Uncategorized

Investing in our Communities and Protecting Public Services in Wales despite Tory Austerity – the Welsh Labour Government Budget

untitled

The Welsh Labour Government has announced its spending plans for the next year with a budget heavily aimed at protecting services in local communities like Ogmore, despite the continued austerity funding from a UK Tory Chancellor.

Seven years of austerity from damaging Tory cuts have had a damaging effect on families and communities throughout the whole of the UK. Wales has taken repeated hits from the Tories, and we have seen the block grant (annual funding) here in Wales reduced by £1.2 billion, slashing the money available to us to spend on vital public services. This is a political choice made by the Tory government in London, not a necessity, and we need to change the government in Westminster.

Below is a very brief summary of the main announcements in our Welsh Budget, and it shows how even in very difficult times a Welsh Labour Government can make a difference, doing our best to work together with local authorities and others to protect our vital public services.

This Budget over the next 3 years will see additional funding for our Welsh NHS – £230m for 2018/2019 and £220m for 2019/2020; Protection for our social care and our education services; no cuts to the ‘Supporting People Grant’ with an additional £10m allocated in each year; £70m investment over 2 years for the flagship childcare offer and an extra £10m in each year towards tackling homelessness.

The Capital plans over the 3 years will see £340m released as part of our £1.4 billion investment to build 20,000 affordable homes; Continued investment in our children’s education with an extra £40m towards our ‘21st Century Schools Programme’ – building new schools for our pupils; An extra £90m for our NHS Wales Capital Programme; Capital funds have also been ear-marked in reserves to buy new rolling stock for the new Wales and Borders franchise.

Ogmore Assembly Member Huw Irranca-Davies welcomed the Budget and said: “This Government continues to demonstrate a determination to protect our communities. A heavy focus on health, social care, education, affordable housing shows a clear commitment to protecting our most vulnerable residents. Also great news is the continuation of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2018/2019. This Budget will try and provide stability for local services in Ogmore and across Wales.”

More information about how the Welsh Government is funded and a Budget overview can be found online at http://bit.ly/2gmhLbQ .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Llais Cryfach i Gymru mewn Prydain sy’n Newid

Welsh Poster Senedd CLANid oes angen i chi fod yn arbenigwr cyfansoddiadol i gael dweud eich dweud ar faterion cyfansoddiadol.

Mae Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn edrych ar sut y mae Cymru yn gweithio gyda seneddau a llywodraethau eraill: y berthynas rhyngddynt, pa mor dda y maent yn cydweithio ac yn rhannu syniadau. Drwy ddeall y berthynas bresennol a’r berthynas yn y gorffennol, byddai’r Pwyllgor yn gallu argymell y model gorau o ran gweithio yn y dyfodol.

Ond pa fath o berthynas y mae pobl Cymru am i’n sefydliad ei chael â seneddau a llywodraethau eraill?

Bydd Huw Irranca-Davies AC, Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor, yn cynnal trafodaeth ar faes yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn canolbwyntio ar yr heriau cyfansoddiadol mwyaf dwys, yn ei marn ef, mae pobl Cymru wedi eu hwynebu ers sawl cenhedlaeth, fel gwlad – Cymru – ac fel teulu o wledydd yn y Deyrnas Unedig. Bydd y ffordd mae Cymru yn ymateb i’r heriau hynny yn brawf diffiniol o’n cenhedlaeth ni.

Mae’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, wrth gwrs, yn ddathliad o ddiwylliant Cymreig traddodiadol, y celfyddydau a’r iaith, ond mae hefyd yn fan lle caiff hunaniaeth Cymru a’i phobl ei dychmygu dro ar ôl tro. Mae hefyd yn fan lle mae gwleidyddiaeth a chyfansoddiad Cymru – a Chymru o fewn y Deyrnas Unedig – wedi cael eu trafod a’u dadlau’n frwd dros y degawdau, ar y Maes ac oddi arno.

