- Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire and founder member of the former Social Democratic Party: CBE
- Rodney Berman, former leader of Cardiff council: OBE
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Kirsty Williams commented, “I am delighted that the Liberal Democrats have put a brake on George Osborne’s plans for regional or local pay. Yes, we need to rebalance the economy, but regional or local pay isn’t the answer.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have always believed that moves towards regional or local pay would further ingrain regional inequalities. That is why we took our campaign against regional pay to our Party Conference, which not only secured our party’s position on the matter, but also gave our Ministers in Government a clear direction. I am immensely proud that the Welsh Lib Dems played such a key part in this campaign.”
Friday, December 07, 2012
Liberal Democrat candidate Charlotte Cross polled 130 votes to Labour's 399, a creditable performance for a first-time candidate in a campaign where we were not able to put out as much literature as we had hoped and in a ward which we had not previously contested since the county borough came into being.
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Griffiths had "plugged a hole in the NHS’ finances by raiding its capital budget. I struggle to see how this can be described as anything other than a bailout."
Kirsty added: “The basic fact is that this Welsh Labour Government has completely mismanaged our health service and has left the finances of the NHS in complete ruins. Simply rejigging money around is not going to solve all of the problems in our NHS.”
Conservative health ministers and David Cameron find the financial cuts in the Welsh NHS an all too convenient comparison with what is happening in England. For all the botched reorganisation in England, it cannot be denied that more cash is being put into the NHS there.
Yesterday's reply (column 860) by the Prime Minister to Ed Miliband was typical: "People do not have to look at manifestos for a contrast; they can look at what Labour is doing in Wales. The Labour party is in charge in Wales, and it has cut the NHS in Wales by 8%. As a result, waiting times are up, waiting lists are down, quality is down. That is what you get with Labour and the NHS."
Lack of care
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
Peter Black was reacting to an inspection report that was published today by CSSIW that concluded that "the service lacks direction and staff need clear guidance and support to promote consistent levels of good practice." The Inspectorate states that the "high turnover of staff has continued to have an adverse impact on the performance and continuity of service delivery to children and their families. [An improvement plan] has not resulted in clear direction for staff nor the improvements in practice which were identified in the last inspection as being necessary."
"Overall caseloads are too high, a significant number of new social workers have little experience of practice, there is a continuing dependence on agency workers, there is a high turnover of staff and stress related sickness absence. This is the third report of its type in two years," said Mr. Black, "And yet Inspectors still have serious concerns about the operation of this department and its effectiveness in protecting children
" I share those concerns, having had a number of issues brought to me by concerned parents and teachers over the same period. What is clear is that committed and hard-working front line staff are being swamped with unmanageable caseloads, and are not receiving the support and guidance that they need. In these circumstances there is a real danger that a child could slip though the safety net. That is an unacceptable risk, so it is absolutely right that the level of intervention by CSSIW is stepped up to try and turn the service around."
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "We have been arguing for greater devolution for over a century. This is the latest step in our long campaign for a federal UK. It will strengthen Wales and help make a real difference to the lives of people across the country."
Sunday, November 11, 2012
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are not contesting this election because we believe that the Police should be above party politics,” said Mr. Black. “My vote inevitably will therefore go to one of the independent candidates.
“Mike Baker is a retired Police Officer, having served across the South Wales Police area for 30 years. He is currently working as a civil and criminal solicitor within the South Wales area. As such he has experience on both sides of the fence, being familiar with the system as well as the demands put on a modern police force.
“It seems to me that the Police Commissioner role was designed with people like Mike Baker in mind, an independently minded individual, who knows what is needed to ensure that front line policing gets the resources and support it needs. I will be giving my vote to Mike Baker on Thursday and I urge others to do so as well.”
Friday, November 09, 2012
'I'm extremely pleased Charlotte is standing for the Liberal Democrats in Neath South. She is local, young, and determined to make a difference in her community. Charlotte finally offers a real alternative to Labour who for too long have taken the people of Neath South for granted'
Sunday, November 04, 2012
On 25th October Peter Black formally launched his Mobile Homes Bill at a Consumer Focus Wales event in Llandrindod Wells.
On Wednesday he will be introducing it into the Welsh Assembly.
The Bill is intended to modernise the licensing regime for park homes across Wales - giving local authorities the powers to award and monitor licenses and to ensure site owners pass a fit and proper persons test.
The Bill also offers protection to mobile home residents wishing to sell their homes without prior agreement with site owners. It can be viewed here.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
the Lib Dems have always championed a reformed EU. An EU which is more responsive to democratic opinion. An EU which liberalises the free movement of people and trade while tackling the problems we share, such as environmental pollution and crime.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Peter Black AM has responded: “The negligence that has been exposed in this report highlights something that most of us knew already – that Labour can’t be trusted to act responsibly with the public’s money.
