WORK BEGINS ON THE NORTHCLIFF LODGE 30-APARTMENT DEVELOPMENT

The £1.250,000 mini-mansion Northcliff Lodge was built to echo the Swiss-chalet-design of the original main mansion “Northcliff” (which was demolished in the 1960s) . Now Northcliff Lodge itself faces demolition – the front porch has already been torn down

Letters have been sent to all the local residents in the vicinity of the Northcliff Lodge development scheme in Penarth warning them that the demolition of Northcliff Lodge itself and initial tree clearance in the area is imminent.

The letter from a firm called Scimitar Homes says the first phase of the works will include “demolition of the existing house, site strip and tree removal”:-

The letter is sent by Scimitar Homes and signed by Jon Shields

The firm apologises to local residents in advance for “any disruption that may be caused” and sensibly warns families to keep their children away from the site.

Local residents say that tree clearance has already taken place in the area and that they could “hear the sound of chainsaws”.

The entrance porch of Northcliff Lodge has already been removed

Although the classic  £1,250,000 North Cliff Lodge mini-mansion is was still standing this morning, it looks as though it may soon disappear from the Penarth scene as demolition work begins in earnest.

It also deems that several trees in the immediate vicinity of the Northcliff Lodge house have been shopped down

There is now a starker skyline in the vicinity of Northcliff Lodge. Some trees appear to have already been removed

Much will now hinge on whether the developers are right in claiming there are no bats in the Northcliff Lodge area.

Some local residents have revived concerns about the effect of the development on the local bat population – which enjoy special status as a protected species. A survey by the developers, reported to the Vale Council planning committee, asserted there were – in fact – NO bat colonies in the area –  but this claim is now being disputed.

The distinguished environmentalist Dr Max Wallis raised concerns about the adequacy of the bat survey commissioned by the developers when he appeared before the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee

The distinguished scientist Professor Max Wallis – who lives in the St Augustine’s Ward – says that three months ago he carried out a bat survey in the carpark site at the front of the Dyfed apartments, using a “bat-detector”  [ which picks up the inaudible Sonar-like signals which bats make]    from the Wildlife Trust. He says “several bats foraging on the site via the detector at the expected frequencies (45-55kHz), confirming bats by eye in several instances.”

Professor Wallis points out that “Deliberate damage or disturbance to a Bat habitat, including roosts in the trees, is a criminal offence” – and goes on to say that “Bats are legally protected under the EC Habitats Directive and in UK legislation by The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended)”

He says that “Subject to some specific exceptions it is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly capture or kill, disturb in a place of shelter or destroy the resting place of any bat. A roost site is protected even when bats are not present. “

 

 

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XMAS CARDS SENT VIA ‘SCOUT POST’ ARE FOUND DUMPED ON PENARTH HEAD

A “substantial number” of Christmas Cards dispatched by “Scout Post” ended up dumped in a sodden heap on Penarth Viewing platform

A PDN reader walking his dog on Penarth Head has reported coming across “a substantial number” of Christmas cards which had been posted via “Scout Post” – apparently dumped on the Penarth Head Viewing Platform.

The discovery was made yesterday morning after heavy rain had flooded the central seating area of the viewing platform.

A few fragments of torn-open envelopes were to still be seen on the Penarth Head Viewing Platform this morning

Most of the mail was sodden with rainwater . All the envelopes had been opened and most of the Christmas Cards had been addressed to properties in Westbourne Road

This morning there were still several sodden scraps of paper and  parts of torn envelopes in the viewing platform area but most of the discarded mail had been removed .

Sue Grant of the 6th Penarth Scout Post Group said today “The family delivering Westbourne Rd had completed most of road but their car was broken into and the post stolen. All the cards had been opened and cards and envelopes alike were found sodden, dumped at Penarth Head. We can only apologise to the people whose cards were stolen but it will be impossible to match card with envelope. The central sorting office has been informed.”

The Scout Post is a scheme that offers the public of Cardiff and most parts of the Vale of Glamorgan an opportunity to send Christmas Cards at what’s claimed to be a fraction of the cost of Royal Mail.It works by Scouting groups selling Scout stamps to local retail outlets which then sell them on to the general public.

