Welsh Assembly Legislation

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend recall also, on that theme, that in 1994 he and I and Jon Owen Jones, a former Member for Cardiff, Central, were censured by the Welsh Executive for speaking as Labour MPs at a conference in Llandrindod Wells for a Parliament for Wales?

Paul Flynn: I remember it vividly. It was a painful experience but one that resulted in promotion to Cabinet rank for my right hon. Friend. I saw the former hon. Member for Cardiff, Central today. At that time it meant challenging some of the views of the Labour party in Wales, which were not always progressive.

Government of Wales Act

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): I welcome the Secretary of State to the job and although I wish his predecessor all the best, may I say how good it is to have a Welsh MP as Secretary of State for Wales again, but why on earth is he referring the first two laws passed by the Welsh Assembly under the Government of Wales Act 2006 to the Attorney-General? The provision I included in that Act was not to allow the Secretary of State to block Welsh legislation but primarily to deal with any cross-border issues, which I cannot see apply in these cases. Why is he interfering in this anti-devolution manner?

Mr Jones: I echo the tribute the right hon. Gentleman pays to my predecessor, who was an excellent Secretary of State. As for the references to the Supreme Court, as he knows these matters are set out in the Government of Wales Act, for which he was responsible. The reference of the first Welsh Bill—that is, the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill—to the Supreme Court should not be regarded as disrespectful or hostile in any sense. It is simply an administrative procedure to clear up the issue of competence and that is it.

Hain Urges Royal Mail To Invest In State Of The Art Delivery Office In Neath

Neath MP Peter Hain has renewed his appeal to the Royal Mail, in a letter to Chief executive Moya Greene, to invest in a state of the art delivery office facility in the heart of Neath following postal bosses’ announcement early in the year that they were considering switching the work of the current delivery office in Windsor Road, Neath Town Centre to Llansamlet, Swansea, with the loss of 70 jobs.

His call comes after Mr Hain had initiated months of negotiations between Royal Mail, Neath Port Talbot County Council and the Welsh Government. This week he was told by the Welsh Government the Royal Mail was not eligible for such grant assistance to build a new office. Describing the development as ‘intensely disappointing’, he vowed to continue to fight for the delivery office to remain in Neath.

Mr Hain commented, ‘This is an extremely disappointing outcome but the opportunity is still not lost which is why I am renewing my appeal to the Royal Mail to invest in the site and secure the future of the Neath delivery office. In doing so they will be secure the quality jobs of more than 70 staff that already work out of the Windsor Road office and the vital local knowledge they bring to the job.

‘A delivery office should be located within the community it serves so that postmen and post women know their local areas and people very well. Whilst everyone agrees that the current old office is no longer fit for purpose there genuinely is a fantastic opportunity to have a purpose built facility with excellent transport links in the town. This opportunity must not be lost. Losing good jobs like this would be a body blow to Neath town.”

‘Neath Port Talbot leaders and officials have worked hard to identify a suitable site and have indicated they will help in whatever way they can to keep the jobs in Neath. But now the Welsh Government has stated the project does not fit the rules for grant assistance, responsibility passes to the Royal Mail to fulfil its historic role in Neath. I am pressing it very hard to do so.’

In July Mr Hain met with Royal Mail representatives and those from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to identify a suitable site in Neath town.

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.