Sunday, 24 April 2011

PCS Union - 5 pledges

The PCS Union in Wales have asked all Welsh election candidates to respond to five pledges as part of their 'Make Your Vote Count' campaign. This is my response.

1. I pledge to oppose all job cuts and proposals to close offices - such as Newport Passport Office and the Driving Standards Agency in Cardiff - and to support the PCS ‘There is an Alternative’ campaign, which prioritises closing the annual £120 billion tax gap, along with investment in jobs & public services.

As chair of the all-party PCS group in the last Assembly, I have actively supported the PCS union in its' campaigns against job losses and office closures. Many of the office closures to date have been from non-devolved departments, carried out by a government in Westminster which places little value in strong public services with a well-treated workforce. Plaid seeks further devolution so that the people of Wales, who value public services highly, have a greater say about public services in Wales. So far in Wales, any job losses at Welsh Assembly Government level have been with the agreement of the relevant unions. I will continue to support this way of doing things and I will continue to condemn those public bodies acting without trades union support, like, for example, the situation in Rhondda Cynon Taf. I fully support the PCS 'There is an Alternative' campaign to close the tax gap. I also support the work of UKUncut.

2. I pledge to support the principle of universal entitlement to welfare services paid for through general taxation and to oppose the UK government’s cuts in welfare and housing, which target the sick and disabled, families with children, those on low incomes, and pensioners.

It is wrong that those who can least afford it, will end up paying for the the problems caused by financiers. The Westminster government works to protect the financial interests of their friends, while pushing through ideological cuts to public expenditure in the name of balancing the books. The political right are setting about reducing the welfare state, Shock Doctrine style. I support comprehensive, universal public services and I believe they should be paid for by progressive taxation.

3. I pledge to address the disproportionate impact of spending cuts on:
• groups who already suffer from entrenched inequalities – such as those covered by the Equality Act 2010;
• economically deprived areas such as Wales, especially its rural and valleys communities, and on the Welsh language.
I will support efforts to overcome the long-term underfunding of Welsh public services - £300 million annually - identified by the Holtham Commission.

I support this statement. Plaid Cymru has called for the full implementation of the Holtham Commission proposals to overcome the funding disparity brought about by the Barnett Formula. We are already seeing the cuts fall disproportionately in Wales's economically deprived areas with faster job losses, fast depreciation of wages and cuts to the benefits on which a greater percentage of the population rely. I have recently published a consultation document which proposes a green jobs creation plan for the valleys. A PDF version can be found here

4. I pledge to support the PCS campaign to protect public sector pensions as affordable and sustainable, including calling on the UK government not to increase pension contributions or make cuts in the value of pension payments.


5. I pledge to protect public services and work alongside PCS, other trade unions and community organisations in fighting to ensure that no further services are outsourced or privatised.

If re-elected to the Senedd, I will continue to support Plaid Cymru policy and trade union campaigns against privatisation and outsourcing. I have argued on many occasions that the introduction of a profit margin into public services that previously had no shareholders to pacify, makes no sense economically. Quality or workers' terms or more ususally, both have to be reduced to plug the gap and over time and the lack of investment results in a failed service. I have opposed PFI for similar reasons. I will continue to makes these points whenever I get the opportunity.

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