Hain Shows His Support For Royal British Legion

Neath MP Peter Hain has praised the year round work of the Royal British Legion following a meeting with the new Legion Area Manager for Wales and volunteers.

At an event in Parliament Mr Hain was able to discuss the Legion’s work in the area where they are a leading provider of welfare for the Armed Forces community in Neath and the changing face of Armed Forces welfare provision. Mr Hain was also able to meet Welsh Legion beneficiaries Samantha Bowen and Andy Davies to discuss their experiences.

Following the meeting Hain said, “The support the Royal British Legion gives to serving and ex-service personnel is tremendous. While we all stop to remember the sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces on Armistice Day, Battle Britain Day and Armed Forces Day much of the work of the Legion goes unseen. The assistance and support they provide for those who have been injured or are struggling is a year round service. It is vital that we as a nation honour the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, and I’m proud to support the work of The Royal British Legion.”

The Royal British Legion provides care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces, past and present, and their families. That care and support can come in many forms, whether it be direct financial aid; benefits and money advice; adventure holidays in the UK for Armed Forces families who need a break; or helping an elderly or disabled veteran with a trusted handyman facility to help with odd-jobs in the home. These are just some of the many, many services the Legion offers as way of support to the Armed Forces community.

Public Will Support Staff In Industrial Action Over Future Of Crown Post Office

Neath MP Peter Hain claims the public will back industrial action by staff in Post Offices due for closure and downgrading after 88 per cent of CWU (Communication Workers Union) members balloted voted in favour of industrial action.

Mr Hain said, “Post Office workers have overwhelmingly voted for industrial action over pay and the changes to the Crown Network. Neath Post Office is one of seventy earmarked to be re-established in the corner of a shop. Having met with local staff I fully support them in wanting to maintain the Crown Office in the town centre.

“The loss of the Crown Office will result is a major dumbing down of the services offered including passport checks, ready foreign currency, ten year driving licence renewals, and identity checks for mortgages, border controls and Criminal Investigation Bureau investigations. There will also be a loss of the financial specialist for widely used services like life insurance policies which are very popular in Neath.

“It is totally unacceptable that the nearest Crown Office, if these changes went ahead, would be Bridgend or Merthyr Tydfil.

“I strongly urge residents to get behind the Post Office staff in their fight to stop the Neath office being downgraded and parked in the corner of a retail outlet. Their fight is our fight to save Neath Crown Post Office.”

Hain warns of a growing local food crisis

Peter Hain has denounced Government welfare cuts in the wake of a new independent report that claims nearly five million people in Britain are now living in food poverty.

The MP for Neath commented, “it is a worrying statistic that highlights the increasing social divide in Britain, when the poorest households in Britain were found to spend almost a quarter of their annual income on food, whereas the richest only spend four per cent.”

“More and more local families are facing the crunch.  Significant numbers in low income jobs are struggling to put food on the table or pay astronomic fuel or petrol bills.  So are people losing their jobs and thousands – in or out of work – suffering from punitive benefit cuts,” he said.

“Rising food prices are making matters even worse. People are now increasingly being forced to rely on emergency hand-outs and are making cheap nutritional choices in order to eat,” says Mr. Hain.

“Whilst the Prime Minister claims that food banks are useful to ‘people who feel they need a little extra food,’ many people in my constituency are relying on their local food bank simply to avoid sending their children to bed hungry.”

Neath Food bank has been seeing over 1600 local families in a desperate situation – the equivalent to some nearly 5000 people, a figure that Mr Hain says is set to rise. “The food poverty crisis is now on our doorstep and in our homes. Furthermore, with the Government’s punitive bedroom tax due to come into effect next month, coupled with cuts in council tax benefits, there is no end in sight to the misery being endured by our most vulnerable families.”

The Report, issued by the multi-national Kelloggs cereal company, found that whilst families now spend 20 per cent more on food than they did five years ago, they are actually eating seven per cent less. The poorest are spending 23.8 per cent of their annual income on food and 4.7 million people in the UK were found to be in this situation.

The Trussell Trust, which works with churches and communities to run food banks both locally and nationwide and worked with Kelloggs on the study, anticipates that the number of people who resort to food banks will rise to 280,000 in the year 2012/13.

Trussell Trust food banks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. Neath food bank operates at the Orchard Place Baptist Church (opposite the bus station) and is open Tuesdays and Fridays 2pm-4pm. Further information can be found on the Trussell Trust website, http://neath.foodbank.org.uk/.

Neath food bank is now seeing more people in work—many part time and desperate—than out of work

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): What assessment he has made of the economic effect on people working in Wales of reductions in tax credits and other benefits for working people.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr David Jones): The measures announced in the autumn statement will mean that working households are on average £125 per annum better off in 2013-14.

Mr Hain: Is the Secretary of State aware that Neath food bank is now seeing more people in work—many part time and desperate—than out of work? One hundred thousand working people in Wales are now being hammered by his welfare cuts, some among the 230,000 households in Wales that will be forced by the Government to pay council tax for the first time in April. Will he now take down from the Wales Office website his promise that people will be better off under this Government in work and admit that some cannot even afford to eat?

Mr Jones: Certainly not. In fact, people who are in work are considerably better off. The average earner on the minimum wage who works full time will by next April be paying half as much in tax as he did at the beginning of this Parliament, in the wake of the right hon. Gentleman’s Government. If he is not willing to tackle the appalling legacy of the welfare shambles that he left, we will be prepared to do so.

Severn Barrage: Peter Hain Reveals Most Detailed Plans Yet

Western Mail 

The most detailed plans yet have been revealed for the Severn Barrage. Martin Shipton reports

The fate of the proposed Severn Barrage could be determined in the first half of 2013, it has emerged.

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet to campaign for the scheme, has called on the UK Government to back it within that timescale. He believes that as well as providing 5% of the UK’s electricity needs, it could transform the economy of South Wales.

He said: “The Barrage will power the UK for more than 120 years, cleanly, securely and sustainably generating as much electricity as three to four nuclear reactors or more than 3,000 wind turbines. It injects more than £25bn of private investment into the UK economy – no Treasury funding is needed at all. With the multiplier impact on the economy, that is a stimulus of about £70bn.

“The Barrage will be a massive boost to the economies of South Wales and the South West of England, with 80% of the investment being spent in the UK; other forms of renewable energy have to date imported up to 80% of their equipment and services from abroad. Some 50,000 jobs will be created during the nine-year build, also leaving a legacy of industrial, tourism and leisure jobs.

“Some 1,026 turbines will be installed in the Barrage – new, slow-spin turbine technology capable of being exported from Britain to the rest of the world. Gigantic caissons will be built and assembled and then floated out from its deep-water casting yard at Port Talbot, which will be transformative for South West Wales. The other benefit is a legacy in Port Talbot of the largest deep-water port in North West Europe, which would be ideal for the new generation of container ships – ultra-large container ships which otherwise would have to find a port on the other side of Britain.”

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