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South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle’s blog: May 15

Published in Comment, News at 13:00, Thursday May 15th, 2014.


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

The Senedd

There was a Plaid Cymru debate in the National Assembly calling for the abolition of the ‘Bedroom Tax‘.

I focused on the impact of the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ on disabled people —our most vulnerable people.

It is easy enough for David Cameron and his millionaire cronies to say that people who have what they call an extra bedroom should move in order to downsize. You try telling that to disabled people, who live in adapted properties in social housing. I am from social housing background

More than £500,000 has been spent on adapting homes for residents in just one housing association that I know. If these residents are forced to move because they are classed as under-occupying, much of that investment will be wasted and more money will be needed to adapt other homes for those people to live in.

Disabled people have suffered from the onslaught on benefits in two major areas: the coalition Government introduced means-testing for the employment and support allowances that reduce the entitlements that people have had. Secondly, there is the replacement of disability allowance with personal independence payments.

During First Minister’s Questions, I also raised the issue of plans for Nant Llesg opencast mining operation in the Rhymney Valley.

I am opposed to the scheme and a number of companies in the area have already said that they will relocate.

We know that jobs are needed in the Heads of the Valleys area, but do you think that it is right to put the promise of relatively few and short-term opencast mining jobs above the enormous environmental cost that would be the result of opencast mining?

The people of the communities of Nant Llesg as well as other areas of South Wales have paid the price of coal.

On plans for a Specialist and Critical Care Centre in Cwmbran, I was disappointed to hear that we will have to wait until 2019 before it is actually built.

This vital project for South-East Wales was first proposed in 2005 so it will be 14 years from idea to fruition which seems a very long time.

Food Festival

I spent some time in the food festival over the weekend and it was great to see suppliers from outside Wales as well as more local producers.

There were excellent numbers of people visiting which shows how important events like these are to the economy of Caerphilly.


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