Monday, 22 February 2010

Phil calls for national debate on policing

Had a hectic couple of days in Cardiff for Plaid's pre-election conference.

Everyone was in bouyant mood and great spirits and I can rarely remember such a sense of optimism in advance of any election, let alone a General Election for the UK Parliament.

Here's the speech I gave to the Civil Rights Panel in the Saturday morning session of conference.

Please feel free to comment on my call for a national debate on policing.

Best wishes


The issue of civil rights has a direct impact on our daily lives, whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not.

It can't be seen as an abstract issue nor one confined to some policy document gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in the Home Office.

It may be true that in the past generally many of us may have taken our own rights for granted, understandably maybe because we want to be safe, we want to feel safe in our homes and walking the streets. But scaremongering is a very useful tool for a Government to use when it wants to get its own way.

ID cards to combat the threat of terrorism are a prime example. It was sold to us by a control freak government as a panacea that would resolve this threat and then keep us all safe, which of course is now widely accepted as being dangerous nonsense.

Most of us want the Government, and the by that I mean the Police, to catch criminals if they burgle our houses, lock away child molesters, murderers and rapists, and generally keep us from harm.

What we don’t want, or need, is to be spied upon constantly in our daily lives. That is what they used to do in the USSR under the Communists and still do in some other repressive countries.

Organisations like Liberty, an independent organisation that looks after human rights and our rights as free citizens, have taken a battering from the ‘establishment’ because they have dared to stand up and challenge them.

But we can’t afford to leave the protection of our civil rights to Liberty.

Our freedom and our basic rights were hard fought for - by our grandparents and great grandparents -we must protect those freedoms and cherish them.

We all have a duty to do that.

The role of the police changed fundamentally under the Thatcher Government. Ken Clarke, then Home Secretary launched an Inquiry into Police Responsibilities by Sir Patrick Sheehy – the Chairman of the British & American Tobacco company. An ideal man to protect our rights and look at policing? I think not.

By the way, Ken Clarke became a director of BAT a short time later.

They convinced themselves – as the Tories always do – that you can run everything like a business.

How stupid and dangerous a concept that turned out to be as Labour has grasped that concept and proved time and again that it will restrict our liberties at every opportunity. Labour has introduced some 3,500 new ways of breaking the law since it came to power.

The Tories, slavishly followed by Labour, embarked on a policy of setting targets and objectives which on the face of it may sound harmless enough – but actually that policy has taken bobbies off the streets, it has closed our police stations and it forces the police to focus on issues that are government-led.

So if it’s not a target or an objective - it’s not a priority. If it’s not a priority it doesn’t get done. If you can’t count it, it isn’t worth doing.

And basic police work like preventing crime is replaced by ASBOs and public reassurance is provided by people in uniform who are not attested nor have even basic powers of arrest or stopping vehicles.

The worst thing we can do now is to look at these issues in isolation or deal with them in a piecemeal fashion.

Policing in a democracy is a complex business. It is linked directly to our individual rights at citizens and it's my firm view that we need to have a national debate on policing. We, the people have a right to have a say about how we are policed which is the very basis of policing in the UK – Policing by Consent.

Lose sight of that basic principle and we are on very dangerous ground.

We need to revisit and review the laws that have been rushed in under the guise of prevention of terrorism acts and laws that allow councils to spy on its own rate payers.

Last week we launched a discussion paper on having our own Jurisdiction in Wales. When that arrives we need to commit Wales to review every law that currently stands and decide whether it becomes a Welsh Law or not

We need to have responsibility for policing in Wales to be devolved so that we can decide whether the current metropolitan system is what we need or whether we need to develop a new community-based system, accountable and answerable locally, with bobbies working in their own communities preventing and detecting crime.

And we need a system that is centred on justice for the victims of crimes and where there is honesty and faith in sentencing policy.

This will be a huge challenge but guided, as we will be, by the principles of justice, fairness and integrity as the very basis of our thinking, we will succeed.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Phil and Elfyn seek solution to Llanrwst football pitch problems

Elfyn Llwyd MP is to take up the problem of Llanrwst United’s waterlogged football pitch with senior officers of Conwy County Borough Council following a meeting arranged by Phil Edwards.

Mr Llwyd was recently invited to see for himself the damage to the pitch which has allegedly got worse since the construction of new drainage systems under the road next to the new Hafan Gwydir development.

Such is the state of the pitch that Llanrwst United’s junior team is now forced to play in Betws-y-Coed.

Cllr Phil Edwards, Plaid’s Deputy Leader on Conwy County Borough Council, arranged for Elfyn Llwyd to meet local councillors Siân Lloyd-Jones and Ian Jenkins at the site along with John Berwyn Pritchard, Chairman of Llanrwst United’s Junior Section.

Elfyn Llwyd MP said:

“We cannot go on with a ruined football pitch and teams with nowhere to play. John Berwyn has every right to complain about this sad state of affairs and I will be writing to senior officers in Conwy to ask for their urgent assistance in sorting this problem out.

“I’ve had a similar case in Blaenau Ffestiniog where the football pitch had become waterlogged and unusable. That’s now been fixed and I hope the experience of putting that right will help in efforts to resolve this problem in Llanrwst.”

