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  • Mar 26, 2014:
    • Ambulance response times in Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot hit new low
      Emergency ambulance response times in February were the worst they have been since a new system was introduced in 2011, figures published today have shown. Just 51.2% of emergency responses to Category A (immediately life-threatening) calls in Neath Port Talbot and 52.5% in Bridgend arrived at the scene within 8 minutes. This is despite the target being for 65% of ambulances to arrive within that time. The all-Wales figures are the worst since a new classification system was introduced in 2011. South Wales West Liberal Democrats Assembly Member, Peter Black said: "These figures are a national disgrace. It would seem our ambulance service has reached crisis point. The people of Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend deserve better than this. "To have only around half of immediately life-threatening calls responded to within the 8 minute target time is a huge concern. Lives can be lost because of slow response times. "These alarming figures come on the same day the Health Minister has said he plans to change the way our ambulance service is monitored. People will be concerned the system is being changed due to the Welsh Labour Government categorically failing to meet the current targets it has set itself. I hope these changes are patient focused, rather than political. I find it strange that the Minister is unable to confirm whether the current targets will remain in the long term. "No-one doubts the skill and dedication of our front-line staff. What is in doubt is the ability of the Welsh Labour Government to provide a decent reliable service that the people of Wales deserve." END Notes: Figures can be found here: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/statistics/2014/140326-ambulance-services-february-2014-en.pdf 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
  • Mar 18, 2014:
    • Regional ambulance handover times show 'worrying rises' says Assembly Member
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black has expressed his concern at the rise in ambulance handovers taking over 60 minutes in Swansea's Morriston Hospital, and Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital over the last three years for which full figures are available. Mr. Black had asked for the information under the Freedom of Information Act as a result of approaches from constituents. Mr Black said:- "In Morriston Hospital, the number of occasions where somebody was waiting for over 60 minutes rose from 851 in 2011, to 2361 in 2013 - an increase of over 170%. In Princess of Wales Hospital, the rise was from 309 in 2011, to 1313 in 2013 - which is over 320%. "Reducing handover times is absolutely vital. "Leaving patients in ambulances outside A&E departments means that the ambulance service has fewer vehicles to call on should there be another emergency, increases the element of risk in our communities, and shows that A&E departments are under increasing pressure. "Whatever the Welsh Labour Government might like us to believe, these are worrying rises, and need to be tackled urgently. "No-one doubts the skill and dedication of our front-line staff. What is in doubt is the ability of the Welsh Government to set the Local Health Board and the Ambulance Trust proper targets, and priorities." 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
    • Hundreds of parents in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend to get help with childcare costs
      A major childcare package is set to help 14,010 parents in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend areas, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black said today. In total, 83,600 people in Wales will benefit. Working families will be given up to £2,000 to ease the cost of childcare as part of a scheme to be rolled out in Autumn 2015. The Government has said it will provide 20 per cent support on childcare costs up to £10,000 per year for each child. For example, it means a family with two children under 12-years-old could benefit by up to £4,000 as a result. Mr. Black said: "Today's news provides a huge boost to hardworking families in the South Wales West region. "The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society and this helps children get off to the best start in life. "The Government has also said people on Universal Credit will get 85 per cent of childcare costs fully covered. "These measures will help parents to go to work and provide security for their families." 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 4, 2014:
    • Assembly Member urges UK Government to abandon plans to privatise the Land Registry
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black who worked at Swansea Land Registry for 17 years before being elected, has urged the UK Government to rethink its plans to privatise the agency. Mr. Black was responding to a consultation by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) which is asking people to comment on whether thee Land Registry should deliver its services at arms-length from Government through a privately owned company. In his submission to BIS Mr. Black argues that there is no evidence that the current level of service will be improved by outsourcing the delivery functions of the land Registry: "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. "Where is the evidence that this proposal 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. "The integrity of the land register relies primarily on government guarantee backed up by statute and confidence in the quality of the Land Registry's work. This proposal has the potential to undermine both. I am not convinced that a private company would put the integrity of the register ahead of its other aims and objectives as the Land Registry currently does. Changing the status quo placing the integrity of the register in the hand s of a contractual relationship is fraught with difficulties. The Land Registry currently has a 98% customer satisfaction rating. These proposals put that in jeopardy as well as the jobs of hundreds of staff in the region I represent." 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
