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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Why Flintshire should vote YES on March 3rd

Our referendum in Wales on further law making powers will be happening on March 3rd. At the moment, the Welsh Assembly has responsibility for running 20 different departments such as housing, the environment, education and health. Although these departments are 'devolved' to the Welsh Assembly, at present when it comes down to making laws concerning those issues, the Assembly has to go to London and ask permission to pass them. First of all it has to be passed by the House of Commons, then the unelected House of Lords, the Secretary of State for Wales and finally it has to be passed by the Queen.

So why don't we already have powers to make laws in these areas if they are already devolved to Wales? In Scotland and Northern Ireland, these powers were handed over as part of the devolution process. That didn't happen in Wales, therefore we are now having a referendum to correct that situation.

Carrie Harper, a Flintshire says Yes campaigner, said: "The present system means that our Assembly Members have to ask permission from London to implement legislation which only affects Wales. Our politicians here spend vast amounts of time scrutinising legislation but are then made to wait around until London decides whether or not they can go ahead."

"To give just one example of how this process works on a practical level for Welsh people, our Assembly Members were made to wait three years before they could implement a policy to improve treatment for people with mental health problems. All Assembly Members from different political parties wanted to make these changes to benefit people here but they were prevented from implementing those changes quickly due to hold ups, delays and bureaucracy over in London."

"Voting YES in the referendum will mean an end to these delays. This can only be of benefit to the people of Wales, both in terms of efficient decision making and also in terms of cost, a lot of money will be saved if we don't have jump through so many hoops. If Scotland, England and Northern Ireland are capable enough to make their own decisions, why shouldn't Wales? If we don't get a yes vote, our voices here in Wales will be weakened. Basically the people who we vote for in the Welsh Assembly will not be able to make laws and decisions on our behalf, instead those decisions will be made by people in London who we haven't voted for and who are not accountable to us. "

Welsh rugby star Shane Williams also supports a Yes vote in the referendum. He states: "We've come a long way as a country in the last decade. By leading the way on free bus passes and tackling climate change the Assembly has shown it's up to the job. But it hasn't got all the tools it needs. Instead of having to ask permission every time we want to do something different from England, A YES vote will let the Assembly get on with the job."

" This vote is not about independence or even giving AM's extra power. It's about making what we've got work better. We've got to show we've got confidence in ourselves".

A Yes vote is supported by all the main political parties in Wales as well as trade unionists, community groups and voluntary organisations throughout Wales.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The great rent rip off

Flintshire is losing over £6 million every year from council tenants rents to subsidise councils in London and Manchester.

Plaid Cymru have lifted the lid on the rent scandal that has seen Wales lose £1 billion over the last 10 years. Through the housing subsidy system, Flintshire has lost a staggering £62 million over the last decade. Neighbouring county Wrecsam suffers the worst loss, with a huge £110 million syphoned off over the same period.

Wales was initially included in the system by the Tories and it was subsequently kept up by Labour.

Under existing arrangements, a substantial proportion of council rents collected in Wales are taken by the UK government to fund poorer performing councils in England.

Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Delyn said “ People have a right to know what happens to council tenants rents in Flintshire. To have to hand over £6 million every year to subsidise councils outside Wales is an absolute disgrace. This is money that should be invested into Flintshire’s council housing stock to pay for the improvements that are needed by local people here.”

“Why should we have to hand this money over? This system doesn’t apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland, a review under way in England could see the scheme scrapped there, this would mean that Wales would be the only country in the UK to continue under this unfair system. We are quite simply being ripped off. Why should Wales, which is officially the poorest nation in the UK, be losing money that should be available to local councils to spend on improving their homes? ”

“Unlike the Tories and Labour who have implemented then ignored this injustice, Plaid Cymru have been fighting to get the system changed. Our economic spokesperson Jonathon Edwards MP has been consistently challenging the UK government to review the unfair system and its impacts on the people of Wales.”

“With stock transfer on the agenda here in Flintshire, it is vital that local people are aware of one of the reasons why the council is struggling to improve its housing stock. I would challenge all local politicians to join us in fighting for a fair deal."

Thursday, 13 January 2011


A Labour MP has been criticised by Plaid Cymru for backing changes in National Insurance that will disadvantage new Welsh businesses.

Delyn MP David Hanson backed his party's amendments to change the existing system, which currently gives new companies in Wales concessions on National Insurance contributions.

Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate for Delyn, Carrie Harper, said: "This is yet another example of London-based Labour not putting the needs of Wales first. Our wellbeing is just not a priority for this party at a time when workers in this part of Wales are losing their jobs and we need to encourage new enterprises."

 "The National Insurance Contributions Bill, which is going through the House of Commons, accepts that new enterprises outside the south east of England need additional help. Although much more needs to be done, we cannot afford to let Labour stand in the way of developing new businesses in Wales."

Jonathon Edwards, Plaid Cymru's economy spokesperson at Westminster, slammed the same old "anti -Welsh Labour party". He stated: "This is a continuation of the flawed policies of the Labour Party, which saw massive growth in the south-east of England at the expense of other parts of the UK.

“Under Labour, there were 10 jobs created in London and the south-east for every single job created in the north and midlands of England. Wales was left even further behind. The UK Government should also support the Welsh Government’s Economic Renewal Plan, launched by Ieuan Wyn Jones last year, by providing the funding for next generation broadband and give Welsh business an international advantage over their competitors."

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Plaid Cymru announce Delyn Assembly candidate

Carrie Harper, a 30 year old County Councillor is to fight the 2011 Assembly election for Plaid Cymru in Delyn.

Carrie who currently lives in Wrecsam with her partner and their two children is known for her work in fighting for more affordable housing for local people and most recently as being one of the leading campaigners against the West Cheshire sub regional strategy. The West Cheshire plan is creating a 'new sub region with its own distinct identity' between North East Wales and the North West of England and building tens of thousands of unaffordable houses across Flintshire, Wrecsam and Denbighshire.

Carrie stated " The people of North East Wales especially have been severely let down by successive Labour governments who have ignored our needs. To me, the Labour backed plan to make North East Wales a dormitory area for the North West of England is disasterous. It has pushed local people out of the housing market, has been detrimental to our environment, put huge pressure on local services and roads and has devastated our communities across North Wales. It's now time that the needs and aspirations of the people of North East Wales are put first."

"Labour has ensured Wales has remained underfunded to the tune of at least £300 million annually and also ensured we have continued to lose millions every year from our council housing - about £100m a year,  which is being used to subsidise councils in London. This money should have been used to improve and upgrade housing in Flintshire and across Wales so that we could meet the standards needed without having to transfer the housing stock to a new housing association."

 "Like Labour, the new Con/Dem Government in Westminster seems hell bent on ignoring the Welsh context, with scathing cuts to the public sector, attacking the Welsh-language broadcaster S4C and inflicting millions in cuts on our local councils instead of taxing the rich fat cats and bankers bonuses."

"These things need to change and local people have a right to know the extent we're being ripped off. Since Plaid have been sharing power in Wales, many positive things have happened such as the upcoming referendum on further law making powers and challenging the unfair funding formulas that are putting so many of our communities at a disadvatage. I very much hope the people of Delyn recognise that we have the opportunity for something different with our Assembly, not more of the same London politics that are so clearly indifferent to the needs of our communities here in Wales."

" I am standing for Plaid Cymru because we are different, we don't answer to any party line down in Westminster, our only priority is the needs of our communities here and I feel that focus can deliver the best for people locally. It will be my priority to promote and protect our heritage, ensure genuine opportunities and to give people a local candidate who will always fight their corner. "