Saturday, April 29, 2017

Labour housing U-turn has no credibility - Lib Dems

John Shipley, Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson, said:

“Labour has a guilty conscience about housing. It completely failed on house-building during its 13 years in government, selling off 470,000 council houses and adopting Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy without replacing the homes they sold off.

“Their announcement today is to build an extra 500,000 council homes, which is the same number as the number of council homes they sold off in Government.

“You need a strong economy to increase house-building. Labour’s policies are not credible and will not deliver the homes we need.

“Labour voted for a hard Brexit, and that will leave an estimated £200bn black hole in the economy over 15 years, so any spending announcement Jeremy Corbyn makes is not worth the paper it is written on. You can’t have a hard Brexit and a decent supply of houses.”

Local activist Frank Little added:

“Welsh Labour is particularly culpable, in pushing through the selling-off of council housing long after the Westminster government had back-tracked on the policy. Neath Port Talbot used roundly condemned methods to persuade its tenants to agree to the transfer to NPT Homes”

Friday, April 28, 2017

Wages growth stalled according to IFS

Researchers of the respected independent think-tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, have shown that the employment rate has flattened and real earnings growth stalled. Commenting, Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:
“This stall in average earnings is yet another sign that this Government is failing ordinary workers. Despite a huge increase in the take up of higher education, this has not translated into any gains for take home wages.
“This data shows that people are poorer under the Tories and have not seen wages come back to the pre-recession level, while prices and bills seem to spiral upwards.  It is scandalous that it will take 14 years for people to feel as rich as they were in 2007.”
After adjusting for inflation, average earnings of employees are still substantially below pre-recession levels, and are currently being squeezed by rising household inflation (linked in large part to falls in sterling). Central forecasts from the OBR imply average earnings will still be lower than their 2007­–08 level in 2021‒22.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

May is preparing to raid pensions to pay for a hard Brexit

Responding to Theresa May's refusal today at PMQs to guarantee the triple lock for pensioners, introduced by the Liberal Democrats in coalition, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:

"Theresa May is preparing to raid pensions to pay for her hard Brexit.

"The Conservatives must clarify their position now to pensioners across the country.

"The triple lock was one of the Liberal Democrats' biggest achievements in government, lifting many pensioners out of poverty. Now this progress risks being undone.

"This election is a chance to prevent a hard Brexit and secure the strong economy we need to protect pensions and public services."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Government must publish pollution report – Davey

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the government publish a highly embarrassing report on air pollution before the election. Ed Davey,  Lib Dem former cabinet minister for Energy and Climate Change, has said the government is reportedly blocking release of its report into air pollution because it is worried the “shaming” findings would become a major election issue.

Ed Davey said:

“Air pollution is one of the biggest health challenges in Britain today. The Conservatives have hidden the truth about their toxic policies. Increasingly air pollution is linked to a rise in asthma, COPD, heart conditions, and even recently to dementia. A vote for the Tories is a vote for more air pollution.

“It is a disgrace that the government wants to block a report which is expected to say that pollution is at dangerous levels in many of our cities and towns.

“Ministers are hugely embarrassed because it is EU air quality standards the government is flouting. No wonder Theresa May wants a hard Brexit, so she can change the rules to leave polluters free to damage the nation’s health.

“You can’t have clean air and a hard Brexit.

“The government is refusing to spend the money on measures that would improve air quality, such as investment in public transport, but this is a false economy because it burdens the NHS and destroys lives.”

Labour fails to select candidate in Gower with just weeks until election

Labour has failed to select candidates in Gower, Brecon & Radnorshire or Carmarthen East & Dinefwr with the general election just weeks away. It seems that Labour has “given up”, even in some of its former strongholds. A further twelve out of the forty seats in Wales await a Labour candidate, while there are over 340 constituencies Labour has still not selected for in England.

In contrast the Liberal Democrats have selected 92% of their candidates in England and the Welsh Liberal Democrats virtually all their candidates in this region.

It seems that Labour have simply given up in large areas of South Wales West. They claimed to be prepared for a general election, but many of their approved candidates are simply refusing to run under Jeremy Corbyn's banner - and who can blame them? They see a leader who is ineffective and a party that is too divided and a leadership which is too metropolitan to stand up for local people.