Phil Edwards added:

“I’m pleased that our local MP is now to take up the case. I hope that Elfyn’s involvement and his experience with similar issues in Blaenau will help bring about an early solution to this problem.”

Dairy farmers petition presented to local MP

Phil Edwards has this week presented a 1000-name petition to local MP Elfyn Llwyd calling for supermarkets to pay farmers a fair price for their milk, so that the dairy industry in Wales can be sustained for future generations.

The petition, circulated throughout Aberconwy, has attracted widespread support and is the latest stage in a campaign on behalf of hard-pressed dairy farmers launched by Phil at the Royal Welsh Show last year .

The signatories included those people who signed Phil’s petition online and on Facebook and was presented by Mr Edwards to local MP Elfyn Llwyd , as they met up again with dairy farmers this week at Y Wern farm, Eglwysbach in the Conwy valley.

Phil also highlighted the campaign in a meeting with Rowen Young Farmers club at Tynygroes recently.

Phil Edwards said:

"The response from local people to the petition showing support for their dairy farmers has been excellent and I thank them for that. People understand that farmers cannot carry on producing milk for them at a loss and all that they want is a fair deal from the supermarket giants.

“The survival of the dairy industry in Wales is vitally important. It is just plain stupid for us to import cheap milk from abroad when we have world-class producers on our doorstep who contribute so much to our rural communities. We cannot stand by whilst so many farmers are being bankrupted by greedy supermarkets. We must protect dairy farming for future generations.”

The campaign is now to be stepped up a gear and taken to the UK Government in Westminster by Elfyn Llwyd MP who will be laying down an Early Day Motion seeking support from MP’s across the House of Parliament.

Elfyn Llwyd, MP for Meirionydd Nant Conwy, added:

“The principle of setting up a Supermarket Ombudsman has now been accepted by the Government. The Early Day Motion will seek to secure cross-party support to ensure that the anomalous position of our dairy farmers is addressed by the new ombudsman whenever he or she is appointed.

“This has been an important campaign which demonstrates the support our farmers have in their community and we must ensure that the Welsh dairy industry survives in the future. We can only do that if they are paid a fair price for their produce.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Royal British Legion Llandudno - Plaid launches ‘Support for Veterans’ - Plaid yn lansio ‘Cefnogaeth i Gyn-Filwyr’

Elfyn Llwyd MP and Phil Edwards launched Plaid's new policy paper on supporting veterans this week in the Royal British Legion, Llandudno.
The paper highlights several key areas for reform in the penal system and the need for a separate strategic review of expenditure spent on personnel leaving the forces.

As the UK Government looks to undertake a defence spending review, Plaid will be urging the Westminster government to address this particular area of forces and veteran welfare.

Following on from the spiralling cost of military procurement and the government’s inability to keep within its budget, especially over the war in Afghanistan, Plaid is campaigning for priority to be given to veteran welfare.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP first highlighted this issue seven years ago and has pressed the Prime Minister many times on the matter.

Mr Llwyd launched the document at the Royal British Legion in Llandudno.

Elfyn Llwyd MP said:

“This work is part of Plaid’s ongoing commitment to supporting troops and veterans that are currently being let down by the UK Government.

“If the government is going to send our brave troops to illegal and immoral wars they must remember that they still have a duty of care towards them or they break the Military Covenant.

“Large numbers of soldiers are coming back from war zones (more than ever before), and on leaving the forces, it is increasingly apparent that the government is doing little to support them.

“Last year figures showed there were twice as many veterans in prison than British troops are in Afghanistan.

“Initiatives need to be put in place to target the social isolation experienced by many veterans - something which would doubtlessly lessen the numbers entering into custody or probation in the first place.

“We’re advocating several measures such as a more thorough ‘debriefing’ procedure pre-discharge from the forces and which would include psychological assessments plus drug and alcohol tests. Intervention at an early stage could help many veterans before they come into contact with the criminal justice system.

“A post-discharge support programme should be designed to combat the various strains of social estrangement experienced by many veterans. Basic initiatives such as tenancy support services and advice on debt management should be as integral to a support programme as physical and mental health checks.

“What is missing on a national level is a holistic support service and also a system of identification of veterans coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

“There are many more options that need to be considered and this is very much an ongoing project.

“Reform of the current penal system, as well as the way criminal proceedings are dealt with within the military, is desperately needed to ensure our veterans do not end up in this vicious circle.”

Copies of the policy document are available on request.


Mae Elfyn Llwyd AS a Phil Edwards wedi lansio papur polisi newydd Plaid ar gefnogaeth i gyn-filwyr yn y Royal British Legion yn Llandudno.

Mae’r papur yn tynnu sylw at sawl adran allweddol o fewn y system cosbol lle mae angen diwygiad. Y mae’n gofyn am arolwg strategol ar wahan o wariant ar filwyr sy’n gadael y lluoedd.

Wrth i’r llywodraeth Prydeinig cynllunio i ymgymryd ag arolwg ar wariant amddiffyn, bydd Plaid yn galw ar lywodraeth San Steffan i gyfarch yr adran arbenning hwn o les cyn-filwyr.

Yn dilyn adroddiadau o gostau cynyddol caffaeliad milwrol, ac analluedd y llywodraeth i gadw o fewn ei gyllideb ar Afghanistan, mae Plaid Cymru yn ymgyrchu er mwyn i les cyn-filwyr cymryd blaenoriaeth.