Mae’r Deyrnas Unedig yn ceisio trafod ffordd allan o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Mae Lloegr wedi drysu ynghylch ei hunaniaeth – neu’r sawl hunaniaeth sydd ganddi – ac maen arbrofi â ffurfiau gwahanol o ddatganoli yn Llundain a bellach yn ei dinasoedd metropolitan a rhanbarthau mawr. Pleidleisiodd yr Alban mewn un refferendwm i aros yn rhan o’r Deyrnas Unedig, mae ei llywodraeth yn chwarae â’r syniad o gael ail refferendwm, ond wedi rhoi’r syniad i’r neilltu – am y tro o leiaf. Ac mae sefydliadau Gogledd Iwerddon yn ei hunfan yn stond ac yn wynebu’r bygythiad o Reolaeth Uniongyrchol. Mae gan Gymru Fodel Cadw Pwerau yn debyg i’r Alban o’r diwedd, ond mae rhai sylwebwyr arbenigol – ac yn wir, Llywodraeth Cymru ei hun – yn dadlau bod perygl y bydd Deddf Cymru, ynghyd â Bil yr Undeb Ewropeaidd (Ymadael), yn gam yn ôl i’r broses ddatganoli.

Yn yr amgylchedd tymhestlog a newidiol hwn, mae’n gwbl briodol i ofyn y cwestiwn sylfaenol: sut y gallwn sicrhau llais cryf i Gymru nawr, a llais cryfach yn y dyfodol? Ymysg yr holl stŵr, mae’n gwbl angenrheidiol sicrhau’r llais cryfaf posibl i Gymru yn yr undeb hon o wledydd. 

Bydd Huw Irranca-Davies AC, Cadeirydd Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, yn sôn am ymchwiliad y Pwyllgor, sef ‘Llais Cryfach i Gymru’.

Yna, bydd cyfle i gyfarfod ag aelodau’r Pwyllgor i drafod y materion hyn a fydd yn arbennig o bwysig wrth i’r DU baratoi i adael yr UE.

Gwelwyd yr erthygl hon gyntaf: Blog y Cynulliad:

https://blogcynulliad.com/2017/08/02/llais-cryfach-i-gymru-mewn-prydain-syn-newid/

 

A Stronger Voice for Wales in a Changing Britain

 Senedd CLA English

You don’t have to be a constitutional expert to have your say on constitutional issues.

The National Assembly for Wales’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has been looking at how Wales works with other Parliaments and Governments: the relationship between them, how well they work together and share ideas. By understanding current and past relationships, the Committee want to be able to recommend the best model of working for the future.

But what sort of relationship does the people of Wales want our institution to have with other parliaments and governments?

Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Chair of the Committee will deliver a talk at this year’s National Eisteddfod focusing on what he will argue are the most profound constitutional challenges the people of Wales have faced for many generations, both as a nation – Wales – and as a family of nations within the United Kingdom. How Wales rises to those challenges will be the defining test of our generation.

The National Eisteddfod is of course a celebration of traditional Welsh culture and arts and language, but it is also a place where the identity of Wales and its people is constantly imagined and re-imagined. It is also where the politics and constitution of Wales – and Wales within the United Kingdom – have been hotly discussed and debated down the decades, on the Maes and off.

A UK which is negotiating its way out of membership of the EU. An England which is perhaps confused about its identity – or its multiple identities – and is experimenting with different forms of devolution in London and now in its grand metropolitan cities & regions. A Scotland which voted in one referendum to stay as part of the UK, with a government which toyed with the idea of a second referendum, yet has gone cool on the idea – at least for now. And the institutions of Northern Ireland in suspended animation with the threat of Direct Rule hanging over them. A Wales with a Scotland-style Reserved Powers Model finally, but with some expert commentators – and indeed the Welsh Government itself – arguing that the Wales Act in combination with the EU (Withdrawal) Bill risks rolling devolution backwards.

In this turbulent, fast-changing environment, it is absolutely right to ask the fundamental question of how we ensure Wales has a strong voice right now, and a stronger voice in the future. In the midst of all the cacophony and clamour, the strongest possible voice for Wales in this union of nations is an absolute imperative.

The Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, will talk about its ‘Stronger Voice for Wales’ inquiry.

This will be followed by an opportunity to meet Members of the Committee to talk about these issues which will become particularly important as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

This article was first seen: The Assembly Blog:

https://assemblyblog.wales/2017/08/02/a-stronger-voice-for-wales-in-a-changing-britain/#Eisteddfod2017

Huw at Eisteddfod on stage

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Huw Irranca-Davies: Let’s Finish The Journey From Valiant Losers To Worthy Winners

cropped-dsc051817.jpg

The team head back to the changing room at the end of a pretty brutal match. It’s been one hell of an effort. Heroic in many ways. They lost, but they played with such passion and energy and creativity that they won over many in the crowd. There was a sense that they had rediscovered their mojo, their old style of playing with flair, and lots of the fans loved it.

Written off before the game even started, their tactics and leadership were endlessly derided by the press and commentators, and even during the game they were subject to dirty play off the ball. The other team played ugly and even uglier as their own tactics unravelled on the pitch.

