Welcome to the July edition of our monthly bulletin, providing you with the news of what is going on within the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.
Secretary’s Report: Bryn Hollywell
Welcome to the July edition of our CLP monthly bulletin. There will be no bulletin during August, I think we all need a break from our political endeavours so that we are refreshed in readiness for the general election campaign.
Meanwhile our Saturday morning canvassing continues until Saturday 26 July before the August break. Look out for my emails sent each Wednesday for details of where we will be canvassing along with with our comrades in the Cardiff North constituency.
On Monday 15 September the AGM of the Team Caerphilly Labour Party will be held at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber of the Ty Penallta offices in Ystrad Mynach. I will be sending a letter (or email) to all Party members on behalf of Team Caerphilly within a few weeks to invite you to attend this AGM. Team Caerphilly is the Party organisation for local government elections, and anyone who wishes to consider standing for the elections for the Caerphilly County Borough Council and/or their local town or community council should contact me for details and come along to this AGM. We are keen to identify potential councillors for the 2017 council elections, in order to get them involved with issues within their local community.
The September GC on Friday 12 September will have the Cardiff North Labour candidate, Mari Williams, as our guest speaker, and we will then debate the Williams Commission Report on local government, which has proposed that the new council boundary for our area includes the current councils of Caerphilly, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent. Welsh Labour is anxious to have the views of the Constituency Parties no later than 30 September and I will circulate a paper on the subject during August in order to kick-start the debate.
During September we will hold a special GC meeting on a Saturday morning at the BTM Community Council offices in Bedwas to debate issues for the Welsh Government elections in 2016 under the heading of the Welsh Policy Forum. As with the National Policy Forum, I will detail the subjects that will be debated and invite anyone who wishes to be involved in this process to contact me for details of the policies being proposed and the questions we are asked to consider. This exercise will also include the motion the Caerphilly CLP submitted to the 2014 Welsh Labour Annual Conference on ‘early intervention’, which will be debated and voted on at the 2015 Welsh Labour Annual Conference.
Details of the National Policy Forum subjects we debated and agreed at our special GC meeting on Saturday 7 June are published in this July Edition.
Article from Wayne David MP
Labour: building a stronger economy and a better country
Wales has the highest percentage of people on low incomes in the whole of the UK, according to the latest figures from the Government. These figures also show that Wales has some of the highest levels of “absolute poverty” in the country. The shocking statistics show that a third of children and a quarter of working-age adults in Wales are now classed as living in “absolute poverty”.
This is proof, if any was needed, of how the current Tory-led Government’s economic policies have failed and why it is only Labour who can offer the change that Wales and the rest of Britain needs.
What we need is a government that will ensure that ordinary families throughout Britain feel the benefits from growth in the country’s economy. This is simply not happening now.
We have finally seen a welcome return to growth in the British economy over the last few months. But wages are still only going up at half the rate of prices. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that new research by the business organisation the CBI has shown that “a lot of people are feeling worse off than before the recession”.
Seven years on from the global banking crisis that led to the recession, there are huge challenges that need to be dealt with. Too many people feel insecure in their jobs. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet. Too many people feel that the next generation is going to be worse off.
In trying to address these challenges the next Labour Government must compete in a race to the top for high wages and high skills, not a race to the bottom as the current Tory-led Government are doing.
At the moment we have too many people employed on zero-hour contracts and too many people on permanently low wages. Although the Government has been reluctant to admit how many people are on zero-hour contracts, I have pointed out in the House of Commons that the numbers have more than doubled since Labour was in power. Having so many of these types of contracts is not only bad for the individual workers, but it is bad for the British economy as a whole.
Labour will look to create an economy where workers feel they have more security. This will only happen if the economic conditions are right for good jobs in every part of the country and if the workforce is highly skilled.
These are the challenges that the current Government has failed to address. That is why it is up to the next Labour Government to build a stronger economy and a better country.
Article from Jeff Cuthbert AM
The Importance of Strong, Sustainable Communities
We all will have been shocked and horrified by the recent news that three young men from Cardiff may have gone to Iraq and Syria in order to fight ‘jihad’ – or Islamic holy war – on behalf of ISIS, a ruthless terrorist organisation who want to carve a fundamentalist separate state out of parts of both countries. What many of us will have felt most of all was the pain and anguish of the boys’ parents, who are terrified for their sons’ fates and believe that they were brainwashed into fighting.
In terms of combatting extremism and radicalisation in Wales, policing and issues of national security remain the responsibility of the Home Office. However, the Welsh Government works closely with the Home Office and several other partner organisations to ensure a joined-up approach to minimising the risk in Wales. We have received ‘Prevent’ funding from the UK Government in order to develop a multi-agency anti-extremism and anti-radicalisation framework here in Wales; while we also have a programme called ‘Getting On Together’, which is run in secondary schools. Furthermore, we work with communities and community ‘elders’ (or leaders) in order to get our message across, ensuring that communities integrate and the temptation of extremism is nipped in the bud as early and as much as possible.
Last month, as Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, I launched our community cohesion scheme. Community Cohesion Coordinators across Wales have been provided with more funding as part of this, and I continue to meet with community leaders on a regular basis, both through the Race Strategy Forum and the Faith Strategy Forum. Furthermore, we work with schools to ensure that education has an important role to play – both our ‘Respect and Resilience’ and ‘Creating Safe Learning Communities’ guidance to local authorities works towards this. These are particularly aimed at pupils who may be thought of as vulnerable to radicalisation by extremist religious groups.