Gwnaeth arweinydd Plaid Cymru yn San Steffan, Elfyn Llwyd AS, dynnu sylw at yr achos hwn yn gyntaf saith mlynedd yn ol, ac y mae wedi gofyn cwestiynau uniongyrchol i’r Prif Weinidog ar y mater sawl tro. Lansiwyd y ddogfen gan Mr Llwyd yn y Royal British Legion, Llandudno.

Dywedodd Elfyn Llwyd MP:

“Mae’r gwaith hwn yn rhan o ymrwymiad parhaol y Blaid tuag at gefnogi milwyr a chyn-filwyr sydd ar hyn o bryd yn cael eu siomi gan y Llywodraeth Prydeinig.

“Os ydy’r llywodraeth yn mynd i ddanfon ein milwyr dewr i ryfeloedd anghyfreithiol ac anfoesol, rhaid iddynt gofio bod dal ganddynt dyletswydd o ofal tuag atynt, neu maent yn torri’r Cyfamod Milwrol.

“Mae niferoedd mawr yn dychwelyd o barthau rhyfel (mwy nag erioed o’r blaen), ac wrth iddynt adael y lluoedd, daw hi’n fwy fwy amlwg nad yw’r llywodraeth yn gwneud digon i’w cefnogi nhw.

“Llynedd, bu ffigyrau’n dangos roedd nifer y cyn-filwyr yng ngharcharau ym Mhrydain dwywaith nifer y milwyr Prydeinig yn Afghanistan.
“Mae angen menterau sy’n targedi’r ynysiad cymdeithasol sy’n brofiaf i gynifer o gyn-filwyr. Heb amheuaeth, byddai menterau o’r fath yn lleihau’r nifer o gyn-filwyr sy’n dod mewn i gysylltiad gyda’r system cyfiawnder troseddol yn y lle cyntaf.

“Ryn ni’n argymell sawl mesur, fel trefn ‘ôl-drafod’ fwy trylwyr i filwyr cyn iddynt adael y lluoedd arfog, gan gynnwys asesiadau seicolegol a phrofion cyffuriau ac alcohol. Gall ymyriad cynnar helpu mwy o gyn-filwyr cyn iddynt ddod i gysylltiad â’r system cyfiawnder troseddol.

“Dylsai rhaglen gynnal wedi gadael y lluoedd gael ei gynllunio i wrthweithio’r ynysiad cymdeithasol sy’n brofiad i ormod o gyn-filwyr. Dylsai menterau sylfaenol fel gwasanaethau cynnal tenantiaeth a chyngor ar oruchwyliaeth dyled fod mor annatod i’r rhaglen gynnal hwn ag y bydd profion iechyd meddyliol a chorfforol.

“Beth sydd ar goll ar lefel cenedlaethol yw gwasanaeth gynnal holistig, ac hefyd system o ganfod cyn-filwyr wrth iddynt ddod mewn i gysylltiad â’r system cyfiawnder troseddol.

“Mae nifer o opsiynnau eraill sydd rhaid eu hystyried gan taw cynllun sy’n mynd ymlaen yw hwn.

“Er mwyn gwneud yn siwr nad yw ein cyn-filwyr yn bennu lan yn y sefyllfa anaddawol hwn, mae angen ystyried diwygio’r system cosbol presennol, ynghyd ag ail-ystyried sut mae’r lluoedd arfog yn ymdrin â threfniadaethau cosb milwrol.”

Mae copiau o’r ddogfen polisi ar gael pan wneir cais.

Police crackdown on old ladies

Below is a letter written by Phil to the local papers. Phil served locally as a police officer for thirty years.

Dear letters editor

You will be aware that I have been campaigning for many years to get more bobbies back on our streets.

Imagine my surprise then when I was on my way to chapel on Sunday morning and saw at least a dozen officers standing at various points through Old Colwyn.

Sadly, my surprise turned to dismay the following day when I learnt that at least two ladies in their 70s were stopped on their way to another chapel and booked for not wearing seat belts.

We all realize how important it is to wear a seat belt of course, but surely some degree of proportionality and plain common sense needs to be exercised?

If the police do feel the need to turn out in force on a Sunday morning, stopping elderly ladies going to chapel, they can use some degree of common sense, discretion and sensitivity through the administering a caution rather than bearing down on them with the full force of the law.

Phil Edwards

Monday, 15 February 2010

Plaid yn lawnsio ‘Datblygu Awdurdodaeth Gyfreithiol i Gymru’ - Plaid launches ‘Developing a Welsh Jurisdiction’

Mae Plaid Cymru wedi datblygu’i galw dros sefydlu system gyfreithiol unigryw er mwyn adlewyrchu corff gynyddol o ddeddfwriaeth Cymru, sydd wedi cael ei datblygu ers 1999.

Lawnsiodd aelodau Plaid Cymru, Phil Edwards, Nerys Evans AC ac Elfyn Llwyd AS, ‘Datblygu Awdurdodaeth Gyfreithiol i Gymru’, papur sydd yn trafod dyfodol y system gyfreithiol yng Nghymru, a sut y bydd yn gweithredu o fewn fframwaith ddatganoledig y wlad.