In Penarth Scout stamps – at 25 pence per card – are sold by the following retailers:-

ROBERT JAMES – GLEBE STREET
SPAR STORES – GLEBE STREET
ONE STOP – CORNERSWELL ROAD
IVOR OWEN – CORNERSWELL ROAD
MAYBERRY PHARMACY – ROYAL BUILDINGS – STANWELL ROAD
SPAR STORES – STANWELL ROAD
SNELLS – STANWELL ROAD
SPAR STORES– BROCKHILL RISE
PREMIER STORES – PURCELL STREET
LIFESTYLE STORES – GLYNDWR ROAD
TENNYSON MINI MARKET – TENNYSON ROAD
MOREL COURT – RAISDALE ROAD

Local residents can then “post” their Christmas cards at the shops where they bought the stamps . The cards are collected from the outlets and taken back to group headquarters for sorting . During early December the cards for other areas are brought to a “central sort” for exchange and swopped with the cards for local area – and sorted into bundles for delivery in specific streets .

The last day for posting via Scout Post was Monday 4th December and deliveries are due to be made between December 9th and December 17th  – but it would appear that not all the cards posted will ever reach their destinations.

Nationally the system deals with over 600,000 Christmas cards every year . The  money raised is used for the following year and any surplus goes to local Scouting Area funds.

 

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THE 2012 PRE-ELECTION BRIBE – WHICH LABOUR DEFAULTED-ON – IS FINALLY AXED

The Council Tax Discount pledge originally made by Vale of Glamorgan Labour candidates before the 2012 council elections was withdrawn immediately after the election –  and then considerably watered-down

Desperate to take control of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 2012 – the Labour Party made an extravagant and unaffordable promise to give all pensioners in the Vale of Glamorgan aged over 70 a “discount” on their Council Tax.

In the May 2012 local council election campaign the Labour Party promised that the new “discount” would apply to  all households in which there was a resident aged 70-or-over who was not already receiving benefits.”

However, after the 2012 election was over, and Labour had won control of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, it then astonished voters by reneging on its pre-election pledge.

After the 2012 election the Labour-controlled Vale Council denied it would introduce the promised discount

Despite the fact that the new discount had been promised in its election literature, the Labour-controlled administration in the Vale flatly denied – point-blank –  that it had ever had any intention whatever of introducing a Council Tax discount for over-70s.

In January 2013 council staff had the embarrassing job of writing to any local residents   who complained that Labour was breaking its promises  – and telling them  There are no discounts applicable for households with a person over the age of 70 and no future plans to introduce this.”

The real reason the Labour administration had to deny all knowledge of its pre-election bribe was that  no one, before the election , had actually worked out what the “Council Tax Discount” was actually going to cost  – not even on the back of a fag-packet.

What Labour had done – without working out the potential cost – was to carelessly promise a discount to every household which had someone aged over 70 in it who wasn’t claiming any benefits. ……It turned out that there were thousands of them. The Vale was awash with dwellings where elderly parents happily lived with grown up children and grandchildren. If introduced, the Council Tax Discount would – in theory – have applied to thousands of such properties

Disgruntled pensioners complained to the Vale Council that the Labour administration was breaking its promises. Under pressure, the Labour councillors – who had panicked at the probable cost of their wild pre-election promise – then invented a new and very different Council Tax Discount scheme with rigid new rules which would automatically disqualify most of the households in Penarth and the Vale of Glamorgan which would previously have included.

A new public statement was issued by the Vale Labour administration saying A scheme to assist the over 70s with their Council Tax will be implemented, however the final details of the scheme have not yet been finalised.”

When the amended scheme’s “final details” eventually did emerge they were nothing like that original pre-election pledge. The eligibility criteria were far more restrictive.

When the Labour administration in the carried out a U Turn and eventially brought in its promised Council Tax Duiscount scheme it was nothing like its original promise and was far more restrictive. What’s more it was only £40 a year – and was never increased with inflation

Under the re-written scheme Labour stipulated that the Council Tax discount would apply ONLY  if it was  “the person over 70 who actually pays the council tax bill ” – a change which effectively ruled out thousands of households in Penarth and the Vale in which an over-70-year-old lived with their families but wasn’t  personally responsible for paying the  council-tax.

These new – much tighter rules – reduced the Labour council’s commitment to – at the most – only 8, 000 households bringing the potential cost down to just £350,000 a year

The Council Tax discount was then set at a figure of only £40 per year – regardless of how much Council Tax was paid.  The cost of that tiny sum was soon swallowed-up as Labour hiked overall Vale of Glamorgan Council Tax in a series of huge inflation-busting increases – year after year and year.

