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Haverfordwest: Stephen Crabb MP’s office vandalised following controversial vote

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Graffiti on the facade of the Conservative Party office in Haverfordwest (Pic S Eastop)

Graffiti on the facade of the Conservative Party office in Haverfordwest (Pic S Eastop)

THE CONSTITUENCY OFFICE of the Secretary of State for Wales was vandalised this weekend in an apparent protest at Tory cuts to welfare.

Graffiti saying: “Why do you hate the sick” appeared on the facade of Stephen Crabb MP’s building on Upper Market Street, Haverfordwest sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning, according to a local resident.

The spray painted slogan was noticed by local photographer Simon Eastop who took a snap and sent it into The Herald yesterday (Mar 12).

The Herald contacted Mr Crabb who told our reporter: “I am aware of the graffiti and I am currently dealing with it.”

In a statement released on Monday (Mar 14), Mr Crabb said: “I’m disappointed that some individuals choose to vandalise my office instead of making an appointment to see me to discuss their concerns. Sadly all these individuals achieved on Saturday was to create an inconvenience to my office staff, local residents, and the Police.

“There are lots of ways to communicate to convey concerns but criminal damage just isn’t an option.

“The decision that was taken by MPs was to reduce the level of benefit for those in the Work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance. What this actually means is that those individuals who are considered to be able to work in the future will now access the same level of benefit as those on Job Seekers Allowance, but will be given better tailored support to help them into employment. It doesn’t affect those already claiming ESA.

“Of course we are protecting those that are ‘too ill to work’. There is no question about that. Those with the most severe health conditions and disabilities will quite rightly continue to get a higher rate of benefit and support.

“The truth is that not all disabilities prevent people from working, in fact I know many disabled people locally who get a great deal of satisfaction from being in work. They would be extremely offended to not be considered equal in the job market and this benefit change means that more people will be able to take these important steps from being benefit-dependent to the workplace.”

Tory MPs have voted for disabled benefit cuts again despite pleas from their own side, the House of Lords and the government’s human rights watchdog.

A dramatic battle between the House of Commons and House of Lords escalated last week as MPs rejected peers’ protests 309-274 – sending the cuts back to the Lords for a third time.

stephencrabbMost Tories voted for the cuts despite a dramatic rebellion by one of their own backbenchers, Heidi Allen.

George Osborne is reportedly poised to use a reduction of £55 a week in benefit payments to disabled people in order to fund a middle-class tax giveaway at next week’s Budget.

The decision by Ministers to remove the PIP – Personal Independence Payment – benefits from more than 600,000 disabled people over the next five years, saving around £1 billion a year, could give the Chancellor leeway to bring down taxation for the middle-class.

Mr Osborne wants to “accelerate progress” towards the Conservative manifesto pledge of raising the threshold to £50,000 at which people start paying 40p tax – a policy that could see thousands of high-earners pulled out of the higher rate of income tax.

Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, posted on his Twitter account: “Already wicked to take another £1.2 billion from disabled, but truly obscene if switched for tax cuts at the Budget.”

On Friday a coalition of 25 disability charities wrote to the Government warning against the plans that would strip some disabled people of a key payment meant to help them live more independent lives.

Stephen Crabb has come under fire in recent days for missing the bulk of a Commons debate about Wales and not turning up to a Welsh Government reception at one of London’s most glittering addresses – but attending a Conservative party women’s lunch.

MPs were told that Mr Crabb was not present for the start of a debate focused on Wales because he was on “parliamentary business”.

Shortly before the debate kicked off, former Wales Office minister Wayne David asked about Mr Crabb’s absence.

He told the Deputy Speaker: “I am concerned about not only the Secretary of State’s absence from this important debate, but the fact that he was absent at a St David’s day reception hosted in Lancaster House earlier today. Perhaps he has died or perhaps he has resigned and not told the House.

“Perhaps you could shed some light on this.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tom

    March 15, 2016 at 12:50 am

    These Tories are a greedy bunch…not satisfied with making the very sick work but now taken away their means of support is not acceptable!!

    Mr Crabb who voted for these cuts should be ashamed…maybe he should try living on £70 a week?