Eglurodd y tîm, fod y system gyfreithiol yn datblygu yn gyfatebol ag aeddfedrwydd datganoli yng Nghymru, ond mai nawr yw’r amser i drafod ei ddatblygiad mewn manylder clir.

Caiff opsiynau am y fath system ei egluro mewn papur a greuwyd gan Fflur Jones, cyfreithiwr sydd wedi ei sefydlu yng Nghaerdydd. Cred Plaid, wrth i Gymru fynd yn fwy hyderus fel cenedl unedig, fe ddaw yr amser i Gymru gymryd cyfrifoldeb llawn am ei system awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol.

Dywed Elfyn Llwyd AS, arweinydd Plaid Cymru yn San Steffan, sydd hefyd yn fargyfreithiwr:

“Yn sicr mae’r amser i greu Awdurdodaeth Gyfreithiol i Gymru wedi dod. Dywed y Prif Weinidog ei hun yn Nhŷ’r Cyffredin, bod dyfodol y system plismona mewn gwlad ddatganoledig yn fater hanfodol, yn enwedig o gysidro’r datblygiadau yng Ngogledd Iwerddon.

“Rydym yn gwybod bod cymorth sylweddol ar gyfer datganoli plismona, ac yn ddiweddar gwyddwn bod y pedwar Prif Gwnstabl yn ei gefnogi.

Mae cefnogaeth ar gyfer awdurdodaeth Cymru gyfan yn dod o’r lefelau uchaf yn ogystal â’r ynadaeth.

O gofio bod y Llys Apêl yn eistedd yn rheolaidd yng Nghymru, a bod ganddynt Lys Gweinyddol ein hunain, does bosib bod yr amser wedi dod ar gyfer system unigryw Gymreig o weinyddu awdurdodaeth? Yn enwedig gan fod cyfreithiau Cymru bellach wedi cael eu creu ar gyfer y deng mlynedd diwethaf, a nawr mae cylch gyfreithiol penodol ar gyfer Cymru gyfan."

Ychwanegodd Nerys Evans AC, Cyfarwyddydd Polisi Plaid Cymru:

“Nid mater gweinyddol yn unig yw hwn, mae diffyg awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru yn cael effaith ddwys ar unigolion sydd yn gweithio ac yn delio gyda’r system gyfreithiol yng Nghymru.

“Mae gen i bryderon mawr ynglyn â’r defnydd o arbenigwyr honedig mewn achosion llys heb unrhyw ddealltwriaeth o Gymru neu’r materion sy’n effeithio ar fywydau pobl Cymru.

“Dwi wedi bod yn delio gyda dau deulu yn fy etholaeth sydd wedi bod drwy’r system llysoedd teulu ac wedi dod gerbron arbenigwyr addysg heb unrhyw wybodaeth na dealltwriaeth o addysg ddwyieithog nac addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg.

“Mewn un achos dywedodd yr “arbenigwr” y gall addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg achosi arafwch meddwl heb unrhyw heriadau gan y llys. Ni ddylai’r fath sylwadau, gan arbenigwr sydd yn gweithio yn Lloegr, ac sydd wrth gwrs heb unrhyw sail mewn ymchwil wedi ei gyhoeddi, gael eu mynegi heb son am eu derbyn.

“Dyma un esiampl o fethiannau’r system bresennol. Fel mae’r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol yn datblygu corff o gyfreithiau gwahanol, mae’n iawn felly i ni ddatblygu awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol i Gymru er mwyn gweinyddu cyfiawnder a chyfraith yng Nghymru.”

Mae copi o’r papur “Datblygu Awdurdodaeth Gyfreithioli Gymru” ar gael yma:;catID=6;pubID=260;lID=2


Plaid Cymru has today developed its calls for the establishment of a unique Welsh legal system in order to reflect the growing body of Welsh legislation that has developed since 1999.

Plaid’s Phil Edwards, Nerys Evans AM and Elfyn Llwyd MP launched ‘Developing a Welsh Jurisdiction’, a policy discussion paper on the future of the system in Wales and suggestions for how it would operate within a devolved framework.

The team explained that a Welsh legal system is already evolving as devolution matures, but stressed that now is the time to give much more discussion to its distinct development.

The paper, put together with Cardiff-based lawyer Fflur Jones, sets out options for such a system. Plaid believes that as Wales is growing in confidence as a nation, the time will come for Wales to take full responsibility for the administration of justice.

Plaid’s Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP, also a practising barrister, said:

“The time surely has come for the creation of an All Wales administration of justice. Recently, the Prime Minister himself has said in the House of Commons that the future of devolved policing, especially given the developments in Northern Ireland, is a vital issue.

“We know that there is considerable support for the devolution of policing and recently all the four chief constables were on the records as supporting this.

“There is support for an All-Wales jurisdiction from the highest levels and also the magistracy.
“Given that the Court of Appeal regularly sits in Wales, and that we do have our own Administrative Court, surely the time is now right for a distinctly welsh system of administration of justice? Especially as Welsh laws have now been created for the last ten years and there is now a distinct all-Wales legal circuit as well.”

Plaid’s Nerys Evans AM, Plaid’s policy director, added:

“This is not merely an administrative issue, the lack of a Welsh legal jurisdiction has a profound effect on individuals who work within and deal with the legal system in Wales.

“I have deep concerns about the use of so-called experts in court cases with no knowledge of Wales or the issue that affect the people of Wales.

