The above picture is of Nathan Lee Davies, Campaign leader for Save the Welsh Independent Grant (SWILG) along with fellow campaigners and some AMs also supporting the campaign.
Tomorrow is a very key day in the campaign to Save the Welsh Independent Grant (SWILG) (CLICK HERE) as the Minister responsible for making the decision, Huw Irranca-Davies (along with his team member, the Civil Servant, Gareth Griffiths) will be questioned by the Assembly Petitions Committee about their decision to scrap WILG. It is Item 7 on the agenda and will take place at approximately 10.15am. You can watch it live by CLICKING HERE, with more information HERE.
***PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A TWITTER ‘THUNDERCLAP’ CAMPAIGN FROM 12PM NOON TOMORROW – TUESDAY 19TH JUNE 18. PLEASE TAKE PART BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK NOW AND TWITTER/WE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK NOW TO SIGN-UP FOR THIS ONE-OFF MESSAGE & MORE INFO. THANK YOU***
As you may be aware, we at Clwyd South Labour Party submitted a motion to Welsh Labour Conference to Save the Welsh Independent Living Grant in April this year. We won that motion handing the biggest ever defeat on Welsh Labour, with open support from Welsh MPs, AMs, all Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) asked, Unite the Union and all bar six of the several hundred eligible voting delegates, many celebrities and media. Since then, Welsh Labour, specifically Huw Irranca-Davies and his team, have not even acknowledged this vote in public. This, clearly, is completely & utterly unacceptable.
Two members of Clwyd South Labour Party, along with Nathan himself, made representations to the Petitions Committee at the Assembly on Tuesday 5th June. It went very well. You can watch the video of this BY CLICKING HERE – FROM ONE HOUR, SEVENTEEN MINUTES IN or read the transcript by CLICKING HERE. NUMBER EIGHT ON THE LIST, THREE QUARTERS OF THE WAY DOWN THE PAGE FROM POINT 275. We also met with Huw Irranca-Davies & his team and we are grateful for them meeting us; however, it was very clear that the Minister still did not *get* the key points. To be very clear, we are not saying HID & his team are bad people!, just that they are on the wrong side of the majority. We also thank Mark Drakeford & Julie Morgan who met us that day, too.
We must also point out the support there has been from other political parties. We can publicly thank Welsh Labour MPs like Susan Elan Jones, Ian Lucas & Chris Ruane and we can thank Welsh Labour AMs like Julie Morgan, Mike Hedges, Leslie Griffiths & Mark Drakeford. However, we must also note that this is a cross-party campaign as Plaid Cymru have shown again by today’s statement to the Assembly-CLICK HERE and via their AMs like Llyr Gruffydd, Rhun ap Iorwerth & Neil McEvoy, as well as Conservative AMs like Mark Isherwood & Janet Finch-Saunders and the UKIP AM David J Rowlands. Apologies to any we have forgotten to personally mention!
This campaign has also gone UK-nationwide winning the accolade of ‘Campaign Of The Week’ in The Morning Star newspaper-CLICK HERE, as well as support for Nathan from no less than UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (see below picture) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, along with other English MPs like Chris Williamson & Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Nathan Lee Davies with UK Labour leader & Nathan’s inspiration, Jeremy Corbyn at Welsh Labour Conference in April this year. Clwyd South Labour Party Secretary Jackie Owen is also pictured.
Welsh Labour argue that they are doing the correct thing by moving people on to a new form of benefit. However, we in Labour campaigned and voted AGAINST this at UK/England level, as well as in Scotland. The Scottish parliament opted to keep the equivalent of WILG there, and in Northern Ireland, with great success. So you would be correct in your bafflement when learning Welsh Labour are doing the exact opposite here in Wales, voluntarily???!!! When you have all the aforementioned supporting you, including the highest level of the party, right down to the membership and almost all in between, then adding all the other political parties too, you can see how this seems totally at odds with what we in Labour believe our party stands for.