Now the derisory £40 annual Council Tax discount to over 70s –  with all the restrictions which made it unclaimable by most pensioners – is being discontinued by the new Conservative administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cllr Sandra Perkes (Labour Court Ward Barry)

Only a single Labour councillor –  Sandra Perkes (Court Ward Barry) –  rose to challenge the decision to drop the tiny discount in this week’s Vale Council meeting.

She claimed “Nearly 10,000 households in the Vale of Glamorgan will lose the £40 reduction in their Council Tax introduced by the previous administration. As austerity bites even harder, will the Leader reconsider his decision and reinstate this vital support for our older residents?”

The leader of the Council Cllr John Thomas told Cllr Perkes that the  £40 Council Tax discount had not been ” means-tested” . He said that the council had to make “difficult decisions with regard to how money is being spent due to the on-going pressure n our budgets and     the provision of a universal benefit in this way cannot be  seen as the most effective use of the funding available for this council. I would confirm that my administration is committed to providing support to those most in need in our community and will strive  to do this with the assistance of communities and other organisations that work with us.  “

Cllr Perkes asked Cllr Thomas whether he agreed with her that it was time for “local authority leaders to lobby Central Government to end the economic policy of austerity which is severely hurting the most vulnerable in our society.” 

Cllr John Thomas (Conservative Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council) told Cllr Perkes that he did not intend to “campaign against austerity” – which she had invited him to do – as austerity was the consequence of the financial mismanagement of the last Labour Government. He also called on the Welsh Labour Government to give a fairer funding allocation to the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cllr Thomas responded “I think when you look at austerity you’ve got to look at the reason for austerity   – that the previous government left the pot empty as far as money is concerned. Few savings have been made over recent years due to austerity. This council has saved over £50,000,000 over recent years . I don’t agree with you that we should be campaigning against austerity.”

Cllr Thomas went ont to say “I do believe this council should be funded more fairly from Welsh [Labour] Government “ . There were cries of  protest from Labour councillors and “Here-here” from Conservative councillors .

Cllr Thomas went on to say “…Well, Welsh Government are the ones which divide up the pot – and we don’t get our fair share of that pot in the Vale of Glamorgan”

 

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VALE COUNCIL RE-AFFIRMS ITS OPPOSITION TO PENARTH-POLLUTING BARRY INCINERATOR

The Biomass incinerator will be able to burn almost anything to fine ash – but no one knows what dangerous material could be in the smoke and fumes it will emit

The Conservative-led Vale of Glamorgan Council re-affirmed last night its outright opposition to the building and operation of the huge and highly-controversial incinerator plant in Barry Docks – the effluent from which is forecast to affect Penarth.

In last night’s Vale Council meeting Cllr Amelia Collins (Plaid Cymru Castleland Ward)  asked Deputy Leader Cllr Hunter Jarvie (Conservative Cowbridge)   “How does the Vale of Glamorgan Council intend to respond to the most recent consultation from Natural Resources Wales where they say that they are ‘minded’ to grant a permit to the Biomass Ltd site on Barry Docks?”

Deputy Leader Cllr Hunter Jarvie is in charge of Vale of Glamorgan Council regulatory and legal services

Cllr Jarvie replied ” The current administration [ i.e. the present Conservative led- Vale Council] has consistently   been opposed to the development of the gasification plant at Woodham Road, Barry  – and maintains that position.”

Cllr Jarvie said specialist council officers are reviewing the detail in the “draft permit” for the plant being prepared by Natural Resources Wales (NRW)  [ the heavily-criticised QUANGO run by the Welsh Labour Government]. The council will respond formally on the technical issues directly to NRW by the end of the consultation period – January 22nd 2018.

Cllr Jarvie said that because NRW are the “regulators” it will be up to them to decide whether or not to issue an Environmental Permit – but he said council officers would raise concerns with NRW if it looks as though environmental standards won’t be met.

Cllr Amanda Collins (Plaid Cymru Castleland, Barry) asked about the Barry incinerator which could pollute Penarth

Posing a supplementary question, Cllr Collins said “Many of the complaints from local residents in the consultation were about the planning system. “ She called for an “open and transparent investigation into the planning process here to ensure that it was – and remains – all above-board”

Cllr Jarvie said he was puzzled by the question because the planning process was “totally open and transparent and fully debated.” He noted that the planning process was “quasi-judicial” [ i.e. the planning committee acts independently of the “executive” or “cabinet” of the council and invokes its own legal powers] .

