter Jones    Colette Thomas     

Upper Cwmbran    Mary Barnett    John Cunningham    Bob Jones

Wainfelin    Rob Benjamin    Brynwern    Lenny Constance        

With the real Tories in Government making cuts and making life harder for local families and pensioners, the last thing local people need is independent Councillors siding with the Tories, rather than standing up for local people.

Promoted by Nick Thomas Symonds on behalf of the Torfaen Labour candidates, at Carreg Fawr, 1 Manor Road, Abersychan, Pontypool, Torfaen NP4 7DW.


08 April 2012

Local Council Elections 2012

Check out the latest Fairwater Labour selections on the News page!  

Labour has selected the following Candidates for the Council Elections for this area:

Torfaen County Borough Council

FAIRWATER  --------- Cllr Phil Seabourne and Mrs Rose Seabourne    (2 Votes)

Fairwater.pdf,

Community Councillor Candidates

Fairwater -------- Community Cllr Janet King     (1 Vote)

Ty-Canol --------- Community Cllr Michelle Day and Mrs Melanie King   (2 Votes)


TY-Canol & Fairwater Labour Party Community Council Candidates

As a registered elector you have an opportunity to vote for two Community Councillors, to represent you. The Labour Candidates selected to stand in Ty-Canol are Mrs Michelle Day and Mrs Melanie King.  The Candidate selected to stand for Labour in Fairwater is Ms Janet King

Michelle and Janet are  the current sitting Community Councillors and Michelle is currently the Vice-Chair.  Melanie is new young blood to add to the expertise of the experience of Janet and Michelle and will work in partnership standing up and speaking out for Fairwater and Ty-Canol.

Melanie is married and has three boys.  She is passionate about our community and has campaigned for road safety on Henllys Way and to clean up and improve the play areas for children.  Melanie is keen to represent you with Michelle in Ty-Canol at Cwmbran Community Council and help deliver the services the Community Council has responsibility for.  She works well with other local Labour Councillors.  Melanie and Michelle understands the need for good links with the County Borough Council, the Gwent Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue and Health as well as other partners.

Please use your two votes for the two Ty-Canol Labour Candidates Michelle Day and Melanie King for Cwmbran Community Council on May 3rd 2012.  We need a good Labour Team to Stand Up and Speak out for you.

Cwmbran Community Council was formed following the reorganisation of Local Government in 1974 and is one of the largest Community (town) Councils in Wales.  Covering the main part of Cwmbran, the Council serves approximately 30,000 residents.  As a democratically-elected statutory body the Council raises its funds through setting an annual 'precept' which is collected by Torfaen County Borough Council and passed on to the Community Council.  The Council then uses this money on a wide variety of services which "add value" and "make a difference" in the community.  At present the Council comprises 20 elected members (representing you on a ward by ward basis) who make decisions on the services and activities provided and, in their representational capacity, liaise with their County Borough Council colleagues to deal with other issues of interest and concern.  If you would like more information about the services check out http://www.cwmbran.gov.uk/

Please Vote for Melanie King and Michelle Day for Cwmbran Community Council, we need to have a strong Labour Team.  In these difficult times of Tory/Lib Dem cuts we need a Good Local Labour Team to Stand up and represent you in Ty-Canol.

VOTE

 

CWMBRAN COMMUNITY COUNCIL

TY-CANOL

MICHELLE DAY

MELANIE KING

X

 

VOTE

 

CWMBRAN COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Fairwater


JANET KING

X

The document and presentations regarding the 2012 Local Government Elections is promoted and published by Rose Seabourne 15 Dale Path Fairwater NP44 4QR on behalf of the Labour Party Candidates.


Torfaen County Borough Council Candidates

Greenmeadow Ward ------ Cllr Bob Wellington and Mrs Amanda Owen  (2 Votes)

Greenmeadow.pdf

Community Councillor Candidates

Greenmeadow ------------ Cllr Jeff Williams  and Mr Lyndon Chaney    (2 Votes)


Torfaen County Borough Council Candidate

Coed Eva ------------------ Mr John James    (1 Vote)

Coed_Eva.pdf

Community Councillor Candidate ---------- Mr Reg King   (1 Vote)


Check out the manifesto by clicking the pdf link


22 March 2012


A Letter from Ed Balls on what the Chancellor has done for us in this Budget:

Dear Rose,

George Osborne used to say “we are all in this together”. Well, not any more.

Because today he gave a Budget where - as Ed Miliband said in the House of Commons - millions were asked to pay more, so millionaires can pay less.

In tough times the choices this Tory-led government is making tells you everything you need to know about them.

They prove that George Osborne and David Cameron are totally out of touch with what life is like for people in our country.

At a time when bills are going up for families on middle and low incomes George Osborne has added to them all. Fuel duty is going up this summer, even though petrol prices are at a record high. He’s even added to the cost of a sausage roll from Greggs.

And at the very same time the Budget gave a tax cut to the very richest people in our country. Just 14,000 people earning £1 million or more will get a Budget boost of over £40,000 each year.
 
David Cameron and George Osborne could have used the money to cut fuel duty or reverse unfair and perverse cuts to tax credits – which will see thousands of working parents better off quitting work from next month. They could have used the money to reduce the cuts to police officers or help pay the down the deficit.

Instead they chose to cut taxes for the 300,000 people earning over £150,000 - the richest one per cent. How can this be the right priority now?

Whatever he says about increasing the income tax personal allowance a family with children earning just £20,000 will still lose around £253 a year from this April.

And shockingly he slipped out a £3 billion tax raid on pensioners over the next four years. Nearly four and a half million pensioners who pay income tax will lose an average of £83 per year next April. And people turning 65 next year will lose up to £322.

And all this comes from a government whose economic policies have utterly failed on jobs, growth and the deficit.

Of course there have to be tough decisions on tax, spending and pay. But we won’t get the deficit down unless we have a plan for jobs and growth to get our economy moving again and get people off the dole and into work.

And that was the gaping hole in today’s Budget. It wasn’t just unfair, it had no plan for jobs like Labour’s plan which includes a guaranteed job for every young person out of work for more than a year – fully funded by a tax on bank bonuses.

Instead in Tory Britain unemployment is at a 17 year high, with a record one million young people out of work. Our economy has stalled as America races ahead. And this slower growth and higher unemployment means the government is set to borrow an extra £150 billion to pay for this economic failure.

George Osborne's plan has failed. Trying to raise taxes and cut spending too far and too fast has backfired. And with his tax cut for millionaires he is piling insult upon injury for millions of families and pensioners across Britain.

In the Budget debates we will vote against this unfair tax cut for millionaires, but we need your help. Let's get out campaigning on the doorstep for Labour's five point plan for jobs and growth and to reverse these unfair cuts to tax credits – before it’s too late.

Yours,

Ed



20 March 2012



Welcome to the latest edition of my monthly enewsletter.

MEPs were in Strasbourg again last week discussing a wide range of issues. These included measures to combat organised crime, the promotion of equality between men and women throughout the EU, addressing the importance of diabetes in the EU, and working towards the eradication of child labour worldwide.

Equality measures
On the 8th of March the world celebrated International Woman's Day. Equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of the EU and I believe the EU should take tough initiatives to tackle inequality. This is why I voted in favour of a report that calls on the Commission to propose legislation to reduce the gender pay gap and quotas to boost female representation on corporate boards and in political bodies, especially when national measures to ensure equality are inadequate. An EU equal pay target to reduce the gender pay gap by 10% in each EU country is a great initiative and shows that we at the European Parliament are committed to the important issue of equality.

Child labour in cocoa sector
I supported an important report aiming to enable the eradication of child labour in the cocoa industry. Chocolate may taste great but we need to remember that the production of chocolate is very labour-intensive and can include exposure to pesticides. Studies have suggested that children have been trafficked to work in this sector, which I find very concerning. This report is a starting point for further action and will encourage everyone in the chain of production - from growers to governments- to play their part in combating forced child labour.

Tackling international crime
Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering This week, MEP's voted in favour of the creation of a special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering. The committee will evaluate the extent of impact of organised crime on the EU economy and society and will play a key role in developing measures to enable the EU to respond to these threats at international, European and national levels. I supported the creation of this special committee because I believe international criminal organisations are a huge threat to all EU countries. An EU response to this issue reflects the European Union's persistence in not backing down to organised crime.

Addressing the EU diabetes epidemic
Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, estimated to affect more than 32 million EU citizens, representing nearly 10% of the total EU population. I voted in favour of this resolution as I believe a dedicated EU strategy to tackle the growing diabetes problem is essential. EU countries should ensure adequate education on healthy eating and physical exercise in schools and I believe, along with my fellow MEPs, that early diagnosis of diabetes should be made a priority in the national programmes of all EU countries.

Enlargement
Enlargement of the EU was discussed in great detail in Strasbourg this week. Myself and other MEPs at the European Parliament have made it clear that we want Iceland to join the EU and have called for a date for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to start accession talks. MEPs also expressed their concerns at the limited progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as a potential candidate to join the Union.

Vaccinations
This week I signed a Written Declaration calling for continued and increased support for vaccinations in developing nations. A Written Declaration needs the signature of 377 MEPs in order for it to become the Parliament's official position on the issue in question. Vaccines and immunisations are common place for every British child but in other parts of the world vaccine coverage is sometimes very limited and despite the progress made in recent years approximately 1.7 million children worldwide die annually from vaccine preventable diseases. I very much hope that this Written Declaration will gather enough support to put pressure on the European Commission to continue to commit to reducing the number of vaccine preventable diseases in the developing world.



Carwyn’s visit to Brussels

The Welsh First Minister was in Brussels recently as part of a series of meetings to coincide with St.David's Day. Carwyn Jones met with two European Commissioners, Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for Regional Affairs and Janusz Lewandowski, the Commissioner for Financial Planning and the Budget. He also attended a lunchtime reception to promote the fantastic Welsh produce that was available to guests. At the reception, Carwyn spoke of the benefits of Wales' ongoing constructive cooperation with Europe and reiterated his firm intention to continue this engagement in order to ensure that Wales' voice is heard at EU level. In my meeting with Carwyn during his visit to Brussels, we discussed my ongoing work in the Parliament, including the current negotiations on the future of Cohesion Policy, in which I am playing an active role to ensure the best result for Wales.

In the constituency

I have continued to be active within my constituency hosting two regional EU policy events in recent weeks. The first, in Brecon, featured Huw Irranca-Davies MP and Alun Davies AM as fellow guest speakers. The second, at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, was with Ken Skates AM. I am grateful to all those people who attended and took part in the discussions and debates and it was fantastic to see and hear a wide range of viewpoints on Wales’ future in the EU.




On 9th March, I spent time in Anglesey seeing for myself at first hand the benefits of EU funding in our communities and meeting with local businesses, the local authority, Cllr John Chorlton and Albert Owen MP amongst others (picture above). There are a number of exciting projects being developed to regenerate and develop the area and I am working to give as much support as I can, from a European point of view, to help attract funding and investment into the island.

Remploy
The most disappointing issue since my last enewsletter has been the announcement made by the Tory-Lib Dem UK Coalition government to decimate Remploy and close 7 out of its 9 factories in Wales. Affecting the jobs of almost 280 disabled people, they have completely failed to take into account the needs and views of its employees. I am still convinced that the Remploy model is something that should remain at the centre of future supported employment planning.

I have visited a number of Remploy plants in Wales and each factory plays an important role in their local community. Many workers would love to move into mainstream employment but in many areas this prospect is currently unrealistic. These closures will leave local people high and dry with no clear, well thought through plan to help them find alternative jobs after the plants have closed.

Over the last few years, I have been working alongside trade unions, MPs and AMs to lobby the government in opposition to these proposals. I will continue to whatever I can to fight the plans and to ensure that disabled people get the support and opportunities they deserve.

I hope this enewsletter has been useful. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.