Every government needs to be held to account and the Liberal Democrats are rapidly emerging as the real voice of opposition.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

How to join the Lib Dems

You can join the Liberal Democrats quickly, easily and safely online here.
There are lots of reasons to join the Liberal Democrats. Some people joined because they wanted to stand up for our values, of openness, tolerance and unity. Some because they want to help us win elections. Others so they could stand for election and stand up for their community.
Becoming a Liberal Democrat will let you do all that – and much more besides. As a member, you’ll have the power to change things and all our members, from party leader Tim Farron, right down to our newest member you get the same vote.
Thousands of people are joining the party and our membership has doubled since the general election.
Membership starts at £12 a year, but the party hopes that you might consider donating a little more – the recommended amount (as decided by members like you at our conference) is £70. There are concessionary rates too: students can join for £1 for their first year of membership and if you’re under 26 and are entitled to receive state benefits (other than the state pension or child benefit) then membership starts from just £6 a year.
You can join the Liberal Democrats quickly, easily and safely online here.
If you would prefer to join the Liberal Democrats via the posts, here’s a pdf of the Lib Dem membership form which you can print off, fill in and post back.
Or if you prefer to speak to someone local, phone Keith - see sidebar.

Thanks to Mark Pack for most of this posting.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lib Dems gain 8,000 members in 48 hours

The Liberal Democrats gained 8,000 new members in the two days since Theresa May called a snap election.

The increase in members is the fastest rise of new membership in the party’s history.

The party now has over 95,000 members, more than double what it was at the time of the last general election and only 5,000 less than the reported size of the Conservative Party.

Commenting, President of the Liberal Democrats Sal Brinton said:

“People are flocking to the Liberal Democrats as we are the only party who are offering effective opposition to this Conservative Brexit government.

“Theresa May: we have the troops for this fight and they are raring to go.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party standing up for an open, tolerant, and united Britain.” 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lib Dems: Atos and Capita don’t deserve £700m DWP contracts

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Department for Work and Pensions after ministers found themselves having to increase the value of contracts to Atos and Capita to £700m a year for their controversial assessments for disability benefits. This is way over the £512m budget.

Celia Thomas, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for disability, said:

“Before these companies are given more money for benefit assessments, they need to give much better value for money than they do at present.

“In particular, the PIP reassessments from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are a complete lottery for claimants, with two-thirds of these PIP claimants winning their appeals.

“Poor assessments have resulted in many disabled people losing their Motability cars for which they have later become eligible on appeal. The DWP has its priorities backwards. It should look at the poor quality of many of these assessments before giving Atos and Capita more money.”

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Who pays the piper?

Local Liberal Democrats have questioned the cost of "Local Voice", a tabloid newspaper distributed throughout the county borough on behalf of Labour in the Neath Port Talbot local election campaign. We have independently costed such an eight-page tabloid which makes extensive use of colour photographs. We chose a supplier who would be at least competitive with Trinity Mirror in Birmingham who printed the Labour election material, and came up with a figure of £5,400. (Anything less than this would suggest a subsidy by Trinity Mirror, which would have to be declared on election expenses.)

The question is: did every ward party chip in the £100 or so to pay for the newspaper (this would be on top of the cost of glossy colour leaflets they have already sent out)? Or did one or more of the big public service unions donate the upfront cost?

Friday, April 07, 2017

Less than a week to register to vote

Liberal Democrats continue to make local council gains

Following yesterday's stunning victory over UKIP in a council by-election in Aylesbury Vale, England, Liberal Democrats extend their lead on the scoreboard of gains in British local government. It now looks like this:

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Candidates for local government elections

Postal ballots for the 2017 elections to Neath Port Talbot county borough council (and to the town and community councils in the Neath area) will land on doorsteps in the week ending 22nd April. Voting in person will take place on Thursday 4th May.

Liberal Democrat candidates are:


Cen Phillips

Bryncoch South

Frank Little


Sheila Kingston-Jones


Charley Cross

Coedffranc North

Keith Davies

Coedffranc West

Helen Ceri Clarke

Sandfields West

Tehani (Taz) Taylor

If there is no web page indicated,please address correspondence for Neath wards to neathlibdems and for Aberavon to aberavonlibdems both at