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  • Jul 25, 2014:
    • Liberal Democrats delivering recovery for South Wales West
      Liberal Democrats have helped to restore the UK economy to pre-crash levels, figures released today show. The UK economy has grown by 0.8% over the last quarter, ensuring that the UK economy has now returned to the same level it had before the banking crisis in 2008. Commenting, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black] said: "Today is a big day for Britain. The rescue is working and Britain's economy is the same size as it was before the crash. This is fantastic news for people in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend. "Delivering this recovery is why Liberal Democrats stepped up to the plate in 2010 and I am proud that we have helped rescue the British economy and get it growing at the fastest rate of any major economy.. "This recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats, and it certainly wouldn't be happening as fairly. It is the Liberal Democrats who have delivered an £800 tax cut to help millions of people weather the storm. "Now, as we move from rescue to renewal the Liberal Democrats are determined to make our economy even stronger and our society fairer - so that every single person benefits from the recovery and has the opportunities to get on in their lives." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 15, 2014:
    • Assembly Member calls on First Minister to legislate to stop Elba rents scandal from happening elsewhere
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on the First Minister to take action to protect leaseholders elsewhere in Wales from falling victim to the sort of rent review clauses in their leases that have hit residents of the Elba Works estate in Gowerton.  Speaking in the Senedd today, Mr. Black said that the huge rent increases being imposed on leaseholders in Gowerton by Swansea Council, from £50 a year to over £3,000 in some cases, should not be repeated elsewhere. "I recognise that the rent rises for Gowerton residents being set by Swansea Council need to be resolved locally, but at the same time their plight highlights many problems with leasehold properties. There is a real danger that these issues could arise elsewhere. Accordingly, I asked the First Minister today to review the law around residential leases with a view to including any reforms in the renting homes bill due early next year "I will continue to press this point to get some clarity on the government's position and protection for other leaseholders who may find themselves in a similar position to those in Gowerton." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 8, 2014:
    • Families must act now to beat continuing care claim deadline
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is urging the families of patients who have been in residential or nursing homes or were being cared for elsewhere for long term illnesses between 1st April 2004 and 31st July 2013 to lodge claims with their local health board to recover the costs of continuing medical care before the deadline of 31 July 2014 so as to avoid missing out. The deadline is tucked away on the Welsh Government website but there appears to have been little attempt by Ministers to publicise it or to encourage claims despite the fact that many families will have paid out tens of thousands of pounds in care costs and may have had to sell their relative's homes to find the money. Mr. Black said: "There are hundreds of people in our area and throughout Wales who have paid out substantial sums of money on care for their loved ones, who are entitled to claim that money back but who need to act now to do so. "There is a great deal of confusion and lack of knowledge around this issue which means that many people have been struggling to raise large sums of money to pay for care when they did not need to do so. "What is worse is that the Welsh Government has added to this confusion by introducing an arbitrary deadline for claims and then not publicizing. That is the second time they have done this. "I would urge families whose relatives are in long term care and particularly those in residential homes to find out their rights, and submit a claim to their Local Health Board as quickly as possible. Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jul 2, 2014:
    • University campus road works will hit access for Crymlyn Burrows residents says Assembly Member
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales, West Peter Black has expressed his concern at the way Neath Port Talbot Council are dealing with the proposal to close the right turn options to and from Elba Crescent as part of the University campus building work. Works to create an access road to the University campus will mean that right turns to Elba Crescent from Fabian Way and vice versa will be prevented on three separate occasions for a three weeks period on each occasion. As a result residents living in Elba Crescent and Baldwin's Crescent will face a long detour to travel to and from their homes. "Although it is necessary to create an access to the new university campus I am astonished that Neath Port Talbot Council have not made proper provision for local residents to properly access their own homes," said Mr. Black.. "Residents have suggested to me that the bus gate at the end of Baldwin's Crescent be opened whilst the closure is in force but the Council appear to have ruled that out. Opening up the bus gate will allow residents to access Swansea without having to go up to the Amazon roundabout and around. It will also prevent them from having to go round the back roads to access their properties "There has been little or no consultation with residents on the impact of these works on them. They have effectively been told to like it or lump it. The council is not interested in their views. I am also concerned that businesses, based in Crymlyn Burrows will suffer because customers and suppliers will not know how to access them. Will the Council be compensating  these businesses for any detrimental impact on their trade? " Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Thousands of pensioners in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, and Bridgend will benefit from Lib Dem manifesto pledge says Assembly Member