Best Wishes


Derek Vaughan MEP

Member of the European Parliament

Labour, Wales





Contact me:

4th Floor

Transport House

1 Cathedral Road

Cardiff

CF11 9SD

T: 029 20 227660

Vernon House

39 Rhosddu Road

Wrexham

LL11 2NS

T: 01978 350052

E: contact@derekvaughanmep.org.uk

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20 January 2012


DEREK VAUGHAN MEP

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Welcome to my first newsletter of 2012.

I would like to wish you all the very best for the new year.   

I am now half way through my first Parliamentary term as an MEP, and I am proud of the achievements of the last two and a half years. This has been an extremely busy time for the European Parliament, dominated by the ongoing financial crisis, the Arab Spring and the fight against climate change. My Socialist colleagues and I have been instrumental in ensuring proper regulation of the banking industry, making food labels clear and informative, provisions to make access to cross-border healthcare a reality and improving access to services for people with disabilities. 

Since being elected in 2009 I have campaigned hard to ensure that Wales continues to benefit from European funding and that the EU's cohesion policy is high on the agenda in the fight to reduce the disparities that exist in Europe. In the last two and a half years I have met with a variety of public, private and third sector representatives in Wales to discuss their concerns about the future of Structural Funding. European funding is vital to the continued development of Wales' economy and I will continue to work hard to ensure that Wales' voice is heard at the highest level and that we get the best possible deal in the future.

Most of this week's plenary session in Strasbourg was devoted to the mid-term election of a new president of the European Parliament, vice presidents, and the presidents of the political groups.  

New European Parliament President



This week MEPs voted to elect German social democrat Martin Schulz (above) as the President of the European Parliament, replacing Jerzy Buzek. Schulz, who was formerly President of the Parliament's Socialist and Democrat group secured 387 votes, compared to his competitors, British Tory Nirj Deva (142 votes) and British Liberal Democrat Diana Wallis (141). Schulz's role as President over the next two and a half years is to oversee plenary sessions of the European Parliament and also to represent the EP to heads of state and government. With right-wing governments in power in many European countries in recent years, it's great to have a Socialist voice as leader of the European Parliament.  

Socialists & Democrats President
The Socialists and Democrats group in the Parliament also selected its president, Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, who will lead the group until the next elections in 2014. Swoboda begins his leadership of the group during a particularly testing time for Europe and his first priority is to tackle the economic crisis head-on. Until now, Hannes had been in charge of the S&D group's parliamentary activities and has led on foreign affairs issues, including accession.

Final vote on WEEE Directive
MEPs also endorsed an important piece of legislation to increase the recovery of electronic waste, which causes severe pollution when dumped in landfill sites. The agreement on electronic waste is a revision of the 2003 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive and requires that large retailers, such as Currys and Dixons, will have to accept small electrical items (mobile phones, shavers etc) from customers for recycling, while manufacturers are responsible for recycling larger items. The UK is now required to draw up legislation in line with these proposals in the next two years.  

Budget 2013
The EU's budget for 2012 has only recently been agreed and put into action. Nevertheless, discussions on next year's budget are already underway and are expected to be even more challenging than last year. I will lead on the institutions' administrative budgets, including the European Parliament's budget; I will be taking an active role to make sure the right decisions on spending are taken during these tough economic times.

Out & About in Wales





Since the Christmas break, I have continued to meet and speak with a number of constituents, community organisations and businesses around Wales taking in Ammanford, Cardiff, Connahs Quay, Deeside College (above), Neath, Porth, Shotton & Wrexham along the way. I have also been working on many issues of concern drawn to my attention by constituents via my inbox and postbag including CAP reform, fisheries policy, Swansea-Cork Ferry services and the EU Transparency Directive amongst others.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of hosting the first of my regional EU policy events for 2012 in the Brewery Field, Bridgend joined by Alun Davies AM and Geraint Davies MP as fellow guest speakers. My next events are taking place as follows:

Friday, 10 February 2012 at 7pm
Michael Sobell Sports Centre, ABERDARE
With Mick Antoniw AM

Friday, 2 March 2012 at 7pm
Brecon Castle Hotel, BRECON
With Alun Davies AM

Friday, 9 March 2012 at 7pm
Venue Cymru, LLANDUDNO

Friday, 30 March 2012 at 7pm
Cwmbran Stadium, CWMBRAN
With Chris Evans MP & Richard Howitt MEP

Further guest speakers will be confirmed soon and the aim of the events is to encourage debate and discussion on important EU issues and how they affect people in Wales. Tickets are free and light refreshments will be provided. Please contact my office to reserve you place.

If you require more information on any of the issues raised in this bulletin then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best Wishes


Derek Vaughan MEP

Member of the European Parliament

Labour, Wales





Contact me:

4th Floor

Transport House

1 Cathedral Road

Cardiff

CF11 9SD

T: 029 20 227660

Vernon House

39 Rhosddu Road

Wrexham

LL11 2NS

T: 01978 350052

E: contact@derekvaughanmep.org.uk

W: www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk

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01 December 2011

Time to change tack on the economy - First Minister

Welsh Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones has called on the Tory-led UK Government to come up with a new approach to create jobs and growth in economy before it is too late.

 

The call comes ahead of the Chancellor's autumn statement tomorrow when he will give an update on the state of the economy and respond to the latest analysis from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. Speaking today, Mr Jones called on Ministers in Westminster to re-think their current economic policies given the performance of the economy.

 

The First Minister said: "The Welsh Government is doing all it can to protect the people of Wales against the cuts being imposed on them and using the levers we have to stimulate economic growth. This includes speeding up major infrastructure projects and improving training for our workforce. Our driving aim is to create jobs, promote opportunities and generate business confidence in the Welsh economy.

 

"However, ultimately it is the UK Government that holds the macro and fiscal leavers that can make the most difference and the route they have chosen is simply not working. The number of people unemployed continues to grow, the jobs we need for our young people are simply not there.

 

“All the economic indicators are going in the wrong direction. The OECD has just predicted that the UK will return to recession next year, the much feared ‘double dip’. The latest ONS figures show the economy only grew by 0.5% in the third quarter of this year. This comes as people face rising living costs and soaring energy costs, squeezing communities everywhere. This situation simply confirms our growing fears for the economic outlook. The cuts are too deep and too fast, choking off what fragile growth we have seen so far. With the Chancellor preparing his autumn statement the time has come for a new approach. I have met with the Prime Minister and written to him twice in recent weeks to again press the case for increased investment in vital road and rail infrastructure here in Wales. We urgently need policies that provide a shot in the arm for the economy and stimulate the growth we desperately need. It is not too late for the Chancellor to make the right choices for the good of the whole country.”

 

“Investment in infrastructure is crucial to any recovery. However, we are doing this against a backdrop of our capital budget is being cut by a massive 50% in real terms over five years. We have been doing all we can to maximise investment in public infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy. But for investment in Wales to continue, the UK Government needs to go further than what they have currently committed too, because responsibility for some infrastructure developments rest with then, particularly rail and energy.

 

The Labour Welsh Government has recently announced a number of measures to support the Welsh economy, including:

·         A £55 million package to support business growth in Wales.

·         A £38.9 million economic stimulus package to be spent on measures such as more resources  for the Young Recruits and Skills Growth Wales programmes, capital investment for our schools and social housing and more investment in the Arbed energy efficiency programme.

·         £90 million of centrally retained capital funding to be spent on infrastructure projects across Wales.

·         Launched a £75 million Job Growth Wales scheme that will create 4,000 jobs a year for three years for young jobseekers across Wales.

 

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First Bill Introduced Since Greater Welsh Law Making Powers Obtained

The first Bill to be introduced since the Welsh Government gained greater law-making powers following the referendum in March 2011 has been laid before the National Assembly for Wales.

 

The Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill seeks to simplify the procedures for the making and enforcement of local government byelaws. The provisions contained within the Bill follow on from commitments made in “A Shared Responsibility” – the then Welsh Assembly Government’s 2007 policy statement on local government.

 

The Bill removes the requirement for confirmation of the majority of byelaws by the Welsh Ministers, but authorities will be expected to consult locally on options for addressing issues before deciding to make a byelaw.   Confirmation is retained for certain potentially contentious byelaws, such as those relating to sites of special scientific interest and national parks.

 

The introduction of fixed penalty notices as an alternative form of enforcement to bringing proceedings in the Magistrates Courts is also a pivotal aspect of the Bill. Proposals for fixed penalty notices in the Bill will offer local authorities an efficient and effective means to enforce  byelaws.

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Sharing Treasures scheme re-launched

The Labour Welsh Government’s flagship scheme to allow museums to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales is to be widened, Heritage Minister Huw Lewis announced today.

 

The Minister made the announcement at the re-launch of the Sharing Treasures scheme at Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil, where it was also announced that financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund has also been secured for 2012/13 to extend the parameters of the initiative.   Under the scheme, local museums can apply for grants to put on exhibitions and raise gallery standards so that they can borrow items from national collections for display.

 

Following an independent review, the scheme will now be more flexible to allow museums to apply for grants to develop touring exhibitions as well as apply for a grant more than once so that they can develop successful projects. The scheme will also be extended to allow libraries and archives to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales and other UK national organisations.

It was also announced that up to £100,000 will be made available from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012/13 to support the scheme which will match the Labour Welsh Government’s investment.

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

88% of farmers to be paid on first day

88 per cent of Welsh farmers will receive their Single Payments on Thursday 1 December, the first day that the European Commission allows payments to be made, Welsh Labour’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes Alun Davies announced today.

 

14,596 applications will have been processed for payment with over £214 mil being paid into farmers’ bank accounts, surpassing the achievements of the last couple of years.  The Welsh Government expects over 90 per cent of our farmers to receive their payments by the end of December. 

 

NEWS FROM THE DEREK VAUGHAN MEP



01 December 2011




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Our monthly session in Strasbourg has once again highlighted some of the issues MEPs are taking action on, including the Commission's plan for 2012, the rights of Roma in the EU, and the EU's position on the forthcoming climate change summit in Durban. Below is a round up of some of those issues, and as always please contact me if you would like any further information on this or any other European issue.

Commission Work Programme

One of the main topics of discussion last week was the Commission's Work Programme for 2012, which was presented to MEPs by the European Commission's President Jose Manuel Barroso. "Delivering European Renewal" outlines the priorities for next year focussing on economic growth and restoring confidence in Europe's economy. The work programme builds on previously outlined strategies to address the financial crisis and highlights the importance of ensuring that the EU works together to implement these measures in 2012. The plan includes a wide range of measures to boost the economy and a focus on spending programmes to drive job creation and economic growth.

Barroso again highlighted a Financial Transaction Tax as the best way of transferring the burden of the financial crisis from citizens to the banks and institutions that were largely responsible for it. The Single Market was also identified as an important focus for the work programme, in particular increasing consumer confidence online and strengthening the digital single market. A raft of other positive proposals include tackling tax havens and VAT fraud; introducing tougher rules on human trafficking; simplifying the transfer of pensions when moving jobs; and promoting youth mobility by providing a Youth on the Move card which provides benefits such as cheaper travel and accommodation, and introducing help for young people as they look for work aboard.

The Parliament will vote on their intial reaction to the work programme next month, and examine the details of proposals, in the relevant parliamentary committees, over the next year.



Online Gambling
The Parliament also called on the Commission to look at ways in which Member States can work together to protect internet consumers and fight illegal online gambling. Although rules regarding online gambling are made by national governments, I believe better co-ordination between countries could help protect vulnerable consumers and children. With 10% of all gambling in Europe taking place on-line, the Commission must listen seriously to calls from MEPs to look at the possibility of blocking financial transactions between banks or credit card issuers and blacklisted gambling providers. We also suggested that the Commission examine options to introduce tighter on-line controls, including age verifications and restrictions for electronic payments, again protecting consumers.

