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South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle’s blog: January 25

Published in Comment, News. Last updated on Wednesday January 25th, 2012 at 13:00

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In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.

Lindsay Whittle, South Wales East Assembly Member

Lindsay Whittle, South Wales East Assembly Member

Private Sector Involvement in the NHS
It seems Labour MPs in Westminster, including both the Caerphilly and Islwyn MPs, are completely out of touch with their colleagues back here in Wales.

Twenty-three Labour MPs backed an opposition motion which stated there was an important role for the private sector in the delivery of NHS care. I wonder what Aneurin Bevan’s view of that would have been?

I’m got no objection to companies building private hospitals if they wish but involvement in the NHS as far as I’m concerned is a complete non-starter.

When the issue was raised in the Senedd by Plaid’s health spokesperson, the First Minister appeared embarrassed by his own party’s action in Westminster and who wouldn’t be? He made it clear that it was not the view of the Welsh Government that the private sector should play such a role and it is something I welcome.

The former Labour Welsh Health Minister has made her views very clear on involvement of the private sector in the past.
Labour MPs locally now need to explain to the public why they support any involvement of the private sector in NHS care.

Council Tax
A draft budget report has gone to councillors for consultation. It proposes for a second consecutive year council tax in the county borough should be frozen.

If the freeze is approved, it will mean that council tax at Band D will have risen by just over £45 during the four years of Plaid running the council. That’s nearly £100 less than the four years from 2004 when Labour was in control.

I’ve heard Labour desperately trying to rubbish this bold move which will help families and individuals with their budgeting. It is a significant monthly cost for families and in these really tough times, the council is doing all it can to help people.

Opposition councillors complain about the rise in some charges such as garage rents or the cost of bulky waste collection. Yes, some charges have risen but residents don’t pay those fees unless they use those services. And, of course, all households benefit if council tax is not increased.

I’m not surprised that Labour has been speaking out about the freeze in council tax given their record for raising it year on year. The facts are there for everyone to see – Plaid costs you less and leaves more of your money in your pocket.

Lindsay Whittle
Plaid Cymru South Wales East AM

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  • Trefor Bond

    Health care in Wales is a matter for the Assembly and its members, Why should we worry about the personal views of MP`s in Paliarment, who manage and process, the health service in England, or do I miss something here? The way a Welsh MP votes or what he or she says in the House of Commons is no more than an indication of their party position.

    Council Tax Comments by Lindsay are disproportionate, in that he appears to make them, in this blog, in his capacity as a Councillor on Caerphilly council and not as an Assembly member representing South East Wales, I would like to know where is the opportunity for say, Harry Andrews, leader of the Labour opposition on the Caerphilly council, to make statements and comments on a blog, in these pages, on behalf of that opposition on the council, as a ratepayer I would like to know where the Caerphilly Labour Party stands on the issues commented about by Lindsay.

  • Glyndo

    Trefor Bond on January 25th, 2012 at 1:24 pm says…

    "Health care in Wales is a matter for the Assembly and its members, Why should we worry about the personal views of MP`s in Paliarment,"

    Perhaps because it indicates a certain hypocracy on their part? Or are you suggesting that they a irrelevant to the people of Wales?

  • Trefor Bond

    Glydo:

    Yes I am suggesting, in this situation, considering the words of Lindsay on his blog, that there is`irrelevance` in the comments made by any Welsh MP in respect to the processes of the Health Services for and in Wales.

    Now, if one were to consider the issue of financial settlements between London and Cardiff then that`s a totally different ball game, and the utterences of Welsh MPs is of Prime relevence.

    Any creeping privatisation of health provision in Wales is a matter for Lindsay and his colleagues at the Assembly.

  • James Pritchard

    "Plaid costs you less and leaves more of your money in your pocket".

    Tell that to the widow who has to fork out the extra 18% to bury her husband this year and tell it to the person who has lost their job who has to pay the charge for removal of household items.

    Plaid are trying to tell everybody that they are on the side of people in tough times but the reality is that they are hitting people who can least afford to pay. By freezing council tax Plaid are disproportionately helping the richest families. A 1% rise advocated by Labour locally would take more money from households living in high banded properties enabling more money to be spent on essential services whilst enabling current charges to be reduced.

    Why dont Plaid wake up and realise that universal charges hit the poorest hardest and if they really want to claim that they are protecting the vulnerable, why dont they put an end to such exorbitant rises for basic services.

  • Gareth Pratt

    It may be a bold move Lindsay to freeze council tax, but what about the charges for the removal of bulk household rubbish? Is this a stealth tax? This service was free under Labour, but now is charged for under Plaid. This is not the way to help hard pressed families, for some of whom, £15 may be quite a fee. This new charge has, as I understand it, lead to a marked increase in fly tipping in the Caerephilly area, which council tax payers in general have to pay to clear up!

    Private companies building hospitals for the NHS should also be a non starter. These buildings belong to the building company for a set period of time,during which the NHS rents them, and then has to buy them from the private builder at the end of the rental agreement. This is a stain on the idea of Bevan's idea of an NHS free at the point of delivery. NHS buildings should be paid for from public funds.