Hain pays tribute to Gwenda Thomas after she steps down as Deputy Minister

Neath MP and former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain has paid tribute to his Assembly colleague Gwenda Thomas after her decision to stand down from her role as Deputy Minister of Social Services.

Speaking after the announcement he said, ‘Gwenda can be proud of having done a fantastic job, sad though it is for her to be stepping down. Gwenda worked tirelessly and passionately to improve social services taking through the ground-breaking Social Services Bill. Nobody could have done that portfolio better.’

Aimless Austerity Risks a Generation

 

Former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain has today condemned the Tory-Lib Dem government after economic data from the Office for National Statistics indicated that real-wages have fallen for the seventh consecutive year.

His comments came after the Bank of England slashed its growth forecasts for the British economy as the debate about the health of the economy continues to rage on.

The MP for Neath said: “We’re seeing a lot of news about this being a “surprise” to some, if the Chancellor had listened to the shadow cabinet it would not be. My own research indicates that in Neath people are close to being £3,000 worse off than they were in 2008 because of the erosion of real-wages by inflation and austerity.”

He continued, “frankly I think we’re approaching a watershed in our society because the Chancellor refuses to accept his long-term economic plan is long-term economic pain to most people. A recent report released by the Children’s Society and Step Change revealed on Tuesday that there are tens of thousands of children in Welsh families trapped in the debt spiral.”

“One of my proudest achievements was to be a member of the last Labour government where we saw the number of children in poverty reduced by 800,000. The latest figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that under this government that number will have increased by 300,000 by next year.”

The report from Step Change and the Children’s Society built upon research done by the Rowntree Foundation conclusively showing that that almost one quarter of Welsh families were trapped in poverty, this estimated to effect 148,059 children in Wales.

Mr Hain said: “the writing is on the wall, the Welsh Government is fighting an uphill battle against austerity. So long as the Chancellor continues to push this austerity agenda Welsh families will suffer as we are consistently forced to bear the brunt of unfair policy, this risks the welfare of a generation of young people in Wales, it is tragic.”

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Neath Needs the European Union

Former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain MP has issued a rallying call to the electorate in Neath, asking them to trust in Labour and the European Union.

Mr Hain made his comments after Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council today issued new images detailing the next phase of the town’s redevelopment which is part funded by the Welsh Government and EU JESSICA fund.

He said: “It is very encouraging to see the redevelopment taking shape, over the next eighteen months Neath is finally going to get the investment that it deserves and it could not have happened without the combined efforts of Labour in Cardiff and in Brussels to secure the money needed.”

He went on to say: “Now, the Welsh Government are leading the way for us, Neath is the first town to benefit from the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, this will see approximately £13 million invested in Neath.”

The redevelopment has proven a controversial topic in the town with many residents growing frustrated after a number of delays since its first announcement in 2008.

Mr Hain combatted this by saying, “we went through a global recession, it was unfortunate timing but it caused everyone to reassess their financial priorities. The reality is without the combined actions of the EU and Welsh Assembly we would have been stranded, left utterly high and dry by a Westminster Government who have no interest in rewarding Welsh tax payers, and taking care of Welsh people.”

“In May we saw just how frustrated people were with the political class, in Neath we saw a small, but significant majority of people voice this frustration by voting for UKIP.”

“The evidence is clear, Neath needs the European Union, UKIP risks years of hard work by Labour Assembly members, and our MEP Derek Vaughan to fill in the deficit gap which the Tory Lib-Dem government constantly leaves us in.”

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‘WORLD CLASS’ NEW SWANSEA BAY CAMPUS SAYS HAIN

Neath MP Peter Hain has said today that the new Swansea University Bay Campus is ‘world class’.

After visiting the site he praised the speedy way in which the new buildings were being built.

‘They are rising phoenix like.  The Speed of construction is incredible,’ he said.

The former secretary of State for Wales was involved in negotiations to get backing from the Welsh Government when he was in office and at one point warned BP who contributed £10 million toward the campus might pull their funding because of the multi-billion cost of the company’s Gulf of Mexico disaster at Deepwater Horizon Oil rig

The new £450 million, 65 acre Science, Innovation and Engineering Campus includes an extensive College Engineering quarter and will bring an economic impact of £3billion over 10 years.

‘The new Campus is world class – probably the best in Britain and one of the best across the world.  I was enormously impressed and excited to see the pace of development with students being admitted from autumn next year,’ said Mr Hain.

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Bring Back Local Bank Managers Says Hain

The banks are ‘completely failing small businesses’ and must reappoint local Branch managers again, says Neath MP Peter Hain.

Speaking to a meeting of the Swansea Bay Federation of small Businesses in the Castle hotel, Neath, Mr Hain said that official statistics showed over 40 per cent of small businesses applying for loans were turned down.  ‘Instead of supporting business to invest and create jobs like happens in Germany and other more successful economises, the banks are starving them of finance.”

Mr Hain said: “Surveys consistently show that small business owners believe access to finance is the biggest barrier to them growing their business. Labour will create the British Investment Bank, its priority will be investing to SME’s and it will be vital to helping develop a localised network of investment banks across the country.”

“Coupled with the Green Investment Bank it will help spearhead the recovery away from the South East by developing expert localised business knowledge to work with SMEs.”

The former Secretary of State suggested a number of measures which he felt would combat the disconnection he identified as occurring between centralised money lenders and the local business communities of South Wales, including having local branch managers able to lend substantial amounts of money to local businesses.

Mr Hain told the audience: This has been a problem and a dangerous game since 2010, it leaves our SMEs struggling with rising costs, yet they employ around 60% of the private sector workforce, more has to be done to not only help them survive but to grow and prosper.”

He continued by saying: “The next Labour government has a range of initiatives which will help small businesses, we will freeze energy bills until 2017, benefitting 2.5 million small businesses, saving them £1.5 billion in total.”

“We will cut small business rates in 2015, and freeze them in 2016, we need to place priority on small businesses in stark contrast to this government which is giving a corporation tax cut to the largest firms, a measure which only benefits the major urban areas.”

Mr Hain was also keen to highlight the successes of Welsh Government in helping support SMEs through better access to funding, he said: “During the past year Wales has launched the Wales SME Fund, which will give £40 million to SMEs, it is expected to create over 4,000 jobs.”

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