Antibiotics awareness day
EU Antibiotics awareness day, on the 18th November, is a European Health initiative to promote sensible use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are crucial for many patients and are still the most effective way to fight infection. However, thousands of people across the EU die each year as a result of infections resistant to antibiotics - in the UK alone there were close to 2000 cases of MRSA in 2010. We have all heard of superbugs in our hospitals, such as MRSA, which are resistant to many antibiotics and cost the NHS millions of pounds. We have also seen increases in the numbers of other superbugs, which cause extremely serious illnesses such as pneumonia and blood poisoning. Making people more aware of how antibiotics work and what they can effectively treat could help reduce the number of people at risk of contracting a superbug. A plan unveiled last week will encourage doctors to prescribe antibiotics only when needed and will call on companies to develop much needed new antibiotics.

Recognition of professional qualifications
Last week we voted in favour of a raft of measures that will make it easier for professionals to seek work in other EU countries, whilst ensuring that employers are able to put in place checks on quaifications. There is a strong misconception peddled by the right wing press that the EU forces British hospitals to employ doctors from other countries who can't speak English and have lesser qualifications than UK trained doctors. This is completely untrue, and again last week the European Parliament called on the Commission to make the rules on this clearer. MEPs also called on the Commission to put in place an alert system that allows professional bodies to share information about professionals that have been struck off in another member state of the EU; making the whole system safer for patients across the EU.

Written Declarations
MEPs are always being asked to sign written declarations, which is similar to an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons. This week I have signed a written declaration calling on the Commission to ensure that the European112 emergency number is available to deaf and hard of hearing people in the EU. A written declaration is similar to a petition, and allows MEPs to signal their support for an issue. Once a written declaration has been signed by over half of all MEPs it will become the official position of the Europen Parliament. This will then be transmitted to the Commission, which must then recognise this by coming forward with legislative proposals reflecting the Parliament's will.






CAP Meeting
Although a lot of our time in Strasbourg is taken up discussing the issues we are voting on, MEPs also hold meetings on a range of other issues. Last week in Strasbourg the Welsh MEPs met Dacian Ciolos, the European Commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development.

Discussions on changes to the CAP, due to be implemented by 2013, have centred on how agriculture can respond to the new challenges facing our economy, society and environment. From a Welsh perspective, we would like to see the Commission tweak the proposals to include more flexibility to the current 'greening' aspect. In the meeting Welsh MEPs raised their concerns directly with the Commissioner, highlighting the issues important to Wales, emphasising the progress that Wales has made so far under the previous Rural Development Plan and outling the importance of ensuring that the new Welsh Government scheme, Glastir, builds on this success. The discussions are still in the early stages and I will continue to campaign to ensure that the CAP brings real benefits to Wales' rural areas and has a positive affect on the Welsh economy as a whole.


Best Wishes


Derek Vaughan MEP

Member of the European Parliament

Labour, Wales





Contact me:

4th Floor

Transport House

1 Cathedral Road

Cardiff

CF11 9SD

T: 029 20 227660

Vernon House

39 Rhosddu Road

Wrexham

LL11 2NS

T: 01978 350052

E: contact@derekvaughanmep.org.uk

W: www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk

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12th July 2011

SLOWSPOTS GET CONNECTED THANKS TO LABOUR WELSH GOVERNMENT

More households and businesses in Wales are set to get broadband access thanks to the Labour Welsh Government’s Broadband Support Scheme (BSS) Welsh Labour’s Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science Minister Edwina Hart announced today. 

 

Currently residents, communities, businesses and third sector organisations located in broadband notspots (where connectivity is less than 512Kbps) can apply for a grant of up to £1,000 to give them access to a broadband connection using the most appropriate technology available. Today’s announcement will extend the scheme to include slowspots (where connectivity is less than 2Mbps). 

 

The last Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government launched the Broadband Support Scheme - to help households and businesses in Wales get broadband access regardless of where they live.  Since the Scheme was launched last July over 800 households, businesses and third sector organisations have had applications approved and now have broadband access.

 

The Broadband Support Scheme is aimed at those individuals, businesses and 3rd sector organisations in rural communities that are in broadband notspots or slowspots. The scheme will provide funding to cover the upfront costs of purchasing a broadband solution where existing providers have been unable to provide a service. The scheme is technology neutral and does not favour any particular type of technology.

 

Further details about the scheme can be found here.

 

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WELSH GOVERNMENT WELCOMES DILNOT REPORT

The independent Commission on funding of care and support has today published its report on how social care should be funded in the future in England.   The report has been welcomed by Welsh Labour’s Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, who said that the Labour Welsh Government has already taken action to cap social care charges for home care.

 

The Commission, chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot, was set up by the UK Government in July 2010 to make recommendations on how to achieve an affordable and sustainable funding system for care and support, for all adults in England.  

Among its recommendations, the report proposes that:

 

·         Individuals‘ lifetime contributions towards their care costs should be capped at a recommended £35,000, after which they would be eligible for full         state support.

·         The means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs, should be increased from £23,250 to £100,000

·         National eligibility criteria and portable assessments should be introduced to ensure greater consistency.

·         All those who enter adulthood with a care and support need should be eligible for free support immediately, rather than being subjected to a means         test.

·         Universal disability benefits for people of all ages should continue as now, though they should be better aligned with the reformed social care funding       system

 

The Labour Welsh Government has its own programme for renewal of social services in Wales, as set out in its recent Paper Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action.  First Minister Carwyn Jones has also signalled that the Labour Welsh Government's intends to bring forward a major social services Bill to implement that Paper.  That Bill could provide an opportunity to legislate in Wales on any relevant elements arising from the Dilnot report, if the Welsh Government so chose.

 

Although the Dilnot report applies to England only, Welsh Ministers have a long-standing commitment to building a new system of paying for social care that is fair, affordable and sustainable in the long term.  Over the past few years the Welsh Government has issued a Green Paper and undertaken extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders across Wales, to find out what kind of system would command broad political and public support here. 

 

Gwenda Thomas, said:  “I welcome the publication of this report on long term care funding in England.  This is an issue of vital importance for people in Wales, as well as the rest of the UK, and I would want to see a fair and sustainable system in place here.  That is why we have already taken action in Wales to cap charging for social care - we have introduced a weekly maximum charge of £50 for non-residential care and I am delighted to see that people across Wales are now feeling the benefits of that change.  I am pleased to see that the Dilnot Commission is following a similarly pragmatic and straightforward approach in making its key recommendations around capping an individual's lifetime contribution towards care costs. Some aspects of the recommendations made could have implications for Wales and I will want to discuss these with UK Government as early as possible”

 

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IMPROVING PICTURE FOR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Mental health services for children and adolescents in Wales have expanded and changed for the better, with faster access to treatment and an increase in specialist staff, an independent report published today shows.

       
The Report on the provision of Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Specialist CAMHS) provides data collected between 2007-2011. Key findings include:

 

·         An increase of 25% in the workforce between 2007-11. Nurses, including community nurses, made up the largest staff group within that workforce (33% of the total).

·         A growth in the number of cases worked with and consultations carried out.

·         A reduction in the number of people waiting to be seen.

·         A reduction in the length of wait for people to be seen.

·         A reduction in lengthy treatment times.

 

About ten per cent of people under the age of 16 experience mental health problems, ranging from brief or mild problems to more severe mental illness. Since 2008, the Labour Welsh Government has invested an extra £9.6million in specialist mental health services for children and young people and allocated £8million to the development of school-based counselling services.

 

In May, the Welsh Government met its commitment to provide one school nurse in every secondary school.  School nurses are central to a range of services that promote and support the social, physical, emotional and mental health of our children and young people.

 

The Labour Welsh Government has also developed, and funds, the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes which encourages schools to make health a part of their culture and philosophy.  More than 99% of schools in Wales now participate in this scheme which is an investment in prevention and health improvement

 

The scheme provides a framework under 7 health topics, one of which is ‘Mental and Emotional Health and Wellbeing’.  The scheme’s success is a testament to the successful partnership working between local health and education departments. 

 

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Welsh approach to play honoured with international award

Welsh Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones today accepted a prestigious global award that recognises the Labour Welsh Government’s approach to children and play.

 

The International Play Association’s ‘Right to Play Award’ honours Wales as an excellent place for children to play and is the first time it has been made to a whole country.  The International Play Association was founded in fifty years ago to promote and protect the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

The charity Play Wales nominated Wales for the award. Play Wales is the national charity for children’s play.

 

The Labour Welsh Government’s approach to play involves promoting play across a range of policies:

 

·         In 2004 the Welsh Government adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to underpin Welsh legislation and policy for children      and young people, including the right to have access to play.

·         This commitment was further strengthened in the Children and Families (Wales) Measure which allows Ministers for the first time to place a legal duty       on Local Authorities to secure sufficient play opportunities for children in their areas.

·         The innovative Flying Start programme promotes play as a key component of the development of the child and the relationship with parents.

·         The Foundation Phase curriculum for 3 to 7 year-olds also has play and active learning at its centre.

 

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National Childhood Obesity Week

The Labour Welsh Government is marking National Childhood Obesity Week 2011 by encouraging more families to sign up to Change4Life.

 

Chief Medical Office Tony Jewell is concerned that parents could be doing more to help their children lead healthier and happier lives. The Latest figures from the Welsh Health Survey 2008 show that one in three children in Wales were estimated to be overweight or obese, including 16% who are obese. Obesity can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even some cancers.

 

Those signing up to Change4Life, will receive a personalised action plan for themselves and their family which includes hints and tips on how to encourage children to eat well and to be more physically active.

 

National Childhood Obesity Week, which runs from today (July 4) to July 10 and aims to highlight these facts, and encourage young people to raise their fitness levels and their self-esteem.

 

Families who register at www.wales.gov.uk/change4life or by calling  0800 100 900 before July 7th will still be in time to receive the summer pack including Snack Check and Sugar Swaps guides, as well as their  personalised family action plan.

 

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LEIGHTON ANDREWS’ SPEECH ON RAISING SCHOOL STANDARDS

Leighton Andrews’ recent keynote speech to the Institute of Welsh Affairs on raising school standards can be found here.

 

25th May 2011


Guidance published to help protect communities from noise pollution in town and cities

Plans to help local authorities and transport providers work with the labour Welsh Government to protect communities from noise pollution have been published today.

 

Organisations will use two documents to identify areas for possible mitigation work to reduce noise, and specific areas for protection against increases in noise. The Labour Welsh Government is determined to do more to highlight and address the issues of excessive environmental noise that can have a real impact on the daily lives of communities, especially those living close to major transport routes.

The European Directive on Environmental Noise requires Member States to assess noise exposure by means of strategic noise mapping in large urban areas and for major roads, railways and airports. (Wales does not have any qualifying airports.) The Welsh Assembly Government produced strategic maps for reporting to the Commission in December 2007.

Using these maps, the Assembly Government drew up noise action plans to address environmental noise issues and to identify quiet areas within communities which must be protected from any increase in noise. 

Following discussions with stakeholders and noise working groups, two documents were issued for consultation which detailed the technical investigation processes for the designation of quiet areas and Noise Action Planning Priority Areas (NAPPAs) in Wales. This consultation has now ended.

The documents are due to be published soon on the Welsh Government’s environmental noise webpage here.

  

New initiative to lead the way in preventing overdose and drug related deaths

An initiative which prevents drug related deaths will be rolled out across Wales, Carl Sargeant, Welsh Labour’s Minister for Local Government and Communities has announced.

 

The Take Home Naloxone Rescue Scheme offers free Naloxone kits to all drug users at risk of overdose. The announcement comes on the day of a conference organised by the Swansea Drugs Project about the successful use of heroin antidote, Naloxone, in preventing a drugs overdose.

