Showing posts from July, 2017

Last ditch appeal to save Llanelli benefits office

Column in Llanelli Herald on 14th July When Teresa May became Prime Minister she said she wanted to spread opportunity to people who had been left behind, and spread wealth around the country. Fast forward one year and her Ministers are determined to strip 150 jobs from Llanelli town centre. On Wednesday Nia Griffith and I held our second meeting with the man behind the plan, Department for Work & Pension Minister Damien Hinds. As before, he was charming but indifferent to Llanelli's plight. The DWP are planning the centralise the staff from Crown Buildings working on sicknesses benefit claims, work capability assessments and crisis loans, and move them to 'hubs' based in Cardiff, Swansea, Bridgend and Pembroke Dock. I've been working with Ministers in the Welsh Government for months to come up with a Plan B but the UK Government just haven't been willing to play ball. Welsh Government Minister Julie James is also meeting with Damien Hinds in an at

Seeing more of Wales on the BBC

Column in the Llanelli Herald on June 30th 2017 People in Wales watch the BBC, and value it, more than people in any other part of the UK. And yet over the BBC Wales have cut the number of hours last 10 years by a massive 22% In my last job running the think-tank, the Institute of Welsh Affairs, I made the case for reversing this cut by publishing detailed research about the poor state of the media in Wales, and since I’ve been in the Assembly I’ve been heavily involved in efforts to put pressure on the Government and the broadcasters to better serve Welsh audiences. This week I had another chance to put the Director General of the BBC, Lord Tony Hall, on the spot when he came before the Assembly’s Culture Committee. You can watch the session on Senedd TV if you want to! The pressure has had an impact. Despite facing significant Tory cuts the BBC have agreed to provide an extra £10.5 Million a year to BBC Wales. The Beeb are now creating 40 new jobs in Wales, includ