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Haverfordwest: Demonstration planned to seek Crabb’s resignation as Mencap patron

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stephencrabbPEMBROKESHIRE People’s Assembly Against Austerity are organising a demonstration outside Stephen Crabb’s office on Saturday, April 2.

Organisers have said they plan for the demonstration to take place between 1100HRS and 1300HRS in Market Street, Haverfordwest.

Activists will be demanding that Mr. Crabb recognises what they view as “public opinion” and resigns as Pembrokeshire Mencap’s patron.

Stephen Crabb recently voted to cut ESA by £30 for some disabled people.

Despite not going forward with the announced cuts to PIP and announcing there will be no further welfare cuts, Mr Crabb has stood by the cut to ESA appearing to suggest that placing claimants on the lower JSA rate would be to their benefit, but failing to take account of the purpose of ESA to support those with additional support needs for finding work.

Mr Crabb remains an unabashed apologist for benefits cuts, and even his assurance that no further benefit cuts will take place before 2020 is potentially moot. If benefits are frozen, for example, their value will reduce in real terms.

Organisers say the reason for the demo is that as there has been no statement from Stephen Crabb’s office, nor Mencap Pembrokeshire indicating that Crabb is to resign as Mencap patron. They say that they have no other option but to press ahead with the demonstration.

An online petition calling for Mr Crabb to resign as patron of Mencap Pembs is close to reaching 12,000 signatures

Jim Scott, who started the petition told The Herald: “There is now overwhelming pressure from all quarters for Crabb to resign this post. The Mencap Facebook page has been inundated with comments requesting that Crabb be removed as their patron.

“A great many people have written and emailed Mencap locally as well as nationally.

“Many people have even said that they will be withholding their donations until this matter is resolved.

“The petition continues to grow.

“Public pressure as well as the efforts of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) has already forced four MP’s to resign their patronages of other disability charities.

“It is just a matter of time now. Mr Crabb simply cannot and will-not get away with voting in Westminster for cuts such as the ESA cut which is a ‘done-deal’ now for Mr Crabb and cannot be ‘undone’ .

“Yet then masquerade as some kind of champion for disabled people while back in Pembrokshire, his game is up! These cuts have already caused widespread poverty, destitution, homelessness and many suicides among our most vulnerable and deserving members of society. Crabb, and all other ESA voting MP’s simply have to go.”

Romayne Phoenix, National Co-Chair of The People’s Assembly said: “With Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation and the government forced to backtrack on Osborne’s disastrous budget, there are many more British people now recognising the hypocrisy of having Tory patrons of these disability charities & charities which focus on care.

“The pressure is on – and Crabb’s appointment looks to have been a mistake made in a hurry that the `Tories will regret for a long time.”

Natalie Bennett – Green Party leader has publically signed the petition. Bennett was joined in by Alice Hooker Stroud – Wales Green Party leader, Chris Overton – Withybush Hospital campaigner and Kay Dearing of SOS (Save our Sixth Forms Pembrokeshire).

Organisers say that organisations who have been invited to Saturdays demonstration include, National People’s Assembly Against Austerity, DPAC (Disabled People Against cuts) and other local disability groups, Wales Green Party, Plaid Cymru, The Labour Party, The Green Party, The Lib-Dems, Plaid for Pride, Welsh Green Pride, TUSC and others.

graphitti

Last week Stephen Crabb MP posted on his Facebook page following an act of criminal damage to his office in Haverfordwest.

He wrote: “A few days ago my constituency office was vandalised in response to my recent vote to approve changes to the Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This was not an isolated attack as other MPs offices were targeted by individuals involved in a social media campaign.

“I’m disappointed that some individuals choose to do this 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.

“There has been a lot of miscommunication about this vote which I want to put right. A decision was taken by MPs to change the benefit awarded to a specific group of people who receive Employment Support Allowance. These people are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and they do have a disability or illness but are considered able to work with support in the future.

“The overwhelming majority of people in this group say they want to work, and so I think it is right that we do all we can to help them get back into work. The changes mean that this group 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 anyone who is already claiming ESA, they will receive the exactly the same amount of benefit as they do now.

“The truth is that not all disabilities prevent people from working. A great many disabled people get enormous fulfilment from being in work. They would be extremely offended not to 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.

“Of course we absolutely continue to protect those who 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. And despite the political banter from Labour, the disability budget is actually going to be rising by more than £1 billion over the next 5 years which means that more money is being spent in real terms on support for disabled people than at any point under the previous Labour government.”

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Business

Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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