The decision follows a successful evaluation of the pilots carried out over the last two years in a number of areas in Wales. In August 2009, the Take Home Naloxone (THN) demonstration project was launched in Wales and provided for the first time, heroin users, their friends and carers with basic first aid training to deal with an overdose situation along with training in using Naloxone.  Individuals are also issued with the Naloxone kit to take home and use in the event of a heroin/opiate overdose. 

The initiative covered Cardiff, Swansea, North Wales, Gwent and Welsh prisons.  These sites were selected due to the high number of drug related deaths and near fatal poisonings. Following a successful independent evaluation by the University of Glamorgan, the then Minister for Health and Social Services agreed on 28 March 2011 to a national roll-out of the initiative. 

Resources have been made available through the Substance Misuse Action (Revenue) Fund for the development of the initiative and £55,000 has been set aside for 2011-12 to ensure that Naloxone training and access to the kits is available across all parts of Wales by December 2011. 

 

 

FURTHER EDUCATION TEACHER TRAINING INCENTIVES ANNOUNCED

Welsh Labour’s Minister for Education and Skills Leighton Andrews today announced new initial teacher training (ITT) incentives for eligible students undertaking postgraduate courses of further education (FE) in the 2011/12 academic year.

 

A grant of £5,000 will be payable to new eligible students in the 2011/12 academic year undertaking full-time, pre-service, postgraduate further education ITT courses to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics related subjects, Welsh and Life Skills of Literacy and Numeracy.  

The incentives relate to full-time, pre-service, postgraduate further education ITT courses commencing in the 2011/12 academic year only.  They do not apply to ITT courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status for individuals wishing to teach in maintained schools.

Grants are available to students on designated courses meeting specified eligibility criteria.  Terms and conditions apply. 

The subject categories where a PGCE (FE) ITT incentive would apply in the 2011/12 academic year are:-

Maths subjects:
Applied Maths
General Maths 
Maths and mechanics
Maths and statistics
Pure Maths
Statistics

Skills for Life Literacy and Numeracy

Science subjects:
Applied Science
Biology
Chemistry
Conservation
Earth science
Ecology
Electronics
Environmental science
General Science 
Geology
Human Biology
Physics
Sports science

Technology and Engineering
Auto Electricians
Car maintenance
Design and development engineering
Design and Technology
Electrical engineering
Electroplating
Engineering studies
Mechanical engineering
Metal plate engineering
Motor mechanics/engineers
Motor sport mechanisation
Production and process engineering
Refrigeration engineering
Resistant Materials Technology
Tool making and fitting
Tyre, exhaust and windscreen fitting
Vehicle and spray painting
Vehicle bodybuilding and airing
Welding and fabrication

Welsh

Information and Communication Technology
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Computer engineers
Computer studies
IT Operations

 




18th May 2011

WELSH ASSEMBLY MINISTERS ANNOUNCED

For your information the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM has today announced the new Government of Wales which is set out below:-

Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AC/AM
Prif Weinidog Cymru/First Minister of Wales
Delivery Unit, Energy, Wales for Africa, Intergovernmental relations, Wales in the World, European Union and Civil Service Reform
 
Edwina Hart  AC/AM OStJ MBE
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Technology
Y Gweinidog Busnes, Menter a Thechnoleg
 
Lesley Griffiths AC/AM
Minister for Health and Social Services
Y Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol
 
Jane Hutt AC/AM
Minister for Finance and Leader of the House
Y Gweinidog Cyllid ac Arweinydd y Tŷ
 
John Griffiths AC/AM
Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd a Datblygu Cynaliadwy
 
Leighton Andrews AC/AM
Minister for Education and Skills
Y Gweinidog Addysg a Sgiliau
 
Carl Sargeant AC/AM
Minister for Local Government and Communities
Y Gweinidog Llywodraeth Leol a Chymunedau
 
Huw Lewis AC/AM
Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage
Y Gweinidog Tai, Adfywio a Threftadaeth
 
Gwenda Thomas AC/AM
Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services
Y Dirprwy Weinidog Plant a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol
 
Jeff Cuthbert AC/AM
Deputy Minister for Skills
Y Dirprwy Weinidog Sgiliau
 
Alun Davies AC/AM
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes
Y Dirprwy Weinidog Amaethyddiaeth, Bwyd, Pysgodfeydd a Rhaglenni Ewropea
 
Janice Gregory AC /AM
Chief Whip




6th May 2011


Lynne Neagle re=elected with 10,318 votes!

Thank you to all Labour Party supporters who returned a resounding victory and voted to re-elect their sitting Assembly Member Ms Lynne Neagle.  Labour at the time of writing has secured two gains across Wales and results for Torfaen can be found on the Torfaen website.  Useful Contacts


25th March 2011


Pontypool Secures Labour Councillor

The people of Pontypool elected Labour Candidate John Killick to be their County Borough Councillor.  John who lives in Park View Pontypool fought off seven other candidates, five Independents, Plaid and Conservative.  John is experienced in Local Government and has a proven track record in voluntary work.  He is currently chair of the Citizen's Advice Bureau, a Governor on West Mon School and treasurer of a local Community Trust.



2nd March 2011

£1M BOOST FOR LIVE SAVING DEFIBRILLATORS

Welsh Labour’s Health Minister, Edwina Hart has today announced a £1m funding boost for the Welsh Ambulance Service to purchase 65 life-saving defibrillators.

Early treatment can prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle. The defibrillators will provide potentially life-saving emergency care to heart attack victims across Wales.

The investment is being made following an announcement in January by the Budget Minister, Jane Hutt of an additional allocation of £743,000 in capital funding for health. This, and an under-spend in the All-Wales Capital Programme for 2010 -11 is being used by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust to purchase replacement defibrillators. 

It complements the £1.4bn capital investment the Welsh Assembly Government has made in the NHS in Wales over the last four years, which has helped to reduce waiting times for treatment as well as improving patient care.

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FUNDING TO SUPPORT EQUALITIES AGENDA

A total of twelve Welsh voluntary organisations have been awarded funding to help them increase equality and human rights capacity in their everyday business and in doing so increase awareness of the issues facing their communities.

Welsh Labour’s Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant announced that the groups will share £49,325 from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government’s Capacity Building Fund. The fund is a joint initiative with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Capacity Building Fund is part of the Assembly Government’s wider Advancing Equality Fund which aims to address the needs of people who face discrimination and help them get involved in the decisions that affect them.

The Organisations to benefit from this funding are:

Asylum Justice                                                                                     £4,000.00      
AWEMA                                                                                               £5,000.00      
Cardiff - Wales LGBT Mardi Gras                                                            £4,700.00      
Changing Faces Cymru                                                                          £5,000.00      
Holistic Spiritual Alliance Wales                                                             £1,950.00      
Kurdish Welfare Association (Newport Arm)                                            £3,111.00      
Learning Disability Wales                                                                      £3,921.03      
NFWI Women Making a Difference                                                         £3,500.00      
North Wales Regional Equality Network                                                  £4,980.00    
SNAP Cymru                                                                                        £5,000.00      
Swansea Carers' Centre                                                                        £4,357.00      
Wrexham Refugees and Asylum Seekers Support Group                            £3,806.71      

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CHOOSE WELL – CHOOSE THE RIGHT HEALTH SERVICE

A new national campaign designed to help Welsh patients choose the best place to get treatment if they fall ill has been launched by Welsh Labour’s Health Minister Edwina Hart today.

 

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government, in conjunction with NHS Wales is launching the Choose Well campaign to boost public awareness about the NHS services available to them.

Evidence shows that a significant number of people still go to Hospital Emergency Departments (A&E) or dial 999 when there are other services more convenient and suitable for their needs.

 

The campaign uses a colour coded thermometer to help people to link their symptoms with a particular NHS service which is right for their need.

Staff from across the NHS including GPs, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and consultants will be encouraged to promote the Choose Well campaign. Look out for radio, internet and bus shelter advertising, and leaflets and posters have also already been produced by some Health Boards.

 

Using a colour coded thermometer, the campaign will highlight six areas of healthcare:

·         Self care – for the treatment of minor illnesses, by combining a well stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.

·         NHS Direct Wales – for absolutely any health questions, around the clock, and to find local services at the click of a button.

·         Chemists / Pharmacists - for advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them.

·         GPs – for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for illnesses you just can’t shake off.

·         Minor Injuries Units – for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries without the need for an appointment.

·         Emergency Department (A&E) or 999 – for critical or life-threatening situations.

 

More information about the campaign is available here.


8th Feb 2011

LYNNE NEAGLE AM

Message from Lynne Neagle

Just to let you know that I am doing a drop in advice surgery in Tesco's Pontypool this Friday (flyer attached) between 11 and 1pm.  Please feel free to pass the information on to any one who might find this helpful - and of course come by yourself if you think that I can help in any way.
http://mail.aol.com/33189-111/aim-2/en-gb/mail/get-attachment.aspx?uid=1.29442769&folder=Inbox&partId=4&saveAs=Tesco%27s_flyer_colour.doc
Lynne


30th December 2010

RICHARD JONES

It is with deep sadness that I report the death of one of our long serving members of the Fairwater Labour Party Branch.  Richard Jones (Richie) of Windsor Road sadly passed away just before Christmas, Our deepest sympathy goes to his family.  Richie was a keen campaigner for the Labour Party and will be sadly missed.

4th December 2010

£23 MILLION FOR HOSPITAL SCANNERS ACROSS WALES

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government today announced how patients across Wales are set to benefit from £23 million of investment in new advanced diagnostic equipment for hospitals.

The funding from the Labour-led Assembly Government will be spent on purchasing new replacement equipment for the NHS in Wales and was announde today by Welsh Labour’s Health Minister Edwina Hart. 

Diagnostic scanners, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners, will be amongst the equipment to be purchased.

Amongst the hospitals across Wales that will receive new CT & MRI scanners are Withybush in Haverfordwest, West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Morriston and Singleton Hospitals in Swansea, the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, as well as University Hospital of Wales and Llandough in Cardiff.

Other diagnostic equipment, such as ultrasound scanning machines and fluoroscopy equipment, and other advanced treatment equipment will also be purchased using the funding.

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ANOTHER 48 POST OFFICES TO BENEFIT FROM ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Welsh Labour’s Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant today announced the latest round of grants under the Labour-led Assembly Government’s Post Office Diversification Fund.

 

A total of 48 Post Offices across Wales will share over £695,000 of Welsh Assembly Government funding to expand their businesses and provide new services for the community.

 

Grants under the Post Office Diversification Fund can be used to develop the retail side of the business, helping post offices to become more sustainable through maintaining their current business whilst expanding into new product lines and services. All sub-postmasters/mistresses in Wales can apply for capital grants of up to £20,000.

 

Around 180 post offices throughout Wales have already benefited from the fund, creating 169 jobs and sharing in £3.8 million of funding. This latest funding round will help to create the equivalent of 16.5 full time jobs.