Welsh Labour may also argue it is not the same in England & Scotland and that here things are different under a protective law. To cut to the chase, we are only interested in the END RESULT for the recipients. Not the bureaucracy in between. The CONSEQUENCES of the Welsh government removing themselves from the ‘tripartite’ system of recipient-government-local authority is absolutely the wrong thing to do; as we can see from our Freedom Of Information requests and the DWP’s own reports in England where ILF was scrapped a couple of years ago. How can delegating/devolving out money, THAT IS NOT RING-FENCED, to local authorities be anything other than wildly inconsistent?! The assessments to do so cost a lot, and as we have found, there are ALREADY massive issues and only approx. 400 recipients have gone through that process! Also, with the money not ring-fenced and massive cuts due to austerity passed on from Westminster, where are the local authorities going to get the money to do on-going assessments…maybe from the pot that is not ring-fenced that is meant to be for the grant itself?!
To his eternal credit, Welsh Labour member and life-long Labour campaigner, Nathan Lee Davies has gone about things the correct way and tried not to criticise his own party. We CLPs and members have tried not to do so, too. Indeed we have openly praised our party & Welsh government on similar issues CLICK HERE. There comes a point, however, when some issues are way, way above party politics and are so serious-in this case, potentially life or death. We must also give credit to Welsh Labour for allowing constructive criticism and not going down the anti-democratic and authoritarian route of some parties who would suspend members for standing up for basic human rights, or trying to make life difficult for members because of this campaign. We are happy to report that (so far!) we have seen no such dictatorship-like behaviour; therefore, again, we praise Welsh Labour for being mature and understanding just how important this campaign is. It is only right and proper we acknowledge this and praise our party for it.
We urge people of all parties and none, in Wales or anywhere else in the UK, to write to both your local MP/AM/MSP/MLAs about this issue. You can find out who your local MP or AM/MSP/MLA is by CLICKING HERE. If you too feel strongly about this, please feel free to contact Huw Irranca-Davies directly-OBVIOUSLY BE POLITE, CONSTRUCTIVE AND RESPECTFUL! via Twitter: Huw Irranca-Davies -@huw4ogmore or @wgmin_csc You can email: Correspondence.Huw.Irranca-Davies@gov.wales or Huw.Irranca-Davies@assembly.wales . THANK YOU.
More information about the overall issues & campaign can be found by CLICKING HERE. Remember, most recipients of WILG are THE most disabled in Wales and not in a position to be able to communicate their opinions directly to the Welsh government-Nathan is able to thanks to being one of the rare few who can, and with the support of the campaign team. Remember also that like in Nathan’s case, were he to get less hours as expected, many carers will be losing work. More demand will be placed as an urgent necessity on family & friends; if recipients are fortunate enough to have that option. As for seeing how things go and reviewing next year-a lot of recipients don’t have that option; for example, Nathan has a condition called Friedreich’s ataxia which has an average life expectancy of 35 years. Nathan is 41. PLEASE, WELSH GOVERNMENT, DO THE CORRECT THING & LISTEN TO US ALL. IT IS NOT JUST AN ISSUE WITH ONE OR TWO LOCAL AUTHORITIES, IT IS ENDEMIC AND IT IS WRONG. PLAIN WRONG!!!
To conclude, I think Nathan sums things up best:
“I appeal to Huw Irranca-Davies to listen to everyone within and outside Welsh Labour; we are all saying the same thing. I do not want to be using what precious time I have left fighting against the hierarchy of the party I love and campaign for. But I will if I have to. Please don’t make me.”
***DON’T FORGET: NOTE THAT THERE IS A TWITTER ‘THUNDERCLAP’ CAMPAIGN FROM 12PM NOON TOMORROW – TUESDAY 19TH JUNE 18. PLEASE TAKE PART BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK NOW AND TWITTER/WE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK NOW TO SIGN-UP FOR THIS ONE-OFF MESSAGE & MORE INFO. THANK YOU***
In solidarity and with thanks to all who have contributed, supported, fought alongside us and continue to do so. We will never give in.