“I have been dealing with two families in my constituency that have been through the family court system and have been faced with an educational expert with no knowledge or understanding of bilingual education or Welsh-medium education.

“In one case the so-called witness claimed that Welsh medium education could cause retardation and went unchallenged in the court. The comments, made by an expert practicing primarily in England, of course had no basis in published research, and should not have been aired let alone accepted.

“This is one example of the failings of the current system. As the National Assembly develops a body of law distinct for Wales, it is only right that we have develop a distinct Welsh legal jurisdiction to administer justice and law in Wales.”

A copy of ‘Developing a Welsh Jurisdiction’ is available here:;catID=6;pubID=260;lID=2

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Plaid Cymru's fearsome threesome pack quite a punch

According to Simon Carr in the Independent today, Plaid Cymru's fearsome threesome pack quite a punch.

Glad to see that a UK national  newspaper has finally noticed that with Plaid MPs you get a bigger bang for your buck.

He thinks that Elfyn Llwyd and Adam Price have probably had more effect on Parliament than the entire Liberal Democrats.

We certainly wouldn't wish to disagree.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Diwrnod hanesyddol - Historic day

Diwrnod hanesyddol

Mae heddiw - Chwefror 9ed - yn ddiwrnod hanesyddol. Mae diwedd y status quo gymhleth a glogyrnaidd y system LCO o fewn golwg ac edrychwn ymlaen at gefnogi'r ymgyrch 'IE'.

Mae hwn yn benllanw pwysig i ni fel plaid a diolchwn i’n haelodau ac i’n dim yn y Cynulliad am eu holl waith caled yn cyrraedd y pwynt yma.

An historic day

Today – February 9th – is a historic day. The end of the complex and cumbersome status quo of the LCO process is in sight, and we look forward to supporting the ‘YES’ campaign.

Today is an important landmark for us as a party, and we would like to thank our members and the Assembly team for all their hard work in helping us to reach this stage.

Sut gaiff gofal yng Nghymru ei ariannu? Dweud eich dweud - Paying for Care - Have your say

Mae'r amser yn rhedeg allan i bobol Cymru cael deud eu deud ar sut gaiff gofal yng Nghymru ei ariannu.

There is a hugely important discussion going on in the National Assembly for Wales at the moment which could affect very many people in Wales.

A consultation is taking place about future plans on how we will be paying for care in Wales. There are various options being discussed including paying for care through general taxation.

There is a website available for further information

I would urge anyone who has any views about this or any other option to make them known urgently. The consultation ends on 28th February 2010.

People can e-mail views to, or they can write to the Paying for Care Team, Older People and Long-term Care, Policy Division, Welsh Assembly Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ.


Monday, 8 February 2010

Plaid yn datgelu methiannau Canolfan Byd Gwaith yng ngogledd Cymru - Jobcentre Plus failings in north Wales revealed by Plaid

Mae mwy na £275,000 wedi ei dalu i hawlwyr gan Canolfan Byd Gwith mewn taliadau am fethiannau yn ei gwasanaeth ar draws Cymru dros y ddwy flynedd a hanner diwethaf, gyda gogledd Cymru’n gyfrifol am elfen helaeth o hynny yn ôl ffigurau a roddwyd i Blaid Cymru.
Gwnaed y taliadau oherwydd i bobl golli budd-daliadau yn dilyn camgymeriadau, camweinyddiaeth, oedi, anghyfleustra difrifol, achosi cywilydd neu drallod difrifol.

Yn y flwyddyn ariannol 2007-08 roedd y cyfanswm a dalwyd allan yng Nghymru yn £104,537. Cododd hynny i £118,271 yn 2008-09 ac roedd yn £52,718 yn chwe mis cyntaf 2009-10. Mae’r ffigurau diweddaraf hyn yn datgelu bod gogledd Cymru’n gyfrifol am bron i hanner y cyfanswm.

Yn 2007-08 a 2008-09 cael hawl i fudd-daliadau oedd ar frig y rhestr o gwynion, yn cynrychioli 32% o’r holl gwynion yn 2007-08 a 35% yn 2008-09.

Yn ôl Canolfan Byd Gwaith, tra bod nifer y staff yng Nghymru wedi cynyddu o 4,562 i 5,398, roedd y nifer oedd yn hawlio eu bod yn ddiwaith wedi saethu fyny o 45,419 yn Ionawr 2007 i 78,234 yn Hydref 2009.

Dywedodd Phil Edwards, Ymgeisydd seneddol Plaid Cymru dros Aberconwy:

“Tra bod cynnydd wedi bod yn staff Canolfan Byd Gwaith, mae llawer o’r gweithwyr newydd ar gytundebau tymor penodol. Mae’n rhaid mesur hyn yn erbyn cau canolfannau gwaith, megis yn Llanrwst, a’r posibilrwydd o doriadau pellach yn y dyfodol. Mae’r gweithwyr o dan bwysau wrth i’w niferoedd parhaol leihau ac wrth i safleoedd gau ar draws y gogledd.