The 48 awards will go to:

Name                                                             County 
Garndolbenmaen Post Office                    Gwynedd
Cynwyd Post Office                                     Denbighshire   
Llanberis Post Office                                   Gwynedd
Beulah Post Office                                      Powys  
Howey Post Office                                       Powys  
Rhydyfelin Post Office                                RCT    
Abercarn Post Office                                   Caerphilly     
Hakin Post Office                                         Pembrokeshire  
Llwyncelyn Post Office                               Ceredigion     
Aberporth Post Office                                  Ceredigion     
Porthcawl Post Office                                 Bridgend       
Baglan Post Office                                      Neath Port Talbot      
Whitchurch Road Post Office                    Cardiff
Penmaenmawr Post Office                        Conwy  
Bettws Post Office                                       Bridgend       
Albany Road Post Office                            Cardiff
Pencader Post Office                                  Carmarthenshire
Pentre Post Office                                       RCT    
Williamstown Post Office                           RCT    
Haverfordwest Post Office                         Pembrokeshire  
Treherbert Post Office                                 RCT    
Narberth Post Office                                    Vale of Glam   
Trefeglwys Community Shop                    Powys  
Usk Post Office                                            Monmouthshire  
Gresford Post Office                                    Wrexham
Pontycymmer Post Office                           Bridgend       
Henllys Way News and Post Office        Torfaen
Chirk Post Office                                          Wrexham
Penrhyn Bay Post Office                            Conwy  
Benllech Post Office                                   Anglesey       
St Fagans Post Office                                 Cardiff
Peterston Super Ely Post Office               Vale of Glam   
Cilfynydd Post Office                                  RCT    
Bancyfelin Post Office                                Carmarthenshire
Saltney Ferry Stores & Post Office           Flintshire     
Penmaenrhos Post Office                          Conwy  
Efail Isaf Post Office                                    RCT    
Pentwyn Post Office                                   Torfaen
Felinfach Post Office                                  Ceredigion     
Ynysboeth Post Office                                RCT    
Narberth Post Office                                    Pembrokeshire  
Bulwark Post Office                                     Monmouthshire  
Queensferry Post Office                             Flintshire     
Ynysybwl Post Office                                  RCT    
The Mount Post Office                                Pembrokeshire  
Sarn Post Office                                           Bridgend       
Corporation Road Post Office                   Newport
Risca Post Office                                         Caerphilly     

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£1.5 MILLION TO PROMOTE COMMUNITY COHESION

£1.5 million of Assembly Government funding to help develop strong, resilient and harmonious communities across Wales was announced today by Welsh Labour’s Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant.  

Tackling social exclusion and achieving a fair and just society is a key commitment of the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government. Since April 2009 the Assembly Government has provided £3.9 million of funding to local authorities to encourage communities across Wales to get on well together.

Such funding has enabled local authorities to take a strategic approach to their own local cohesion issues, work with a range of local partners to devise solutions.

One year on since the launch of ‘Getting on Together – a Community Cohesion Strategy for Wales’ the Assembly Government has produced an action plan to demonstrate what they have achieved so far, as well as setting out their future commitments.

Over the past year, the Welsh Assembly Government has provided funding for the ‘Young at Heart’ project in Caerphilly that gives help and advice to older people.  The project aims to get older people involved in the local community by providing places to meet and arranging volunteering opportunities. Community cohesion funding has also provided financial support to the ‘Beyond the School Gates’ project in Flintshire. The project arranges weekly sessions to improve relationships between local schools and families in order to benefit pupils and their education.

The Assembly Government’s Community Cohesion Strategy and Action Plan can be found here.

 

4th December


WELSH STUDENTS WILL NOT PAY EXTRA TUITION FEES

 

Welsh Labour’s Education Minister Leighton Andrews today announced that Welsh domiciled students will not have to pay extra tuition fees as the cost will be met by the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government.

 

In Wales, basic tuition fees will rise to £6,000 per annum and Higher Education institutions will be able to charge fees up to £9,000, providing they can demonstrate a commitment to widening access and other strategic objectives. The threshold at which students have to start repaying their student loans will also increase from £15,000 to £21,000.

 

However, the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government is determined to support Welsh students and has announced that Welsh domiciled students will not have to find either £6,000 or £9,000 to study. The increase in fees for Welsh domiciled students, whether they study in England or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, will be paid by the Welsh Assembly Government.

 

So, Welsh students who go to university in 2012-13 will be paying the same in real terms as students who go to university in this academic year. In addition, Welsh domiciled students will continue to be eligible for subsidised loans to meet the costs up to the current level of tuition fee.

 

The announcement comes as the UK ConDem Government - including the Lib Dems who promised to oppose tuition fee increases at the General Election six months ago - plans to force students in England to pay up to £9,000 in tuition fees themselves. While the Conservatives are determined to shift the burden to students, the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government is giving Welsh students the opportunities they deserve.

 

Other key points of today’s announcement include:

 

·         There will be a variable progressive rate of interest charged depending on income.

·         Part-time students will be able to access a tuition fee loan depending on the level of intensity of their course.

·         Changes will apply to all new students from the start of the academic year 2012/13.

·         Any increases in tuition fees will not apply to continuing students who are already in university. The new arrangements will only apply to new students starting in the academic year 2012/2013 i.e. starting their first year of study in September 2012.

 

PRIMARY CLASS SIZES IN WALES REMAIN AT 30 OR UNDER

Figures published today show the vast majority of all infant and junior age pupils in Wales continue to benefit from class sizes of 30 or fewer.

 

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government is committed to ensuring local education authorities and schools carry on maintaining primary class sizes of 30 or fewer.

The 30 pupil infant class size limit has applied since 2001. After taking into consideration the exceptions permitted by law, this year’s September Class Size Count revealed

that just  12 of the 4,065 infant classes in Wales had more than 30 pupils, 4 classes fewer than last year. 

 

The Welsh Assembly Government is currently working with the relevant local education authorities and schools to ensure that all 12 classes comply with the legislative limit by the start of next school term in January 2011. The Welsh Assembly Government has also, since 2001, set a target of ensuring junior classes contain 30 pupils or fewer.  At the time of the latest count, 4.7% of junior classes had more than 30 pupils. This compares with 25% in 1999 and 3.4% last year.

 

The full figures can be found here.

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PUBLICATION OF COMMISSION ON SOCIAL SERVICES REPORT WELCOMED

Assembly Ministers today welcomed the publication of an independent report into the future of social services in Wales.

 

The Assembly Government-commissioned report aimed to look at social services over the next decade.  The Independent Commission for Social Services was established in December 2009. Welsh labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones and Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas received the report from Commission Chairman Professor Geoffrey Pearson

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government recently announced that it is protecting social services funding in Wales through the Local Government settlement. This means funding for social services will increase in cash terms by £35m by 2013-14 – representing a three per cent uplift.

Further information on the work of the Commission and the report is available at: www.icssw.org. A copy of Gwenda Thomas’ Ministerial Statement on the report can be obtained by e-mailing the Labour Group Office here.  

The other reviews that are currently under way are:

    • Social Care and Social Care Workforce  Task Group;
    • Review  of Regulation and Improvement Framework for Social Services and Social care;
    • National Safeguarding Children’s Forum; and,
    • Protection of Vulnerable Adults Project Group.

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CARRIER BAG CHARGE BECOMES LAW

 

The Labour-led Assembly Government’s plan to introduce a charge for carrier bags will now become law following a vote by Assembly Members earlier today.

 

The law, which will come into force from 1 October next year, will see Welsh shoppers paying 5p per single use carrier bag.  Wales is the first country in the UK to introduce a charge as part of its efforts to dramatically reduce the volume of carrier bags given out to shoppers.

 

The new charge has won cross party support. The level of the carrier bag charge has been set at 5p because the Assembly Government believes this is high enough to encourage people to change their shopping habits but not so high that it will deter impulse shopping or place a significant burden on shoppers who have forgotten their reusable bags.

 

The introduction of the charge has been delayed until October in order to accommodate the needs of businesses and allow for a smoother and more successful introduction.


21st Oct 2010


WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO CONDEM SPENDING REVIEW

 Today’s announcement is a hammer blow for the people of Wales, the worst since devolution and the lowest settlement of all the Devolved Nations.

Our Budget next year will be almost £900m less than this year and comes on top of the savage Budget in June, representing the deepest public spending cuts since World War 2.

 

The Cabinet is meeting early tomorrow morning to discuss the impact of the settlement. The Assembly Government has always said that it will play its role in reducing the UK budget deficit.  But the cuts announced today are too fast and too deep.  They will endanger the fragile economic recovery and threaten devastating and long term consequences for the most vulnerable people in our society. They will undoubtedly hit Wales harder than other parts of the UK because we are already underfunded, as recently demonstrated by the independent Holtham Commission.

 

The reductions for the Assembly Government’s Budget fully vindicate the prudent approach to planning assumptions we have adopted since the Spring. Although the cuts are towards the lower end of the possible outcomes for revenue expenditure, the capital cuts are as grim as predicted. Cabinet now has the opportunity to consider the implications for our Budget, which will be laid on 17 November.

 

Other key points include:

 

·         In real terms, the total Welsh Budget is set to fall by around 3.1% per year on average, or 12% in total over the coming four years. This means that our Budget in 2014/15 will be £1.8bn lower in real terms than it is this year. Overall, in cash terms the reductions to our Budget will be 3% over the period.

 

·         Our capital Budget has been hit particularly hard, and will be cut by 40% in real terms – 34% in cash terms – over the next four years. This substantial reduction, particularly next year, where the cut is more than 25% in real terms, will clearly have a major impact on the private as well as the public sectors.

 

·         These cuts come on top of yesterday's decision to cancel the Defence Technical College project at St Athan, no clarity over the decision to proceed with the electrification of the Swansea to London railway, the proposed closure of the passport office in Newport and the unprecedented £18bn cuts in welfare payments that will affect the most vulnerable people in our society.

 

·         Against this background, the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government will continue to take a distinctive Welsh approach to safeguard essential services in Wales. We have a duty to promote fairness and equality in the way we allocate resources which will be best for the economy, as well as the social fabric of Wales. That is why we are committed to protecting investment in schools, skills and healthcare, and committed to maintaining universal entitlements – including the successful concessionary fares scheme, free prescriptions, free swimming and free breakfasts & milk for primary school children.

 

The full response can be found here.

 

 

Anthony Cooper

Head of Office - Pennaeth y Swyddfa

National Assembly Labour Party - Y Blaid Lafur, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol

7 anthony.cooper@wales.gov.uk

' 029 2089 8548    

7  029 2089 8399

"Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body."


15th Oct 2010


FIRST MINISTER RESPONDS TO THE UK GOVERNMENT'S PUBLIC BODY REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT

In response to the UK Government’s announcement on the reform of public bodies, which will see the axing of 192 public bodies, First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

"We clearly recognise the need to improve the efficiency and delivery of services across the public sector. That is why we undertook a review of our sponsored public bodies back in 2004 – which resulted in the reform of a number of organisations across Wales, including the merger of the WDA, ELWa and the Wales Tourist Board with the Assembly Government.

“We are disappointed with some of the changes the UK Government has announced today and are concerned at the way in which the review has been rushed through with limited opportunity to work through all the practical implications from the Welsh perspective.

“Our focus now is continuing detailed discussions with the UK Government on these changes and ensure that appropriate practical arrangements are in place to meet the needs of Wales."

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BOOST TO CREATE NEW HIGH SKILLED MANUFACTURING JOBS IN WALES

A £26m investment to grow Wales' manufacturing industry, boost take-up of state of the art technology, creating more than 130 highly skilled jobs and safeguarding hundreds more has been announced by the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government today.

The ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable manUfacturing TEchnologies) project will target the aerospace and automotive sectors, as well as other high technology manufacturing, to create sustainable, higher value goods and services and bring them to a global market.

Led by Swansea University, in collaboration with the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glyndŵr, Swansea Metropolitan, UWIC, and the University of Wales, Newport, it is aimed at helping the manufacturing industry face the challenges of the 21st century and will assist 350 enterprises and help 40 collaborative R&D projects get off the ground.

Made possible with £14m from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government with additional funding coming from higher education institutions, it is expected to induce an investment of £4m and launch 120 new or improved products, processes or services.

The project will improve the competitiveness of Welsh companies by applying Advanced Engineering techniques to both the design of products and to the manufacturing process thus securing many jobs and leading to the initial creation of more than 130 highly skilled new jobs in the sector.

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MINISTER POINTS TO THE WAY FORWARD FOR COMMUNITIES FIRST

Welsh Labour’s Social Justice Minister, Carl Sargeant today said that he is committed to ensuring that the Assembly Government continues to support Wales’ most deprived areas after the Communities First programme ends in March 2012.

