Welcome to my CLP report for October.
I have joined the call for the Government to put a moratorium on the further roll out of its new benefits system known as Universal Credit.
Despite all the problems experienced with the programme to date the Tory Government has indicated its intention to press ahead with the controversial changes.
I am dismayed at the Government’s refusal to recognise recent research which shows that while wages are failing to keep up with inflation, cuts to in-work social security support have meant that most net incomes of recipients have flat-lined in real terms and worsened in a number of cases.
Under the current programme Universal Credit is scheduled to be rolled out in the Caerphilly constituency in May 2018.
Many employees, including our key public sector workers, who are already penalised by the stubborn refusal of the government to lift the public sector pay cap, will be dramatically worse off, in real terms, if Universal Credit continues to be rolled out in its current form.
That’s why I am echoing the call from the Labour Party for the roll out to be stopped whist urgent reform and redesign of Universal Credit is undertaken.
I am also supporting the call for the Universal Credit Helpline number to be free of charge. Many people who can least afford it are being hit with call charges of up to 55p per minute when contacting the helpline.
Defence Industrial Strategy
This last week I attended a meeting with other members of the Shadow Defence Team and the Party Leader.
I presented a paper to the meeting setting out the key contribution made by Britain’s industrial defence sector to the wealth of the country.
This sector has failed to develop to its true potential under this current Tory Government and the predecessor Con/Dem coalition, due to the short term financial constraints and narrow policy considerations.
I advocated that Labour’s industrial defence strategy should be based on a number of cornerstones including:
- Encouraging defence industries to develop in older industrial areas which have struggled under the last 2 Governments
- Relaxation of EU state aid and competition policy restraints
- Early engagement with the industry prior to any procurement process
- A long term commitment to industrial development in this sector
- Minimising the buying “off the shelf” capabilities from overseas, meeting the needs of our Armed Forces with British equipment
- Land and air strategies to complement any Government shipbuilding strategy
- Encouraging the industry to develop new, innovative approaches and technologies.
A robust defence industrial strategy will remain vital in a post-Brexit scenario and it is an industry which is key to the economic well being of Caerphilly and the South East Wales valleys.
In the last month I have attended a variety of events in the constituency:
I was pleased to support the Macmillan Coffee morning in Caerphilly at the start of the month, and the “Undercurrents Arts in Aber valley Festival” in Abertridwr.
It was a delight to compere the Caerphilly Ladies and Ysgol y Castell Choirs evening in support of the Caerphilly Miners Community Centre.
It was the AGM of Caerphilly Miners Community Centre this month. I was able to chair a well attended meeting which heard about the success of the Centre over the past 12 months, as well as providing an opportunity to celebrate the dedication of the many hard working volunteers.
I always welcome the opportunity to attend schools in the constituency and it was therefore a pleasure to be able to attend Bedwas High School’s Presentation evening.
Not another election
Whilst we may not be getting the election we all so desperately need as soon as we might wish, for those of you suffering withdrawal symptoms from not voting, an opportunity presents itself. Jayne and I have entered our dog Alice in the Kennel Club’s Westminster Dog of the Year competition. I would ask as many of you as possible to go onto the website below to vote and help deliver further electoral success for Caerphilly.
You can cast your vote at: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/events/westminster-dog-of-the-year/
More about the competition can be found at: http://www.waynedavid.co.uk/dog_of_the_year