In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
Physical Punishment of Children
I spoke during First Minister’s Questions when Carwyn Jones was asked about what the Welsh Government was doing to promote positive alternatives to the physical punishment of children and young people.
It was in a plenary debate as long ago as January 2004, that the National Assembly voted in favour of a ban on the smacking of children by 41 votes to nine. I believe that the time for talking has now gone and now action is needed. I made it clear that as far as I was concerned children in Wales are, and should be, unbeatable.
The First Minister explained that the power to take action had been devolved to the Assembly. This is not a party political issue so there can be no excuses for not getting a move on.
I was delighted to hear that the charity Llamau was staffing a women’s refuge in Caerphilly round-the-clock from this week. This centre provides a haven for vulnerable women and children escaping domestic abuse.
The move to open 24 hours a day follows a merger between Llamau and Caerphilly Women’s Aid.As well as helping vulnerable women, Llamau delivers services to socially excluded homeless and potentially homeless young people. They really do some great work. Llamau is the good cause chosen by Caerphilly County Borough Mayor Vera Jenkins as her charity for her mayoral year.
Tenants Vote on Stock Transfer
I was disappointed that Labour councillors tried to frustrate plans to give council tenants in Caerphilly a vote on whether to transfer their homes out of local authority control and over to a social landlord.
I know that council tenant panel representatives who attended the council meeting were far from happy with what they perceived as the blocking tactics of Labour members.
Tenants will get the opportunity to have their say later this year on the future of their homes. Many other Welsh local authorities have already transferred their homes, including neighbouring Labour controlled Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and all other councils in Gwent.
I made it clear that I had spent many sleepless nights agonising over this issue. In an ideal world, the council would want to retain control but we cannot afford the mammoth repair bills to bring houses up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Now it will be up to tenants to make their decision, armed with the full facts.
South Wales East regional Assembly Member