Peter Fights for Remploy

Neath MP Peter Hain has pledged to fight hard to maintain the Remploy factory at Baglan after visiting the workforce and being briefed by management and trade union representatives.

Mr Hain explained that although – unlike Swansea Remploy – the factory will not shut soon, the Government may close it within a year unless it can become commercially viable without the public subsidy for its disabled workforce which has been provided by successive Governments since Remploy was established for injured veterans after the Second World War.
‘The Tory Liberal democratic Government’s decision to chop the subsidy for Remploy is callous and shameful. Neath Port Talbot may have had a temporary reprieve but it could still close unless a business plan can be put together which secures its future standing on its own like any other private company. I have pledged to support the workforce in putting together a plan which may stand a chance of getting the go-ahead from the Government.

This is an intolerable situation for many of our most vulnerable workers. But they have shown over the years at Remploy Neath Port Talbot that they can produce products competitively and to a very high quality.

‘The Labour Welsh Government has thrown out a bit of a lifeline which is very welcome and I hope that its support can help secure the future of the factory. But be in no doubt, it will be tough. To end the generations-long subsidy within the next year as the Government has insisted it will do, means the workforce must now come up with this new survival plan. I think it could be done, but only with goodwill and hard work on all sides. I will certainly do all I can to assist.’

 

Poems by D M Jackson.

When you hear the word Remploy

When you hear the word Remploy

What immediately comes to mind

People who are disabled working

They could be deaf, dumb or blind

 

They are just as capable

With the job they do

You may even be surprised

That they can do it better than you

 

So making people aware

Of exactly what Remploy do

Is putting ability first

And what they can do for you

DM Jackson 18th May 2010

 

Putting Ability Frist

The government select committee

Visited Remploy Baglan

Not only to see what we do

But also to show that we can

 

Now you have seen us building a product

And that we do it very well

And with the governments continued backing

It is a product that will continue to sell

Now you can understand

How much our job is worth

Please let us continue to do it

By putting ability first.

 

Neath Families To Lose Hundreds Pounds

Thousands of Neath families with children will lose an average of £511 a year because of changes to tax, benefits and tax credits introduced on 6th April. Neath MP Peter Hain has criticised the government for making cuts to those on the lowest income whilst at the same time giving tax breaks to the richest one percent.

The new figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies follows last month’s Budget and is on top of tax rises already introduced, including last year’s VAT rise which is costing a family with children an average of £450 per year.

New government figures obtained by Labour also show that up to 1485 families in the Neath constituency are set to lose their Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. In Neath 1300 families on modest and middle incomes will lose all of their Child Tax Credit – worth around £545 per year and up to 185 working couples earning less than around £17,000 per year will lose all of their Working Tax Credit – worth up to £3,870 per year – if they cannot increase their working hours.

Mr Hain said, “It is the same old Tories, out of touch with the difficulties facing ordinary people struggling to make ends meet. Why is it that thousands of families and pensioners pay more so millionaires can pay less? Cameron’s economic policies are not working and they are squeezing the budgets of hard working Neath families to get the figures to add up.”

Figures also uncovered by Labour reveal that, following the changes to working tax credit, a couple with two children on the minimum wage will be better off quitting their jobs if they cannot work at least 19 hours per week.

The IFS figures also show that government policies mean pensioners will be an average of £315 a year worse off from April 2014 once cuts to their allowances announced in last month’s Budget – what has been dubbed the ‘granny tax’ – have kicked in.

Tax Credit Bombshell To Hit Hundreds In Neath

Nearly two hundred Neath households with children could lose around £4,000 a year from this April following a change to tax credit rules being introduced by the Government, a move Neath MP Peter Hain has said will make life harder for parents struggling to make ends meet.

Mr Hain is urging the Conservative-led government to reconsider a little noticed change to tax credit rules which means thousands of families will lose all their working tax credits unless they can significantly increase their working hours.
The change means that couples with children earning less than around £17,700 will need to increase the number of hours they work from a minimum of 16 to 24 hours per week or they will lose all their working tax credit of £3,870 per year.

Government figures have revealed that 185 households in Neath including 365 children could lose out. Across Wales 9,380 households with 18,985 children will be affected.

Mr Hain said, “This is a tax credits bombshell and it’s just around the corner. With ten people chasing every vacancy in the area and many employers cutting people’s hours how does this government expect people to increase their working hours?”

A recent survey by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development found that one in five organisations have cut back on the number of hours that people work as a result of the economic downturn, with just 6 per cent increasing them.

Winter Fuel Cuts Leave Many Struggling To Make Ends Meet

Thousands of elderly Neath residents will struggle with heating this winter as cuts are made to the Winter Fuel Allowance. Neath MP Peter Hain has been contact by constituents who have had their 2011 payment and found that it is substantially less than last year.

“Pensioners have been lied to. They were told that their Winter Fuel payments would not be touched but are finding themselves anywhere between £50 and £100 short from last year.” Said Mr Hain, “With the cost of living going up and the rising cost of fuel, pensioners are struggling to make ends meet and are faced with the impossible decision of choosing to heat their homes or eat.”

Last winter 12,870 households in the Neath constituency are set to receive Winter Fuel Allowance with 2,580 people over the age of eighty receiving the higher £400 payment.

“Despite a pre-election promise to safeguard the payments the Tory led government are trying to get away with it on a technicality by cutting the extra ‘top-up’ payments but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that with rising price pensioners are receiving less help.”

Mr Hain also criticised the Government for not doing enough to reduce energy bills. Energy prices are up twenty percent this year whilst energy companies continue to see their profits soar.

“When in opposition this government talked the talk but are not walking the walk in power instead telling consumers to shop around for lower tariffs. The Government’s message of ‘check, switch, insulate, save’ is galling and an insult to pensioner who have seen their Winter Fuel payments cut and to families working hard as prices rocket.”

Local women to bear brunt of Government Cuts

The Tory-Lib Dem cuts are disproportionally affecting women In Neath and surrounding Valleys as they are asked to bear more than seventy percent of the cuts. Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Neath MP has called the figures “damaging for the progress of the next generation of women.”

Independent research shows men on average will lose £4.20 a week, but women on average will lose £8.80 a week – despite the fact that women still earn less than men. Cuts to child tax credit, childcare tax credit, child benefit all hit mothers hardest. This combined with lower public sector, Carers Allowance payments, cuts to housing benefit and the rise in VAT, this Tory Government propped up by the Lib Dems is just throwing more hurdles in the way of women.

“Women play a vital role in the workplace and at home.” Said Mr Hain “Women have already achieved so much, there is still so much to do but this unfair attack will, I fear, not only halt the progress already made but set it back years. It is likely that their life chances and independence will suffer because of this government’s assault on women and families.”