Welcome to a special Christmas and New Year edition of our Monthly Bulletin, which provides you with the news of what is going on within the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.
Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Ddda I chwi!!
Caerphilly CLP Monthly News Bulletin Christmas/New Year Edition
All Party members are invited to attend our next GC meeting being held on Friday, 14 December starting at 6:30pm at the Council Chambers of the Caerphilly County Borough Council Offices at Ty Penallta, Ystrad Mynach.
The Agenda will include a motion for debate submitted by Keith Fletcher from the Llanbradach Ward, based on an email he recently sent to the Labour Party leader, Ed Milliband, entitled Macro Policy, on starting to define the agenda for political debate, especially in view of the forthcoming impact of welfare reforms and further cuts in government expenditure by this terrible Con Dem Government in Westminster. The motion defines 3 areas of priorities, capital growth strategy, unequal distribution of income and wealth and climate change.
The full version of the motion will be available at the meeting. We will also discuss a leaflet being prepared as part of our campaign to persuade Arriva Trains that there should be a freeze on future rail fare increases, rises that impacts heavily on many voters living within our area.
There will also be a report on the recent AGM of Team Caerphilly County Borough Labour Party held on Saturday 17 November, as well as a report by our MP, Wayne David, on the lessons to be learnt on the very disappointing results of the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Election held on Thursday 15 November.
Finally, there will be a Report on the Wales Policy Forum which was held in Cardiff on Saturday 8 December.
Our first GC meeting in the New Year will be held on Friday 11 January starting at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber at Ty Penallta.
We will have 2 guest speakers. The first will be Rhianydd Williams, the Campaign Manager for the Wales TUC, on the subject of regional pay in Wales, plans brought forward with almost no publicity by the Con Dem Government at Westminster that could have a devastating impact for regions such as Wales.
Our second guest speaker will be Darren Williams from the Cardiff West CLP, who is one of the Welsh delegates on the National Policy Forum and Campaign Manager for the PCS Trade Union in Wales. Darren will speak on the subject of the freezing of pay in the public sector, a sector that employs a considerable proportion of workers in constituencies such as Caerphilly, and how this impacts on families which are already on very low wages.
Both subjects should spark a lively debate!!
Wayne David MP
As we approach 2013, things look bleak for many people. Thanks to the Con Dem Government many people will see things going from bad to worse in the New Year.
On 1st April 2013 there will be the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act and the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax. This will have a horrendous effect on many people in social housing and it will be vital that those affected 'point the finger' at central government and not Caerphilly Council, who will have no alternative but to implement the law.
At the same time the Government will be starting on a programme of cuts to Disability Living Allowance hitting, again, those least able to defend themselves.
And this is only part of a truly terrible picture which will get worse. Further cuts are in the pipeline and the Government are preparing an additional round of austerity.
Sorry there's very little Christmas cheer.
Jeff Cuthbert AM
The Silk Report – A Historic Opportunity
The Commission on Devolution in Wales, established by the UK Government and chaired by Paul Silk, published its first report on 19 November. The report’s recommendations will undoubtedly be debated in the months and years ahead. The Commission was structured so that the views of all four main political parties in Wales would be represented, and it’s pleasing that the initial findings of the report were given broad support by the four main parties.
So what were the report’s findings? The most significant recommendation was the one to devolve powers to vary income tax - if voters approve it in a referendum. The report also found that this should only be considered if talks between the Welsh and UK governments over reform of the Barnett formula reach a satisfactory conclusion. The Barnett formula is a pre–devolution system of allocating resources to the nations and regions of the United Kingdom, but the formula was not designed with devolution in mind. As a result, Wales is underfunded by over £300 million a year and this has to be rectified before we take any decisions on income tax.
Other recommendations include the proposal for Wales to gain control over minor taxes such as air passenger duty, business rates, landfill tax and stamp duty. We are also pleased that the Commission has endorsed the devolution of borrowing powers to help finance investment - this is essential if we are to boost the Welsh economy.
All four main parties in the Assembly have agreed that the Silk reforms would make the Welsh Government more accountable for its decisions. It’s hard not to agree with that given the extra responsibilities that would come with its recommendations. We shouldn’t be afraid of that though, and I’m sure we will be ready to take up the challenge.
A Council Working For All- At Last
Your hard work this year helped the election of a Labour Council and we have been getting to work for all of the residents of Caerphilly County Borough.
One of the early highlights of a Labour Caerphilly has been the introduction of a Living Wage for over 3000 lowest paid staff, currently set at £7.20 an hour. Our leadership have now asked officers to cost a rise to £7.45 an hour. In addition, in line with our manifesto commitments, we have managed to operate a pilot scheme to keep youth clubs open over the summer and we have confirmed that we will not be introducing Plaid’s parking charges at park and ride train stations.
There remain many challenges ahead, not least because we have been working under the budget set in February by Plaid- who delayed a raise in council tax despite warnings from officers that it would leave holes in the Council’s finances. We will have received the final financial settlement from the Welsh Government in early December and our leadership will bring forward proposals for the next budget in the New Year. Clearly, given the economic uncertainty, our Labour Group will have some choices to make. We may not be able to deliver on all of our manifesto pledges in year one, but we will do so over the council term, with the highest priorities implemented first.
In education, we will have to address the need to reduce the surplus places in our secondary schools- a challenge that Plaid recognised but failed to meet. October saw the closure of Cwmcarn School after asbestos was found. In response, the Labour Group voted unanimously to relocate the school to Coleg Gwent Ebbw Vale for the rest of the academic year. Changes in the delivery of education services in Wales have been proposed by Leighton Andrews and we are determined to prove that Labour councils can effectively manage our schools.
In November, Caerphilly became the first council in Wales to declare itself against regional pay and I was pleased to second Cllr Gerald Kirby’s proposal of the motion at Full Council. We are now committed to the TUC’s campaign for fair and equal pay.
In Caerphilly, you now have a council committed to social justice and fairness rather than Welsh Nationalism. We will make sure that this continues to be reflected in policy in the year ahead.
If you have any questions or comments about the work of the Council, please get in touch. My email is email@example.com
Cllr Hefin David, Secretary, Caerphilly Labour Group
As a thank you to all the members of the 250 Club for their support over the year, the prizes for the draw taking place at the GC Meeting on Friday 14 December 2012, will be doubled to £50, £20 and £10. If you are not already a member, it’s not too late to join to be in for a chance to win these prizes. You’ve got to be in it to win it!!
We are pleased to confirm that a New Year’s Dinner has been arranged for the evening of Friday 18 January. The dinner will take place at Caerphilly Golf Club, Mountain Road, Caerphilly. We really hope that you can join us for what promises to be an enjoyable evening. Tickets for the dinner will be charged at £20 each. Further details will be sent out to all members, but if you wish to guarantee your place at this dinner, please contact Lisa Jones on 07811 104389.
The Fundraising Committee would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.