Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Condemn the Con/Dems

Countless times we have been warned here in Wales that the Comprehensive Spending Review will affect us disproportionately when compared to the rest of the UK. The latest warning comes from the PricewaterhouseCoopers who estimate that 52,000 jobs could be lost in Wales by 2015. That would be devastating.

While we brace ourselves for the details of deep cuts to our frontline services, the Con/Dem coalition government in Westminster has underlined what they think of Wales and its people with the proposal to close the Identity and Passport Office in Newport.

This news is a bitter blow. We will be the only European country without a proper passport office. It will also see the loss of 300 jobs in an area that can not afford it and will mean a poorer service for the majority of people in Wales. It also raises question marks over the ability of the passport office to provide a service in Welsh.

Given we are in a consultation process on this closure, it is vital that a campaign is orchestrated that underlines the worth of the passport office in Newport and informs those in their ivory towers at Westminster that Wales is not happy with this decision. We also need to bring local companies on board as cuts of this magnitude cannot help but impact on the private sector.

The mooted closure of the passport office has overshadowed news this week of the likely privatisation of the Royal Mint. The Treasury-owned mint in Llantrisant employs 868 people according to the latest annual report produced by the Royal Mint Trading Fund Group. Privatisation invariably means jobs losses, excused in the name of efficiency savings.

Even when their MPs are combined, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats do not have a mandate in Wales. Are we an easy target for the cuts as most of the core support for both parties couldn’t give a damn what happened this side of Offa’s Dyke?

People in Wales must consistently make our voices heard, sending a message to David Cameron and his band of millionaires that they cannot keep treating us with impunity. A good place to start would be the march and rally taking place this Saturday in Newport to protest at the axing of the city’s Identity and Passport office. The march begins at 11am outside the historic Westgate hotel and finishes in John Frost square where the rally will be held.

Please join us if you can.

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