Archive | April 2013

The full cost of tax and benefit changes

It should come as no surprise that Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies welcomes the rise in personal income tax allowances (‘Welsh Conservatives praise UK Government tax cuts‘; South Wales Evening Post; 6 April).

What he fails to explain is that for the majority of the “lowest earners  … taken out of tax altogether” most of what they gain will immediately be swallowed up by cuts to Tax Credits and Housing Benefit and increased VAT; plus the iniquitous bedroom tax, which could force as many as 4,000 low earners into homelessness.

Recent research has shown that a one earner family with children will be a staggering £4,000 worse off on average this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010.

Meanwhile top earners will benefit from both the increase in personal allowances and the reduction in the top rate of income tax.  So the rich gain most yet again.

Quite how this can be viewed as a “tough decision” is difficult to imagine.

If our politicians truly want to “make work pay and reward those who work hard” while at the same time reducing the benefits bill, then perhaps they should take the easy decision to introduce a Living Wage for all.

Lifting people out of benefit dependency by paying them a decent wage will do more for them and the economy than a shabby attempt to fool low earners into believing that this government actually cares.



Do your homework Ioan!

Councillor Ioan M Richard really needs to do his homework better (‘No need for this scheme’, South Wales Evening Post, 3 April).

If he believes the Green Party advocates “a backward economy where we revert to lighting our homes with candles and abandoning vehicles and industry” he has obviously never read a Green Party manifesto.

His claim that “geologists” say there is no shale gas in the area contradicts information supplied by Gerwyn Williams, director of Coastal Oil and Gas (and UK Methane) to the Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee last month saying there is enough shale gas lying under South Wales to supply the whole of the UK for the next 16 years?

Being an urban dweller does not exclude one from concern for what happens in the countryside.  Nor does Councillor Richard have a monopoly on technical advice or knowledge.  Both Friends of the Earth and the Green Party have been in the business of environmental campaigning for over three decades and have ample access to high quality research to support their public statements; as evidenced by the Friends of the Earth submission to the same Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee.

CBM1Even if activity in Mawr is limited to coal bed methane extraction, this will still require a network of wells over a wide area, connected by new roads, pipelines and compressor stations. Additionally the huge quantities of contaminated water extracted from the coal seams will require significant numbers of lorry movements to dispose of it.  And that’s just what’s happening on the surface, without considering the very real risks to local water and air quality posed by this process.

I’m sure the electors of Mawr will be pleased to note that their local councillor is relaxed about the prospect of this happening in their backyards!





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