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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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Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery

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Teifion Lewis: Robbed the man at knifepoint

THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.

The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.

His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.

“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.

“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”

He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.

“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.

“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”

The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.

“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.

“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”

On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.

“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.

“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.

“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”

The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.

The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.

“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.

“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”

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Over £24,000 worth of fines handed out in first enforcement week

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IN the first week of new enforcement officers working across Pembrokeshire, 161 fines have been handed out, worth a possible £24,150.

160 of those fines are for littering, with 1 person fined for dog fouling, Pembrokeshire County Council have told The Herald.

Enforcement officers can give on-the-spot fines of up to £150 depending on the offence. This can be reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days.

If all 61 fines were paid within 10 days it would generate £12,075.

Fixed penalty notices can be given to people spotted dropping litter – including dropping cigarette ends – or allowing dog-fouling, as well as those responsible for fly-posting, graffiti, and anti-social behaviour.

The council has said that anyone who refuses to pay their fixed penalty will be prosecuted.

Cllr Paul Dowson told the Herald after the first 48 hours of the new policy: “This is a very big problem – we’ve been without enforcement for more than two years, so you’d expect people to get lacksey-daisy about it. Hopefully now with people being caught, it will cut it down.

“My overriding thought is you should know littering is bad, regardless where it is – so don’t do it.”

When questioned about the confusion over where the funds would go, Cllr Dowson told us that none of the profits would go to Pembrokeshire County Council: “As far as I’m aware, it’s a totally contracted out service where they self-fund and run like a regular business – if they don’t generate enough profit they will go bust. I’ve had info sent to me by the council that they are totally self-funded, there’s no money going back into the council.”

Cllr Dowson is pleased with the approach but is worried the focus is too much on littering: “My initial initiative was down to fly-tipping, not littering, I fought this one solo and nobody else is interested. It seems as though that’s not part of the remit, and I need to look into that because if it isn’t then my emphasis wasn’t listened to.”

Some members of the public have raised concerns that fly-tipping will only increase when black bag collections move to three-weekly.

Earlier this year, council plans were approved to move to three-weekly bin bags collections, on the basis that householders will need to place fewer items in black bags thanks to the increased recycling opportunities.

A maximum of three black bags will be collected per household every three weeks.

Any additional bags taken to the local civic amenity sites will not be charged for.

Additional containment will be provided for householders if required, upon request, for example for larger families.

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Minor tree incidents reported due to high winds

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THERE have been minor incidents involving trees around the county following high winds today (Sept 19).

Pembrokeshire County Council has reported three incidents, all relating to trees:

  • Large branch down in Bartletts Well Road, Sageston,
  • Tree in a precarious state in the grounds of Pennar Community School
  • Tree down in housing estate at Maes Hafren, Eglwyswrw

The last reported incident was at 11:45am.

A yellow weather warning is in place for Pembrokeshire tomorrow (Sept 20), with the Met Office warning of possible flooding and delays to bus and train journeys.

The warning is in place between 4am and 10pm.

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