Monday, February 26, 2018


UK Government’s domestic abuse reforms fails victims – Liz Saville Roberts MP Consultation announced following Plaid Cymru Private Members’ Bill

Domestic abuse reforms, announced today by the Home Secretary, do not go far enough, according to the MP who called for reforms through a Private Members’ Bill.

Liz Saville Roberts MP – Plaid Cymru’s Justice spokesperson – welcomed the consultation but warned the proposals announced by the Home Secretary will fail to tackle the problem of victims being cross-examined by their own perpetrators.

Ms Saville Roberts introduced a Private Members’ Bill in December 2017 which would have prevented convicted stalkers and domestic abusers, or anyone with a restraining order from bringing vexatious claims to the family and civil courts, in order to further abuse their victims. The Bill would prevent, in any circumstances, a perpetrator cross-examining their victim.

The Bill gained the support of every party represented in the House of Commons.

The reforms announced by the Home Secretary today stop short of Liz Saville Roberts’ proposals, ensuring only that victims will be able to be cross-examined via video link or behind a screen.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Justice spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:

“This consultation is an important step forward following the Private Members’ Bill I put forward in December, but the reforms proposed do not go far enough and will fail victims.

“Convicted stalkers and domestic abusers, even when subject to a restraining order, are able to bring vexatious claims to the Family and Civil Courts for the sole purpose of bringing their victims into the same room as them, to be abused once again. Victims are being forced to sit in waiting rooms with their perpetrators and are being cross-examined by their perpetrators in court.

“While allowing victims to be cross-examined via video link or behind a screen is a step forward, the reality is that a convicted perpetrator should never be allowed to cross-examine their own victim in court, whether behind a screen, via video link or in person.

“The Home Secretary needs to bring forward the Courts Bill and allow Parliament to debate it properly and amend it accordingly.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


A ‘Buy Welsh’ policy would boost Welsh economy by £400m, new figures show Labour Government lacking economic "ambition and imagination" argues Adam Price AM. 

Figures obtained by Plaid Cymru's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Adam Price AM reveal that the Labour Welsh Government is failing to make the most of its procurement policy meaning that the economy is missing out on up to £400m. 

The figures have been revealed in response to a written question submitted by Adam Price AM, showing that the percentage of purchases procured from the Welsh Government, the NHS and Further Education providers had fallen between 2015-16 and 2016-2017.

During exchanges in the Senedd at Finance Questions today, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford incorrectly claimed that public procurement levels in Wales had increased, following a direct question from Adam Price. 

The Welsh Government’s own figures show that his claims are incorrect. Adam Price AM said that the figures highlighted "a failure of ambition and imagination" on the part of the Labour Welsh Government when it comes to optimising procurement policy for the benefit of Welsh businesses and job creation.

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price AM said:

"When used effectively, public procurement is a strategic tool which can be utilised to bring real economic benefits to people in Wales. 

"However, with a Labour Welsh Government devoid of real ambition and imagination at the helm, the percentage of Welsh purchases has fallen across the public sector.

"In 2015-16, 41% of all Welsh NHS purchases were made in Wales but by last year the figure had fallen to 39%. Similarly, the percentage of Welsh Government spend dropped from 44% to 41% in a year and in Further Education, from 62% to 55%.

“In response to a direct question from me during today’s Finance Questions in the Senedd, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance incorrectly claimed that public procurement levels in Wales had gone up. The Welsh Government’s own figures proves that is not the case which either shows a severe lack of understanding from the Cabinet Secretary, or an appalling attempt at misleading the Assembly.

"If the Welsh Government's own procurement levels, and the NHS' were on par with Local Government levels then this would lead to an additional £400m being spent on businesses in Wales.

"Plaid Cymru has repeatedly stood on a platform of raising procurement levels in Wales with a view to creating quality jobs and generating economic growth. I urge the Labour Welsh Government to show some leadership on this matter and to put a proper procurement policy in place that will harness our country's substantial economic potential."

Sunday, February 11, 2018


The missing rail link between Ebbw Vale and Newport to all intents and purposes is already open – trains occasionally run admittedly a tad irregularly from Ebbw Vale into Newport and vice versa. 

Driver training on the Gaer spur (Ian Brewer)
The rail line and the signalling works fine – so rather than the restoration of infrastructure and signalling - what’s actually lacking is a regularly timetabled service - that is a problem that requires a political solution, rather than an economic or infrastructure problem.

The Ebbw Vale line, at least to Cardiff, reopened in 2008 and carried a years worth of anticipated passengers in the first few months.

The new rail service failed to connect to Newport from day one - despite the implied promises and suggestions made before and since the railway line was reopened. 

By now even the Labour in Wales Welsh government (and their locally elected representatives) have run out of old tired excuses and tired soft weasel words to hide their failure or lack of any real commitment to deliver.

The failure to connect the Ebbw Vale line to Newport means that potential commuters living in communities in the Ebbw Valley remain unable to travel directly to Newport by train and have little choice but to use their cars. 

They are denied the opportunity of catching connecting trains to Bristol, London, Cheltenham and beyond as well travelling slightly more rapidly to Cardiff in the morning and evening.

A now and then rail service...
By now it is irrelevant as to whether this was a short-sighted ill thought out decision or a deliberate conscious decision not to run any rail service between Ebbw Vale and Newport. 

The end result remains the same in that commuters have no choice but to drive to work and help to feed the congestion of the overcrowded M4.

The Labour in Wales Welsh Government despite the on-going problems with the establishing proposed new rail franchise needs to work to fix the missing rail link. 

To start to fix this problem, we need a very public all-party commitment to ensure that a regular timetabled service to and from Ebbw Vale to Newport is part of the new all Wales rail franchise.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


At the turn of the year, barely noticed by most people, Westminster politicians voted to spend billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on redecorating their own offices. A Plaid Cymru/SNP amendment to allow Parliament to be relocated outside London was defeated, and the Tory Government’s preferred option for renovation was defeated. 

Westminster MPs supported an alternative proposal from a group of Labour, Tory and DUP backbench politicians to spend up to £4 billion pounds of public money temporarily moving MPs to an alternative location in London while work is carried out on the Palace of Westminster. Plaid Cymru had called for MPs to be given a further option – to leave the Palace of Westminster permanently and move Parliament outside London, arguing that it would not only save money for taxpayers but also contribute towards rebalancing the UK economy. 

It is worth noting that in the six months since the Westminster election and the refurbishment vote, the Westminster Government has scrapped electrification of the railway line to Swansea; they have pretty much kicked the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon into the long grass; and slashed funding for the NHS, local government and schools. Yet Westminster MP’s managed to vote to spend up to £4 billion pounds of taxpayers money redecorating their own offices. 

And this is during a time of rising inequality, and public faith in democracy shaken, it’s typical that the Westminster establishment has mobilised ultra-efficiently to protect its own interests. So rather than redecorating a dilapidated building centred in a city that is infamous for being part of the problem, rather than the solution, to the widening geographic inequality across the UK, MP’s should have taken the opportunity to move the Parliament outside London, saving public money and taking a major step towards rebalancing the economy. 

If Westminster politicians seriously think that spending £4 billion on their own place of work is going to re-build the peoples trust in the political process, then they need to think again, perhaps they should visit visit communities across Wales who have been completely let down by successive Westminster governments. A £4 billion renovation might fix a crumbling Palace of Westminster but it certainly will not fix a crumbling and increasingly out of touch Westminster establishment.