Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New bid to scrap Wrexham's fire engine

Plans by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to consult again on cutting one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines have been condemned by Plaid Cymru.

The original bid to cut the fire engine was shelved in March 2017 because of public opposition. Thousands signed petitions, protested and marched through the town to oppose the cut.

Now the new fire authority is coming back to consult again on the matter, which would lead to the loss of 24 full-time firefighters' jobs.

Councillor Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's candidate for Wrexham in the General Election, said:
"The Fire Authority is claiming that Wrexham has got three fire engines. In fact it's got three pumps but only two are on the road and crewed because the other is crewed by retained staff and they can't get enough retained firefighters. So it's off the road and Wrexham only has two operational pumps.
"Getting rid of one of those will HALVE the capability to respond to road accidents, industrial accidents, incidents at the new prison and ongoing arsons. Wrexham's crews also cover as far afield as Cerrigydrudion, Ruthin and Bala. Our loss would also be their loss because the retained crews there rely on Wrexham's full-timers.
"When we talk about austerity and Tory cuts, this is the sharp end of those cuts. There have been years of underfunding that have led to this drastic decision. The money being taken out of public services is hitting frontline services and our normally talkative Tory candidate locally is silent on the matter.
"Well I and my Plaid Cymru colleagues don't intend to be silent on this matter. We will fight for a properly funded fire service and do all we can - both locally and in London - to defend our public services and keep jobs in our town.
"This is why we have to defeat the Tories in this election - another five years will see many more public services disappear and disintegrate as they starve them of funding. Our emergency services, whether it's fire, police or ambulance crews, don't come cheap. These are well-trained, experienced experts doing a hell of a job under very difficult circumstances.
"I pledge that if I'm elected as Wrexham's next MP I will be their champion in London and stand up for our public services."
Plaid Cymru's councillor Marc Jones, who led the protests last year against the cuts, said:
"Here we go again - the fire authority is looking to cut services despite huge public opposition. Wrexham's public, together with the Fire Brigades Union and the help of councillors, fought them off once. If we have to do it again, we will. Wrexham's firefighters are very much part of the community, we value their service and we won't lose that service without an almighty fight.
"This should be at the forefront of people's minds when they vote next Thursday - do you want investment in our town and our public services or do you want another five years of ever-more damaging cuts? It's a very stark choice."

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Support Plaid Cymru's Wrexham campaign

Plaid Cymru in Wrexham doesn't have millionaire backers or trade union barons to bankroll it. We will have less than a tenth of the finances the Tories and Labour will throw at this campaign locally.

We rely entirely on our members and supporters to pay for our leaflets, posters, garden posts and other campaign materials. That's why we're asking if you can donate some cash to our Crowdfunder appeal to raise £500.

 If you want to show your support for Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's candidate in Wrexham, please go to Crowdfunder and donate to the cause.

 Every penny will go to ensure that give Wales and Wrexham a say in this election. The big London parties think they can buy democracy with their big money backers. Prove them wrong by putting your money behind a party and a cause that will always speak out for Wales and Wrexham.

Friday, 26 May 2017

3,000 Wrexham women affected by pension age changes

“Pressure works – let’s keep it up”
Carrie Harper vows to continue to fight for fairness for WASPI campaigners

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham candidate Carrie Harper has backed the 3,000 Wrexham women fighting Tory changes to pension ages.

Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood has vowed to continue to fight for fairness for the women affected by the changes to state pension age.