Speaking at the programme’s annual conference the Minister praised those involved in delivering the Communities First programme and said that despite working in uncertain and testing times, the programme was delivering sustained change in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities. He said:

Carl Sargeant said “I am committed to supporting disadvantaged communities across Wales in making positive and long-lasting changes to the areas they live in.

“The Assembly Government is looking at what a future programme could look like and as part of this will take into account best practice learned here in Wales and elsewhere.

“I expect that in 2011 there will be more clarity on what the detailed plan could look like and will ensure that there is an opportunity to contribute to shaping this.   

“What is certain now is that we will continue to target support at Wales’ most deprived areas. However, in doing this we must make the most effective use of the limited funding we have available.

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FIRST MINISTER OFFICIALLY OPENS YSBYTY CWM RHONDDA

Welsh Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones was in the Rhondda today to officially open a new hospital for the area.

The First Minister will open the new £39 million Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda which has been built to replace the ageing Llwynypia Hospital.  The new 108-bed hospital, which has been open to patients since the beginning of 2010, has an integrated primary care centre, single-sex wards and a number of en-suite rooms for patients.  The development also offers a stroke unit, a minor injuries unit, x-ray and outpatients departments and an ante-natal clinic.

Several environmentally friendly initiatives have been incorporated into this hospital’s design including a bio-mass boiler plant.

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MINISTER OPENS NEW FIRE STATION IN LLANGEFNI

Welsh Labour’s Social Justice and Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant today opened the newly refurbished fire station and County Safety Office in Llangefni.

The Welsh Assembly Government has provided over half a million pounds to renovate the fire station and build a number of new facilities including an office, kitchen and meeting room. The refurbishment not only improves the amenities used by the firefighters, it also opens up the fire station to the people of Llangefni to advance engagement with the local community.

Figures released today also show a reduction in the number of fires in Wales, and injuries caused from fire. The figures also show a reduction in the number of deliberate fires and malicious false alarms.

Key figures include:

    • There were 19,131 fires attended by the fire and rescue services in Wales in 2009/10, a fall of 2% when compared to 2008/9
    • The number of fires started deliberately in Wales fell 5% in 2009/10 when compared to 2008/9
    • The number of malicious false calls to the fire and rescue service in 2009/10 fell to 3,473, a reduction of 17% when compared to 2008/9

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has invested £25 million in community fire safety and arson reduction activities since 2004.  The success of such schemes is reflected in the reduction of the number of fires, accidental fire fatalities and injuries in 2009-10.

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FIRST MINISTER CONGRATULATES CHILE

Wales, with its proud mining heritage, today sent a message of congratulations to the people of Chile as the trapped miners of San José were brought to the surface in a remarkable rescue effort watched across the world.

 

Welsh Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones has sent a letter to Chile's President Piñera in which he expressed the admiration and solidarity of the Welsh nation, which has its own history of mining disasters.

 

3rd September 2010

Ballot Papers for the Labour Leadership have been sent out please use your vote and post it back within the deadline, if you are not a member but share the Labour values scroll below or log on to The Labour Party website

22nd July 2010

NEW RURAL BROADBAND SCHEME OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Communities and businesses in broadband notspots in rural Wales can now apply for backing from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government to help access a service for the first time.

The scheme, announced earlier this month, will enable individuals and groups in remaining Welsh broadband ‘notspots’ to approach internet service providers directly, with support of Assembly Government funding.  Support will be available for up to a maximum of £1,000 for individual premises to help with the set-up and installation costs of a broadband connection.

Application forms are available for download from www.wales.gov.uk/broadband - www.cymru.gov.uk/bandeang  - by contacting 029 2036 8043 or email broadband@wales.gsi.gov.ukbandeang@cymru.gsi.gov.uk

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FIRST MINISTER CONTINUES PUBLIC SERVICES TOUR

Welsh Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones was in Torfaen today on the second leg of his tour around Wales to visit frontline public service staff to hear at first hand how those services can be protected and improved.

The First Minister was also joined by Welsh Labour’s Social Justice and Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant, when they visited Torfaen local authority staff to hear from them what it is like to deliver a range of services.  Mr Jones also asked for suggestions of what can be done to improve services whilst reducing costs in the challenging financial climate.

On the first leg of his tour around Wales, the First Minister visited Morriston Hospital in Swansea and next week will be in North Wales where he will join policemen on the beat in Llandudno and visit a project helping young people in Wrexham.

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WELSH PUBLIC SERVICES FLY THE FLAG FOR WELSH FOOD

 

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has welcomed the findings of new research which shows that nearly half of the food and drink produce purchased by the public sector in Wales is of Welsh origin.

 

The 2010 Welsh Public Sector Food Purchasing Survey, which was commissioned by the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government, shows that the total value of food purchased by the public sector in Wales in 2009 was £71.35m. Of that, the total value of Welsh purchases amounted to £16.4m. This represents a growth in spend on food purchases from 2003-2009 of 23%. In comparison, the recorded value of Welsh origin purchases over the same period rose by 39%.

 

Overall, the total number of purchases has risen by 44.6% since 2003. The total number of Welsh purchases has risen by 65.8%.  In 2003, Welsh purchases accounted for 41.3% of key category purchases by the public sector in Wales. By 2009, they accounted for 47.4%. Key figures include:

 

  • NHS Wales - 69% of the food and drink products purchased by the NHS in Wales is Welsh in origin.

 

  • Welsh Local Authorities - Welsh origin purchases have risen by 90.5% between 2003 and 2009. In 2003 Welsh purchases accounted for 36.5% of the total. In 2009 they accounted for 52.5%.

 

  • Schools - On average, 50.92 % of all the School Milk purchased by Welsh local authorities was of Welsh origin. The overall value of the school milk contract was £1,038,376 - the Welsh value equated to 64.5% - or £670,824.

 

  • Higher Education - Welsh purchases accounted for 28.7% of the total in 2003. By 2009, they accounted for 41.3%.

 

  • Further Education - in 2003, 16.8% of purchases were of Welsh origin by 2009 Welsh origin purchases accounted for 39.6%.

 

  • MoD & Police - overall purchases have risen by 1.4% between 2003 and 2009. Welsh origin purchases have dropped by 0.4% over the same period. In 2003, Welsh purchases accounted for 23% of the total. In 2009 they accounted for 22.6%.

 

  • Other Public Sector bodies - overall purchases have risen by 356.8% between 2003 and 2009. Welsh origin purchases have risen by 909% over the same period. In 2003 Welsh purchases accounted for 13.4% of the total. In 2009 they accounted for 32.6%.

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STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT SHOWS PROGRESS

Welsh Labour’s Environment minister Jane Davidson today welcomed the new figures which show that progress is being made in improving the environment in Wales.

The latest figures - which provide the Assembly Government with an overview of progress against its Environment Strategy - show that of the 69 indicators that have been defined and where information exists, nearly 40 per cent show an improvement. Only two of the indicators show a decline:

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government is due to launch its Natural Environment Framework’ in the autumn, which will strengthen its commitment to the environment.

The Framework, developed with the input of key partners, will be a vital tool to secure our vision for the environment. Its aim will be to secure a stronger focus on sustainable management of land and water by making ecosystems and their services central to our decision making.

The bulletin presents an overview of the indicators monitoring progress against the Welsh Assembly Government’s Environment Strategy. The full set of data, analysis, and notes on all of the indicators are available on the StatsWales website. In total there are 102 State of the Environment Indicators.
 

NEW PIONEERS’ WILL SUPPORT FAMILIES ACROSS WALES

Welsh Labour’s Deputy Minister for Children, Huw Lewis, today announced his intention to create several “pioneer” areas within Wales to pin-point best practice models of family support in our efforts to help lift children and young people out of poverty.

The new pioneer areas will demonstrate innovative work and best practice in their efforts to support families, so that learning can be rapidly identified and shared on an all-Wales basis.  The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government will work closely with local authorities and other partner organisations in these areas to identify effective joined-up working.

Tackling child poverty remains a key aim of the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government, with 32 per cent of children living in poverty in Wales, a fall of 4 per cent in the last ten years. The family is being put at the centre of service delivery for children and young people in Wales, with the Welsh Assembly Government focusing on the individual needs of families.  This approach was laid out clearly in the Assembly Government’s Child Poverty Strategy which was launched for consultation last month – and can be found here.

Huw Lewis made today’s announcement during his speech at the Welsh launch of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010.  More than 100 people, mainly those who are experiencing poverty and social exclusion, attended the event in Swansea.

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CASUALTIES ON WELSH ROADS LOWEST SINCE RECORDS BEGAN

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government today welcomed new statistics which show that the number of people either killed or injured on Welsh roads is the lowest since records began in 1968. The figures - ‘Road Casualties in Wales, 2009’ - show the number of road accidents, injuries and deaths have all seen falls compared to the previous year.

Key figures include:

    • During 2009 there were 7,126 road accidents involving personal injury recorded by the police in Wales, 658 (8 per cent) fewer than in 2008.
    • These accidents resulted in 10,354 casualties, 832 (7 per cent) fewer than in 2008.
    • 125 people were killed on Welsh roads, 17 (12 per cent) fewer than in 2008.
    • 1,096 people were seriously injured in 2009, 158 (13 per cent) fewer than in 2008.
    • 9,133 people were slightly injured, a decrease of 657 (7 per cent) compared with the previous year.

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government is continuing to work in partnership with Local Authorities, the police, Fire and Rescue Service and road safety organisations to highlight the importance of road safety and to remind all road users of their responsibilities to themselves and others. The allocation of over £30 million of funding from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government since 2007 has also enabled local authorities to implement a range of road safety projects that have contributed to this downward trend of casualties.

The figures can be found in full here.  

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SIXTY NEW GREEN JOBS WELCOMED

Cardiff based Utility Partnership Ltd is expanding operations to meet the growing demand for its diverse range of services and will create sixty ‘green’ jobs over the next three years.

The business is retaining its existing offices on Cardiff Gate and has purchased new purpose designed offices with warehousing facilities on Capital Business Park, Wentloog. The company, which was started fourteen years ago and has offices in Cardiff, London, Glasgow, Milan and operates throughout the world.

Its latest expansion, supported by the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government’s Single Investment Fund, will create high quality green jobs across a range of disciplines. 

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ASSEMBLY INVESTMENT HELPS HISTORIC RAILWAY

The first phase of a major ten-year development plan for the historic Vale of Rheidol Railway is to begin this summer following support from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government.

£300,000 of funding from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government will enable the Aberystwyth based steam railway to embark on a £1.1million investment programme – the largest project it has undertaken to date.

Plans include the construction of an 1800 sq metre workshop for the restoration of its historically important collection of locomotives. It will also be a focus for training and skills development with the aim of becoming an engineering training centre for apprentices to gain the range of specialist skills to maintain a heritage railway.

The investment will safeguard eight jobs and create a further four new engineering posts and four other jobs on the Railway. Long-term plans are to expand and develop the railway to maximise its potential as a key tourist centre attracting enthusiasts from all over the UK and further afield with a range of facilities including a museum, shops, café as well as the engineering training facility.

18th June 2010
 

NEW MOBILE BREAST SCREENING UNITS HIT THE ROAD

First Minister Carwyn Jones today announced almost £1m of funding from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government for new state-of-the-art mobile breast screening units.

The seven mobile screening units will replace Breast Test Wales’ ageing fleet. Public Health Wales has already provided funding to replace three other mobile units this year, the first of their type in the UK. The units visit approximately 100 locations across Wales.

More than 100,000 women are screened for breast cancer every year in Wales, and roughly half of all registered cases each year are diagnosed through the national screening programme.  The investment is part of a wider scheme by Breast Test Wales to modernise and improve screening services over the next few years.

The new units, which are designed to make the service easier for disabled users and older patients, will:

    • Speed up access to screening.
    • Support a growing demand for equal access to screening services across Wales by providing facilities in local, convenient locations.
    • Enhance patients’ experiences of screening in order to encourage more women to keep coming forward for routine check-ups.