The huge incinerator project was forced through the planning process by the Welsh Labour Government despite the protests of the Vale Council

Cllr Jarvie understood that on the first occasion the council planning committee had refused the application    for the incinerator plant – but that decision had been overturned on appeal to the Welsh Government .   A subsequent planning application had left the council planning committee with no option but to agree.

Cllr Vincent Bailey Environment Scrutiny chair

In a further question on the incinerator project, Cllr Vincent Bailey (Conservative Dyfan Ward, Barry ) asked “Following Natural Resources Wales’ confirmation that it is “minded to issue a permit” for the Biomass Plant, will the Council provide an update on how air monitoring would be undertaken if operations at the site were to commence?”

Cllr Jarvie  confirmed that the operating company would have to fulfill the requirements of the “Emissions to Air Schedule”. Air monitoring would have to be carried out by an accredited independent contractor using CDM continuous monitoring equipment. He said council officers would continue to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide  levels.

The smoke stack of the Biomass plant

In a supplementary question, Cllr Bailey in view of the fact that it was likely that what he called  “this abomination” would go on   he called for the council to write to NRW to ask for “proper independent data monitoring” and that the Vale should make that appointment rather than the NRW – an organisation which he described as a “poacher turned gamekeeper”.

Cllr Jarvie said he had been assured the Vale Council’s officers had the necessary expertise but wanted to re-iterate that “I and the rest of my cabinet colleagues and all members of the council – certainly in my group [ i.e. the Conservatives] are opposed to this development ” 

 

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VALE COUNCIL’S ROLE IN THE ADOPTION OF BABY WHO WAS MURDERED IS QUESTIONED

In 2015 the Vale of Glamorgan Council allowed baby girl Elsie to be adopted by a gay couple, one of whom – Matthew Scully-Hicks – murdered her.

The murder of a baby girl called Elsie – who had been adopted by a homosexual couple with the approval of the Vale of Glamorgan Council – is to be the subject of an independent “Child Practice Review”  – councillors were told last night .

The adoption case had been reviewed by two social workers and then formally approved by Vale of Glamorgan Adoption in July 2015 after a string of procedural checks .These included criminal records checks, medical examinations, social services checks and local authority checks.

After all the required checks and appraisals had been carried out,  the male couple were declared to be satisfactory “parents“. The little girl was formally adopted by them in September 2015.

However from November 2015 little Elsie sustained a series of serious injuries whilst in the “care” of one of the couple – Matthew Scully-Hicks –   culminating in her death in May 2016. She was just 18 months old. [ On November 6th 2017 Matthew Scully-Hicks was convicted of Elsie’s murder and on November 7th was sentenced to life imprisonment]

Plaid Cymru Leader Cllr Ian Johnson questions Cllr Gordon Kemp about the adoption of baby girl  Elsie Scully-Hicks who was murdered by one of her gay “parents”

Last night Cllr Ian Johnson ((Plaid Cymru, Buttrills Ward, Barry) who leads his party in the council asked Cllr Gordon Kemp cabinet member for social care and health  “Will the cabinet member make a statement about the tragic case of Elsie Scully-Hicks and the process for ensuring that any mistakes are not repeated.?”

Cllr Gordon Kemp – cabinet member for social care and health replies to Cllr Ian Johnson

Cllr Kemp replied  “The director of Social Services emailed all  elected members following the conviction of Matthew Scully-Hicks for the murder of his adopted daughter Elsie Scully-Hicks.  The Regional Children’s Safeguarding Board, the relevant statutory body, has commissioned an independent child practice review into the tragic death of Elsie.  This is a multi-agency process to see what lessons can be learned and the review itself , when concluded, will be in the public domain. We will obviusly take the findings of the Child Practice Review extremely seriously. It will not be appropriate to comment futrther until this process has been concluded  ”    

Cllr Johnson said that  – as the vice-chair of the relevant scrutiny committee – he had not been informed of this case and its consequences in advance –  and had only found out about the involvement of the Vale of Glamorgan Council through media reports.

“I found that very difficult and upsetting and hard to deal with ” he said – and asked how the council could ensure that councillors were kept informed and did not discover this “when it’s emblazoned across the news”.