  2. Pete K

    March 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Shame on Crabb and shame on the Tory party as a whole. Their justification for reducing this benefit is tenuous to say the least, and if tax relief is announced for higher earners it will categorically demonstrate that they’re pandering to the middle classes for votes at the expense of more vulnerable members of society. Pah!

  3. Maria Miller Still Serving MP is innocent Group statement

    March 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Maria Miller Still Serving MP is innocent Group statement.

    As Maria was one of the true catalysts for welfare reform and the introduction of PIP was 100 percent fully supported by Maria, we feel that we must express solidarity with Mr Crabb.

    Maria also helped to change Remploy, into Remploy LTD and thus it was free to work in partnership with Maximus U.S corporation (who have taken over Atos as Work Capability Assessors) in a truly profitable enterprise by possibly supplying potential labour through each of its channels to work for the benefit of shareholders, who are the true wealth creators.

    We are sure that the Conservative women will have been delighted to have caught Crabb’s at the very special luncheon as we all would be. It’s just a great shame that this senseless act of vandilism has occurred, causing real distress to any disabled people who may have witnessed it.

  4. Maria Miller Still Serving MP is innocent Group statement

    March 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    * should have read Crabb’s presence

  5. Rob

    March 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I’m sure a bit of paint on a selfservatives office wall will cause far less distress to disabled people than having extremely necessary money taken away from them. As is evident across the country, many sick and disabled people have already died, if not from cuts to their support networks then from being forced to work when they are actually unable (thank ATOS for that), and some cases, suicide. There’s blood on Stephen Crabb’s hands already. Good on the disabled people who can work, but its not them I’m worried about. It’s the people that can’t.

    If you are sympathetic with the Conservative cause, then you are either a) heavily influenced by the propaganda in the right wing press (who all benefit from conservative ideology, let’s not forget) b) have vested self interests that can only be realised by a conservative government (this means you are holding yourself in higher importance than other people (which means you are selfish, callous and possibly sociopathic)) or c) You’re brain doesn’t work properly, in which case, I do feel for you. It must be rubbish being that disiilusioned.

  6. chizy

    March 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Well done you Steven for knowing many disabled people locally.
    I will lay a wager that you once happened upon a person who you believed came from the continent of Africa and heard tittle tattle at your club of a gentleman who prefers the company of other gentlemen.
    How can you make it look so very easy to miss the point?
    Mr Crabb, you are so 19th Century and a prime example of a Selfservative career politician.

  7. chizy

    March 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Forgot to mention that as I stated on the Western Telegraph site, I in no way condone the daubing of the building belonging to the local Conservative Association.

  8. Junius

    March 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    @ Maria Miller Still Serving MP is innocent Group statement:
    I do enjoy grammatically correct satire.

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10% Council tax rise supported

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IN A RECORDED vote, Pembrokeshire County Council has approved its draft budget for 2019/20, which will see a 10% rise in council tax.

The budget was approved at Thursday’s (Feb 21) Full Council meeting but was met with some opposition by some members who said other options were available.
Cabinet member for Finance, Cllr Bob Kilmister described his role as a ‘poisoned chalice’ but went on to say: “We are still cheaper in Pembrokeshire than any other local authority in Wales. I have heard that increasing the council tax may have a burden on many who fit into the category of working poor.
“However, if we cut more services it will affect these people the most.”

He went on to highlight a number of outcomes should council tax not be increased by 10% and added: “An additional £1.89 a week avoids these outcomes.”

There is also an extra £1m to cover Brexit but Cllr Kilmister said he had ‘no idea’ if that would be enough.

Cllr Brian Hall asked how many redundancies would be made if certain services were changed but Cllr Kilmister said they were looking at what they have got in the council and looking to train for those people who are leaving vital jobs.

Cllr Hall said that the majority of staff were really concerned, and Cllr Kilmister said they could not start that process until a decision was made on the budget.

Cllr Jamie Adams said they needed to come up with a budget that was more ‘wider-thinking’ and said it was about ‘delivering value for money for Council Tax payers.
He said he was unable to support the budget that demands 10% and challenged other members saying: “Don’t be afraid of doing that, there are different ways to square the circle.”

Cllr Josh Beynon said that while a 10% rise was not the most popular it was the right thing to do.