“Mae’n debyg bod symudiadau ar droed o fewn yr Adran Waith a Phensiynau (DWP) i drosglwyddo staff allan o ganolfannau gwaith i ganolfannau galw mewn ymdrech i wneud i bobl gysylltu â nhw ar y ffôn neu ar y wê. Ond yn amlwg mae’n well gan nifer fawr o bobl wneud cyswllt wyneb yn wyneb mewn amgylchiadau fel hyn, ac mae’r fath ddatblygiad yn annerbyniol.”
Nododd ymgeisydd seneddol y blaid dros Orllewin Clwyd Llyr Huws Gruffydd bod hysbysebion wedi ymddangos am weithwyr clreigol, ond nad oedd hynny o reidrwydd y newyddion da a ymddangosai:

“Mae nhw mewn gwirionedd yn dad-sgilio gwaith ac arbenigeddau mewn meysydd penodol gan ddisgwyl i weithwyr ddelio efo pob math o ymholiadau. Rydym wedi gweld bod disgwyl i staff mewn canolfannau galw masnachol gael pobl oddi ar y linell ffôn mor sydyn a phosib. Dydi hyn ddim yn awyrgylch addas i ddelio â materion cyflogaeth a diweithdra.
“Rwy‘n gofidio y byddai unrhyw doriadau mewn staff yn arwain nid yn unig at golli swyddi ond hefyd at fwy o hawliadau yn erbyn Canolfan byd Gwaith. Mae’n rhaid i’r rheolwyr ystyried yn ofalus holl oblygiadau unrhyw benderfyniad i leihau gwasanaethau a fydd yn effeithio’r cyhoedd.”

Ychwanegodd Phil Edwards:

“Ddylem ni ddim anghofio am funud bod hyn oll yn digwydd yn ystod dirwasgiad, a phan fod ein Llywodraeth Cymru’n Un yn gwneud pob ymdrech i amddiffyn gweithwyr trwy gynlluniau megis ProAct a ReAct.”
“Mae’n ymddangos o’r ffigurau yma bod toriadau swyddi yn yr Adran Waith a Phensiynau’n amlwg yn cael effaith ar ansawdd y gwasanaeth y mae staff sydd eisoes o dan bwysau yn medru ei roi.”

More than £275,000 has been handed to claimants by Jobcentre Plus in payments for failings in its service across Wales over the last two-and-a-half years, and the north of Wales features prominently in figures obtained by Plaid Cymru.

The pay-outs cover loss of benefit due to benefit errors, maladministration, delay, gross inconvenience and embarrassment and severe distress.

In the 2007-08 financial year the total paid out in Wales was £104,537. That rose to £118,271 in 2008-09 and was £52,718 in the first six months of 2009-10. These latest figures reveal that the north and mid Wales region accounts for almost 50% of the total.

Both in 2007-08 and 2008-09 benefit entitlement was the top area of complaint, representing 32 per cent of all complaints in 2007-08 and 35 per cent in 2008-09.

According to Jobcentre Plus, while the number of staff in Wales have increased from 4,562 to 5,398, unemployment claimants have rocketed from 45,419 in January 2007 to 78,234 in October 2009.

Phil Edwards, Plaid’s Westminster candidate for Aberconwy, said:

“While there has been an increase in Jobcentre Plus staff, many of the new staff are employed on a fixed term basis. This has to be measured against job centre closures, such as Llanrwst, and the possibility of further cuts in the future. Staff are under pressure as their permanent numbers are reduced and sites closed across the north.

“There are apparently moves within the DWP to transfer staff out of job centres into call centres in an attempt to make people deal with issues by telephone or the internet. Quite clearly, there are many people who prefer face to face contact in these circumstances, irrespective of whether they have internet access, and I regard this development as unacceptable.”

Plaid’s Clwyd West candidate Llyr Huws Gruffydd pointed out that whilst there were advertisements for clerical staff at the moment, this was not the good news it seemed:

“They are, in fact, de-skilling work and specialists in certain areas of work will be expected to deal with all types of queries. We’ve seen in commercial call centres that staff are expected to get people off the line as quickly as possible, and that is not the right atmosphere for dealing with employment and unemployment matters.

“I am concerned that any cuts in staff will not only lead to a loss of jobs but also an increase in claims against Jobcentre Plus. Management need to think carefully about the impact of any decision to reduce services which will affect the public.”
Phil Edwards added:

“We should not forget for a moment that all this is happening during a recession, and when our One Wales Government is making strenuous efforts to protect workers through schemes like ProAct and ReAct.

“It seems from these figures that job cuts in the DWP are clearly having an impact on the quality of service which hard-pressed staff are struggling to provide.”

Nodiadau / Notes:

Special Payments: 2007-08
Wales: £104,537 (387 one-off payments)

North/Mid Wales: £29,911

SE Wales: £8,780

South Wales Valleys: £44,618

South West Wales: £20,709

Others: £517

Special Payments: 2008-09
Wales: £118,271 (441 one-off payments)

North/Mid Wales: £39,553

SE Wales: £9,303

South Wales Valleys: £40,078

South West Wales: £24,378

Others: £4,957
Special Payments: 2009-10 (April 1-September 30, 2009

Wales: £52,718 (174 one-off payments)

North/Mid Wales: £24,684

SE Wales: £6,025

South Wales Valleys: £13,850

South West Wales: £6,994

Others: £1,163

North and Mid Wales Includes Bangor, Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Rhyl

South East Wales includes Cardiff, Barry, Penarth, Newport, Cwmbran

South Wales Valleys includes Aberdare, Bargoed, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Llantrisant, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Tonypandy, Treorchy

South West Wales includes Aberystwyth, Llanelli, Neath, Swansea, Carmarthen, Port Talbot

Conservatives lose their President to Plaid - Y Ceidwadwyr yn colli’u Llywydd i’r Blaid

A senior councillor in Aberconwy has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined Plaid Cymru.

