Hain Slams ‘Thatcher Conspiracy To Hammer Miners’

Margaret Thatcher’s Government was guilty of a conspiracy to ‘hammer’ striking miners in the yearlong 1984-85 strike claimed Neath MP Peter Hain.

‘Cabinet papers recently made public under the 30 year rule prove that Thatcher used the full might of the state to attack the miners and their families,’ Mr Hain said after a debate in the House of Commons today.

‘Her strategy was to criminalise the miners using every trick in the book.  Miners driving to support fellow strikers had their car keys taken from them.

‘A coach hired by miners in Neath did not turn up after police told the coach company miners could not hire it.

‘Road blocks in Nottinghamshire alone led to 160,000 miners’ pickets stopped in first seven months of strike in clear breach of the law.’

He continued: ‘The miners and their families – especially the women support groups – worked heroically but they could not win against such a brutal government. It’s legacy haunts us today: proud and strong coalfield communities destroyed, robbed of jobs with no investment to create new ones.’

-ENDS –

Read Peter’s interventions in the debate here

The Thatcher Government Used The police Against The Miners In A Completely Wrong Way

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the former chief constable of Devon and Cornwall, John Alderson, complained officially that the Thatcher Government had used the police against the miners in a completely wrong way?

Mr Spencer: I am very much aware. I was there and I lived in those communities at that moment. I saw what was happening on the picket lines. There were friends of mine whose fathers were on the picket lines and whose brothers were on different sides of the argument, one in the National Union of Mineworkers and one in the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. Those scars are still there in my community and they are not helped by holding party political debates such as this one, instead of working together to try to improve those communities. I am saddened that this is more about trying to draw a groundswell of support for the Labour party at the ballot box than it is about genuinely solving the challenges we face, certainly in some of my communities in Nottinghamshire.

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain challenges David Cameron over impact of spending cuts on councils

Western Mail,

David Cameron has been warned by former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain that continuing to slash budgets for local authorities will have irreversible consequences and leave councils with the bare minimum of services.

Mr Hain’s intervention comes as local authorities look to make further savings to plug their budget deficits with Neath Port Talbot alone looking at a cut of between £50m and £60m on top of the £30m already taken out in the last five years.

In a stinging letter to the Prime Minister, the Neath MP said: “I am deeply perturbed by the devastating effect your Government’s swingeing cuts are having on the ability of local authorities to carry out their functions.

“Difficult decisions have already been made to cut highly-valued services and to reduce the size of the workforce to enable the council to meet the budget shortfall. Only through the hard work of the councillors, officers, trade unions and staff have compulsory redundancies been avoided, which is vital given the high unemployment rate in the constituency.

“If cuts of this magnitude continue to be passed down from Westminster, which is what local authorities are anticipating until 2020, it will effectively reduce them to the bare minimum of providing the statutory functions required of them. Local services will be decimated and no longer meet the taxpayer’s own expectations.”

Mr Hain went on to tell the Prime Minister that questions would be asked over the role of councils with reduced functions and services, adding: “I fear this is the Government’s long-term aim – to reduce the functions and role of local authorities to the point that they are no longer viable or necessary.”

He said substantial cuts had already been made to Neath Port Talbot’s budget with many of the visible services affected, libraries closed or transferred to local groups. The once “gold standard” service of school crossing patrols had been reduced to national standards, funding to third sector groups cut and jobs lost.

The letter goes on to say: “The further cuts of between £50m and £60m are a fifth of Neath Port Talbot’s total budget. The trajectory of these cuts emanating from Westminster is unsustainable. Cuts of this magnitude are forcing councils to think of costs and changes are being driven by savings, which is not what local representatives were elected to do and not what many of the workforce came into public service for. For many it is heartbreaking not to be able to provide the standard of service they would like.

“At a time when you and the Chancellor laud that the economy is growing these continuing cuts are out of step with your own proclamations. If the economy is doing as well as you profess then I fully expect the Welsh settlement to increase.

“If on the other hand it continues to be reduced I fear that very soon local authorities will reach a crisis point in delivering services and will not be able to meet the demands placed on them. The implications for the future will be major and it is questionable whether the effects can even be reversed.

“Margaret Thatcher’s legacy in Neath is the decimation of the mining communities. Yours will be the decimation of all communities with the dismantling of local government and the services they provide. Quite simply the continuation of the callous cuts by the Government will leave local authorities, including Neath Port Talbot, with skeleton services and this cannot be allowed to happen.”

The Prime Minister’s response is awaited. Ministers challenged about the impact of cuts invariably refer to the need to cut the deficit.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/former-welsh-secretary-peter-hain-7776636

Hain warns of Skeleton Services for Local Authorities if magnitude of callous Westminster cuts continues

David Cameron has been warned by Peter Hain that continuing to slash budgets for local authorities will have irreversible consequences and leave Councils with the bare minimum of services. His letter comes as local authorities look to make further savings to plug their budget deficits with Neath Port Talbot looking at a cut of between £50 and £60million on top of the £30million already taken out in the last five years.

In a stinging letter to the Prime Minster the Neath MP said, ‘I am deeply perturbed by the devastating effect your Government’s swingeing cuts are having on the ability of local authorities to carry out their functions.

‘Difficult decisions have already been made to cut highly valued services and to reduce the size of the workforce to enable the Council to meet the budget shortfall. Only through the hard work of the Councillors, Officers, Trade Unions and staff have compulsory redundancies been avoided, which is vital given the high unemployment rate in the constituency.

‘If cuts of this magnitude continue to be passed down from Westminster, which is what local authorities are anticipating until 2020, it will effectively reduce them to the bare minimum of providing the statutory functions required of them. Local services will be decimated and no longer meet the taxpayer’s own expectations. Questions will be asked over the role of Councils with reduced functions and services. However I fear that this is the Government’s long term aim – to reduce the functions and role of local authorities to the point that they are no longer viable or necessary.

‘Substantial cuts have already been made to Neath Port Talbot’s budget with many of the visible services affected, libraries closed or transferred to local groups, the once gold standard service of school crossing patrols has been reduced to national standards, funding to third sector groups cut and jobs lost.

‘The further cuts of between £50 and£60million are a fifth of Neath Port Talbot’s total budget. The trajectory of these cuts emanating from Westminster is unsustainable.

‘Cuts of this magnitude are forcing Councils to think of costs and changes are being driven by savings, which is not what local representatives were elected to do and not what many of the workforce came into public service for. For many it is heart breaking not to be able to provide the standard of service they would like.

‘At a time when you and the Chancellor laud that the economy is growing these continuing cuts are out of step with your own proclamations. If the economy is doing as well as you profess then I fully expect the Welsh settlement to increase.

‘If on the other hand it continues to be reduced I fear that very soon local authorities will reach a crisis point in delivering services and will not be able to meet the demands placed on them. The implications for the future will be major and it is questionable whether the effects can even be reversed.

‘Margaret Thatcher’s legacy in Neath is the decimation of the mining communities yours will be the decimation of all communities with the dismantling of local government and the services they provide. Quite simply the continuation of the callous cuts by the Government will leave local authorities, including Neath Port Talbot with skeleton services and this cannot be allowed to happen.’

Letter to David Cameron – Budget Cuts

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.”