More than anything, it is important that we ensure joined-up working between devolved and non-devolved bodies when dealing with issues like this. This means working with community organisations, faith groups, the health service, local government and schools on the one hand; and the Home Office, the police, and various elements of the security services on the other. Such a positive, grassroots approach will help with integration and the combating of radicalisation – particularly within our Muslim communities here in Wales. While these three young men have all come from Cardiff, it is important to stress that Cardiff is not a hotbed for this.
In the meantime, the Welsh Government continues to have regular discussions with the Prime Minister’s extremism taskforce about its work relating to Wales. This is an important part of the multi-agency framework that I have laid out above.
We must remember that the overwhelming majority of Welsh Muslims reject extremism and want nothing to do with it whatsoever. Only by adopting a positive, integrationist approach and working together will we tackle the threat of extremism and radicalisation in Wales.
Submissions by the Caerphilly CLP to the Agenda 2015 Consultation
1. Stability & Prosperity
Long-termism underpinning our approach to the economy:
“Tax Breaks, as is common practice in Germany, provides an excellent example of the right approach for rewarding long-term investment. Trade Unions should be encouraged to get involved as Trustees of pension funds to ensure that their employers are planning long-term investments, but this will only be successful if there is proper training for Trustees. In companies that have no recognised trade unions Regulations are required to ensure that Trustees are properly trained to undertake their duties”
Tackling Tax Avoidance:
“A new law that requires all Banks registered within the UK to report ALL their financial transactions to the Inland Revenue, will not only aid the police in their war against criminals, but also expose those companies and individuals that are registered in tax havens to avoid taxes. This must be supported by increasing trained staff in the Inland Revenue to ensure compliance”
2. Work & Business
“Creation of a new Unit within the Dept of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for Export Promotion, headed by the Sec of State, that brings together under one roof of all Govt Depts. involved in export activity, supported by an Advisory Board by representatives with export knowledge from the CBI, the Institute of Directors and Chambers of Commerce, together with representatives from the trade unions of companies engaged in export activities, to produce a report within 12 months on how to boost and sustain Britain’s exports in overseas markets. This should include recommendations on the most appropriate tax incentives for companies who are considering exporting activity together with affordable export insurance cover, especially for small and medium sized businesses, and to consider the placement of trained professionals with export experience in British Embassies and Consulates in the most important export markets., and for the TUC to consider gathering evidence on the operation of European Works Councils and Profit-sharing incentives in export activities that could be adapted for the UK. This Unit should be shadowed by a suitable Parliamentary Select Committee to monitor its activities and its stated aim of boosting UK exports”
Better Work Places:
“Enforcement of the National Minimum Wage can only be achieved by the GLA if they are appropriately staffed to carry out their duties and responsibilities. The GLA should produce regular reports to the appropriate House of Commons Select Committee on their activities. The CBI and the TUC should be charged with the establishment of a Joint Commission to examine the concept of the introduction of Works Councils for each sector of UK industry, based on the German model, with rights for employee representatives to a seat on the Managing Board, together with full disclosure of all company plans, and the promotion of profit-sharing schemes as part of a remuneration package for all employees, supported by tax relief for companies that have such schemes that cover all their employees. The Resolution Foundation Review on the future of the National Minimum Wage entitled “The Final Report (4) should be adopted.”
3. Living Standards and Sustainability
Creating a fairer rail network:
“Not for dividend rail infrastructure operator Network Rail which receives around 80% of the industry’s public subsidy will be a public body from Sept 2014, a development that will dramatically change the industry’s landscape. In addition more than three-quarters of rail franchises will be up for renewal between 2015 and 2020. These unique circumstances present an incoming Labour Government with the opportunity to examine allowing a reformed National Rail or other public operator to take over the running of operating companies when the franchises expire, or earlier if it is economically efficient to do so. Such a step would mean our Labour Government would not be occupied by an expensive and complex franchising process whilst minimising structural upheaval in the industry; and dealing with the unsustainable way that rolling stock is currently procured. The substantial savings that would accrue could be invested in wider public services including a cut to fares for hard-pressed passengers”
4. Stronger, Safer Communities
Delivering Sport in our communities:
“A Levy on the Premier League of 7.5% from TV revenues should be introduced in order to save and develop grassroots football. A similar levy funded by the National Lottery and the tax on Bankers Bonuses should be ring-fenced for local councils to upgrade all existing sporting activities.”
5. Education and Children
Focusing on Teacher Quality:
“A Labour Govt. Would seek to enhance University quality assurance practices and encourage the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) when conducting inspections, to review the quality of University teaching, through observation of lectures and seminars. The quality of education and training provided for students completing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching qualifications would be examined by a Labour Govt to ensure that newly qualified teachers are best prepared for a career in teaching”
6. Electoral Reform
“Active consideration should be given to making it as easy as possible for individuals to register to vote. A person should be able to cast his/her vote if they take the necessary identification to the polling station on the day of an election; ability to vote should follow immediately after registration. Also, with extending the franchise to young people of 16 and 17, electoral registration should take place in schools and colleges.
This should be coupled with an option for all citizens to vote online to vastly increase participation in the elections, just as any can opt now to vote by post. An IT Taskforce should be created to look into the security features necessary for voting online, with the involvement of Electoral Registration Officers, who currently have systems in place to ensure that people do not vote by post and in person, for inclusion in the new system of online voting.”