Hain welcomes State of the Coalfields Report

Former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain has criticised the Westminster Government for failing to help the valleys communities in South Wales.

Mr Hain was speaking after the release of a publication by Sheffield Hallam University and Coalfield’s Regeneration Trust called “The State of the Coalfields” which claims that South Wales is suffering a disproportionate level of deprivation due to a lack of funding from central government.

The report concluded that the South Wales coal belt was lagging behind the regeneration of other former industrial centres such as Durham, with 17% of people unemployed on average throughout the South Wales Valleys.

The MP for Neath said, “the Valley communities I represent are crying out for Westminster Government investment to create jobs and growth, yet all they get is more and more austerity.”

“This program of cuts and carelessness will be repeated for another five years if the Conservatives get re-elected because that is what they have promised.”

“Since Mrs Thatcher closed all those mines in the 1980s, our Valleys have been fighting to get respect from the Tories.”

“I therefore welcome the publication of “The State of the Coalfields” report, it paints a stark picture of the employment shortfall in coalfield areas, as well as the struggles communities face with a legacy ill of health and disabilities.”

 “When the Government crows about recovery they are ignoring large parts of the UK which have not recovered from the hit of the latest recession, this message must be driven home.”

“Last week we saw the Oxfam Breadline report which highlighted the food poverty that is having a devastating effect on local communities throughout Britain.”

Peter Hain: A Hagiography

By Daran Hill of Positif Politics

Growing up in Neath, and well connected there with Labour politics during my youth, there was always something rather exotic and special about Peter Hain.
When he was selected well before the by-election that brought him to parliament in 1991, the party locally had realised that in Peter they had made a bolder choice of candidate than had been expected.
He brought history to his selection – not mining history, but a personal campaigning history – which meant he would stand out from the start.
Not for nothing was the by-election campaign framed under the slogan“a strong voice for us”, which in itself recognised his predecessor Donald Coleman (who he, Ed?) as having been anything other than a strong voice.
Campaigning, media-savvy and ruthless, Peter Hain was like a shot in the arm to Labour in Neath and it was a vitality injection which the party itself administered.

I recall a Communist old stager who had stood against several Labour candidates in the past welcoming the arrival of some ‘real politics’ to Labour in Neath, and predicting Peter was destined for cabinet.
It was not a lone opinion.
When Labour returned to power in 1997 Peter went to the Welsh office as deputy to Ron Davies but in reality lead Labour’s ‘Yes’ campaign for devolution in Wales.
The passion and fervour and clear-sightedness which he brought to that campaign was incredible to behold.
I had the privilege of seeing many Labour figures at close quarters during that campaign.
Peter was the most impressive of all.
Anyone who doubts for a moment his personal contribution to that cause should look at the ‘Yes’ majority racked up in Neath-Port Talbot (or at least in the western half of that county arrangement) and realise that the effective local campaign he led, alongside the national one, was second to none.

Yet Peter Hain has never really got the credit he deserved for that work, and beyond, from outside the Labour party.
The Ron Davies brand was always far more palatable to those beyond the tribe.
But the big tent politics of Ron Davies (or even the clear red water of Rhodri Morgan) was not for Peter Hain, which was fashioned to give a narrative of a different kind to the Labour party of Blair.

Because Peter was, is, and always will be a tribal figure.
He speaks in Labour language first and foremost and, in my assessment, over the past fifteen years he has been Labour’s most effective communicator in Labour language in Wales.
I deliberately described him as the best communicator in Labour language in Wales and not the best communicator within Welsh Labour.
Because there is a significant difference between these two things.
Peter Hain may have been a devolutionist but he was also a leading player within the UK Labour party as a whole.
He was a key figure not just in Welsh Labour but for the UK wide party.
Peter Hain was the only Labour MP from Wales to be appointed to a cabinet position beyond Wales or Northern Ireland, during the entirety of the Blair and Brown years.

He was a serious contender to become deputy leader of the Labour party before his campaign collapsed through mismanagement by those trusted to run it.
He was the most senior shadow cabinet member to back Ed Miliband in 2010 before it became more fashionable to do so.
The current leadership is perhaps another thing which is partly his legacy.
Another one is even more definite in my mind; without Peter Hain there would be no assembly.
I worked with him not just on the devolution campaign of 1997, and say with respect and, even after all of these years, a little awe that Neath alone was worth the 6,721 votes that brought devolution about.
He was confident, strategic and articulate in a language and politics that was truly Labour.
Peter Hain was the most significant MP from Wales of his generation and will be a significant player in UK and Welsh Labour for years to come.
Original Article here:

Hain Congratulates Cancer Support Legislation

The confirmation of the Mesothelioma Act 2014 has been congratulated by the former Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland Peter Hain MP today.

The act received cross party support and successfully went through both houses over the past couple of months.

Its aim to is help people who suffer from a rare form of cancer, Mesothelioma, giving them and their dependents access to financial support previously unavailable to those with this condition.

Eligible applicants can receive up to £123,000 of support to help them with their illness which is commonly associated with people who have worked with asbestos but is one of the rarer forms of cancer.

Before the act, people who had worked with asbestos and subsequently contracted the disease did not receive payment unless their former employer admitted to using asbestos, failing in their statutory duty.

From now on suffers of Mesothelioma who have not previously received support can apply to the Diffuse Mesotheliaoma Payment Scheme by contacting mesoscheme.org.uk

Eligible applicants can receive up to £123,000 of support to help them with their illness which is commonly associated with people who have worked with asbestos but is one of the rarer forms of cancer.

Mr Hain said, “I am very pleased that the act has been passed and that finally this minority of people who have been let down by their employers have had their rights redressed and can begin to get support.

“No one should be forced to wait years for compensation, in some cases these people do not have years to wait, this incurable cause of cancer can leave families devastated so I am very pleased that more is being done to help them.”

Miners’ Strike

Great night in Godre’rgraig Workingmen’s club on Friday to commemorate the start of the miners’ strike 30 years ago. Rousing performances from Cor Y Gyrlais and young soloists Emyr and Aled Myers, accompanied by Huw Parkman, with contributions from Terry Thomas and Tyrone O’Sullivan reminding everyone of the tremendous fight the miners’, their wives, families and the whole south Wales pit communities put up against Thatcher and her Government. Big thank you to Jacky Myers and Brian Hastie for organising the evening with proceeds going to CATCH Foodbank.

Unity Mine administrators get “number of proposals” from potential investors

Evening Post

Peter Hain MP told the Post that be understood three credible bids were being investigated by Mr Cork and Mr Beckingham.

“My preoccupation throughout this sad saga has been to get the mine operating again and to get miners working again, towards the objective of making the original plan, which was to recruit hundreds of new and extra miners as the mine was developed,” he said.

“I was informed that up to 1000 miners may be entirely feasible given that the anthracite is very high quality, the best in the world, and there is massive amount of reserves under the mountain.

“I understand that there are three credible bids to invest in the mine, and obviously the necessary due diligence is being done to ensure it’s the best value.

“I don’t know the identities of the bidders and that’s all commercially confidential, but although I don’t want to raise hopes, it’s encouraging that there are credible bids and I hope that this can be pursued and resolved as soon as possible so we can get the mine operating again.”

Read the full article at http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Unity/story-20565763-detail/story.html