Cllr Kemp in response said “It’s always a difficult matter as to what information is given but it’s something we can look at for the future. As far as this particular case is concerned I don’t want to add anything to what I have said already”

 

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VALE URGES PENARTH ARTS & CRAFTS TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING ON PAVILION

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is now putting pressure on Penarth Arts and Crafts to hold a public meeting on the future of Penarth Pier Pavilion

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is urging Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd  [a.k.a. PACL – the struggling company/charity which runs Penarth Pier Pavilion]  – to organise a public meeting in Penarth about the future of the Pier Pavilion.

It was revealed in last night’s full meeting of the Vale Council that there has been a second top-level meeting between senior council cabinet members and officials and representatives of PACL about the future of the Pier Pavilion.

The revelation came when the Vale Council cabinet member responsible for learning and culture Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) was answering a question from Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) asked for an update on Penarth Pier Pavilion

Cllr Wilson had said  “Another quarter has passed with no demonstrable progress in relation to the operations of the Penarth Pier Pavilion”. He asked Cllr Penrose if he could  provide an update of developments in the last three months.

Cllr Penrose said that he – along with the Leader of the Vale Council – Cllr John Thomas, its managing director Rob Thomas and the  Vale Council’s  head of finance had already had discussions in August and had had a further meeting with PACL last week at which they discussed the current position at the Pier Pavilion.

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) cabinet member for learning and culture, gave more details about the current state of play at Penarth Pier Pavilion

Cllr Penrose said that last week’s meeting PACL representatives had “shared their  current plans and challenges” with the Vale Council delegation.     Cllr Penrose said he was able to offer his ” opinions and advice on how they should face these future challenges”. There will be a similar further meeting scheduled in mid to late January next year.

Cllr Wilson said many members of the public – particularly in Penarth – saw the Pier Pavilion issue as “a big political hot potato” and what they would like would be a public  meeting on this matter  – which the Vale Council could facilitate – so that members of the public could understand what was happening at the Pavilion. Cllr Wilson said it was known that “not everything was working as it should be”. 

Cllr Wilson said there were “Lots of rumours going around” about the future of the Pavilion and he considered that there should be a  “Public Open Forum” held  to reassure people about its future.

Cllr Penrose said he had considered carefully a similar request for a public meeting which Cllr Wilson had made in an earlier meeting – and had discussed this with Penarth Arts and Crafts (PACL) in last week’s meeting.

Cllr Penrose said “It is my view that such a meeting SHOULD be organised – but led by Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd. ” .

Cllr Penrose explained that PACL had leased the Pier Pavilion from the Vale Council commencing in June 2012 for a period of 125 years.  He said “The lease permits the use of the community venue as a provision for an art gallery, public exhibition hall and ancillary use such as the cinema, cafe and  shop” 

He said “The first principal covenant was to commence and carry out  the works to repair and refurbish the Pavilion. This work has been completed and there is nothing for this council to enforce at this time. There are no covenants governing the manner in which the managed – and indeed it would be highly unusual is there was – as the lease deals with the occupation of the property only and not the way that it is managed . “

He said that at the Vale Council Cabinet meeting of the 7th of October 2013 the [then Labour Vale administration] had agreed a grant of  £100,000 towards supporting the operation and managing the Pier Pavilion during the first 20 months  of its operation . The grant was paid in monthly installments  – each of £5,000 – which began on September 1st 2013  to defray the running costs as set out in the business plan and was to be paid up to “a maximum of 20 invoices”.

Professor Anthony Hazell, chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd. The pressure is now on him to facilitate a public meeting on the Pavilion

Cllr Penrose said these monthly payments finished in January 2016  and as a result the Vale Council “is currently not committed to grant any financial support”.  He emphasises however “We understand the importance of the Pier Pavilion  as a visitor attraction and an important facility. It is also important, as it is OUR building . That is why we continue to seek dialogue with PACL”

Cllr Penrose said “The day-to-day running of the Pavilion and links with the community and town of Penarth are primarily a matter for PACL”

On the mooted public meeting or “Open Forum”  Cllr Penrose said Were PACL in a position to organise a public meeting then I would clearly wish to be involved but I think it’s important to understand that this is a matter for PACL “

In a side-swipe at the previous Labour administration in the Vale Council which had given the £100,000 grant to PACL, Cllr Penrose pointed out that the Labour-run Vale cabinet had “not seen fit to organise and hold any public meetings as part of that agreement”.

