No to English Parliament, yes to English devolution in a federal UK

Progress

Former Welsh secretary and Labour MP for Neath Peter Hain had this to say in a statement on the result:

The energy in the Scots votes, No and Yes, shows time is up for the old politics of the Westminster elite. People are fed up with a Westminster that does not listen and in the case of policies like the bedroom tax does not care.

All the Parties must now move quickly not only to deliver the promised new powers for Scotland, but to do so also for Wales, Northern Ireland and devolution to England. English regions like Cornwall and the North East, and city regions like Manchester and Leeds, also want more powers and should get these.

Peter added in a phone call with Prospect’s Josh Lowe: “If Scotland is going to get the same deal under the Barnett formula Wales has got to get a better deal [than it currently has]… You can’t keep giving all the goodies to Scotland simply because they shout the loudest.”

‘There is a strong case for the Committee Stage of English-only Bills to be scrutinised and amendments debated by English MPs only. But it would be fatal to balkanise Westminster by creating first and second class MPs for votes on the floor of the Commons. Otherwise only London MPs should decide on laws for London and so on, and crucially the Prime Minister would in practice be elected by English MPs alone since the PM would have to command a majority in the “England section’ of Westminster. The solution is devolution in England coupled with a federal UK Parliament in which English MPs would as they do now dominate, comprising 80 per cent of all MPs.”

The UK should move to a federal structure with nations, regions and communities empowered to build a new politics. This should include a democratic Second Parliamentary Chamber elected at the same time as general elections to replace the anachronistic House of Lords, representing all the nations and English regions.

Labour Breaks Coalition and Bedroom Tax

After a successful vote in the House of Commons Peter Hain MP has congratulated Labour MPs on landing a hammer to the Tory Lib-Dem dreaded Bedroom Tax, heaping further embarrassment on David Cameron and stretching coalition relations to breaking point.

Since April 1st of 2013 the Bedroom Tax has felt like a cruel joke by many hard-working families and individuals who have been penalised by its punitive costs, some being forced to relocate from their families and communities as a direct consequence.

In Wales 31,692 people have been affected by the tax, and across Britain almost two-thirds of those affected are either disabled or carers.

The Labour Party has been campaigning against the Bedroom Tax since its introduction, pledging to scrap it should they form the next government.

The veteran MP said: “this is a fantastic achievement and it could not have been done without the work of Labour leader Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.”

“In Neath I know of many families and people who have borne the brunt of this government’s disastrous welfare program. As a former Secretary of State for the DWP I cannot express how much it has anguished me to see such havoc wrought on ordinary people.”

“We cannot let this government forget that they are responsible for this misery, and more needs to be done to make sure the Bedroom Tax is relegated from people’s lives altogether.”

-ENDS-

Peter Hain and Rachel Reeves

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE SAYS HAIN

Neath MP Peter Hain has today launched a scathing attack on the Lib Dem-Tory Government after embarrassing revelations for Ministers regarding the maligned Bedroom Tax.

The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “quite frankly it reminds me of the omnishambles budget from 2012, both parts of the government are so out of touch of the realities on the ground, especially in places like Neath it is bordering on negligence.”

Mr Hain was commenting on yesterday’s news that the Liberal Democrats have reversed their support for the Spare Room Subsidy, commonly referred to as the Bed Room tax.

He said: “This is a shocking and mercenary decision which is motivated purely by political calculation. I am glad that they are doing the right thing and seeing the sense in what Labour has been saying for months, but they are not fooling anybody in Neath.”

On Tuesday the Department for Work and Pensions published an independent report by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and Ipsos Mori which clearly documented the devastating effect the changes to the Spare Room Subsidy had on welfare claimants.

At one point it stated: “Tenants’ groups interviewed expressed concern about the welfare of people who were paying for the shortfall, reporting that some were going without food, not heating their homes, and becoming socially isolated.”

Mr Hain continued, “I read the report and was in a state of disbelief at times, the way this one change has affected people is terrible, 45% of those who have been impacted on by the Bedroom Tax had lived in their houses for over a decade, 68% that at least one individual in the house was disabled.”

“The entire episode has been wholly regrettable, this U-Turn by the Lib Dems is rubbing salt in the wounds of people who have been forced to choose between heating or eating by the callous coalition.”

“On top of this yesterday we saw the Prime Minister being bullish about the economy during Prime Minister’s Questions, but the truth is in places like Neath people are not feeling the benefits of the recovery.”

“Since 2010 people in Neath Port Talbot have seen their wages plummet from £489 per week, to £425 per week and now they still have not reached their 2010 levels. Never mind that our wages drag behind the rest of the UK.”

“All the while people have seen their real wages slowly eroded by rising inflation, this are some of the forces my constituents are contending with on a daily basis as they fight for their living standards.”

-ENDS –

Hain calls for Bedroom Tax to be scrapped

MP for Neath Peter Hain has called for the ‘unfair and unworkable’ Bedroom Tax to be scrapped.

According to Mr Hain, ‘the upcoming Bedroom Tax Opposition Day debate and vote in Parliament taking place on Tuesday 12th November is a vital opportunity to scrap the punitive Bedroom Tax.’

‘I have been contacted by a number of constituents throughout Neath who have been affected by this terrible and oppressive tax,’ says Mr Hain. ‘The Bedroom Tax hits disabled and vulnerable people the hardest and may cost more than it saves. For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, hitting vulnerable people through no fault of their own. It divides families and attacks people with chronic disabilities. It’s time to scrap this tax.’

Mr Hain would like to urge as many people as possible to sign the petition in protest of the Bedroom Tax at www.labour.org.uk/bedroomtax. People can also join the virtual lobby by using the hashtag #bedroomtax on Twitter and Facebook up to, during and on the day of the vote.

Repealing the Bedroom Tax will bring hope to thousands in Neath

Ed Miliband’s announcement that he will end the Bedroom Tax will bring hope to the thousands of Neath constituents that have been cruelly affected says local MP Peter Hain.

Peter Hain said, ‘This is one of the most callous attacks on the most vulnerable in our communities who, through no fault of their own, have been deemed to be under occupying their property. For many they have been at their wits end having to deal with the consequences and they will see this announcement as a glimmer of hope.

‘The rhetoric this Tory-led government has been peddling to defend this indefensible policy has deliberately tried to demonise people living in social housing but the reality is this is affecting disabled couples who need the space or a parent who sees their children on weekends is then judged not to need the room.

’Scores of constituents have come to see me and each case I’ve taken up with the Secretary of State, some I’ve brought to the floor of the House, but every response from the Government has been utter disdain towards the plight people are facing. So this announcement by the Labour leader will resonate with many in Neath.”

The Labour leader pledged to repeal the Bedroom Tax should Labour win the 2015 General election and fund the move by reversing Government measures including the recent tax cut for hedge funds, the shares for rights scheme (which opened up a massive £1 billion tax loophole) and tackling tax scams in the construction industry.