Speaking at a WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice) campaign event in Cardiff Bay, Leanne Wood said that the UK Government must put fairer transitional arrangements in place so that women can have the retirement that they planned for.
Addressing the rally, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
“It is an outrage that in the 21st Century, women are still having to demonstrate for a fair pension. In Wales 139,000 women are affected by the way in which the pension age has been equalised. It is arbitrary that women born in the 1950s have had their planned retirement taken away just because they were born in that particular decade. One year difference in birthday can cost someone three years without a pension.“That is why the WASPI demand for fair transitional arrangements has to be put in place by the UK government. Without this transitional help, many women will face financial hardship.”
Leanne Wood urged WASPI campaigners to use this election as an opportunity to put their cause firmly on the political agenda:
“Pressure works – just look at the Prime Minister’s U-turn on pensions. During elections, you have a chance of politicians championing your cause who may have otherwise been quiet. 
“Use this election to get pledges from your candidates to support the WASPI campaign. Make sure pensions and pensioners needs are on the political agenda. And make sure those who are elected as MPs are held to account for the promises they are making to you now.
“I will pledge to you that Plaid Cymru MPs will continue to work with colleagues like Mhairi Black from the SNP who has championed the issue of pensions justice. Plaid Cymru MPs will defend pensioners. 
“We will defend those women born in the 1950s. And we will not let up on the pressure we put on the Tories so that they U-turn on WASPI like they have on so much to date.”

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sticking to our manifesto pledges

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham councillors are sticking to their manifesto pledges and have refused to take the pay increase for councillors.

The group of three have also had discussions with the council's IT department about using iPads to access council papers and restricted documents. The council was insistent that these papers would not be accessible without the council's own iPads rather than any other device.

After amicable discussion, the group has decided that it will make a voluntary financial contribution to the council to effectively pay for (but not own) the iPads for the extent of the five-year term. Our pledge was to refuse the free iPads and - if every councillor followed our lead - thousands of pounds could be saved by the council each year.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Only Plaid can defend Wrexham from the Tories

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham candidate Carrie Harper with party leader Leanne Wood.
The General Election on June 8th is an opportunity to defend Wales and our communities here in Wrexham.

That's the stark message from Plaid Cymru's candidate in Wrexham, Carrie Harper.

Councillor Harper, who last week won a second term as councillor in Queensway ward in the heart of Caia Park, said Wrexham cannot continue to vote Labour to stop the Tories: 
"With 82% of all MPs being based in England and polls showing a likely Tory landslide across the border, the simple maths mean that voting Labour to keep the Tories out in Wales is a nonsense. It seems there will be Tory Government in London whether we vote for it or not.

"That, combined with a weak Labour party intent on pulling itself to pieces, leaves Welsh communities vulnerable and at the mercy of an emboldened Tory Government in Westminster.

"Wales now faces the dual threat of the economic fallout from a hard Brexit and ​Teresa May
​being given ​the green light to destroy the NHS in England and continue to batter working-class communities like ours with cuts for the poor and tax cuts for the rich.
​ We must defend ourselves.​

​ "The Tories will be speaking for England, the SNP for Scotland. Where is the voice of Wales? We cannot afford to be the forgotten nation under this cloud of economic and political uncertainty.​

"Wrexham has voted Labour for almost a century and we've got precious little in return in recent years. It's time for change. It's time to stand up for ourselves.

"Only Plaid Cymru can defend Wales and our communities from the Tories. Only Plaid Cymru will put Wales first. I'm asking you to elect your local candidate Carrie Harper as Wrexham's next MP and play your part in defending our nation."

Councillor Marc Jones, another newly elected councillor for Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, added: "We've seen a surge in support for Plaid Cymru - our vote in the Wrexham constituency was up 17% in the council elections and it's clear from the growth in members and supporters that people see us as a credible opposition to the Tories.

"Labour and UKIP's vote collapsed across Wales in the council elections last week, while Plaid surged to its best-ever result bar one. We now have 202 councillors compared to the Tories 184 in Wales. Carrie Harper deserves our support because she will stand up for communities that the Tories will trash if they are returned to power."

Plaid Cymru's Westminster election campaign will be officially launched in Wrexham town centre at 11am this Saturday by the Horse and Jockey pub on Regent St. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Plaid Cymru calls for end to backroom deals and stitch-ups on council

Plaid Cymru's new group of councillors have pledged to work to make Wrexham Council more open and democratic, criticising the previous culture of backroom deals and stitch-ups.

