Thursday, June 30, 2011

Assembly Member to hold advice surgery in Neath

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, will be holding advice surgeries next week.

He will be in Neath Central Library from 5pm to 6pm on Friday, 8th July.

No appointment is necessary.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

EU parliament being brought towards transparency, says LibDem MEP

Welcoming the European Court of Justice ruling that a report on MEPs' expenses must be published by the European Parliament, Chris Davies commented: "Bit by bit the parliament is being brought kicking and screaming towards transparency." According to The Independent, it was Chris Davies who first leaked the contents of the report compiled by the parliament's chief internal auditor, Robert Galvin, in 2008. He went on:"I was delighted by the European Court's decision. There is still a long way to go but I would hope pressure will now build to identify what was done to pursue those MEPs identified by Galvin as misusing the system."

A sample of the abuses listed:

* A series of bonuses awarded MEPs' assistants between three and 19.5 times their normal salary.

* A payment was made to a crèche, supposedly for secretarial work, whose manager was a local politician from the MEP's party.

* Payments were made to national political parties.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Local Liberal Democrats want assurances on Southern Cross care home

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has asked the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services to ensure that the financial difficulties of Southern Cross do not affect the elderly residents at care homes throughout Wales.

Mr. Black tabled an urgent question in the Assembly Plenary today to ask the Minister to reassure residents and staff who face an uncertain future. He wanted more details on any safety net that was in place if the company goes under.

In response the Health Minister said that she has met with local government officials to reinforce her view that there are effective contingency plans and that she has been assured that clear protection arrangements are in place and no one will be left without the care they need

Commenting, Mr. Black said: “Southern Cross supports over 1,772 people in 34 care homes across Wales. The uncertainty of this situation will be a huge stress on the residents and their families. Whatever happens to the company, the interests of residents and staff are paramount.

“The Welsh Government needs to work with local Authorities and health boards to provide assurance for all concerned that if this company fails then residents will maintain continuity of care and minimal disruption.”

In response to today's news that Southern Cross is cutting nearly 7% of its workforce, including nursing staff, Councillor Keith Davies, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Neath Port Talbot council expressed concern about the future of Cwrt Clwydi Gwyn, a Southern Cross care home in New Road, Skewen near his Coedffranc North ward. Keith hoped that the impeccable service which the care home had provided until now would not be jeopardised by the job cuts or the financial woes of Southern Cross. He supported Peter Black's call for assurances.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Peter Black calls for suspension of Maesteg drilling

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has said that test drilling for shale gas at the St. John’s Colliery site in Maesteg should not go ahead until more is known about two earthquakes linked to similar activity near Blackpool.

He has expressed his concern following the suspension of a controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas in Lancashire following a second earthquake in the area that may have been triggered by the process. The earthquake last Friday near Blackpool occurred at the same time that the energy company Cuadrilla Resources was injecting fluids under high pressure deep underground to deliberately blast apart the gas-bearing rock – a process known as "fracking", brought to Britain from the US, where it has been highly contentious.

Earthquake experts from the British Geological Survey said that the 1.5 magnitude quake last week was similar to a 2.3 earthquake in April in the same area and that both may be linked to the experimental fracking for shale gas at Preese Hall on the Fylde coast. Bans on commercial fracking are already in place in France as well as in New York and Pennsylvania states, where people living close to fracking sites have been filmed setting fire to tap water contaminated with methane gas.

Mr. Black said: “In my view this is serious enough to suggest that any operation in the Maesteg area should be suspended indefinitely until more is known about this process and its impact. Any possibility of contaminated water supply or seismic activity as a result of drilling is unacceptable and must be clearly dealt with before this work can begin.”