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed the news that under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans for the General Election, pensioners would be guaranteed to earn at least an extra £790 per year by the end of the next parliament. Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb, has announced that the Liberal Democrats will guarantee in law that in each year pensions will rise by the highest of wages, prices or 2.5%. This guarantee would ensure an increase in the value of the state pension of at least £790 per year by the end of the next Parliament, to the direct benefit of many thousands of pensioners in South Wales West. The basic state pension has already risen each year since 2010 thanks to the Liberal Democrat's triple lock guarantee, which was a key demand of the Party in the Coalition negotiations. As a result the state pension is £440 per year, or £8.46 per week higher than it would have been had it increased in line with earnings since the start of this Parliament, and it is worth over £800 a year or £15.45 per week more in total. Mr Black said: "A decent income in retirement for pensioners is central to the Liberal Democrat vision of a fair society. For decades, following the breaking of the earnings link by Mrs Thatcher in 1980, successive Labour and Conservative governments allowed the state pension to decline. Our manifesto promise of a 'triple lock' has been implemented every year since 2010 and means that the state pension is already a higher share of the national average wage than at any time since the early 1990s. "That means 42,812 pensioners in Swansea; 26,051 pensioners in Neath Port Talbot, and 24,854 pensioners in Bridgend are better off today than they would have been under a Labour Government. "But if we are serious about having a decent state pension we need to go further. That is why the Liberal Democrats will guarantee in law that in each year pensions will rise by the highest of wages, prices or 2.5%. This will give pensioners in our region and across Wales more certainty that their pensions will continue to rise in future. "Liberal Democrat plans are in stark contrast to the Blair years, which on one occasion, saw Labour perfectly happy to increase the state pension by an insulting 75p a week." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 18, 2014:
    • Assembly Member calls for investment in treatment for sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Swansea.
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on ABMU Health Board to invest in better care facilities for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis in Swansea, after meeting sufferers in the Welsh Assembly. Mr. Black met up with NRAS Ambassador Cynthia Rees and constituent Peter Jones (pictured) during a launch event for national Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week on Tuesday. He discussed with them their concerns about variations in the quality of services for rheumatoid arthritis patients across Wales and the problems they are experiencing in Singleton and Morriston Hospitals. Mr. Black was told that there are only two rheumatology nurse practitioners in each of Morriston and Singleton hospitals and only two rheumatology consultants. As a result the service is very stretched. There is a single treatment room in Singleton Hospital with just 2 staff and 4 chairs. This operates five days a week, 52 weeks a year but, if staff are on training, sick or leave then the session will be cancelled and everything falls behind. If a patient misses an appointment for this or any other reason then will they suffer delays in getting a new slot. This can impact on their health, it can cause them to miss work and after the delayed treatment it takes time to get back to normality again. If the treatment is timely they do not have that problem. There is also a six month waiting list for infusions. "Clearly there is a capacity problem in Swansea that is impacting on the timely treatment of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis," said Mr. Black. "There are not enough trained staff and facilities are inadequate. Accordingly, I have written to the health board to ask them to provide the much needed investment that will make this service fit for purpose." ENDS Notes to Editors The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) released a major new report called Invisible Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue that highlighted shocking new evidence about the high impact chronic fatigue has on people with rheumatoid arthritis and the urgent need to improve its management. The report surveyed 1, 954 people with RA across the UK. It found that chronic fatigue is a widespread symptom with 89% of people with RA reporting that they experienced chronic fatigue, and 94% saying that their episodes of chronic fatigue lasted several hours or all day. The report also highlighted the significant impact chronic fatigue has on work. 71% of unemployed people of working age with the disease said their fatigue had contributed to their inability to work and an overwhelming 83% said they felt the public was not at all aware of the impact that chronic fatigue on people with RA. 2,029 respondents answered the survey, with 75 respondents stating that they had 'never had fatigue'.  