  • Feb 18, 2014:
    • Local listing essential to ensure the future of our past
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black is calling on the Welsh Government to make local listing statutory to ensure local assets are protected for future generations. Mr Black said:- "Communities across Wales have their own local historic buildings or structures that have important aspects of social, economic, cultural or military history that need to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. "I believe it is essential to list and protect our local assets, so future generations can enjoy the significance of our history. This is essential as the forthcoming Heritage Bill aims to ensure the future of our past. "Assets of community history need to be maintained so that the local sense of identity can be passed on. At the moment Local Authorities can choose to locally list buildings, so your community identity is dependent on your council. Local lists should be statutory so that all communities across Wales can place a marker on the assets in their area that make the community theirs. "Local listing needs to carry weight so that assets can be protected. Communities can be left distraught when a local historic asset is demolished or renovated beyond recognition. Local assets need to be listed and its meaning made clear. Developers need to be aware of what can or can't be done to an asset. It is essential that any redevelopment allows the asset to maintain its local essence." 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
  • Feb 12, 2014:
    • Ambulance delays outside Swansea and Bridgend hospitals are unacceptable says Assembly Member
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has called ambulance delays outside Morriston and Princess of Wales hospitals unacceptable as new figures revealed major problems in the last month of 2013. Mr. Black was speaking in the light of Welsh Ambulance Service performance figures for December 2013 that showed that 223 ambulances waited between 60 and 120 minutes outside Morriston Hospital to discharge their patients, 49 ambulances waited between 120 and 180 minutes, whilst 19 ambulances waited more than three hours. For the Princess of Wales Hospital, 165 ambulances waited between 60 and 120 minutes to discharge their patients, 23 ambulances waited between 120 and 180 minutes, whilst 10 ambulances waited more than three hours. "These figures are unacceptable and demonstrate significant delays in treating patients brought to hospitals by emergency services," said Mr. Black. "These delays are largely down to bed shortages in the hospitals themselves. No patient in need of emergency treatment should have to wait hours before being discharged into a hospital for treatment. "The Welsh Health Minister needs to talk to the ABMU Health Board as a matter of urgency to seek an explanation for these delays and to demand an action plan as to how they will be eradicated 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
  • Feb 7, 2014:
    • Lagoon has potential for massive economic boost for Swansea'
      Commenting on today's announcement that the planning application for Swansea's lagoon power plant has been submitted, Peter Black, Assembly Member for South Wales West, said: "I am pleased that the planning application for the lagoon has been submitted. "This lagoon has the potential to bring a massive economic boost for Swansea and surrounding areas. "It is hoped that the project will produce a huge amount of local jobs and could well generate millions of pounds in the region. "Now this application has been made public, the project can be properly scrutinised. A project of this magnitude has to be got right. "There are still a number of environmental concerns surrounding this project that must be addressed. Providing that these issues are dealt with, then this announcement can only be good news for the Swansea Bay region." 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
  • Feb 4, 2014:
    • Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member backs families and relatives call for a public inquiry into hospitals in ABMU health board
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has raised with the First Minister the concerns of families and relatives about the treatment of patients in hospitals within the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area, supporting their call for a public inquiry into the alleged neglect. Mr. Black raised the issue following his attendance at a public meeting at the Heronstone Hotel last Thursday to which over 100 people came to relate their experiences. Many told of relatives being neglected on wards and left for hours in squalid conditions. Although an inquiry has been initiated by the Welsh Government, the unanimous view of relatives was that it was too limited in its scope and does not give them the opportunity to outline their experiences of hospital. "Having listened to the many examples at that meeting I was convinced that the only way forward is an independent public inquiry," said Mr. Black. "That will provide an opportunity to explore all the issues, both current and historical in depth and ensure that proper procedures and resources are put in place to prevent mistakes being repeated. "Unfortunately, the First Minister refused to consider a public inquiry at this time. He was concerned with the cost implications of setting one up. I will continue to work with relatives and other Assembly Members to press the case for am independent inquiry, which I remain convinced is the only way to address the many issues that are now being brought forward 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