Welsh Labour’s Health Minister, Edwina Hart, is also currently considering further proposals by Breast Test Wales to improve screening services. They include plans to introduce high-tech digital equipment that will enable Breast Test Wales to work collaboratively with consultants and partners and allow patients to benefit from a more efficient screening service.

The seven new mobile units are likely to be in operation by January 2011.

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WELSH MUSEUMS LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Welsh museums are being urged to look at innovative ways of sharing resources and attracting new, younger audiences.

 

The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has set out a new strategy to ensure that museums are smarter and more innovative, to help ensure they continue to play an important role in Welsh life during difficult economic times.

The five-year strategy asks museums to look at new ways of encouraging more volunteers to get involved, contributing to cultural tourism, helping to develop the Welsh language, sharing exhibits, and attracting more young people and ethnic minorities. The strategy sets out actions in three key areas that museums in Wales need to take over the next five years. They are:

  • Museums for Everyone: Museums will contribute to living communities, promote the values of a fair and just society and provide lifelong learning opportunities for all.

 

  • A Collection for the Nation: Museums will hold, care for and continue to develop collections for the nation which represent our rich and diverse culture.

 

  • Working Effectively: Museums will manage their sites, operations, collections and people more effectively to continue providing services that are relevant, robust and sustainable.

 

The strategy can be found here.

 

NEW CAREER DRIVE LAUNCHED

Over 10,000 people across Wales will benefit from a new £3.6m investment to set them on the path to career success, the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has announced.

The Careers Information Advice and Guidance project will assist unemployed people, offering specialist, tailored advice that helps them get new jobs and climb the employment ladder.

Led by Careers Wales, the project is backed with £2.4m from the Convergence European Social Fund through the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government.

Among the services it will offer is support with identifying skills, writing CVs, job searches, career development, job interview techniques and job application form workshops. As part of the scheme, Careers Wales will work alongside other EU funded skills projects to offer further support and services, such as training, to enable individuals to progress into work.

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FIRST MINISTER CELEBRATES THE FIGHT FOR TOLERANCE

People who promote tolerance in their communities have been recognised by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The second of three “Recognising Achievement” receptions has been held in Swansea, and saw a range of people commended for the contribution they make to the lives of others.Those recognised during the day included individuals who have promoted equality, tolerance and inclusion, and have tackled all kinds of issues such as harassment, racism and domestic violence. 

The theme for the awards in 2010 is “Promoting Tolerance,” chosen in part because it marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of WWII.   One of the Welsh Achievers is Dr Masood Yousef from Swansea, who has worked to promote understanding between faiths in the city.  Simon Green, from Bridgend, will also be honoured for his work promoting tolerance for those with disabilities.

Other achievers include Cathy Davies for services to victims of domestic abuse, and Uzo Owobi OBE and Taha Idris for services to racial equality.

UPCOMING EVENTS

An exciting opportunity which may be of interest to you is the election of a new Leader for the UK Labour Party. There is a wide range of information about the election on the Labour Party website at
www.labour.org.uk

For members in Wales there will be a hustings debate in Wales to be held at 11am on Sunday 4th July at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

To register please go to www.labour.org.uk/cardiffhustings If you have any queries with applying for a ticket, please contact Conference Services on 0870 043 5533 or conferenceservices@new.labour.org.uk


NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD

We will have a stall at the National Eisteddfod in Blaenau Gwent, Ebbw Vale from 31st July to 7th August. If you visit the Eisteddfod please call to see us.

WALES IN LONDON DINNER

Welsh Labour is hosting an exciting dinner in London, with the Deputy Leader, Harriett Harman MP as guest speaker.  This event is a fantastic opportunity to meet senior Labour Party figures and Welsh Ministers and will be held at the Mayfair Arts Club on Wednesday, June 30th at 7:30pm.  For tickets and further details please contact Sarah Murphy on 02920 877701.

 
 
19th May2010

EDUCATION FUNDING REPORT UNVEILED BY MINISTER

A major report suggesting how more money can reach education front line services has been published by Welsh Labour’s Education Minister Leighton Andrews.

The report calculates the cost of administering education across Wales. It considers the numbers working in administering the education system, and crucially identifies opportunities to move resources from administration to the delivery of front line services. The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has emphasised that the review is not about cuts in funding, but freeing up resources by changing the balance in funding between front line and support services.

The report analyses £4.1 billion of the annual expenditure on the education system in Wales of which direct funding for learning and teaching and other education expenditure accounts for 68 per cent of the total. The remaining 32 per cent is made up of support services, such as service management and financial administration.

The report identifies key opportunities for exploration grouped under two key themes.

The first, Simplifying Governance, includes continuing to look for opportunities to simplify the structure of grant schemes. The second, Standardising and Sharing Provision, includes exploring the opportunity for further development of more regional consortia sharing educational support. There may also be more scope for schools to form clusters to share resources and facilities.

An electronic copy of the report can be found here.

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WALES MUST ATTRACT GREATER FUNDING FOR R&D SAYS LESLEY GRIFFITHS

A review into the R&D funding allocated to Wales is underway and will analyse the distribution of research income and make recommendations on how to increase the Welsh share of external R&D funding.

Addressing members of the Royal Society of Chemistry in Cardiff today, Welsh Labour’s Lesley Griffiths, the Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, said her intention is to work with partners within the UK and Europe to ensure Wales attracts greater funding for R&D activities. The Royal Society of Chemistry is the leading organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences and Ms Griffiths was addressing members at the annual event organised by the Society in Wales entitled Science & the Assembly.

Speaking at the reception in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, she emphasised the importance of science, innovation and enterprise in assisting Wales' competitiveness.

 

18th May 2010

£30MILLION ‘ECO FACELIFT’ TO DELIVER GREEN HOMES, GREEN JOBS AND GREEN SKILLS  

A green home improvement scheme will benefit people in at least 21 communities in Wales with £30million in funding in its first year, Welsh Labour’s Environment Minister Jane Davidson announced today.

The arbed scheme, which means “save” in Welsh, will upgrade the energy efficiency of existing housing stock in some of the most deprived parts of the country and also provide a boost to jobs, skills and regeneration. The £30million funding is for projects that have been successful in the first round of the scheme.

The ground breaking energy efficiency and job creation scheme from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government will:

    • Improve energy efficiency in 6,000 homes by March 2011 not only saving people money but also lowering carbon emissions in our continuing commitment to tackle climate change
    • Kick-start the economy by providing contracts to local companies and boosting an energy efficiency and renewable energy industry in Wales
    • Create new green jobs and training opportunities – companies who are successful in bidding for work through Arbed funding are contracted to employ locally and deliver 156 training days for every £1million of Government funding
    • Enable small and medium size businesses and contractors to gain extra qualifications where needed

No other scheme of this scale in the UK has taken such an all encompassing approach to improving existing housing stock. The first phase of arbed will see an average of £2.5million spent every month this year to retrofit exterior wall insulation, solar panels and heat pumps in at least 21 schemes across Wales’ regeneration areas.

Among the schemes are:

      • A solar and external wall insulation project in Mon a Menai in which local electricians faced with a struggling local economy are being trained to install solar panels
      • The multi-technology project in Markham Caerphilly, which is being delivered by Charter Housing through an Assembly Government arbed grant, will see local people will be trained to act as energy advisors in their own community
      • A major external wall insulation project in Swansea in which five social housing providers are working together to improve the homes of local people in Wales' most deprived area.

At least 6,000 homes will see the benefits of arbed by March next year 2011. Combined with the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and Boiler Scrappage Scheme a total of 25,000 Welsh homes will have been improved and made cheaper to heat in 2010-11.

This is a major stimulus for private sector jobs in Wales at a time when the search is on for replacement or new jobs. This is a highly labour-intensive sector, with the added benefit that we are also delivering on housing, fuel poverty and climate change ambitions.

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WALK TO SCHOOL WEEK HELPS CHILDREN CHANGE4LIFE

This week is Walk to School Week, which helps children meet one of the Change4Life objectives of their getting five sessions of 60 minutes exercise a week.

Walk to School Week is an action-packed awareness week that encourages parents, teachers and local authorities to run fun events and activities to raise awareness about walking to school. This year’s theme is Walk Your Way, and focuses on how walking to school helps teach orientating skills to help children navigate and get to know their local area, improving confidence and safety.

It is estimated that one in five cars on the roads during the morning rush hour is taking children to school. So not only does walking to school provide free exercise it also reduces congestion, carbon emissions and the amount families spend on fuel.

If children walk to school it is vital that the environment is as safe as possible. An initiative designed to make a real impact on the safety of pedestrians is the Safe Routes in Communities scheme. Earlier this year the Labour-led Assembly Government provided £8.5 million for Safe Routes in Communities schemes, a series of physical measures aimed at encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport, such as walking, cycling and public transport for local journeys.

For further details about Walk to School Week, please click here and for further details about Change4Life , click here.

10th May 2010
 
Labour Support
 
I would like to place on record my congratulations to Paul Murphy MP on retaining the Labour Party seat for Torfaen.
Can I personally thank all Labour supporters for their support during the General Election Campaign.  I thoroughly enjoyed joining Paul with his campaign and was thoroughly delighted in the turnout and numbers of votes from the Fairwater Polling Stations.  I was pleased to speak with many of my constituents and picked up some local issues on the way.
 
Unfortunately the country is in no position to form a majority government and talks continue to try to form a coalition.  From a Labour Party perspective we were delighted to win back Blaenau Gwent and that our support is still very strong in the valleys.
 
An interesting quote I heard today was that two out of every three people did not want a Tory Government,
 
 
22nd Apriil 2010
 
Labour Paid Allowances
 
Residents may be reading accusations from other Councillors against the Elected Labour Councillors regarding voting for pay rises.  The fact is the Council voted for the pay rises, two since 2008  but ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS have declined to accept these pay rises during this time of recession, leaving the money to be used by Torfaen County Borough on the most needy services.
 
 
15th April 2010
 
have
 
THE LABOUR PARTY CANDIDATE for TORFAEN PAUL MURPHY MP 
 
The Labour Party Candidate in the General Election Paul Murphy MP will be campainging around the Borough in the run up to the Election on May 6th he will be in our area of Fairwater on the following dates.
 
Friday 16th April 6pm til 8pm        Monday 26th April 6pm til 8pm        Thursday 29th April 10 am til 12.30 pm
 
Tuesday 4th May 10.am til 12.30 pm
 
Look for him out and about if you wish him to call on you let me know and I will make arrangements.  If you would like a Labour poster for your window or garden contact us and we will deliver.
 
 
ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE ?
 
If you have moved recently and have not registered with the Electoral Registration department of the council you may not receive your voting papers and may be disqualified from voting.  If you have difficulty in attending the Polling stations you can apply for a postal Vote.  If you are unable to vote for certin reasons you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf (Proxy Vote).  Advice can be obtained from the Electoral Registration department in Torfaen County Borough Council Telephone 01495 762200.
 
 
4th March 2010
 
Labour Group News for February from the Welsh Assembly Government News click link below
 
 
30th January
 
BECOME A LABOUR COUNCILLOR
 
Do you hold the same Socialist views that we should look after the many and not the few?
 
Do you agree that the 18 Millionaires in the Conservative Party wouldn't understand your issues if they came into Government after the next Election?
 
Do you understand that it was the banks that put the world into recession and that it was Gordon Brown that led the World out of the mess the banks got us into?
If you agree that the Labour Party has been working to help Families and the elderly and the under priviledged in their policy making such as Minimum wage Working Family Tax Credits, Winter Fuel Payments, Free bus passes, Free Prescriptions  If you agree that all young people should have the opportunity to reach their potential.
If you hold similar views then why not join the Labour Party (see link below) perhaps you could be a future Community or County Borough Councillor an Assembly Member or MP contact us for more information.  
 