This means a total of 1,954 respondents completed the survey all the way to the end. The questions in the survey were developed by NRAS in order to explore the range of impacts on chronic fatigue and to provide insight for RA awareness week 2014. •Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age. Around three quarters of people with rheumatoid arthritis are first diagnosed when of working age and women are three times as likely as men to have the disease. •690,000 people in the UK (1%) have rheumatoid arthritis costing the NHS approximately £560 million per year. The National Audit Office estimate that the total cost of RA to the UK economy is £4.8 billion per year. •The mission of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) is 'working for a better life for people living with rheumatoid arthritis' and this is sought by providing information, education, support and advocacy; raising public and government awareness of rheumatoid arthritis; campaigning for equity of access to best treatment and care; and facilitating the networking of people with rheumatoid arthritis and encouraging self-help. •NRAS provides support, information and advocacy for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their families, friends and carers. NRAS provides a resource for health professionals and works closely with rheumatology health care professionals across the UK Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 17, 2014:
    • Call for health minister to account for £18m compensation payments
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called for the health minister to make a statement to the Assembly Plenary accounting for huge sums of money paid to patients and their relatives by ABMU Health Board in compensation for poor care over the last three years. Mr. Black raised his question with the Business Minister after a freedom of information request to the health board (attached) revealed that in the 27 months between 1 January 2012 and 1 April 2014 they had paid out around £17.7 million to relatives and patients to compensate them for mistakes and poor care in the board's four major hospitals. A further quarter of a million pounds was paid out in the same period under the NHS Concerns, Complaints and Redress Arrangements (Wales) Regulations. That is averages out at over £650,000 a month. "This is a huge amount of money that is no longer available to fund frontline care," said Mr, Black. "Obviously, those who received the payments did so properly and to compensate them for harm done to them or their family, but it is disturbing nevertheless that the payments needed to be made in the first place. "I have asked for a statement from the Minister to account for this expenditure, to determine whether they form part of a trend, to identify what lessons have been learned and to discover the situation in other health boards. All has not been well within ABMU for some time. These payments reinforce that position. Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 15, 2014:
    • Assembly Member demands rethink on Gowerton rents scandal
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has written to Swansea Council's Chief Executive demanding that the authority think again about the huge rent increases they are imposing on leaseholders living on the former Elba works site in Gowerton. Mr. Black has written following a number of meetings he held with affected residents in their homes this morning. In his letter he has set out ten questions which he wants the Chief Executive to answer about how the review has been conducted and on what basis the issue can be resolved. Mr. Black commented: "I am concerned at the impact of the rent review on the residents who live on this estate, none of whom are rich, many of whom have normal jobs with unremarkable salaries, children and other commitments, and some of whom are pensioners, unemployed or on a fixed income for some other reason. The increase in ground rents by, in some cases, astronomical percentages appears to me to be completely unreasonable and in many cases will lead to home owners paying more than the value of their home over the next 25 year review period in rent. It seems to me that if the legal basis for this review is correct, and residents dispute that as do I, then at the very least the Council should apply its powers of wellbeing to this situation so as to significantly reduce the impact on householders. That though would only secure a fix for this 25 year period, so clearly there needs to be a longer term settlement which is acceptable to both sides and which is reached outside of the current legal process." ENDs Note: The ten questions Mr. Black.put to Mr. Straw are as follows: 1. What is the basis for the calculations used in this rent review? Officers have advised residents that the formula they are using for this review is in their leases. It is not. I have inspected a number of the leases and the fourth schedule, which sets out the process just outlines the assumptions, the review period and arrangements for arbitration. It seems to me that a commercial formula is being applied to residential leases, which is not defensible. Can I please have a copy of the formula being used? 2. What account is being taken in the review of land values since 1989? At best the value of these homes has increased by two or two and a half times. Why is the ground rent going up by much more than that? 3. Why have requests by residents to purchase their freehold over the past year or so been refused? Residents have a right to do this under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, which also contains a formula for calculating the purchase price. Yet residents who have applied to purchase their freehold have been told that they cannot do so at this time. 4. What provisions are being put in place for those on fixed incomes who cannot afford to pay the new ground rents? 