 

 

 

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REPORT RECOMMENDS PUTTING PENARTH INTO GIANT LABOUR CONSTITUENCY

The Welsh Assembly – the seat of the Welsh Labour Govermment would be officially designated as the “Welsh Parliament” if the report’s recommendations are adopted.

A report by an “independent “ academic panel set up by the Labour-run Welsh Assembly Government has recommended that for Assembly elections, Penarth should be part of a giant new Labour-dominated electoral constituency.

This recommendation runs totally counter to proposals already made by the UK Electoral Commission .

The Electoral Commission wanted take Penarth out of the oversized “Cardiff South and Penarth” Parliamentary constituency and put the town into a new Vale of Glamorgan East parliamentary constituency.

No 19 is the proposed new combined Cardiff South and Penarth and Cardiff Central Assembly constituency which is suggested by the report. Vaughan Gething – the current Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth is likely to be one of the 5 AMs who would represent the new enlarged constituency in the Welsh Assembly elected by the Single Transferable Vote system . The proposed arrangements would enshrine a permanent Labour dominance

However the Welsh Labour Government’s new report would not only force Penarth to remain in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency for Assembly elections – but would merge it with the Labour-dominated Cardiff Central constituency . The scheme would safeguard the future of  Labour AM Vaughan Gething who currently represents Cardiff South and Penarth in the Welsh Assembly

The report has been written by a group which modestly calls itself  “the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform” under Professor Laura McAllister and proposes, amongst other things, that:-

  • The existing Welsh Assembly constituencies should be “paired” together to form a total of 20 new constituencies – each with 4 or maybe even 5 AMs  [ i.e. 100 Assembly Members]
  • In the case of Penarth,  Cardiff Central would be paired with Cardiff South and Penarth  ….with Penarth still inside it. [ This recommendation directly contradicts the UK Electoral Commission’s proposals – see http://tinyurl.com/y7ld3npb ]
  • All Assembly members would be elected by the heavily-criticised Single Transferable Vote system – instead of  “First Past the Post”.
  • Children aged 16 would be allowed to vote [A strategy seen by some as a cynical ploy to increase the Labour vote].
  • A “Gender Quota” would boost the number of female AMs – although its not clear from the report how all categories in the full LBTGQI spectrum would be accommodated.
  • The Welsh Assembly itself would be renamed as “the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru”

Inadvertently, the title of the new report implies the existing Welsh Assembly doesn’t  actually“work for Wales”

The Welsh Labour Government sponsored report is called “A Parliament that Works for Wales” and says that the Welsh Assembly needs an extra 20 to 30 members to cope with its “growing workload”.

It says “While there may be uncertainty about the powers the Assembly has as a consequence of Brexit, it is clear that its workload will certainly not be reduced and is likely to grow.” 

[PDN Note:  In fact AMs do very little work. Few people know who they are and there are extended periods of holidays during which the Assembly is closed down.]

In 1979 a Labour attempt to install a Welsh Assembly in Wales was comprehensively defeated in a public referendum.  In 1997 the New Labour Government tried a second referendum held under modified rules. Under the rules applying in the 1979 Referendum the wafer thin-majority of  6,721 votes achieved in 1997  would have be insufficient to introduce devolution – but in 1997 Labour had changed the rules so that it would win the 1997 Referendum. Labour also refused all calls for a re-count – although it’s believed the ballot papers for the contentious 1997 referendum are still held in storage.

This year, Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre found that the overwhelming majority people in Wales DO NOT think the Assembly has improved education standards in Wales – or anything else in Wales.  65% of the population of Wales think  the Assembly has made “no difference” to their living standards. 20% think they are worse off than before.

Official figures published today show that Wales has  seen the largest rise in unemployment of all UK nations and regions, up 6,000 to 71,000. Wales is the only part of the UK where the unemployment rate has risen year on year..

The leader of the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly Neil Hamilton

UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton  has said the proposals in the report should be  the subject of a public referendum . He said The last thing Wales needs is yet more politicians. The Welsh Assembly currently costs £55,000,000 a year and the increase would mean a budget expansion to over £80,000,000 a year”

Conservative MP for Monmouth David Davies said AMs should work more effectively and that it is not necessary to increase their numbers.

 

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