Cllr Phil Kidney said he was finding it tough to get his head round the customer service centre closing and said they would ‘disenfranchise’ a lot of people by doing so.
However, Cllr Kilmister later said that the service would still be provided but in a different way.
He also said that the current administration was doing more of getting rid of buildings that the previous administration ever did. He added: “This is not something I am doing out of choice, I am doing it out of necessity.”

Cllr Pat Davies said she was ‘dismayed’ to find the previous administration had no strategic plan and said that she had done a lot of catching up over the last 18 months.
Speaking on the transformation program, Cllr Michelle Bateman said progress was being made and that she didn’t want to be part of a council that cuts services and keeps council tax low.

Cllr John Davies explained that the council does have other options and Cllr Kilmister challenged him saying he was welcome to make a new proposal but told Cllr Davies he would have to tell him where the money would be coming from.

Cllr Kilmister went on to say they could only do the budget on the information they have.
Council Leader Cllr David Simpson praised Cllr Kilmister for what he had done over the past 12 months saying he had done an ‘exceptional job’.
He went on to say that he was ‘proud’ of his whole cabinet who had the ability to answer any questions that came their way.

Cllr Simpson then said: “The staff we have in this building are superb, do we want to slash their jobs? No we don’t. We are looking at departments and making cuts where we can.”
When it was put to the vote, 37 members voted in favour of the budget, with 21 voting against.

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Councillor denies ‘bullying’ claim

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A COUNCILLOR has denied that he ‘bullied’ a senior officer of the council when he said that the Chief Executive and Dyfed Powys Police enjoyed a ‘cosy relationship’.
That was the claim made by Cllr Jacob Williams at a recent meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in relation to the delay in sending a letter of complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The complaint related to the Pembroke Dock Commercial Property Grants scheme, which is still being investigated by Dyfed Powys Police.
At a meeting of Full Council on Thursday (Feb 21), Cllr Ken Rowlands submitted a question asking if the leader agreed with his statement.
The leader, Cllr David Simpson simply replied: “No, I do not.”
In response, Cllr Rowlands said: “Would you agree that the member concerned slandered our chief executive and the police?”
He went on to say that he was far from happy for an officer to be insulted and bullied in such a way.
Cllr Rowlands felt it was a breach of the code of conduct and added that Cllr Williams should make a public apology.
Cllr Simpson responded: “I have had three communications after the Jacob Williams and Chief Executive incident. All three left a meeting with me understanding that it is not the leaders’ role to interfere with members.
“If the actions are unreasonable the chair is there to make sure members act in a good way. There are sixty members and I can’t alter their opinions. As for a breach of the code of conduct, that is a matter for you and if you think he has you have an obligation to go to the monitoring officer.”
Cllr Jacob Williams stated that he ‘categorically denied’ the claims made by Cllr Rowlands and said he understood that he did make a complaint to the monitoring officer but that it wasn’t considered appropriate to refer to the ombudsman.
At the same meeting, questions were also asked by Cllr Mike Stoddart in relation to the council’s handling of the letter of complaint.
He asked which officers were involved in drafting a letter and was told that the Head of Legal services made a decision to provide a draft which was authorised by the committee services manager.
Cllr Stoddart also asked why there was a lack of clarity as to who the letter should be sent too.
Cllr Simpson responded saying the resolution was unambiguous and that the IOPC website directed complaints to Dyfed Powys Police which was contradictory to the resolution of council.
Finally, Cllr Stoddart asked when the letter of rejection was received by then chair Cllr Paul Harries, how long after putting it in his briefcase did he rediscover it.
Cllr Simpson replied on behalf of Cllr Harries stating it was found on October 10, 2018.
Cllr Stoddart replied simply to say that it had been ‘lingering in the bottom of his briefcase for five months’.

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Haverfordwest: Pedestrian killed on A4076 at Dregeman Hill

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AT 11.10PM on Wednesday, February 20, Dyfed-Powys Police received a report of a road traffic collision on the A4076 at Dredgeman Hill, Haverfordwest.

The collision involved a car and a pedestrian. Tragically, the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

The police told The Herald: “We are appealing for any witnesses that may have been travelling along that section of road at that time. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit quoting message 431 of February 20.”

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