Deganwy Councillor Dennis Tew has stood down from the Conservative Party, the Conservative Group of councillors on Conwy County Borough Council and from his position as President of Aberconwy Conservative Association.

Councillor Tew, who had been a member for 46 years, has written to all constituents in the Deganwy electoral division to explain his decision. In his letter he explained that he had wrestled with his conscience for months before finally acting:

“During my year as Mayor of Conwy I worked very closely with Cllr Phil Edwards who was Mayor of Colwyn Bay at the time. I knew and respected Phil as a very effective colleague on the county council but in my year as mayor I got to see more of the real quality of the man on both a personal and political level.

“When I discovered that Phil Edwards was to be Plaid Cymru’s choice to be our new MP I realised that I could never vote for, or support, another candidate in preference to Phil. His experience in the police and in business, as well as his utter integrity and decency, mark him out as someone who would be an exceptional Member of Parliament. I feel Phil is the best person for the job”

Councillor Tew said that this had left him in an impossible position as President of Aberconwy Conservative Association, and as a member of the Conservative Party, and he had therefore resigned.

Plaid’s Westminster candidate for Aberconwy Phil Edwards said that he was naturally delighted that Cllr Tew had made the move:

“There has always been a mutual respect between us as fellow councillors, and I am delighted that Dennis has now felt able to make this move from the Conservatives to Plaid. Last week, I had the opportunity to introduce Dennis and his wife Mavis to Plaid Leader and Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM and my County Council colleagues and I will very soon be giving him a warm welcome to the Plaid Group on Conwy.

"This has been a difficult time for Dennis and Mavis Tew and I believe that they have conducted themselves with great dignity in committing to Plaid.

"The fact that we have also garnered support from people who were previously Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters confirms that people are thinking differently and turning to Plaid."
Councillor Tew said:
“During my time representing Deganwy, I have enjoyed a good working relationship with Plaid Cymru Councillors as well as with our Aberconwy Assembly Member Gareth Jones, and this will now be enhanced.

“I am also now free to explain in greater detail why I believe Cllr Phil Edwards is the best choice to be our new MP - Phil is definitely the man for Aberconwy.”
Here's the whole text of the letter Dennis sent out to his constituents in Deganwy:

I wanted you to be amongst the first to know about a very important decision I have made regarding my role as your local Councillor here in Deganwy.

I resigned recently from the Conservative Group of councillors on Conwy County Borough Council, from my position as President of Aberconwy Conservative Association and from the Conservative Party, which I had been a member of for 46 years.

This was not an easy decision and I had been wrestling with my conscience for months before finally acting.

During my year as Mayor of Conwy I worked very closely with Cllr Phil Edwards who was Mayor of Colwyn Bay at the time. I knew and respected Phil as a very effective colleague on the County Council but in my year as Mayor I got to see the real quality of the man on both a personal and political level.

When I discovered that Phil Edwards was to be Plaid Cymru’s choice to be our new MP I realised I could never vote for, or support, another candidate in preference to Phil. His experience in the police and in business, as well as his utter integrity and decency, mark him out as someone who would be an exceptional member of Parliament - he stands head and shoulders above all the other candidates.

This left me in an impossible position as President of Aberconwy Conservative Association, and as a member of the Conservative Party, and therefore I felt it only right that I resign.

During my time as a Councillor I have enjoyed a good working relationship with Plaid Cymru Councillors and with our Assembly Member Gareth Jones. After resigning from the Conservatives I took a few days to consider the next steps and I have decided to join Plaid Cymru and their Council Group.

On a day to day basis this will make no difference to my work on the Council so please feel free to contact me about any issues you feel should be raised with either the County or Town Councils.

I am also more than willing to explain in more detail why I believe Cllr Phil Edwards is the best choice to be our new MP.

Y Ceidwadwyr yn colli’u Llywydd i’r Blaid

Mae uwch gynghorydd yn Aberconwy wedi ymddiswyddo o’r Blaid Geidwadol ac ymuno â Phlaid Cymru.

Fe ymddiswyddodd y Cynghorydd dros Ddeganwy Cyng. Dennis Tew o’r Blaid Geidwadol, Grŵp Cynghorwyr y Ceidwadwyr ar Gyngor Sir Conwy ac fel Llywydd Cymdeithas Geidwadol Aberconwy.

Fe ysgrifennodd y Cynghorydd Tew, a fu’n aelod ers 46 o flynyddoedd, i holl etholwyr ardal etholiadol Deganwy i egluro’i benderfyniad. Yn ei lythyr, fe eglurodd ei fod wedi ymrafael â’i gydwybod ers misoedd cyn cymryd unrhyw gamau:

“Yn ystod fy mlwyddyn fel Maer Conwy fe weithiais yn agos gyda’r Cyng. Phil Edwards oedd yn Faer Bae Colwyn ar y pryd. Roeddwn yn nabod ac yn parchu Phil fel cynghorydd effeithiol iawn ar y cyngor sir ond yn ystod fy mlwyddyn fel maer fe sylweddolais cymaint o ŵr bonheddig yw Phil - a hyn ar lefel bersonol a gwleidyddol.