5. Can you clarify whether the use of 28 acres as the basis for the calculation includes the area of social housing and the doctor's surgery, which formed part of the original parcel of land? Residents have been told that the review was undertaken by applying a 'formula' to the 28 acre site and then dividing up the resultant amount amongst the eligible properties. 6. In 1995-96 the former Lliw Valley Council wrote to all residents offering to cap the ground rent at £250 from 1 April 2014. In fact some of the original residents say they never had this letter, possibly because the councillor at the time stopped the process halfway through. Those who did respond will now pay £250 a year for the next 25 years and then their ground rent will increase by RPI for the remaining 75 years of the lease. How many properties signed up to that offer please? 7. What other ground rent reviews have taken place on council owned residential leaseholds since 1996 and what percentage increase applied in each case? 8. Clause 5 of the 4th Schedule to the leases says that the revised rent shall not at any time during the term exceed such a rent as may operate to preclude prevent or fetter the Lessee from exercising any rights enabling him to acquire the freehold reversion of the plot arising under any statutory provision. Could you please let me have the council's interpretation of that clause and whether you believe that the current review is in breach of it? 9. Given that the council has stated that they have applied this review evenly across the estate can you explain why residents in identical properties are experiencing different outcomes? 10. Will the council enter into negotiations with a representative group of residents to establish an agreed formula for rent reviews for this period and for the remaining rent review periods in place of the existing process so as to get closure on this issue? Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 10, 2014:
    • Local Mental Health provision is failing our young people
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on the Welsh Government to do more to address the standards of care given to young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties. The Welsh Government are staging a debate today noting "Welsh Government action to improve mental health and well-being in Wales". Welsh Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments to the motion calling for more to be done to prevent young people being put on adult psychiatric wards, a completely inappropriate practice which has been going on for years and which the government has known about but has done nothing to address. They are also calling for a national framework which will help reassure young people as they approach adulthood and face the prospect of losing contact with trusted counsellors and therapists within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) category. "A clear example of the Welsh Government's failure can be seen here in South Wales West at the specialist CAMHS in-patient facility in Bridgend, which is one of just two in Wales," said Mr. Black. "The business case for the unit included provision for a number of emergency beds, but the 2013 review found that these have not been delivered. The unit does not have the capacity originally planned for, and this has resulted in costly out-of-area placements. "In fact, an audit by the Welsh Health Specialised Services found that 21 of the 41 patients discharged between 2011 and April 2013 had been 'originally referred out of area due to the limited capacity of the CAMHS units in Wales.' "After a decade of talking about CAMHS in Wales, we need action from the Welsh Labour Government not more patting themselves on the back in motions they put before the Assembly." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 4, 2014:
    • Queen's Speech guarantees hundreds of parents in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend will get help with childcare costs
      A major tax-free childcare package will help over 14,000 families in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black said today (Wednesday, June 4). Working families will get up to £2,000 to ease the cost of childcare as part of a scheme to be rolled out in Autumn 2015. The scheme will benefit 6,360 families in Swansea, 3,770 in Neath Port Talbot and 3,880 in Bridgend. It means a family with two children under 12-years-old could benefit by up to £4,000 a year. Mr. Black said: "The announcement in the Queen's Speech provides a huge boost to hardworking families in the region. "This is something Liberal Democrats have fought for and are now delivering in Government. "We are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society and this helps children get the best start in life." The Queen's Speech outlines the legislative agenda for the Coalition Government over the next 12 months. "It was announced that every infant in England will get a free school meal to help improve education attainment and child health. The Scottish Government have said they will follow suit. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe the Welsh Labour Government should do likewise." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jun 3, 2014:
    • New rules will help secure a fair deal for pubs in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has welcomed a Liberal Democrats initiative that will see new rules introduced so as to ensure that tied pubs are given a fair deal by pub companies. A new statutory code will give pub landlords running tied pubs new rights to help them get a fair deal from pub companies. The rules will be enforced by an independent adjudicator with the power to punish pub companies that break them. Tied tenants usually have to pay a higher price for beer from the beer company they rent from. This should be balanced out by reduced rents or other benefits - but this has not always been the case, putting some tied pubs at a disadvantage. The new rules will address that, meaning that: · Landlords will be able to request a rent review from pub companies if it has been five years or more since the last one. · Landlords will be given the right to review the information used by pub companies to justify any rent increase. · Landlords tied to pub companies with 500 or more tied pubs will be able to request an additional rent assessment to show if they are worse off than pubs with no tie. · Pubs will have the right to decide if they are tied for gaming machines as well. Mr. Black has dealt with a number of complaints from pub landlords, who have complained that they are being exploited by pub companies. He has previously lobbied Business Secretary, Vince Cable to change the law so as to provide more protection for landlords "I am delighted that action is being taken to support tied pubs," said Mr. Black. "These new regulations will give pub landlords peace of mind that they will be able to get a fair deal on their rent. "Pubs are an important part of local life in South Wales, sitting at the very heart of our community and creating jobs for local people. I am proud that Liberal Democrats Ministers are standing up for them." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 21, 2014:
    • Assembly Member calls on Economy Minister to engage with local partners to fight for jobs at Morganite
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has raised the potential loss of 100 to 120 jobs at Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited with the Economy Minister in the Assembly chamber. Mr. Black pressed the Minister on what action is being taken by the Welsh Government to try and minimise the loss of jobs at the business and called on her to coordinate her efforts with other bodies in the area including Swansea Council and the City Region Board. "The potential loss of highly skilled, well-paid jobs at Morganite is a major blow for Swansea," said Mr. Black. "I envisage that the Welsh Government will be doing all it can to mitigate the impact of this decision. "I am pleased that the Minister confirmed that her officials are working with Morganite to try and understand the issues involved and to minimise job losses. She has also given an undertaking to keep Assembly Members informed about this issue as talks progress." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 15, 2014:
    • Assembly Member backs My Money Week initiative
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is encouraging local schools to get involved in My Money Week 2014 this June, to boost young people's understanding of money management and personal finance. My Money Week, which is organised by UK charity the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg), offers an opportunity for schools to build on the financial education already being taught in schools across Wales through a dedicated week of activities for their pupils. Every primary and secondary school in the South Wales West region is able to take part in this year's My Money Week from 9-15th June for free. Mr Black said: "My Money Week 2014 will be themed around current affairs, challenging young people to improve their financial skills, knowledge and confidence through topical lessons and activities on personal finance. "We all need to be able to manage our money, whether that's budgeting to go on holiday or starting your own business; no young person should be leaving school without a basic understanding of personal finance. "That is why I am delighted to support this great initiative and would encourage every school in the region to get involved. "Schools, and other organisations that work with young people in South Wales West can find out more about My Money Week at www.pfeg.org/mymoneyweek." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 13, 2014:
    • Kirsty Williams and Peter Black "shocked and saddened" by report into elderly care in Welsh Hospitals