  • Jan 28, 2014:
    • Peter Black supports campaign putting spotlight on finance predators
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has given his support to Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and the Wales Illegal Money lending Unit (WIMLU) at a launch event in the National Assembly in Cardiff today. The two organisations have teamed up for their 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign to combat the problem of illegal money lenders. The campaign highlights financial predators, lurking in communities throughout Wales, who target the vulnerable. Mr. Black said: "I was pleased to be able to show my support for the 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign at the National Assembly. It is important that we raise awareness of these financial predators. They prey on the vulnerable leaving them with spiralling debts that are impossible to repay. " The 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign also provides advice through the 'Your Benefits Are Changing' money advice project. Affordable credit is available through Swansea's LASA (Loans and Savings Abertawe) Credit Union, NPTCU (Neath Port Talbot Credit Union) and Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union and I would urge people to go there rather than loan sharks and payday loan companies. "I have added my backing to this campaign to help get the message out there. I want to ensure the people of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend 'Don't Get Bitten'". 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
  • Jan 22, 2014:
    • Promising unemployment figures in Bridgend
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed figures released today showing the percentage of people in Bridgend claiming Job Seeker's Allowed decreased by 1%. In total,925 fewer people in the area were claiming JSA. This coincides with figures released today showing that Wales' unemployment rate has dropped by 0.9% over the last three months. Mr. Black said: "Today's figures are excellent news for Bridgend. "Liberal Democrats in government are working tirelessly to get our economy moving in the right direction. Since taking over the economic mess left by Labour, we are now seeing more people in employment than ever before. "While these figures are very positive, there can be no room for complacency. There is still a long way to go. "The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for a stronger economy and fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life." 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
  • Jan 15, 2014:
    • Assembly Member urges Health Minister to consider relatives' needs as part of ABMU Mental Health review
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has asked the Minister for Health to consider the needs of patients' relatives, as part of the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board consultion over Adult Mental Health Acute Assessment facilities. The Health Board are currently consulting on proposals for a state of the art acute mental health assessment facility for adults at Neath Port Talbot Hospital which will mean the closure of services in Bridgend and Swansea. "I welcome the goal of the Local Health Board to reduce the number of inpatient beds" said Mr Black "as it is preferable for patients with mental health needs to be supported in their community. The modernisation of these facilities is also overdue. However, some consideration must be given to the transport needs of patients' relatives. "Patients in these assessment units need their friends and family to support them in their recovery. Transport to the new unit will be critical if they are to provide that support. I am pleased that the Minister accepted the point I made and will make sure it receives the attention it requires in consultation process." 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
  • Dec 5, 2013:
    • Liberal Democrats help businesses employ young people locally
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed plans to abolish employers' National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for under 21 year olds which were announced as part of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement. The change means businesses will no longer have to pay tax on their employees aged under 21. For example, companies will save £1,000 each year for every young employee earning £16,000. In South Wales West the plan to abolish NICs for young people from April 2015 means companies will not have to pay the contributions for 24,450 young people, 12,290 in Swansea, 5,570 in Neath Port Talbot and 5,570 in Bridgend. Mr Black said: "The drive to help young people get jobs in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot & Bridgend will be boosted by this initiative. Welsh Liberal Democrats are focused on getting young people into work and this is exactly the kind of initiative needed to give businesses a break and encourage them to start recruiting. "Since 2010 we have already helped create more than 1.5m new apprenticeships throughout the UK. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg's £1bn Youth Contract is supporting work experience, wage incentives and apprenticeships. "Our economy is growing because of the efforts of working people and local businesses. They deserve further help. The coalition's economic plan is the rock on which our recovery is being built - and it is happening because of the Liberal Democrats." 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