“Time and time again allegations about Awema were raised with the Welsh Labour Government, but still it failed to put things right.
“It is nothing short of disgraceful that an organisation as badly run as Awema was allowed to continue receiving millions of pounds of public money, while this Welsh Government sat back and did nothing.
“For months the Welsh Labour Government has hidden behind the investigation into this report, using it as a reason not to comment. In spite of intense public and media interest, the Government thought that it had the right to wriggle out of being held to account. It is now time for Ministers to explain themselves. The people of Wales deserve to know why it was considered appropriate for Awema to receive over £7m of public funds.”
Monday, October 15, 2012
South Wales West AM Liberal Democrat Peter Black is fighting for park home residents in Wales. His private members' bill, aimed at reforming the civil legislation surrounding mobile home sites, is due to go before the assembly later this month.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Things Labour are proposing as if they're new that @LibDemsare already doing in govt, No 2: Boosting the number of apprenticeships.
Things Labour are proposing as if they're new that @LibDemsare already doing in govt, No 3: Separating retail and investment banking.
Things Labour are proposing as if they're new that @LibDemsare already doing in govt, No 4: Boosting house building.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Eluned Parrott said it would be a “justifiable aim” for the Welsh Government to learn about the success of policies. But she added: “However, I am deeply suspicious that this survey is too vague and unfocused to give any indication that could help steer the Welsh Government in any meaningful way. “When using a ‘1 to 10 scale’ on questionnaires, most organisations will expect to hit at least a 7 out of 10 for quality of service – unless they have significant problems.”
Monday, September 24, 2012
While Labour and the Tories debate how to reinvigorate their annual party conference programme, the Liberal Democrats democratic policymaking structure means that debates at their conference remain engaging and relevant. And with the party now in Government, the journey from the Conference floor to the statute book is rather more direct than has previously been the case. This means that over the next few weeks, the Lib Dem gathering in Brighton is the most likely place for progressive yet plausible policy ideas to get a hearing.
The Social Liberal Forum’s motion 106 on employee ownership, to be debated on Monday 24th September from 09:05-11:05, is a particularly good example. The motion calls for a number of radical measures relating to the stewardship of large companies (greater than 250 employees) including:
• The right for employees of listed companies to request 5% of company shares
• A role for employee representatives in major corporate decisions, including conditions of employment; Director’s pay; and the strategic direction of the company
• The right for companies to implement German-style two-tier board structures, with a supervisory board (including a shareholder’s representative) and a management board (including a worker’s representative).
It is exciting to think that these kind of policies could shortly be adopted by a governing party. They would go some way to ensuring that more of the profits from businesses go back to the people who generated them, in the communities they were generated. They would also help to combat inequality and out-of-control executive pay by empowering and incentivising ordinary workers, rather than resorting to punitive taxation.
Furthermore, employee ownership makes economic sense. Research from Centre Forum found that businesses with some degree of employee ownership were more productive and more resilient than their competitors. The Employee Ownership Index of companies with more than 10% employee share ownership has outperformed the FTSE All Shares Index by an average of 11% pa since 1992.
Intuitively, it makes sense that businesses that involve their workforce in decision-making processes will also take greater responsibility for their social and environmental impact. Current business models are entrenching inequality and failing to create jobs. With an annual income of £4.86 million, the average FTSE 100 CEO currently earns 185 times the national average We have recently witnessed major scandals in the banking, media and pharmaceuticals industries. So there is an urgent need for a new way of doing business with the needs of the community at its heart. Employee ownership might go some way towards this – workers representatives on boards would bring a different perspective to strategic decisions on areas like executive pay packages, for example, or environmental pollution affecting the community in which they live.
‘Business ethics’ is the theme of the High Pay Centre’s party conference programme this year, and we are hosting an event in Brighton in conjunction with the SLF on Monday 24th September at 8pm, with speakers including Lord Oakeshott and former Gregg’s CEO Sir Mike Darrington, on the evening after the debate on motion 106. Hopefully our discussion will encompass a set of radical new Liberal Democrat policies on employee engagement.
‘The Independent View‘ is a slot on Lib Dem Voice which allows those from beyond the party to contribute to debates we believe are of interest to LDV’s readers. Luke Hildyard is the Head of Research at the High Pay Centre.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The party said it sympathised with dairy farmers after some processors said they planned to reduce what they pay for milk by 2p per litre. Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, AM, said, "The creation of this new supermarket ombudsman is great news for farmers. "I'm pleased the UK government has made a start, but this can only be the beginning."