“Pan glywais mai Phil Edwards oedd dewis Plaid Cymru fel ein AS newydd sylweddolais na allwn byth bleidleisio dros, neu gefnogi, unrhyw ymgeisydd arall heblaw Phil. Mae ei brofiad yn yr heddlu ac ym myd busnes, ynghyd â’i gywirdeb a’i onestrwydd, yn golygu fod ganddo’r rhinweddau i fod yn Aelod Seneddol rhagorol. Rwy’n teimlo mai Phil yw’r person gorau am y swydd”
Dywedodd y Cynghorydd Tew fod hyn wedi’i adael mewn sefyllfa amhosibl fel Llywydd Cymdeithas Geidwadol Aberconwy, ac fel aelod o’r Blaid Geidwadol, ac felly penderfynodd ymddiswyddo.

Dywedodd ymgeisydd seneddol y Blaid dros Aberconwy Phil Edwards ei fod wrth ei fodd fod y Cyng. Tew wedi symud i’r Blaid:

“Rydym ni’n dau o hyd wedi parchu’n gilydd fel cynghorwyr, a rwy’n falch iawn fod Dennis yn teimlo ei fod yn gallu symud o’r Ceidwadwyr i’r Blaid. Yr wythnos ddiwethaf, fe gefais y cyfle i gyflwyno Dennis a’i wraig Mavis i Arweinydd y Blaid a’r Dirprwy Brif Weinidog, Ieuan Wyn Jones AC a fy nghydweithwyr ar y Cyngor Sir ac fe fyddaf yn ei groesawu’n gynnes iawn i Grŵp y Blaid yng Nghonwy yn fuan iawn.

"Mae hwn wedi bod yn gyfnod anodd i Dennis a Mavis Tew a credaf eu bod wedi ymddwyn yn barchus iawn wrth ymrwymo i’r Blaid.

"Mae’r ffaith ein bod hefyd wedi denu cefnogaeth gan bobl oedd yn arfer bod yn gefnogwyr i Lafur a’r Rhyddfrydwyr Democrataidd yn cadarnhau fod pobl yn meddwl yn wahanol ac yn troi i’r Blaid."
Dywedodd y Cyng. Tew:

“Yn ystod fy amser yn cynrychioli Deganwy, rwyf wedi mwynhau perthynas weithio dda gyda Cynghorwyr Plaid Cymru a gyda’n Aelod Cynulliad dros Aberconwy Gareth Jones, ac fe fydd y berthynas yma’n siwr o wella o hyn ymlaen.

“Rwyf hefyd yn gallu egluro’n fanwl pam rwy’n credu mai’r Cyng. Phil Edwards yw’r dewis gorau i fod ein AS newydd - Phil yn bendant yw’r dyn i Aberconwy.”

Friday, 5 February 2010

Aberconwy Campaign Office - Open for Business!

We had a fantastic turn-out for the opening of the new office in Llandudno to mark the official launch of the campaign proper.

We're delighted that the Deputy First Minister and Leader of Plaid Cymru, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, was able to perform the official opening of Phil's new campaign office.

Phil Edwards said that opening the new premises in a central location in Vaughan Street was another boost for Plaid’s campaigning activities:

“I’m sure that people in Llandudno and the whole of Aberconwy know that we mean business: we're in the business of winning elections and providing the best possible service to local people.

“Opening this office in such a good location in Llandudno will certainly help us to do that. It will be staffed every day, initially on a part-time basis, and we anticipate that the centre will be an asset to the town, and one which will help us to make a difference. One immediate difference is that we will be far more accessible to people in Llandudno and the surrounding area."

Ieaun Wyn Jones AM, Deputy First Minister and Leader of Plaid Cymru, said:

"It's a fantastic office in a great location and Phil, Suzanne and the team have done wonders in getting it open for business so soon.

"Most people now accept that the election in Aberconwy will be a close fight between Phil Edwards and the Conservative candidate.

"With his policing background and business experience Phil is exceptionally well- qualified to represent Aberconwy as our MP. He was re-elected to Conwy County Council at the last election with the highest vote of any councillor in Conwy which shows how his hard work is appreciated by people."

Phil added:

"The new office is open from 10:00am to 1:00pm Monday to Friday. Anyone who wants to help our campaign or find out more about us is welcome to call in. Many people are telling us they are totally fed up with the old style of politics, the spin, the lies and the deceit. So now is not the time for politics as usual and our new base in Llandudno lays down the shoots of a fresh new era."

Croeso i Phil Edwards i Aberconwy! Welcome to Phil Edwards for Aberconwy!

A very warm welcome to our new blog - philedwards4aberconwy.

We hope to see Cllr Phil Edwards, Plaid's Westminster candidate in Aberconwy, elected as the first ever MP for this new constituency.

As well as Phil's campaign to become Aberconwy's first MP, we also hope to feature some of the work of the Assembly Member for Aberconwy, Plaid's Gareth Jones.

This blog is run by a team of people all committed to seeing Phil elected.

Anyone wanting to lend a hand is welcome to get in touch.

Contributions are welcome in Welsh or English.