Monday, February 27, 2012

Labour's transport priorities slammed

WalesOnline reports:
The Welsh Government has come under attack for paying £160 subsidy per passenger on North-South flights – while bus services face the axe for consuming more than £2 subsidy per passenger.

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

Assembly Member and consumer watchdog want to hear from park homes residents

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 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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Assembly Member calls for Ministerial inquiry into health watchdog

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on the Health Minister to carry out an investigation into the circumstances behind the suspension of the vice-chair of the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Community Health Council, following claims that the code of conduct was used to stop her criticising health board decisions.

Mr. Black was reacting to the resignation of two members of the CHC after they alleged that their views were being suppressed. Brendan Campbell and Jeff Jones say that decisions are being made by a select few, and that the code of conduct is being used to gag perceived troublemakers. In addition Mr Campbell claims that venues for meetings were not accessible to wheelchairs.

Mr. Jones is also angry about the suspension of Alison Morgan over comments that she had made at CHC meetings. This suspension has now been extended for a further three months because the Health Minister has not reached any conclusions on her case.

“I am very concerned at the way that the Community Health Council is being emasculated in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg area,” said Mr. Black, “with the code of conduct being used to silence those who are considered to be troublemakers. This body is meant to be a watchdog, so it is right that members of it are free to criticise and raise issues that concern them in the way they consider appropriate. It is not for others to use codes of conduct to shut them up when they are raising legitimate questions.

“I have raised this matter with the health minister on a number of occasions but there appears to be no progress in resolving it. I am sure that she will not be comfortable with the suppression of opinions on the CHC. It is now time that the Minister brought this matter to a head, with a formal investigation and swift conclusions.”