 
 
11th January 2010
 

CENTRES OFFERING WELSH BACCALAUREATE TOP THE 200 MARK

More than 50,000 learners will now have the opportunity of taking the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification (WBQ) thanks to the latest roll-out at dozens of new centres throughout Wales.

Welsh Labour’s Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, has announced today that the number of centres offering the Welsh Baccalaureate is set to rise from 167 to 217 in September 2010, welcoming an estimated 7,000 additional learners.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is a unique Welsh qualification designed to better prepare students for higher education, further study and the world of work.  It combines personal development skills and existing qualifications (such as A-Levels, NVQs and GCSEs) in an award that is popular with students and highly regarded by employers and universities. At Advanced Level, the Welsh Baccalaureate is worth 120 UCAS points.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is a broad qualification covering three different levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels.  It is a grouped award that includes a compulsory Core, together with established qualifications like A Levels, GCSEs and NVQ.  Learners are also able to incorporate the new Principal Learning and Project qualifications, which are designed to give students an insight into a particular vocational area and focus on work-based learning, often in vocational settings.

To find out more about the Welsh Baccalaureate, please click here.

 

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WALES CONTINUES TO MEET RECYCLING TARGETS

New figures show that Wales recycled 41.1% of its domestic waste between July and September 2009. This represents a 3.5 percentage point increase compared with the same quarter in 2008-09 (37.6%) and shows that the 2009-10 recycling target of 40% is being exceeded.

The total amount of municipal waste produced in Wales during the same period has decreased, falling from 438,590 tonnes between July and September 2008 to 432,571 tonnes between July and September 2009. This represents a decrease of 6,019 tonnes (1.4%) and continues a downward trend that has been observed since 2004-05

Around 51% of households now have a food waste collection service. This is increasing and Welsh Labour’s Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing has said that she expects that as close to 100% of possible of households will have a separate food waste collection service by 2012/13.

 

The full figures can be found here.

 Anthony Cooper
Head of Labour Group Office
National Assembly Labour Party
National Assembly for Wales
Tel.:  029 20 898548

"Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body."

"Dylai unrhyw ddatganiadau neu sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, unrhywn ran ohoni neu unrhywn gorff sy'n gysylltiedig a hi."

11th January 2010
 

DEREK VAUGHAN MEP

May I take this opportunity to thank you for all your support during the past twelve months and to wish you a very Happy New Year.

Welcome to the January 2010 edition of my regular newsletter updating you on my latest campaigns and activities as your Labour Member of the European Parliament for Wales.

As usual, various issues involving the EU continued to make the headlines as we ended 2009.  I have been extremely busy in Brussels and Strasbourg representing the interests of Wales and settling into the new responsibilities I have been given as part of changes to my committee membership.  Attending a number of events right across Wales, I have also had the chance to the see the difference that European funding is making on the ground in my constituency.

European Union Issues

Council President & Foreign Affairs Chief named
EU leaders have recently chosen the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy, to be the first ever permanent European Council President with Labour’s Baroness Catherine Ashton from the UK assuming the role of High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy.  Both of them gained the unanimous support of all 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels held at the end of November.  Baroness Ashton’s appointment, in particular, will be key in ensuring that Britain’s voice is heard at the top table of European decision making

Finance system reforms


We have all seen the effects of the current financial crisis and there is clearly a need to reform our financial institution so that the likelihood of the situation being repeated is minimised.  Legislation is planned in the EU to look at hedge funds, private equity firms and on how banks, insurers and securities firms can be monitored across borders.  New ways of working need to be created to end the culture of speculation and unnecessary risk which has contributed greatly to the current downturn and I strongly support the regulation of such institutions.

Committee Work

In December, I became a full member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets which has a wide range of responsibilities covering the budget of the Union itself, decentralised bodies, the European Development Fund and the financial activities of the European Investment Bank.  With the Parliament returning to session this month, I will update you in future newsletters on any important, relevant issues that come before the Committee for its deliberations.

As a result of this move, I have had to stand down from my role on the Committee on Industry, Research & Energy, although I will continue to monitor those topics closely, given the importance that they have to life here in Wales.

In the constituency

Over the past few months I have met with the following groups, organisations and businesses in Wales: Energybuild (Glynneath), Environment Agency Wales, Ford (Bridgend), Murco Refinery (Milford Haven), Neath CLP Women’s Forum, Parkinsons Disease Society Wales, Swansea University, Tidal Energy Ltd (St David’s), Welsh Assembly Government (First Minister).

I have also met a number of individual constituents and made representations to appropriate agencies on issues including animal experimentation, economic development, food labelling, compulsory sheep tagging and pensions.

Latest press releases

•    Welsh Labour MEP visits Ford Plant in Bridgend http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/welsh-labour-mep-visits-ford-plant-in-bridgend-

•    Euro MP challenges Barroso on future of Structural Funding post-2013 - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/welsh-euro-mp-challenges-barroso-on-future-of-structural-funding

•    MEP welcomes Bangor University students to European Parliament - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/welsh-labour-mep-welcomes-bangor-university-students-to-european

•    Manufacturing “key” to economic recovery - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/welsh-euro-mp-manufacturing-key-to-economic-recovery-

•    £17m EU funding boost to tackle South & West Wales youth education problems - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/17m-eu-funding-boost-to-tackle-south--west-wales-youth-education

•    EU budget plans “seriously damaging for Wales” - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/eu-budget-plans-seriously-damaging-for-wales-says-labour-mep

Useful links

•    My website - http://www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk/home

•    My Twitter page - http://twitter.com/derekvaughan

•    My You Tube page - http://www.youtube.com/profile?gl=GB&user=DerekVaughanMEP

Contact me

•    By post – 4th Floor, Transport House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9SD

•    By phone – 02920 227660

•    By e-mail – contact@derekvaughanmep.org.uk

Information Calendars

I have a few thousand of my pocket sized 2010 information calendars still left to distribute through the letter boxes.  If your branch or CLP are out and about campaigning on the doorsteps in the next few months and would be able to help me reach as many people in all parts of Wales as possible, then please get in touch with my office and they will send you as many copies as you require.

Best Wishes


Derek Vaughan MEP
Labour Member of the European Parliament, Wales   



To unsubscribe, please click here. Privacy: we won't pass on your email address to anyone else. See http://www.labour.org.uk/privacy Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Chris Roberts, General Secretary, Welsh Labour, on behalf of the Labour Party, at Transport House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9HA

  1st December 2009

 
Welsh Labour Leadership and First Minister
 
We were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Labour Leadership Ballot which has just been announced.
Congratulation to Carwyn Jones on the announcement, the campaign was an excellent campaign with three worthy candidates our commiserations to the other two cnadidates Edwina Hart and Huw Lewis who run excellent campains.
It is now expected that Carwyn will take the role of First Minister when Rhodri Morgan stands down next week. 
 
 
26th November 2009

European Update

DEREK VAUGHAN MEP

November 2009 Update

The first few months in my role as an MEP have flown by in a flash of meetings, both in the European Parliament and back home in Wales, and I hope this will give you a bit of an insight in to the work that I have been doing.  

One of my most important tasks has now been completed - setting up an office in Wales, so constituents are able to contact me with any issues they may have and stay in touch with the work I am doing. The contact details are:

4th Floor, Transport House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9SD
Tel: 029 20 227660 Fax: 029 20 224759
E-mail:
contact@derekvaughanmep.org.uk

You can also keep up to date with what I am doing, both in Wales and in Brussels by checking my website www.derekvaughanmep.org.uk.

I am also looking at the possibility of having a presence in North Wales. I am in the process of securing suitable office space and as soon as I've set something up I will let you know.  

European Union Issues

Lisbon Treaty
The Irish electorate emphatically endorsed the Lisbon Treaty with 67% voting in favour. The Czechs have also now signed the Treaty which should come into force on 01 December 2009.  David Cameron’s Tories have been forced into an embarrassing U-Turn on their referendum pledge on the Treaty and the old Conservative splits on Europe are continuing to bubble underneath the surface.

Transitional Funding
I have recently been campaigning on an issue of utmost importance to the people of Wales.  Structural Funds will, coupled with match funding, drive a total investment of £3.5 billion in to Wales over the next few years. However, the expansion of the EU, coupled with Wales becoming more prosperous, has meant that Wales will no longer be eligible for structural funding in the future. Regions in Wales are likely to be above the 75% GDP threshold, which means that they will no longer qualify for Structural Funds post 2013. As part of my work, I will push to secure transitional status for Welsh regions in order to facilitate a "soft landing" for areas which might lose out.

Committee Work

Industry, Research & Energy
Over the last couple of weeks the Industry, Energy and Research Committee has held in depth discussions on the future of energy policy for Europe.  These talks have looked at the options that are available to Europe to make sure that we are able to keep the lights on.  

There are a number of opinions on this issue, ranging from building a large number of new nuclear power plants, to investing all our resources towards developing renewable energies and becoming a zero-carbon EU.  There is also the "business as usual" approach, and a middle way that takes bits of each of these.  After listening to so many different views I would be interested to hear what you have to say on the issue, and any solutions that you can think of.  If you would like to contact me on this please e-mail me in Brussels on
derek.vaughan@europarl.europa.eu

Budget
The 2010 EU budget procedure is now well underway. The Budget committee adopted their position on the key issues, which was voted on by the whole parliament in Strasbourg. I, along with my Socialist colleagues on the committee, voted to finance the second step of the economic recovery plan to help those in need in this time of financial crisis. In addition to this, Socialists were successful in pushing through commitments to provide aid for deprived people and funding for the fight against climate change.  

Working hard in Wales
Keeping in touch with constituents in all parts of Wales is a key priority for me.  In recent months I have had the opportunity to visit and speak with various groups and organisations including Airbus (Broughton), Cardiff North CLP, Consumer Focus Wales, Dow Corning (Barry), Oxfam Cymru, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, and Yale College (Wrexham).

I also have a busy workload representing individual constituents on their concerns and issues as well as participating in a number of campaigns ranging from animal protection to air transport for lung condition sufferers.

Over the next few months, I will be looking to attend as many gatherings across the whole of Wales as possible.  To help me do this, I would be grateful if you could keep me informed of events in your area by letting my office in Cardiff know in plenty of time and I will try to make as many of them as I can.

6th November 2009

Welsh Labour Leadership Election
The election of the Leader of the National Assembly Labour Party is an important event for Welsh Labour and a significant political event in Wales.  The person elected will become Labour's nomination for the position of First Minister for the Welsh Assembly Government It is an exciting chance for you to help shape the future direction of Welsh Labour.
Ballot papers are being delivered to Labour Party Members throughout Wales the vote is Labour Party Members opportunity to have there voice heard.  Vote by post or online.
Not a Labour Party Member want to know more http://www.welshlabour.org.uk

MP’s Surgery

Paul Murphy MP is planning to hold an MP’s surgery at Greenmeadow Community Farm on November 20th between 3pm and 6pm.

There will be a flyer delivered in the week beforehand telling residents about the surgery and advising people to phone the office if they want an appointment.
 
 
Assembly News for October 09

For the monthly update from the Welsh Assembly Labour Group click on the link below:
 
http://webmail.aol.com/28878/aim-2/en-gb/mail/get-attachment.aspx?uid=1.25209795&folder=Inbox&partId=4&saveAs=October_2009.pdf



Branch Meetings


The Labour Party in Fairwater meet on the second Tuesday of each month (except August) at Saint Josephs Social Club at 7pm.
Old and new Members welcome.
 
 
Branch secretary Cllr Bob Wellington  01633 868402.
  
 
To join the Labour Party click
 
 
Torfaens MP Paul Murphy
73 Upper Trosnant Street Pontypool Torfaen NP48AU
Tel; 01495 750078
 
 
 
Torfaen Constituency Labour Party secretary Nick Thomas Symonds.
 
 
 
 
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