  • Nov 20, 2013:
    • Assembly Member congratulates #CwtchtheBid team on maginificent effort
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has expressed his disappointment at the failure of Swansea Bay to win its bid to become City of Culture 2017, but has heaped praise on those who put the bid together and took so us so close to winning. "The bid for City of Culture was an impressive and imaginative team effort that really highlighted everything that Swansea Bay has to offer," said Mr. Black. "I am proud of the way that the bid put Swansea Bay on the map for many people around the UK, of the way that it so strongly featured the rich and diverse culture available in the region and of the way it proved that Swansea Bay can compete on a world stage with all-comers. "Obviously, I want to congratulate Hull on winning their bid, but Swansea Bay has given notice that they will be building on the work that went into their submission to develop still further our cultural offering and to use that as part of a regeneration process in our poorest communities. Today's announcement is does not have to be the end, but if we do this properly, the beginning of something bigger for Wales' City of Culture." 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
  • Oct 15, 2013:
    • Peter Black AM backs the Money for Life Challenge and calls on local organisations to get involved
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is encouraging education and training organisations to back the Lloyds Banking Group's Money for Life Challenge, a national competition for 16-24 year olds in further education, work-based learning, adult community learning or training organisations. With financial education becoming increasingly important for young people, the Challenge is another way for teams to learn vital money management skills, whilst also helping to provide financial education to their communities. The Challenge is supported by Lloyds Banking Group and seeks to find the most successful and innovative projects that young people can use to improve their money management skills, and those of their friends, families and communities. Teams of up to ten young people in further education, work-based learning, adult community learning or a training organisation can apply for a £500 grant to enter, with the support of an individual project sponsor from their learning provider. Teams have until Friday 22 November 2013 to enter the competition. National finals will take place in April 2014, followed by a UK Grand Final in London on 15 May 2014 to select the overall competition winner. Mr. Black commented, "With financial education becoming increasingly important for young people I'd like to see at least one education or community organisation in my constituency encourage teams to take part in the Money for Life Challenge. "It's important that young people in my constituency improve their financial skills and share their new knowledge with others in the community, and the Challenge is a great way to do this. Applications for this year's competition are open until Friday 22 November 2013, and I look forward to hearing about the wonderful projects that will be proposed." For more information on the Money for Life Challenge, please go to: www.moneyforlifechallenge.org.uk , or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moneyforlifeuk and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/moneyforlifeuk Notes to editors: For further press information please contact moneyforlife@bluerubicon.com About Money for Life Money for Life is Lloyds Banking Group's award-winning personal money management programme, targeted at young people and adults in the wider Further Education, work-based learning and community learning sectors. Lloyds has invested £8million in the programme from 2010-14. The Money for Life Qualifications programme provides accredited, fully-funded training to enable organisations to embed money management skills at a local level. The Money for Life Challenge is a national competition that provides £500 grants to empower teams of 16-24 year olds to develop innovative money management projects that impact their communities. Money for Life was awarded a Big Tick and was highly commended in Business in the Community's Awards for Excellence 2012 and was reaccredited in 2013. It was also awarded a special mention in the Independent newspaper's Peer Awards 2012. 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
  • Oct 8, 2013:
    • Peter Black AM announces £13.45m extra for schools in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, and Bridgend
      The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is delighted to announce that schools in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, and Bridgend will be getting an extra £13.45m thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The Welsh Liberal Democrats today came to an agreement with the Welsh Labour Government that, in exchange for supporting the Welsh Government's annual budget, schools will receive millions of pounds of extra investment through a 'Pupil Deprivation Grant' - a Welsh version of the 'Pupil Premium' in England. The increase in the Pupil Deprivation Grant, established by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, means that the grant has more than doubled. From 2014 schools will receive £918 per pupil on free school meals. As a result, schools in Swansea will get an extra £5.768m, in Neath Port Talbot they will receive £3.980m and in Bridgend, £3.706m. As part of the deal, the Welsh