Monday, July 16, 2012
Local Liberal Democrats welcomed the boost which the decision will give to confidence in businesses in the Neath Port Talbot area, as well much-needed construction work.
Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokeswoman on business, said: “These results do not come as a surprise to me. The Welsh Labour Government’s childish attitude in engaging with the Coalition Government in Westminster meant that many Welsh businesses that could have won lucrative contracts from the 2012 Olympics lost out.
“In the months and years running up to the 2012 Games, the Scottish and Northern Irish Governments were busy engaging with the UK Government and the London Organising Committee. Instead, in Wales, the Labour Government hadn’t even written to the body responsible for rewarding the £6bn worth of contracts to make representations on behalf of Welsh businesses.
“It is no wonder that the people of Wales don’t necessarily feel engaged with the Olympics because this Welsh Labour Government hadn’t seen the opportunities that the 2012 Games could have brought to Wales.
“For those companies who have managed to win contracts, I am of course delighted and hope that they are able to use the kudos of the Olympics to raise the profile of their business. It is just sad that those companies are few and far between.”
Friday, July 13, 2012
The status quo of NHS finances has been branded “unaffordable” as the organisation faces major short-term challenges in managing its budget, a finance watchdog has warned.
Next week, Wales' health minister will face a no-confidence vote in the Welsh assembly in a row about a report into reforming hospital services. Opposition parties united to table a joint motion and called on Labour's Lesley Griffiths to resign.
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “This was not a decision we came to lightly. It is a serious step when the three party leaders of Wales come together and state that we have no confidence in the Health Minister’s ability to run our NHS. We are effectively calling for her to resign and she and the First Minister should seriously consider what we are proposing.”
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Save Withybush Hospital campaign has a good summary of the methodology of the Longley Report here: http://www.zen142533.zen.co.uk/SWATcontd/longleyreport.html
Now the "smoking gun" in the form of emails between Professor Longley and Lesley Griffiths' health ministry has been found.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "These email exchanges clearly contradict the health minister's statements that this case for change report was an 'independent assessment' and that it was 'impartial, based solely on the evidence'. "This is an appalling insult to the many people in Wales who are rightfully concerned about the impending NHS reorganisation. How can we now have confidence in the Welsh Labour government's reorganisation process when they sex-up documents to suit their own needs?"
It is easy to draw the conclusion that having found that the truly independent McKinsey recommendations were not to their liking, Labour found a more amenable expert closer to home.
Monday, July 09, 2012
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
The questions follow from the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, saying last month that he would welcome nuclear submarines to Milford Haven if they were ever to leave their current base at Faslane in Scotland.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
The BBC reports that six of Wales' seven local health boards are predicting a combined deficit of around £230m this financial year. Abertawe Bro Morgannwg said it was unable to provide a figure, but it should be noted that Dragon's Eye has revealed that services at Neath Port Talbot hospital are to "reconfigured".
Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said: "I am seriously concerned about the state of LHBs finances for this new financial year.
"If four LHBs failed to balance their books last year after cutting services and making huge savings, the challenge is going to be even harder this financial year and I am worried that patient care and safety will suffer."
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott said: "Only a Labour government as incompetent as this one can think the issue of literally hundreds of extra jobs is merely 'semantics'".
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Monday, May 07, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats add: "This is not just a problem for mid-Wales. There are parts of the Neath constituency which lack broadband. This means that bank customers in those areas have to make journeys into town to transact business and has also militated against provision of many social services."
Friday, April 06, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Responding to the report in the Western Mail that families struggling to make ends meet will be hit by a sharp rise in child bus fares next week, Eluned Parrott AM, Liberal Democrat shadow transport minister, said the Welsh Labour Government should evaluate access to public transport. Its transport priorities were “completely skewed”. She added: “We are now reaching the point where it will be cheaper for a family to get a taxi to the local shops, rather than get a bus. It is a scandal the Welsh Government is happy to subsidise North-South flights to the tune of £1.6m a year, while at the same time it punishes the most vulnerable in our society by scaling back on bus subsidies.”
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has welcomed the decision by Environment Minister. John Griffiths to abandon the previous Government’s cull of badgers in north Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion and pursue a vaccination programme instead.
“This decision is very much in line with the available scientific evidence, including the peer-reviewed paper prepared by the Independent Science Group (ISG) on the results of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial that was released in July 2010,” said Mr. Black.