Yet the underdogs stuck to their game plan, and came out at the end of the game with new-found respect from the pundits and the crowd, and knowing that some of their key tactics really worked. There was real pride in the changing room.

But – just to clarify one more time – they lost.

General election 2017

The Labour Party and its supporters should take great heart from the performance we’ve just put in. We were being written-off. We should be immensely proud of the results and the huge efforts of our candidates and campaigners, as well as the new-found supporters who have rallied to our cause.

But now is the right time to take-stock. We need a hard-headed analysis of what went right, and what went wrong. After-all, we could be on the pitch again sooner rather than later, as the Weak and Unstable Tory-DUP “coalition of chaos” limps painfully into being.

Labour strengths

Jeremy Corbyn and his policies enthused legions of progressive left-of-centre voters, some of whom had long tired of soundbite politics and policy by “triangulation” and focus-groups, and many of whom were of a new generation who were inspired by the old-style Labour gospel in a modern-setting. They were sick of endless austerity-politics and sick of Tory politicians telling them to stop whinging and to accept their lot in life.

We need to keep the fire of that enthusiasm alive, and continue to develop our policies to reflect this ambition for a fairer future for young and old. Properly costed policies which argue for redistribution and common ownership are not only popular, but are also part of our core Labour values. They can be truly radical – like the Tobin tax – as well, as long as they are also credible and inspiring.

Welsh Labour continues to establish itself as a powerful entity in its own right, and a redoubtable electoral force both in defending seats and winning seats against the odds. The substantial autonomy of the party on policy and leadership (whilst within a UK framework) gives us distinct advantages. Welsh Labour has earned the trust of many here, being seen as in tune with Welsh values and aspirations. Though we do have to keep earning that trust every day (see below for notes on “hubris”).

One other point: in Wales the mix of Carwyn Jones and Corbyn, and of UK and Welsh Labour was quite potent. In combination they managed to inspire or reassure many voters. This was the first British general election in which a Welsh Labour leader and Welsh Labour policies were so prominent in the campaign – witness the production of a separate Welsh Labour manifesto with Jones as figurehead of the campaign. Yet UK Labour policies and Corbyn himself were also crucial to inspiring many voters. Other parties may criticise the possible constitutional and electoral confusion from mixing Welsh and British policies and leadership, but you can bet they would be doing the same if they only could use the same chemistry.

Tory weakness

Hubris so often leads to the undoing of political parties and politicians. When the astute electorate believes you are being complacent, or – even worse – arrogant, they will tear down your house of cards. Rightly so. Every politician should have a flashing neon screen-saver on their phones and I=pads yelling “Don’t trust your own hype! Don’t believe the polls! Show humility!”

The public saw through Theresa May’s opportunistic dash for an election, after she originally said that was the last thing the country needed as negotiations to leave the EU loomed. People laughed as the robotic “strong and stable” soundbites became the Tory dead-parrot. They were stunned by her cowardly avoidance of debates, and her dread of meeting real members of the public. And her policy chaos and U-turns, like the dementia tax, were treated with scorn.

Let’s be frank: we were lucky in our enemy at this election. We look forward to more Conservative leaders taking a stroll in the Welsh mountains, turning to their husband and saying “Wouldn’t a snap-election be a good idea, dear?”

From valiant losers to worthy victors

Across the Labour Party we have an ambitious and inspiring vision of a society which truly works for the many not the few, and radical policies which make that ambition achievable. We now have a solid platform on which to build for a victory in the next general election. That’s what progressive voters want, and frankly it’s what they and the UK deserve.

Yet we are still some way short of winning a UK majority, and it’s quite possible that the next “snap” election could hit us soon. It could even be called before the new parliamentary boundaries are in place (after which the electoral hill will become even steeper for Labour) so that should really focus our attention too.

Let’s acknowledge that the “one more push” mentality is simply not good enough. That way lies another valiant defeat, and we are better than that. So we must answer the difficult questions: Who are we failing to appeal to, and why, and how do we broaden that appeal? Where do we lack credibility? Where are we obviously weak and vulnerable to attack? Are we hard-headed enough to fix our weaknesses, and to broaden our appeal?

So in the immediate aftermath of the election, as soon as the “Vote Labour” placards are taken down and the campaign rooms cleared, we should as a party of members lock-ourselves away from the glare of armchair critics and political harpies and ask ourselves hard questions. Be honest with ourselves. Be constructive, but be brutally honest. How do we keep true to our values, and espouse those values in a bold way that excites and inspires the electorate as we have done recently, but also extend the appeal wider so that we take those Labour values and policies right into government to change the world.

Losing valiantly can feel good, but only in passing. Winning worthily feels better, and for longer.

Huw Irranca-Davies is Welsh Assembly member for Ogmore.

(This article was first published on 12thJune 2017 via the ‘Labour List’ website: http://labourlist.org/about )

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Llafur Cymru – sefyll dros ein ffermwyr a’n cymunedau gwledig

sheep 3

Mae ffermio a bywyd gwledig yn ganolog i’r hyn sydd yn gwneud i Gymru ragori. Mae Llafur Cymru yn deall hyn a bydd yn sefyll dros ein ffermwyr a’n cymunedau gwledig.

Wrth gwrs, mae ein hamaethyddiaeth yn helpu i gynhyrchu bwyd a rhoi diogelwch bwyd i Gymru a’r DU, ac yn ysgogi cynnyrch bwyd o ansawdd uchel i gael ei allforio. Mae rheoli tir yn dda yn cynnal y dirwedd sydd yn denu twristiaid a gall helpu i greu buddion amgylcheddol ehangach fel addasu i newid hinsawdd a gwrthdroi colli bioamrywiaeth.

Ond mae ffermio hefyd yn sylfaen ar gyfer ein cymunedau gwledig yng Nghymru, yn creu swyddi uniongyrchol yn y gadwyn fwyd ac yn anuniongyrchol, yn cynnal bywyd gwasanaethau cyhoeddus lleol, a chynnal ein diwylliant a’n treftadaeth ac – yn hanfodol – ein hiaith hefyd.

Dyma pam y bydd Llafur Cymru bob amser yn sefyll dros ffermio yng Nghymru.

Byddwn yn sefyll dros ffermio wrth i’r broses o ddod allan o’r UE symud ymlaen. Mae pleidlais y refferendwm wedi digwydd ac mae “Brexit” yn mynd yn ei flaen. Ond ni fyddwn yn derbyn ffordd anniben Theresa May o ddod allan o’r UE gyda “Dim bargen yn well nag unrhyw fargen”, fyddai’n dinistrio ffermio a’n heconomi wledig yng Nghymru.

Felly byddwn yn dwyn gweinidogion presennol y llywodraeth i gyfrif gyda’u haddewid na fydd ffermio a’r economi wledig yn colli cyllid o ganlyniad i Brexit. Mae’n rhaid rhoi’r cyllid hwnnw i Gymru yn ei gyfanrwydd, nid ei gadw gan lywodraeth bell i ffwrdd yn San Steffan i’w ddosbarthu i Gymru fel a phan y gwêl yn dda.

Ac mae’n rhaid i ffermwyr Cymru allu helpu i lunio’r polisiau sydd yn effeithio ar eu bywydau a’u ffordd o fyw, yma yng Nghymru. Felly byddwn yn brwydro yn erbyn unrhyw ddileu pwerau “drwy’r drws cefn” yn ymwneud ag amaethyddiaeth. Mae fframweithiau cyffredin y DU y cytunwyd arnynt yn iawn, ond mae arwyddion sydd yn peri pryder gan y Ceidwadwyr eu bod eisiau disodli Brwsel gyda rheolaeth o Lundain. Ni fyddwn yn derbyn unrhyw fachu pwerau gan Whitehall.

Mae’n rhaid i ni hefyd sicrhau diogelu ein PGI a’n cynnyrch bwyd lle caiff yr enw ei ddiogelu, sydd mor bwysig i’n brandio o ansawdd ac allforion yng Nghymru. Mae Llafur Cymru mewn llywodraeth – ynghyd â sefydliadau fel Hybu Cig Cymru – eisoes yn gweithio i amddiffyn ein hallforion presennol i’r UE ac yn datblygu ein hallforion i gyrchfannau newydd y tu hwnt i’r UE.

Y tu hwnt i Brexit, ein gweledigaeth yw datblygu rhaglen gymorth yn y dyfodol y tu hwnt i CAP sydd wedi ei ddylunio’n well i ddarparu nwyddau cyhoeddus a chefnogi busnesau gwledig. Mae gadael yr UE yn rhoi cyfle i ni sefydlu cyfeiriad strategol newydd ar gyfer amaethyddiaeth Cymru, un fydd yn ategu Polisi Adnoddau Naturiol Cymru.

Ac ar gymaint o faterion eraill fel caffaeliad a chyflwyno band eang, amddiffyn ein cynnyrch PGI a hybu allforion bwyd, cynllun cynhwysfawr i ddileu TB, cefnogi bywyd cefn gwlad ehangach a’n treftadaeth a’n hiaith: bydd Llafur Cymru bob amser yn sefyll dros ein ffermwyr a’n cymunedau gwledig, mewn gwrthgyferbyniad llwyr i lywodraeth Geidwadol bell, heb ddiddordeb yn San Steffan.

Mae hon yn erthygl a ymddangosodd gyntaf yn Y Tir, y papur newydd Undeb Amaethwyr Cymru, ym mis Mehefin 2017 fel rhan o’r Etholiad Cyffredinol

Cows

Welsh Labour – standing up for our farmers and rural communities

Farming and rural life is at the heart of what makes Wales great. Welsh Labour understands this, and will stand up for our farmers and rural communities.

Of course, our agriculture helps deliver food production and food security for Wales and the UK, and drives exports of high quality food products. Good land-management maintains the landscape that tourists love and can help deliver wider environmental benefits such as climate-change adaptation and reversing biodiversity-loss.

But farming is also a foundation-stone of our rural communities in Wales, creating jobs directly in the food-chain and indirectly, maintaining the vitality of local public services, and sustaining our culture and heritage and – crucially – our language too.

This is why Welsh Labour will always stand up for farming in Wales.

We will stand up for farming as the process of withdrawal from the EU moves forward. The referendum vote has happened and “Brexit” is proceeding. But we will not accept Theresa May’s chaotic “No deal is better than a bad deal” withdrawal from the EU which would devastate Welsh farming and our rural economy.

So we will hold current government ministers to the promise that farming and the rural economy would not lose funding as a result of Brexit. That funding must be given to Wales in its entirety, not held by a distant Westminster government to distribute to Wales as and when it sees fit.

And Welsh farmers must be able to help shape the policies which affect their lives and their livelihood, here at home in Wales. So we will fight against any “backdoor” removal of powers over agriculture. Common UK-frameworks where agreed are fine, but there are worrying signals from the Conservatives that they want to simply replace Brussels with control from London. We will not accept any Whitehall power-grab.

We must also ensure the protection of our PGI and protected name food products, which are so important to our quality branding and exports. Welsh Labour in government – together with organisations like Hybu Cig Cymru – are already working to protect our existing exports to the EU and growing our exports to new destinations beyond the EU.

Beyond Brexit our vision is to develop a future support programme outside of CAP which is better designed to deliver public goods and support rural businesses. Leaving the EU provides us with the opportunity to set a new strategic direction for Welsh agriculture, one which will complement Wales’ Natural Resources Policy.

And on many other matters such as procurement and broadband roll-out, protection of PGI produce and boosting food exports, a comprehensive plan to eradicate TB, supporting wider rural life and our heritage and our language: Welsh Labour will always stand up for our farmers and rural communities, in stark contrast to a distant and disinterested Conservative government in Westminster.

This is an article which first appeared in Y Tir, the FUW newspaper, in June 2017 as part of the General Election

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Investing In Jobs, Education, And The Economy

_91959074_waleseconomy3

Over the past few weeks it has been a pleasure to join the Leader of Bridgend Council, Councillor Huw David and other councillors to “turn the turf” as we start building new facilities for young and older citizens of the borough:

  • the building of excellent new primary school facilities at Bettws, also enhancing the Welsh language provision in the North of the county
  • a new primary school at Brynmenyn fit for the 21st Century, with outdoor areas and playing fields which they are currently lacking
  • fantastic new extra-care facilities and supported independent-living in Tondu and Maesteg for older citizens who need additional care in their later years

These and many other landmark investments are happening thanks to Labour Bridgend County Borough Council and Labour Welsh Government investing in our area DESPITE continuing harsh cuts imposed by the Conservative UK government since 2010. The massive cuts to funding to Wales under the Conservatives can’t be wished away, but thank goodness for a local authority and Welsh Government who are still investing in the education of our young people so they all have the best chance in life, and in the quality of care for our elderly so they can enjoy the best of their later years.

On a larger issue affecting the whole region, we have recently signed-off on the multi-billion pound investments of the Cardiff City Region and the Swansea City Region deals. Whilst the Bridgend area falls within the Cardiff Region deal, make no mistake, both initiatives will affect us directly, and have the potential to grow the well-paid jobs and opportunities which will lift the economy here.

This pattern of investment locally and regionally is just what we need for Bridgend and for Wales. It shows real ambition for jobs now, and rising prosperity to come.

(This also appeared as an article in the Glamorgan Gazette in March 2017)

Standard
Uncategorized

A Short Note on Fat Cats and Sharing The Cream

The debate on inequality and wealth distribution has fired up again following “Fat Cat Wednesday”…

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/fat-cat-wednesday-what-is-it-ftse-100-ceos-executive-pay-earned-average-british-salary-2017-a7508531.html

… subsequent interventions by the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn …

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/10/jeremy-corbyn-maximum-pay-panel

… and even amongst the global movers and shakers at Davos with the World Economic Forum recognising that this is one of the top challenges for the year ahead …

https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2017/jan/11/wef-global-economic-risks-trump-brexit-business-live?page=with:block-5875f591e4b0c0afac91f9f4#block-5875f591e4b0c0afac91f9f4

So, is it right to get all fired up about income and wealth inequality? Perhaps we should be more relaxed about the “obscenely” wealthy?

Well, I hate to come over all sensible and “middle-way” but there truly is a balance to be struck here.

The rising inequality at home and globally should be deeply worrying for all of us, not because of the green-eyed monster of income envy or class-war, but because it directly contributes to the rising disenchantment with society, the economy and politics. It looks like (and indeed can increasingly be that) the rules of the game are being written by a powerful elite for their own benefit.

Moreover, when one large group of people (the now mythologised 99%) are told to accept their poorer lot in life, and a smaller (the equally mythologised 1%) other segment get to live like modern version of the Medici, it not only feels bad, but it causes bad things to happen.

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/about-inequality/impacts

But as much as we should aim to reverse the growing wealth and income inequality gap, we also need to be careful to encourage the entrepreneur and successful business leader– from the White Van Man or Woman to the tech-wizard to the CEO – to go out there and create successful businesses, grow them and grow the jobs, take the risk and receive due reward, and pay good wages and pay the progressive taxes to fund our collectively provided public services like schools and hospitals and highways and more.

Rising inequality is bad. Wealth creation is not. Government and political leaders need to be on the side of wealth creators and also on the more equal distribution of wealth.

Of course the wealth creators are the entrepreneurs and top CEOs and business leaders. But they are also the productive shop-floor and factory-floor workers without whom no business could function, and the public sector and para-public and other workers (like teachers and health workers, housing associations staff and many others) who hone and sustain those healthy productive citizens.

They all contribute to wealth creation, and all deserve a fair share of the rewards. Note: I don’t say the same reward, but it needs to be a darn sight fairer than it is now. Too much cream isn’t good for anyone, so it’s in the interest of the 1% as well as the 99% that we share it around a bit more fairly.

This is a moral imperative, but it’s also an economic and political necessity too. People feel in their gut that things are getting out of hand. If politicians just say “that’s just the way it is” then expect the public disengagement and distrust of politics to worsen.

It does not have to be this way. It’s up to us to fix it.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

A New Year, And There’s Work To Be Done!

My best wishes for a happy and peaceful 2017. Let me extend my thanks to all those who toiled over Christmas in our public services, taking time away from their families to do great and often unsung work looking after us: the care-workers and social-workers, the nurses and health professionals, the police and PCSOs, the probation and prison staff, and so many more. But also the shopworkers and production-line workers and others who keep the economy running while the turkey is sliced and the crackers pulled. Thanks for all you do throughout the year, but especially over the festive period.

The National Assembly has swung straight back into action, picking up where it left off last year. We’ve had major announcements of additional funding following the “final budget” which will boost jobs and the economy, as well as dealing with some of the major challenges we face nationally and locally.

So, there is a further £53m of capital funding which has been allocated to accelerate the delivery of the Welsh Labour Government’s key commitment to deliver 20,000 affordable homes over the course of this Assembly term – in total £1.36bn of capital will be invested in delivering this ambitious commitment to create more affordable homes.

And the Welsh Labour government is investing a further £50m of capital in regeneration programmes. This funding will focus on Wales’ most disadvantaged communities and support wider government ambitions, including the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys Taskforce, the Metro and the city deals.

As part of the final budget, an extra capital funding (to the tune of £33m) will support the work of Natural Resources Wales and local authorities on priority flood risk management schemes over the next four years. This is in addition to the £150m innovative coastal risk management scheme which will start in 2018.

This amounts to an extra £136m boost for regeneration, house-building and flood defence. Most importantly, they boost the economy and provide jobs. That’s the way to start 2017!

Standard