Deafblind charity meeting

I had a very fruitful and interesting meeting with members of the Deafblind charity in Neath discussing the issues that affect those with hearing and visual impairments in our community. Some of the issues covered included the community accommodating deafblind people, public loop systems, benefits help for deafblind people now the system has changed, Blue badges and public toilets. The work that Deafblind do to support people who have a combined sight and hearing loss is fantastic and their continuing fight so that deafblind people have the same rights, access and opportunities as others is vitally important to allow them to live independent lives.

Borrowing more today can mean borrowing less tomorrow by getting the economy growing again

During the budget debate in the House of Commons Peter Hain said,

“The Chancellor delivered last year’s budget in the week that the clocks changed.  We had hoped to hear that the economy was about to spring forward.  This budget confirms instead that it has fallen back – yet again.  For the third time in a row he has stood up on Budget day to announce that things have got even worse than he forecast the year before.  The Prime Minister says his economic policies are beginning to work, but where he sees signs of success the country can’t even see a brighter shade of fail.

All we got in this budget is more of the same from a Chancellor who looks increasingly like a loser, a spent force who talks aspiration but delivers stagnation.”

To read the whole speech click here

Unite Against Fascism Counter-Demonstration 2013

Over 400 people stood together last Saturday (9th March) at a counter-demonstration organised by Unite Against Fascism against the National Front, sending out the message loud and clear that Swansea is a no-go area for fascists, racists and Nazis.
The weather stayed on our side throughout the day and the family-friendly, festival atmosphere of the UAF’s counter-protest was fantastic to be a part of. Around forty so-called ‘white-pride’ protesters arrived at around 1.30pm, and I would like to congratulate the police on the success of their meticulously planned operation, which helped the day to pass without violence.
With the government continuing its crippling attacks on public services and welfare benefits, organisations like the NF use people’s despair to spread discord and division throughout our communities. By targeting minorities – especially black and ethnic minorities, Jews and Muslims – their poisonous policies scapegoat individuals for problems such as of lack of jobs, the banking crisis and the global economy, none of which have anything to do with skin colour or religion.
As a designated city of sanctuary, Swansea is justly proud of both the diversity of its people and its culture of tolerance. Together, we showed the NF that they and any others who hold a similar abhorrent ideology will simply not be allowed to swagger around our communities spreading their poison and their hate.

Save Neath Crown Post Office

Support is continuing to grow for saving Neath Post Office and the vital services it provides. The branch on Windsor Road is one of 70 across the UK earmarked to join with a retail franchise which would mean a loss of key services. I’ve met with workers and addressed the public meeting in Neath town hall. It is crucial that we show our support for the Crown Office and the service provided there. Sign the petition (in my office) and show your support.


Foodbanks Wales

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): Will my hon. Friend comment on a particular feature of the Neath food bank? Some 1,400 people in the Neath area are dependent on the food bank. Around half of those are in work. It is not solely people on benefits who are dependent on  food banks; people in work are, too. The Wales Office website has still not taken down the Secretary of State’s commitment that people in work will always be better off than they would be on benefits. Those people are dependent on food banks in my constituency.

Kevin Brennan: Indeed. In a recent debate led by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger), my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty) mentioned that he had collected food for FareShare in Penarth. Many of the people being helped by the food bank were not the people one might expect, but people in work who were struggling to get by. The hon. Member for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies) has been keen to intervene; I note that a new food bank has opened up in Chepstow. I am sure that he will pay it a visit shortly, if he has not already done so.

In Wales, the rapid expansion of food banks is a subject that resonates and rankles. It is symptomatic of an approach by the Government that represents a shift away from the British belief in the importance of social security, founded by the three great Welsh pioneers and symbolised by the old-age pension, national insurance and the national health service, and its replacement with the alien American concept of welfare stigmatism—the demonisation of the poor and the replacement of the state’s responsibility with the vagaries of the charitable handout. The good society has been gazumped by the ill-named “big society”, in which well-meaning individuals try to patch the gaping holes created by austerity economics.