Wayne David

Member of Parliament for Caerphilly

September 2012 CLP Newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of our monthly bulletin that provides you with the news of what is going on within the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.

What Have You Been Up to During the Summer?
Many of you may be wondering what the Caerphilly CLP Secretary has been doing since we last met on 14 July.  Since my wife and I took our summer holidays in early June (a wonderful lazy and restful week in the Caribbean island of Tobago), we suffered the wettest summer recorded in over a century in our native country, were unable to enjoy much gardening activity, and consequently spent far too much time indoors!!

However, as your CLP Secretary, I simply got on with various tasks that will, hopefully, help to get the Labour Party elected at Westminster in 2015.

Firstly, I organised 6 Reading Groups of members to debate and discuss each subject heading that the National Policy Forum of the Party had devised as part of the current Party system of putting together our General Election manifesto.  On 6 successive Saturday mornings during July and August, a small group of those who had responded to my request for Party members to get involved, met at the BTM Council Offices in Bedwas to consider drafts I had prepared, based on the questions devised by the NPF to stimulate debate on all 6 of the subject matters.  I consequently sent the final papers (summarised below) to the NPF in London. If anyone wishes to have a copy of the final document please let me know. The subject matters are:

1.    Britain In The World
2.    Crime, Justice, Citizenship & Equalities
3.    Education & Skills
4.    Health and Social Care
5.    Prosperity at Work
6.    Sustainable Communities

Perhaps the most important and controversial issue is No 5 that covers taxation and the concept of a Living Wage which our Party Leader, Ed Milliband, has spoken about on many occasions. I personally believe there is a viable alternative to the Con Dem Government’s policy of cuts on benefits and austerity, that includes measures of increasing government revenue by a mixture of higher taxes on those who can afford it and stricter regulations on tax avoidance by wealthy tax exiles and large multi-national corporations who trade very profitably within the UK, yet pay little corporation tax.

Secondly, I did some internal house keeping by reviewing all my records on the e-mail addresses of party members, spurred on by the recent huge increase in postage stamps that now cost us 50p for second-class delivery. 
I now have an updated record of 157 party members with an e-mail address that enables me to keep in contact with members without spending huge sums on postage costs. In future letters sent via the Royal Mail to members will now include a small paragraph to ask whether they have an e-mail address, and if so, to let me have the details so that we can make further savings on postage costs.

Thirdly, I have been busy organising a canvassing timetable and campaign for the forthcoming Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner elections on Thursday 15 November, with our chosen candidate, Hamish Sandison (Monmouth).

We started our canvassing on Saturday 1 September in the Caerphilly Town Centre with Hamish himself and our MP and AM and our Saturday morning volunteer team also involved. Anyone who wishes to join our team can contact me for details of our canvassing timetable, and perhaps help us when we are in your area.

Our next GC meeting will be held on Friday 14 September at 6.30 pm at the Council Chambers at Ty Penallta in Ystrad Mynach. We have an interesting guest speaker, Owen Smith, MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

All Party members are welcome to attend and we look forward to seeing you there.

The Fundraising Committee has also been busy during the summer break, and you should have received details from its Secretary, Lisa Jones, of their future plans between now and the end of the year. The next event is the much anticipated Pony & Pizza Race Night on Thursday 20 September at 7pm in the Ystrad Mynach Non-Political Club at Bedlwyn Road, Ystrad Mynach. Please support such events; they are tremendous fun and help us raise funds for our future campaigning activities.

Team Caerphilly County Borough Labour Party (the new organisation for local govvernment activities formerly known as the Caerphilly County Labour Party) will be contacting, via email and post, all party members throughout the Caerphilly, Islwyn and Rhymney constituencies with details of their AGM. I can give you advance notice that it will be held at the Council Chambers in Ty Penallta in Ystrad Mynach on Saturday 17 November starting at 10.30 am. 

Team Caerphilly will also supervise the selection of a new candidate for the New Tredegar Ward in Rhymney following the sad loss of Cllr Les Rees. The plan is to have the by-election on Thursday18 October. I have already alerted Caerphilly CLP members via email about this process.


The importance of the Police and Crime Commissioner election – Wayne David MP
 On 15 November there will be an important election. Not many people have heard about this, but on that date people will have the chance to vote for their Police and Crime Commissioner.
These will be important elections. In the Caerphilly constituency, as part of the Gwent Police area, our Labour candidate is of course Hamish Sandison. Hamish has a great deal of legal and practical experience and is well suited for the post.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will replace the police authorities and will have an important role holding Chief Constables to account and controlling the police budget. Here in Gwent this is important because we have seen recently the Chief Constable taking important decisions which impact upon community policing without any consultation whatsoever with the local community. I am thinking of the Chief Constable’s decision to close to the public virtually all the police stations in Gwent.

A PCC can ensure that such high-handedness is brought to an end. Hamish has said that if he is PCC he will insist that proper consultation takes place with community leaders and the community more generally before important decisions are taken.

Hamish has also said that he will do everything he can to protect frontline policing. This is important because the Tory-led Government in Westminster is pushing through a cut of 20% in police funding.  Undoubtedly, difficult times lie ahead. It is therefore vitally important that we elect in November a Labour PCC who will fight for Labour’s values and priorities.

So, do all you can to spread the message: these elections are important and we need our people to come out and vote. We have an excellent candidate in Hamish and now is the time to rally behind him.

 

Labour Party – The Party of the People – Jeff Cuthbert AM
We’ve all been there and heard it from people over the years “You’re all the same. Nothing ever changes so what’s the point in voting”. Perhaps a few years ago when we were going through a period of relative unpopularity those familiar comments from people on the doorstep might have deterred some of us from going out on a Saturday morning. I suppose to a certain extent that was understandable back then. Now however I believe we’re in a completely different ball game. We won the support of the Welsh people firstly in the March 2011 referendum and then we gained more votes than ever at the Welsh Assembly elections a few months later.

Here in the Caerphilly constituency we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved since the General Election. Since day one we’ve been out on the doorstep talking to people, taking up issues on their behalf, really showing that it’s the Labour Party who are standing up for people in tough times. The recent local election results have given us real cause for optimism for the future. Our intake has greatly been enhanced from 9 councillors elected in 2008 to the 17 recorded in May 2012. It is also worth noting that we have trebled our intake of female councillors from 2 to 6 and I believe this will be beneficial for the months and years ahead.

The acid test comes however when any new administration takes over. I am particularly delighted that the new Labour council’s first real act was to approve plans to introduce a Living Wage of £7.20ph for its workforce from October 1st 2012. The Labour council has said quite plainly that for people to be able to live with dignity they need to be paid a wage that doesn’t keep them in poverty but takes them out of it. The introduction of the Living Wage will make sure that WORK PAYS. Recipients of this increase will largely be women working part – time, many of which will have undoubtedly been hit be the cuts to tax credits, the freezing of pay and the rise in VAT. Another recent announcement that will bring cheer particularly to commuters is that this Labour council has scrapped Plaid Cymru’s unpopular Park & Ride proposals. A levy of £1.50 per day was planned at stations across the Borough. Such a charge would have acted as a disincentive to work. We know that people are struggling to get by so why would we make it harder for people to go about their daily business? We have always opposed the charges and now I’m glad to see they’re in the bin.

Whilst we have to stay focussed and remember that politics can be full of ups and downs its worth taking stock of our achievements in such a short time. Welsh Labour is committed to standing up for Wales. Protecting the free bus passes, free prescriptions and keeping tuition fees low are policies that the population as a whole support. The Labour council are showing their determination to address poverty by introducing the Living Wage. Together we can show that Labour is the Party of the people.

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