Liberal Democrats also secured £50m extra to relieve pressure on struggling hospitals. Mr Black said: "I am delighted that schools in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, and Bridgend will be receiving £13.45m extra because of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. "The Welsh Liberal Democrats created this grant because we want to give every child a fairer start in life. Too often children from poorer backgrounds fall behind in school even at an early age. We want to put an end to this inequality. In doing so, we will be raising standards in our schools for all pupils across Wales. "Helping poorer pupils was a key pledge in the Welsh Liberal Democrat's 2011 manifesto. We appreciate how important education is to creating a fairer society. Sadly, schools in Wales have suffered from years of under-investment from the Welsh Labour Government. Today we are taking big steps to change that. "I am also pleased that we have negotiated an extra £50 million to go towards helping our struggling hospitals. It is critical that timely discharge arrangements are in place to ensure that more beds are freed up. This investment will relieve some of the pressure that is currently being placed on them." END Notes: The Pupil Deprivation Grant was created in 2012 following a budget deal between the Welsh Government and the Welsh Liberal Democrats. It is a similar scheme to the 'Pupil Premium' in England. Following today's announcement, the Pupil Deprivation Grant will be more than doubled - worth £71m across Wales. In 2014/15, each school will receive £918 per pupil on free school meals. This is an uplift from the current grant which is worth £450 per pupil. The new Intermediate Care Fund will be worth £50 million. It will allow more co-ordinated and joined up care to be provided to support independent living and secure the best decision making for the lives of people, who need health, housing and social services. 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
    • Cancer patients in South West Wales to benefit from Welsh Liberal Democrats deal
      A budget deal between the Welsh Government and two of the opposition parties will see the provision of a £2 million robotic surgery system for the Singleton Hospital cancer centre capable of minimally invasive treatment of prostate and other cancers. The machine enables the removal of tumours using keyhole surgery without many of the traditional side effects associated with the treatment of prostrate cancer. Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, has welcomed the news that local cancer patients are to benefit from this extra investment for cancer treatments which is being delivered through the Welsh Liberal Democrat's Health Technology Fund, set up as part of last year's budget. Currently, patients with prostrate cancer have had to pay extra to be operated on in England where this equipment is commonplace. The budget deal, which was announced today, has been negotiated by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru with the Welsh Government and will see a number of Welsh Liberal Democrat key priorities being implemented. There will be investment in telemedicine, a £50 million fund to help patients receive treatment in their own homes and the doubling of the Pupil Deprivation Grant for Wales' poorest pupils from £450 per pupil to £918. This money will be paid directly to schools and will be used to lift up the achievement of children from deprived backgrounds. Commenting, Mr. Black said: "I am extremely proud that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are once again making a difference to the lives of the people of South West Wales. We proposed the idea of a Health Technologies Fund as we wanted to offer patients better access to innovative treatments that were not routinely available on the Welsh NHS. "For many years the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been arguing that cancer treatment in Wales has simply not been good enough. That is why I am so delighted that we are to have this equipment here in Swansea. "I look forward to seeing the equipment in action and the benefits it will bring to patients in my region." 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
  • Oct 2, 2013:
    • Peter Black AM calls for 'not spots' to be a thing of the past
      In their debate this week, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for an end to internet and mobile 'not spots' in Wales. The debate coincides with the launch of the new 'Access Broadband Cymru' scheme which aims to support Superfast Cymru in rolling out broadband across Wales. The Welsh Lib Dems will be urging the Welsh Government to learn from the mistakes of past schemes, to ensure Wales no longer lags behind when it comes to accessing a decent mobile and broadband service. Previous Welsh Government broadband schemes have proven to be inadequate for businesses due to the slow speed of the broadband provided, lack of advertising and a failure to help those in the most hard to reach areas. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be highlighting some constructive ways to improve the availability of broadband and mobile services in the future. They will also be calling for the Welsh Government to investigate recent problems with mobile signal in rural areas and to work with network providers to ensure these issues are addressed and coverage is maximised across Wales. South Wales West Liberal Democrats Assembly Member, Peter Black said: "It is a sad fact that Wales has the largest proportion of premises in potential not-spots and the lowest availability of superfast broadband services. Previous schemes by the Welsh Labour Government simply haven't been up to scratch and Wales has languished at the bottom of league tables when it comes to broadband access. "Superfast broadband availability across Wales is only 37%. This is compared to a national average of 95% in Northern Ireland. Technology moves fast and the difference between those who have broadband and those who don't is getting wider and wider. "Broadband is key to everyday business activities, from contacting customers, ordering supplies, sourcing new tariffs for energy and services or managing finances. Inadequate internet and mobile connections mean that many businesses in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend may be getting left behind, missing out on the benefits of being able to compete in new and wider markets. "Fuel poverty is a massive issue in many rural communities. Yet many rural households are less likely to take up schemes that reduce fuel costs, such as cheaper tariffs or energy efficiency schemes, due to a lack of broadband access. Farming businesses and rural communities face significant problems as more and more services and transactions move online. "It's completely unacceptable that in this day and age many people in Wales still can't use their mobile phone due to a lack of signal, or access a decent broadband connection. The Welsh Labour Government needs to learn from the mistakes of its previous schemes and ensure that even those in the most hard to reach areas have access to a decent internet and mobile service so that 'not spots' finally become a thing of the past." Ends Wales has the largest proportion of premises in potential not-spots, and the lowest availability of superfast broadband services in the UK. According to the Ofcom Infrastructure Report 2012 , superfast broadband availability across Wales is only 37%. This is compared to a national average of 95% in Northern Ireland. It is estimated that 4% of premises will be too inaccessible to provide next generation broadband cost-effectively through Superfast Cymru. A recent Estyn report highlighted that a poor broadband connection hinders class work and slow speeds make internet searches for a whole class difficult. The Ofcom Infrastructure Report 2012 highlights that geographic coverage of mobile networks in Wales is weak: 14.3% have no 2G signal from any operator, 22.1% have no 3G signal from any operator. Internet access causes significant problems for many farming businesses and rural communities as more and more services and transactions move online. 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
  • Sep 25, 2013:
    • LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER SUPPORTS THE WORLD'S BIGGEST COFEE MORNING FOR MACMILLAN
      The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black is supporting Macmillan Cancer Support's World's Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 27th September 2013 (Photo attached of Peter with General Manager for Macmillan in Wales, Susan Morris at the launch in the Senedd ) He has called on the people of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend to get involved by holding their own coffee morning, to help make the cancer charity's fund-raiser the biggest and best ever. Mr Black said: "In Wales more than 18,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year. I know that a considerable number of constituents have personal experience of cancer, and I know that Macmillan has been there to support many of those in need. "Macmillan Cancer Support is there for people from the moment they are diagnosed, with medical and practical help, as well as emotional and financial support. That's why I am supporting the World's Biggest Coffee Morning and why I am attending coffee mornings in Pentrehafod School and Swansea Railway Station on Friday. "It is a great idea because everyone likes tea, coffee, cake and a chat - it brings people together and is an easy and fun way to raise money for Macmillan. Every penny you raise will help people with cancer." Last year thousands of people across Wales took part in coffee morning helping to raise funds for Macmillan. This year the charity hopes to raise even more money to help fund vital cancer services across the country. Susan Morris, General Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, commented: "Macmillan in Wales would like to say a huge thank you to Peter for supporting the World's Biggest Coffee Morning. The money raised will fund cancer services in Wales. "With the number of people living with cancer in Wales expected to reach 240,000 by 2030, Macmillan Cancer Support wants to ensure that no-one faces cancer alone. "Money raised by events such as World's Biggest Coffee Morning helped Macmillan to spend £3.2m on its services in Wales last year alone, including funding our nurses and providing £545,000 in grants to people affected by cancer." Now in its 23rd year, World's Biggest Coffee Morning raised an amazing £15m for Macmillan last year alone. To sign up to host a coffee morning, call 0300 1000 200 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee. For information or support relating to cancer, call Macmillan's Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday) or visit www.macmillan.org.uk. -ENDS- For further information, please contact: Carina Parmar Communications Officer Macmillan in Wales T: 01656 867 976 M: 07764503482 E: cparmar@macmillan.co.uk About Macmillan Cancer Support More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder. But you don't have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way. We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you're entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible. Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support 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

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