      Kirsty Williams & Peter Black have responded to the review by Professor June Andrews & Mark Butler into care for the elderly, at the Princess of Wales Hospital and Neath Port Talbot Hospital at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. The review found serious failings in a number of areas including; a disconnect between front line staff, a lack of hydration & nutrition, and a lack of suitably qualified staff. Commenting Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: "This report is harrowing. Nobody should ever have to put up with poor levels of care. My thoughts are with the families of those who have been affected by poor care. This report will make very difficult reading for the Welsh Labour Government and the Board of ABMU. In 2011 the older peoples commissioner published a report into dignified care for older people yet this review showed a problem with even the most basic care needs like food and water. "The report sets out a clear plan for how the Welsh Government and ABMU board can turn things around. The staff must be given the support to do the job they want and are trained to do. "This report only looked at two hospitals. What we now consider is whether these issues are isolated to these hospitals or if these same issues are occuring in other hospitals across Wales." Peter Black, AM for South Wales West, added: "I am clear that overall the standard of care in ABMU hospitals is high but the report shows how overworked, ill-equipped and poorly supervised staff have let down a minority of patients, in particular the identified areas of concern that there was a disconnection between front-line staff and managers and confusion over leadership responsibilities and accountabilities and unnecessary delays to treatment and care are very worrying. "This report will leave a large number of relatives, whose complaints date to before the three year review period, still dissatisfied and without closure. I am also worried that the Health Board, even today, is not being transparent in how it is addressing concerns. For example I found out through the media that an additional seven nurses were suspended last year, whilst the e-mail to Assembly Members containing the health board's response, password-protected the attached copy of the Andrews' report. "I will be seeking assurances from the Minister that there will be robust monitoring and an open review of the recommendations in this report and how they will be implemented. I also want to see a further process that will look at historic complaints not covered by this report." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Review of ABMU hospitals show that patients and their families were failed by Welsh NHS
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed the Professor June Andrews review of Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot Hospitals and has claimed that it justifies the campaign run by relatives for a full public inquiry into ABMU Health Board. The report says that a full public inquiry is not needed but Mr. Black said that the management failures it highlights and the lack of transparency as to how the health board is responding to them will leave many families without effective closure on the treatment of their loved ones. "I am clear that overall the standard of care in ABMU hospitals is high but the report shows how overworked, ill-equipped and poorly supervised staff have let down a minority of patients," said Mr. Black. "In particular the identified areas of concern that there was a disconnection between front-line staff and managers and confusion over leadership responsibilities and accountabilities and unnecessary delays to treatment and care are very worrying. "This report will leave a large number of relatives, whose complaints date to before the three year review period, still dissatisfied and without closure. I am also worried that the Health Board, even today, is not being transparent in how it is addressing concerns. For example I found out through the media that an additional seven nurses were suspended last year, whilst the e-mail to Assembly Members containing the health board's response, password-protected the attached copy of the Andrews' report. "I will be seeking assurances from the Minister that there will be robust monitoring and an open review of the recommendations in this report and how they will be implemented. I also want to see a further process that will look at historic complaints not covered by this report." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 4, 2014:
    • Assembly Member congratulates Swansea's LASA Credit Union and Barclays Bank on a successful collaboration
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has congratulated both LASA Credit Union and Barclays Bank in Swansea for working together to provide a better service to people who wish to borrow smaller amounts of money, or are on low or fixed incomes. Barclays UK have not only announced that it will allocate space within branches for credit unions to operate, but have also set aside a £1m fund to help credit unions develop. Barclays will also assist with training, and skills transfer. Mr Black said: "Both organisations are to be congratulated for the way that they are working together in order to help local people. It's good to see this example of cooperation in our local banking sector. "LASA Credit Union is not a 'poor man's bank'. However, it is true that credit unions are prepared to loan smaller amounts to members at much lower interest rates than a mainstream bank. It is also true that LASA encourages its members to build up savings for a more secure future. "As Barclays recognise, these things will help people who have been neglected by the mainstream banking sector in the past to get on a more secure footing and participate in the economy again. "I look forward very much to seeing LASA open an information point in Barclays Bank in Swansea in the very near future." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • May 3, 2014:
    • Assembly Member urges government to rethink plans on village greens that could see Swansea Rec and other open spaces built over.
