Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Liberal Democrat position on devolution in England

In the wake of the Scottish Referendum result and the Smith Commission process it is right that Government and all political parties should consider the implications for England, and indeed the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Liberal Democrats believe it is now time to set out a reform programme to devolve more powers within England and to address the so called “West Lothian Question.”

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats congratulate the parties in Wales in agreeing on a way forward for devolution in Wales and deprecate the position of the Labour Party in Westminster in not contributing to the Command Paper launched in the Commons today.

The Liberal Democrat party has from its inception been a federal organisation and thus has long experience in its own deliberations in discriminating between regional, national and state interests. The party's contribution to the government's Command Paper may be read at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/7092/attachments/original/1418725024/LD_England_Command_Paper.pdf.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Welsh NHS absenteeism rising

Sickness absence levels are on the rise in the Welsh NHS, according to latest statistics, reports WalesOnline.

The Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust fared the worst after 7.8% of contracted hours were lost due to staff absences

Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams has called for the Welsh Government to do more to support “overworked” NHS staff.

She said: “Paramedics do incredibly stressful work around the clock and sickness levels have been high for a long time.

“I can only imagine how demoralising it must be to be doing such an important job but not getting the appropriate support from the Welsh Government.

“Our ambulance service is hugely overstretched and staff are not given the resources they need to serve the people of Wales.

“When I’m talking to nurses, the same issues keep coming up – they feel stressed and over-worked.

“That’s why so many of them are backing my plan for more nurses on our wards, to provide safe nurse staffing levels and reduce dependency on agency nurses as well as increasing staff morale.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

Candidate for Aberavon

Aberavon Liberal Democrats have re-selected Helen Ceri Clarke, who stood for the party in the Welsh
General Election, as their candidate for the Westminster election in May 2015.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Neath candidate chosen

Neath Liberal Democrats have selected Clare Bentley as their prospective candidate for the UK general election in May 2015. Clare is an administrator, who will shortly be moving from Swansea to Coed Darcy.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Peter Black slams Labour housing record

Wales Online reports that more than 2,000 people in Wales have been on a housing waiting list for more than a decade. Nearly 9,000 people have been waiting for more than five years, the figures suggest

Peter Black, Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales West  and the party's housing spokesman, responds:

“These figures are a stark reminder just how bad the housing shortage is here in Wales. Fifteen years of Welsh Labour in Government has led to literally thousands of people waiting over a decade for a home. It is simply unacceptable that so many people here in Wales have had to put their life on hold until a home is available to them.

“Due to major failings with our NHS and our schools, it often goes unnoticed quite how badly Labour has let people down with regards to housing. Over a decade of inaction has led to an acute housing shortage.

“For too long the Welsh Labour Government has taken a haphazard approach to housing targets. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe the Government’s Housing Act should have included a statutory duty for Government Ministers to set termly targets for the supply of new affordable homes.

“After each Assembly election, a new target must be set, with a duty to review it and report back annually. This issue is so important that these targets should be enshrined in law.

“Many of us are aware of derelict and empty homes in or near our neighbourhood. Not only are they a blight on our communities, but they also, frankly, are a waste of living space. It’s time the Welsh Government developed an empty homes strategy so we can finally put these buildings back into use.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

Other People's Money

A Freedom Of Information response reveals that the Welsh Government paid London-based engineering consultancy Arup more than £6.3m from 2010-2011 to advise on the controversial project to divert the M4 round Newport through a SSSI.

Eluned Parrott, the Welsh Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman said the “billion pound mistake” would see Welsh finances “tied up for a generation”.

“It looks increasingly likely that these plans are doomed, so it's time for the Welsh Government to stop wasting public money on it,” she said.

“It’s particularly insulting for taxpayers that not only has £6m already been spent drawing up plans for this road since 2011, but to add insult to injury, the Welsh Labour Government has evasively refused to publish the full conclusions of this expensive, yet flawed, consultation.

“In budget negotiations, the Welsh Lib Dems agreed that no construction of the M4 relief road will start before the next Assembly elections, and that no construction contract would be awarded.

“The deal means that no irreversible decisions on the M4 can be taken before then, but given the number and cost of the hurdles that need to be overcome, and the enormous environmental damage it would do, surely the best idea would be to shelve it, permanently, now.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Labour government resists calls for NHS investigation

The first minister has dismissed calls for an inquiry into the running of the NHS in Wales.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams repeated her call for an all-party commission, saying: "Labour's-running of the NHS in Wales is nothing short of a national scandal."

She went on:  "it is the Labour-led Welsh Government’s fault that waiting times are increasing and they are not caused by devolution.

She said: “Nurses in Wales have more patients to care for than any other part of the UK. That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats are campaigning to introduce safe staff nursing levels on our wards to ensure safe and compassionate care in all hospitals. NHS staff work tirelessly, but like patients, they are being failed by the Welsh Labour Government.”