That paper concluded that “reductions in cattle TB incidence achieved by repeated badger culling were not sustained in the long term after culling ended and did not offset the financial costs of culling. These results, combined with evaluation of alternative culling methods, suggest that badger culling is unlikely to contribute effectively to the control of cattle TB in Britain."
“Given the divisions and acrimony generated by the previous cull decision and the legal problems associated with this course of action, a vaccination programme was the best way forward as part of efforts to control this disease. Not only is it scientifically sound but it also prevents the unnecessary slaughter of badgers, which are a protected species.”
“At last we are getting a commonsense approach to this problem.”
Friday, March 16, 2012
The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has visited the Remploy factory in Swansea and addressed workers so as to express his support for their fight to keep it open.
Mr. Black arranged the visit after the UK Government announced plans to close seven of the nine Remploy factories in Wales just over a week ago. He was also the joint author of a motion passed unanimously by Swansea Council last night pledging their support for the factory and agreeing to lobby for its retention.
Commenting on the visit, Mr. Black said: “When I toured the factory this morning I was shocked by the process of managed decline that has taken place there over the last five or six years. Although, the announcement of the proposed closure was a shock, it seems that successive Governments have been preparing for it for some time.
“It was explained to me that essential machinery was not being replaced or updated, that modernisation plans had been put on hold and that vacancies had not been filled for some time. As a result workers were under pressure to fulfil all their work commitments.
“I am also concerned about what will happen to the existing contracts and to new contracts that have been signed recently. These factories are not short of work. They are working to full capacity. Management need to explain whether these existing contracts will be switched to the remaining factories and also if workers will be transferred with them.
“What is clear is that there are many questions still to be answered about the Government’s proposals. We need those answers now if we are to have any chance of saving jobs.”
Councillor Frank Little, secretary of Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats added: "While Remploy Furniture's base in Neath Port Talbot is not on the latest list of closures, one has to fear for its future if so many local manufacturing facilities are to be closed."
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Mr. Black has met with campaigners against closures recently and is working closely with them to fight cuts to the subsidy that has led to this closure announcement.
"This is not the first time that Remploy factories locally have faced this threat," said Mr. Black. "The previous Labour Government put forward similar proposals in 2007 and of course closed the Ystradgynlais factory some years before that. They were wrong then and the Government is wrong now.
"It is right that more than 1500 people have been helped by Remploy into supported employment across Wales, however not all disabled people are able to take up that option. The factories provide an important source of employment that enable those with disabilities to work and retain their dignity whilst doing so. Inevitably, their closure will causemany more people to become dependent on benefits and a cost to the government in excess of the current Remploy subsidy. That is not acceptable.
"The Government have chosen the wrong path on this issue and I will do all I can to support workers in the Remploy factories and oppose this closures."
Monday, March 05, 2012
Cut back on bureaucracy and allow local authorities greater freedom to deliver public services – Peter Black
Welsh Liberal Democrats have long believed that public services are better delivered when they are managed by the appropriate level of government. In contrast to the Labour-led Welsh administration Liberal Democrats think that when it comes to local services, Local Authorities should have greater control. Councils should be able to protect local interests and services without unnecessary restrictions and interference from the Welsh Government.
Peter Black, Shadow Minister for Local Government, commented:
“Current bureaucracy imposed by the Labour Welsh Government is hampering hard-working councillors across Wales in their attempts to deliver change for their communities. Under Labour’s watch local services have been eroded and often withdrawn.
“Despite spending restrictions and many needless bureaucratic requirements enforced on Local Authorities by the Welsh Government, Liberal Democrat run councils have still been able to provide excellent and efficiently run public services while maintaining low council tax increases.
“In the Welsh Liberal Democrat run council of Swansea, a cut of 20% in special responsibility allowances paid to councillors has saved the council £1million over the last eight years. This has allowed the council to freeze tax for 2012/13. Under Labour the average yearly council tax rise was a hefty 7.6% compared to the Liberal Democrat administration’s modest average increase of 3.4% per annum. That constitutes a saving of more than £3,100 for families living in an average Band D property in Swansea and it’s the same story across many over Welsh Liberal Democrat run councils. In Cardiff the average annual increase in council tax has been just 2.7% compared to 11% a year under the previous Labour administration.
“The Welsh Government needs to cut back on bureaucracy and allow Local Authorities greater freedom to deliver public services efficiently.”
Welsh Liberal Democrats have also called for the implementation of single transferable vote for local elections which will provide a fairer democratic system than first-past-the-post.
Unlike the Labour Welsh Government, who recently announced that elections on Anglesey would be postponed for a year despite calls for democratic renewal of the council in May, Welsh Liberal Democrats believe in fair and democratically accountable government.