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has hit out at plans by the Welsh Labour Government that will stop local people applying to register land as a village green once it has been identified for development. And he has accused the Natural Resources Minister of misleading AMs by claiming no such proposals exist. Speaking in the Senedd this week, Mr. Black referred to the recent consultation on the Government's proposed Planning Bill which proposes to restrict people's rights to try and protect open spaces such as Swansea Rec from developers. He asked the Welsh government to think again on this proposal and was astonished when the Minister for Natural Resources and Food denied there were any proposals to amend the Commons Act in this way despite it being spelt out in Government documents. "If this proposal becomes law then campaigners who are seeking to protect Swansea Rec near St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground from development would find themselves with nowhere to go," said Mr. Black. "It would affect many other communities around Wales as well. This is a developers' charter and I am astonished that a Welsh Government Minister appears to be in denial of what is proposed by his colleagues. "I would urge the Welsh Government to abandon these proposals. If they go ahead then many open spaces that have been used for recreation by local residents for generations could come under threat, with no avenue available to them to fight back." ENDs Note for Editors: The proposals for restricting applications for village green status can be found on page 97, para 6.138 of the government's consultation document here: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/desh/consultation/140212positive-planning-proposals-to-reform-planning-en.pdf It seeks to 'Prohibit applications being made to register land as a town and village green where that land has entered the planning system i.e. been identified for development in a development plan, has received planning permission or is the subject of an application for planning permission before the LPA' The question to the Minister for Natural Resources and Food from Peter Black can be found at 13:40hrs here http://www.assemblywales.org/docs/rop_xml/140430_plenary_bilingual.xml#142066 Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Apr 7, 2014:
    • Assembly Member raises future of Land Registry with Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black confronted UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable at the weekend and asked him to abandon plans by his department to privatise the Land Registry, who currently employ 430 people in the Swansea area. Mr. Cable was conducting a question and answer session at the Welsh Liberal Democrats Conference when Mr. Black raised the issue with him. The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which Vince Cable heads, is currently asking people to comment on whether the Land Registry should deliver its services at arms-length from Government through a privately owned company. Mr. Black told the Secretary of State that the Land Registry is an important employer in the Swansea area that makes a surplus which is reinvested in its business. It is an innovative and successful government-run business with a good reputation for customer service. ""As a Trading Fund the Land Registry already has the flexibility to innovate and reinvest surpluses as is evidenced by its very successful sale and publication of quarterly house price information. It has also been for some time a flagship department in terms of customer service," said Mr. Black. "There is no evidence that the proposal to privatise it will improve on that?" "The present set-up is independent, transparent and accountable. The proposed change is not. The Land Registry is a staff-orientated department with a good record in training and continuing professional development. A private company would not make that investment and as a result the quality of service will suffer." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Mar 19, 2014:
    • £800 tax cut for 192,000 people in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend
      An £800 income tax cut for people in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend areas is the real budget boost, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black said today. The budget revealed plans to increase the personal allowance from April 2015 and put an extra £100 back in taxpayers' pockets. Lib Dems have already delivered on a £700 tax cut for low to middle earners, but today's news goes even further for hardworking people. The number of people who could benefit from a cut to the personal allowance in Mr. Black's region covering Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend is expected to be around 192,000. Mr. Black said: "This tax cut is the real budget boost for working people and would not have happened without Lib Dems in Government creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. "The Tories are desperate to claim credit, but in reality their focus is on changes such as an inheritance tax cut for millionaires which we blocked, while Labour simply cannot be trusted with the economy. "This was on the front page of our manifesto, but we are also helping people with a freeze on fuel duty and new tax-free childcare to help parents." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Assembly Member welcomes help for Tata steel and other energy intensive industries
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black has welcomed an announcement in the UK budget statement that will directly benefit energy intensive industries such as Tata Steel and help to secure jobs there. In the House of Commons today the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out a package of reforms to radically reduce the costs of energy policy for business, particularly for manufacturing, while improving security of supply and maintaining the government's ambition for the deployment of new renewable generation. The Chancellor told the country that this package will benefit every household, business and region in the country saving a total of up to £7bn by 2018/19, but particularly the most energy intensive manufacturers, around 80% of which are based in the North of England, Scotland and Wales. He said that it will improve incentives for companies to return their manufacturing to Britain, and help existing firms compete in the global economy. "This announcement will particularly help industries such as Tata Steel," said Mr. Black, "helping them to reduce costs and secure jobs. It shows that the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, who has been in discussions with these businesses for some time, has been listening and action has been taken. "Energy intensive sectors make up 35% of UK exports of manufactured goods. Lowering energy costs is therefore vital for the international competitiveness of UK manufacturing.  All businesses will see their electricity bills reduce as a result of this package: in total up to £6bn by 2018/19. Every business will benefit no matter their size. For example, the typical medium sized business will save £100,000 by 2018/19. "Those companies that use electricity intensively will see radical cost savings: a typical compensated Energy intensive industry will save on average around £19m by 2018/19.  This will significantly improve the competitiveness of the UK economy.  "The business energy package will benefit households too, taking £15 off the average household bill, in addition to the £50 on average the government saved for households in the Autumn Statement, demonstrating the Liberal Democrats in government continue to take decisive action to reduce people's bills." Published and promoted by Peter Black, 110 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 5QQ. This website was established while I was an AM and is paid for by me. Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY