Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jobs Cuts and reduced spending in education

FACT - Labour's Welsh Assembly Government has cut the funding for Northop Horticultural college by £334,000.

FACT - Despite the fact the budget details should have been given to the College in April 06 they were not informed of the cuts until October by the Assembly Minister

FACT - Redundancies will now follow with the possibility of upto 18 members of staff loosing their jobs.

FICTION - Brown's pre budget statement that he is going to increase capital investment in education. The IFS called his announcement "a highly misleading presentation device" because he overstated the amount he will actually spend.

FACT - The figures mean that the growth of education capital investment is set to fall from 11% to 4.1%.

FACT - there is no new money in Brown's pledge. He has simply added up the numbers in three previous announcements to give a total for investment in education.

FICTION - Sandy Mewies assertion Labour is delivering more jobs, look at staff cuts in Northop college, job losses in the health service and businesses leaving Wales in droves....................

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hospital Closures

100s of people travelled from North, South ,East and West Wales to the Senedd at Cardiff yesterday in order to protest at the closures of their community hospitals - I joined them in their protest travelling from Flint to Cardiff. Flint hospital is one of many closures. Holywell Cottage hospital is closing on the 25th November. There has been NO consultation - unlike at Flint concerning the closure at Holywell. The Health Trust is indicating the closures will "pay for itself" - the costs of the move being put at £40,000. Is the truth that it will only pay for itself because of staff cuts? As the x ray facility is going to remain at the Cottage patients needing an x ray are going to have to be transported back to the old Cottage hospital will continue to be split between the two sites. People in Holywell are now aware that the Labour councillor sitting on the LHB did not represent their concerns that the Cottage should remain open until the new hospital was completed, and everyone in Holywell knows that Sandy Mewies may have listened to concerns about the closure of the inpatient facilities - but she has done absolutely nothing about it. Labour have sought to claim all the credit for the new hospital and ignored the fact this was a cross party effort, fought over many many years particularly by Dr Martin Parry.

The pattern of hpspital closures is taking place PRIOR to the new community services being in place. A team of Doctors from Powys Hospital had pushed a hospital bed for 52 miles to bring the point home to Dr Brian Gibbons that his healthcare reforms are badly thought out. The reforms promise to bring patient care closer to home - yet the policy of closing community hospitals runs directly counter to this argument. Was Dr Brian Gibbons there to face the protesters - no he suddenly found a reason to be away from the Assembly not even giving the protesters the courtesy of listening to what they had to say - typical Labour arrogance. And what of Sandy Mewies AM was she there to reflect the concerns of her constituents about the closure of Flint - NO - despite the fact this was a Wales wide protest......

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holywell Hospital

The petition calling for Holywell Hospital to remain open until the new hospital is built was presented to North East Wales Health Trust. Meeting with chief executive Ms Hilary Kepler and Head of Planning Neil Bradshaw this week I was staggered to learn that prior to the launch of the petition the North East Wales Health Trust had not received any representations from Flintshire County Council officials or representatives calling for the inpatient facilities to remain opem until the new facilities were built. The chief executive Hilary Kepler told her that “Officials from Flintshire County Council were fully aware of the plans to move in patient facilities and the minor injuries unit to Lluesty. We have not received any objections”. Neil Bradshaw and Ms Kepler also confirmed at the meeting that no one had raised the lack of bus facilities to the Lluesty site and the problems this would cause Holywell residents, and those from further afield who did not have access to cars.

Holywell is loosing the inpatient facility at the heart of the community and easily accessible by locals – without anyone raising the concerns of the many people in Holywell who want to see the new site completed before the Cottage hospital in patients and minor injuries unit is closed and its facilities moved to Lluesty. It is a betrayal of the people of Holywell who have supported the Cottage Hospital for so many years that the closure of in patient facilities has been hidden from them. Local residents, who fear any delays in the building works may mean it is years before the new hospital is built

This is going to cause major disruption to staff and patients as well as costing £50,000 to prepare the ward in Lluesty. I am concerned that these plans have been pushed forward in order that the site can be sold. Labour policies appear to be designed to turn hospitals into residential building sites. Flint Cottage hospital is also threatend with closure. Labour policies are seeing bureaucrats rising at three times the rate of new doctors and nurses. Debts increasing and yet bed cuts. Whilst I welcome the new hospital for Holywell it is clear that if Flint Cottage hospital closes there will be a loss of beds overall in Flintshire a position which is being repeated the length and breadth of the UK.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

Today I reflect upon the horrors of war - and the great sacrifices made by so many people - not just those who have died, but the injured and the families of those who suffer because war has destroyed their lives.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rising Debt in Flintshire - how to find help

Personal debts are rising and this is causing misery to many families struggling to manage their finances. The Citizen's Advice Bureau in Mold has seen a 39% increase in debt enquiries and bankruptcies have nearly doubled in the past year. This has led to a significant increase in housing repossessions. One of the main problems behind these statistics is the lack of affordable housing available to a population in Flintshire that is growing at 3.6% above the Welsh average. There appears to be a lack of co ordinated policy between the planning department and the housing department, with no one being held accountable for the failings in the system. Labour controlled Flintshire Council's housing department is in crisis and has been for some time. Homelessness in the County is rising. The county is also seeing a rise in debt problems amongst pensioners managing credit card and loan debts. Revaluation of peoples housing in order to introduce council tax rises has hit pensioners and those on low incomes hard. A stealth tax that has implications for those struggling on the margins. Once someone is of pensionable age it is very difficult to raise income as pension income is largely fixed. Help is at hand for those struggling to manage debt and those needing help or advice should contact Chris Bailey at Mold CAB.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Andrew Lansley exposes Labour hospital tactics

Labour's obssession with power over good government was again exposed today. It is disgusting that local residents of good hospitals are going to see their services suffer or close because of the Labour party's desire to hold onto marginal seats. Labour have caused this crisis in the NHS through their dotty policies and by creating armies of bureaucrats. Their mismanagement of the health service should make them hang their heads in shame. The local community hospital in Holywell has seen GPs pull out of the walk in minor injuries unit because Labour allowed GPs to pull out of 24 hour cover when they renegotiated the contracts, this has meant that nurses have had to take up even more responsibilities. It has also worsened the local health board budget because Labour forgot that GPs contracts funded beds in community hospitals - by failing to keep that requirement in the new GP budgets the LHBs now have to pay even more money to GPs. The deficit in Wales is running at £76 million and this years overspend for North East Wales Trust is £9 million. Yet the spend on bureaucrats is 20.2 million. ........................

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Labour "the party the party the party"

The recent actions of Mark Tami and the concern with its effect on "the party" show that what worries Labour is not the policies of governance but the effect on their own positions. I note that David Hanson MP (and Sandy Mewies AM) removed themselves today from the leadership crisis, by attending a photocall in Holywell "announcing" WAG funding for a new hospital at Holywell... coincidentally this funding was also announced before the 2003 Welsh elections by then Health minister in Wales Jane Hutt..........Oh and by coincidence new "funding" from Europe was announced in Blaenau Gwent after the defeat of Labour in their heartlands.....A divided party - no real interest in long term thinking - and concern about their own positions -daily job losses announced in Wales...........positive policies, looking at the long term, being concerned about those they were elected to represent? Long term thinking? I dont think so................

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

University top up fees


According to figures from the university admissions service UCAS more than half of first-year students in Welsh universities will be from Wales, while there has been a fall in the number of Welsh students going to English universities.

Welsh students studying at Welsh universities will not have to pay Labour's top-up fees thanks to a Welsh Conservative motion passed in the National Assembly in May 2005.
I welcome the 7.5% increase in the number of Welsh students attending Welsh universities and that for the first time for many years more than 50% of freshers in Wales will be Welsh. Student debt is a major consideration in determining the choice of university.

It is Conservative policy to provide the access to lifelong learning opportunities for everyone who is able to gain the relevant entry qualification to the higher or further education course of their choice, regardless of their financial circumstance.

Education Minister Jane Davidson must be held to account as to why she and all the other Labour Assembly Members voted against the motion not to introduce 'top-up' fees for students residing in Wales attending Welsh universities. Welsh Conservative policy allows parents to encourage and support their children to aspire to higher and further education. All Welsh students applying to study in Wales have the Welsh Conservatives to thank for being spared the full effects of Labour's tax on learning.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Domestic Violence organisation needs towels and toiletries

Delyn's Women's Aid - an organisation helping the victims of domestic violence desperately needs towels and toiletries to help women and their children who arrive at the refuges with no personal possessions. If you can help please call 01352 712 150 or post to Delyn Women's Aid Halkyn Street Holywell Flintshire.

Delyn Women’s Aid in Holywell today received confirmation that they will receive 12 months funding from Children in Need for a refuge child worker. Workers at the centre were thrilled with the news that they will receive funding securing the future of Susie Skinner for a further 12 months.

Antoinette Sandbach visiting the centre today said “I am delighted with news of the award which reflects the hard work and dedication of those working at Delyn Women’s Aid in providing help and assistance to the victims of domestic violence. It is vital to remember that children are also victims of domestic violence.“

“it is extremely difficult for mothers to protect their children from ongoing abuse as a result of their obligation to comply with contact orders.

Research shows that the link between domestic violence and child physical abuse can be as high as 60%[1]. At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. Nearly three quarters of children on the “at risk” register live in households where domestic violence occurs” (Dept of Health 2002)

1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime with an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence against women in a year[2]. An average of over 2 women a week are killed by a current or former partner[3]

[1] Study: Humphreys and Thiara 2002
[2] Walby and Allen 2004
[3] Flood-Page 2003

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cuts in education spending in Flintshire

I noticed that on Friday Sandy Mewies AM handed letters of congratulation to primary school leavers moving up to secondary education at various schools in Flintshire. I was shocked at this blatant attempt to target 11 year olds and ride on the back of their achievements. The real story of education in Flintshire is a cut in capital spending per pupil from £32 a head in 2003-4 to £18 a head in £2004-5. This means that Flintshire is bottom of the table for education spending in wales. This swinging cut is an outrage and a clear breach of Labour's pledge "your child achieving more". Mewies failure to highlight the cuts in the labour controlled Flintshire council education spending indicates that she is not prepared to tackle the issues facing her constituents and is more concerned in covering up the failures of her labour colleagues.