Mr Black added:
“There is no convincing reason to delay Council elections on Anglesey until May 2013 when, in the interests of democracy, it would be appropriate to hold elections along with the rest of the country in May 2012.
“If there is any Council in need of democratic renewal, it is Ynys Mon. Despite huge cuts proposed by the Commissioners, currently running the council, their budget will not be subject to democratic approval despite it having far reaching consequences.
“Unlike Labour, a Liberal Democrat Welsh Government would have allowed elections to go ahead on Anglesey this May.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to fair and accountable democracy in a way that other parties are not. Our policy for electoral change at a local authority level represents a fairer system of government which amplifies the voice of the electorate.”
Friday, March 02, 2012
Thursday, March 01, 2012
On Thursday and Friday this week, heads of governments from all EU Member States – including David Cameron – will come to Brussels for the Spring European Council which is dedicated to promoting competitiveness and economic growth.
Liberals & Democrats in the European Parliament (ALDE) are stepping up to the challenge by turning the usual Council rhetoric on the ‘need to stimulate economic growth’ into a concrete plan of action and measures that will help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) create and safeguard local jobs. With SMEs making up to 99% of all businesses in the EU, providing two-thirds of all private sector jobs and creating six in every ten new jobs, we must do all we can to free their potential and help them grow and do business across Europe. We need to remove red tape and improve access to finance and to the single market.
Lib Dem MEPs are already working hard in the European Parliament to do just that. For example, my colleague Sharon Bowles is currently pushing to ring fence a certain proportion of a banks’ regulatory capital specifically for loans to SMEs, as part of her work on the Capital Requirements Directive. In the Energy Efficiency Directive, which I am negotiating on behalf of the ALDE Group at the moment, MEPs want to exempt SMEs from costly energy audits and instead provide them with advice on how they can benefit from saving energy.
But Lib Dem MEPs will also bring the campaign to the UK, surveying local employers, business organisations and union representatives in each region to learn about their specific needs and give them a strong voice across the EU. We have also started an ALDE4SME blog where MEPs will report back on their efforts and interactions with SMEs in different countries.
Business organisations from across the EU have already endorsed our initiative.
If you want to help get this campaign off the ground across the UK, why not spread the word on twitter and Facebook? Help us put SMEs and local jobs at the top of the political agenda in the UK and in Brussels!
* Fiona Hall is Leader of the UK Liberal Democrat Delegation in the European Parliament. We are grateful to Liberal Democrat Voice for this article
Monday, February 27, 2012
The Welsh Government says it has to cut bus funding in April because its transport budget is under pressure, but it will continue paying £1.6m a year for the flights between Holyhead and Barry.
The air service carried just 10,000 passenger journeys last year – compared with 114 million on Welsh buses.
Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat shadow transport minister, said: “We all know that difficult choices have to be made in these tough economic times. I would hope that with hindsight even the Welsh Labour Government would accept that it has had the wrong transport spending priorities. It’s a scandal that the Welsh Government are forking out £160 per passenger on flights, while at the same time punishing the most vulnerable in our society by scaling back on bus subsidies.”
Friday, February 17, 2012
The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is asking constituents who live in park homes to make the Welsh consumer watchdog aware of any issues they face so as to provide an evidence-base for his private members bill.
Peter can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write to him at the Welsh Assembly.
Consumer Focus Wales is interviewing individual park homes residents from across Wales about their experiences for their major report, which will be launched in autumn 2012, and want more residents to get in touch to discuss their experiences – both good and bad – of living on a park home site.
Some residents have reported blocking of sales by site operators which causes great financial loss to the park home owner and an easy profit for some rogue site operators. Other residents have spoken to Consumer Focus Wales about their experience of buying a park home, their electricity, gas and water supplies, their written agreement and pitch fees and the quality of life on their park home site.
Consumer Focus Wales is gathering evidence to help to strengthen the protections available for residents in a new bill being drawn up by Mr. Black.
"I am asking residents in my constituency to get in touch with Consumer Focus Wales so we can help combat issues residents face and protect older people from financial abuse,” said Mr. Black. “We want to talk to as many residents as possible, whether they’ve had good experiences or bad. We know that difficulties are caused because park home residents own their home, while a site operator owns the land. Site operators can withhold consent to park home residents reselling their home, although this consent should not be withheld unreasonably. There is evidence that some site owners do this for their own financial gain, which means that home owners can be hit massively in the pocket."
If you know of anyone who would like to take part in this project, please ask them to contact Lowri Jackson, Policy Manager at Consumer Focus Wales, by phoning 029 2078 7108 or emailingParkHomes@ConsumerFocus.org.uk