A statement by new councillors Marc Jones (Grosvenor), Gwenfair Jones (Gwersyllt West) and Carrie Harper (Queensway) said:
"We're very proud to be elected to serve our communities and grateful for the support Plaid Cymru has received across the borough. 
"Our task now is to implement as much of our manifesto as we can and work with everybody who wants to change Wrexham for the better. 
"People have felt in the past that the council doesn't listen, isn't responsive and is happy to do deals behind closed doors. That's got to change if the council is to win back confidence from the people who elect them. 
"One specific problem we have is that Wrexham now has two groups of independents who effectively act as political parties but don't declare that in their leaflets. They divvy up jobs on the council behind closed doors and will be deciding on who will get the top jobs. How many people voted for independents believing that was the way forward? 
"Independents should not be able to act as secret parties unless they're willing to sign up to an agreed set of policies in advance. With a few honourable exceptions, the so-called independent councillors are already in the pockets of one of the two independent groups that operate on the council. 
"We want to shine a spotlight on how the council is run. We want greater democracy and for residents to have a greater say.

"During the election campaign, we distributed thousands of copies of our detailed manifesto to voters. It's online at and we'll be using that as a plan of action over the coming weeks and months to highlight ways to involve the people in decision making."

Friday, 5 May 2017

Plaid makes progress in Wrexham

Plaid Cymru has continued to make progress in Wrexham as part of an upsurge in support across Wales.

The Party of Wales stood more candidates than ever in last night's council elections in Wrexham.

Three were elected - Gwenfair Jones in Gwersyllt West, Marc Jones in Grosvenor and Carrie Harper in Queensway - and two missed out by just 10 and 30 votes respectively.

All gained respectable votes - see full results here.

Plaid Wrexham's chair Marc Jones said: "I'm delighted to be part of a strong team of Plaid Cymru councillors that will be pushing our agenda for change on the new council.

 "I'm disappointed that we weren't joined by more, especially given the tight margins in some seats, but we have the momentum going into the UK election to show that Plaid Cymru is offering Wales a shield, defending the people of Wrexham from the worst excesses of a Tory government hell-bent on slashing public services, attacking the poor and endangering jobs with a Hard Brexit."

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Born in England. Made in Wales.

A personal journey

by Louis Goodier

Born in England, made in Wales.

Not because I was conceived here, but rather the fact that when I moved here in 2011 my eyes were opened, wide. 

Now I’ll make this clear, I’m not ashamed to be English, why should I? Everyone should be proud of their country of birth.

I’ve travelled the world watching England, taking in the culture and giving my football shirts to kids who had no shoes on their feet. What I am ashamed of is the way I had my eyes closed for so many years to the politics and how we are led to believe that we are in control because we live in a democratic society, but in actual fact we are controlled by the media and Westminster. Much more than we realise.

In 2011 I announced to my family and friends I was moving from Cheshire (where I had grown up on council estates and had lived for 26 of my 28 years), and that I was moving to Wrexham. The response, as you could probably imagine, was mixed.

 “What are you moving there for” said one. “You know that Wrexham is in the biggest county in England don’t you” said another laughing as he muttered something about sheep.

 I’ll be honest, I also had my own doubts. I didn’t know anyone except my girlfriend (now wife), and Wrexham after all had a reputation of being a tough, hard working-class town, the riots in 2003, the infamous Frontline, numerous TV trash programmes such as “Britain’s hardest pubs” and “Cops UK".
The picture painted wasn’t appealing.
Moving here was a personal challenge and in all fairness those first two years trying to settle
in Wrexham were pretty tough. This told me that the people of Wrexham are protective,
either that or they didn’t like me!
During the run up to the 2012 local elections, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn
more about the town and often used it as a conversation starter. I’ll always remember a
conversation with a taxi driver who was wearing a Wales rugby shirt. It was the last round of
fixtures of the Six Nations which Wales had won. 

“Plaid should do well in May,” I said, “don’t you think?” 
“Plaid? I’m Labour always have been mate, Plaid don’t have a chance” 
“But you’re a proud Welshman and Labour don’t really give a dam, not really they don’t” 
“My vote wouldn’t count mate, they’re all the same anyway and it’s better the devil you know”. 

He turned his radio up to listen to Welsh fans in Cardiff on the radio phone-in and to signal the end of the conversation but not before turning to me and saying: “I’m glad you lot didn’t win the Six Nations, I can’t stand you English”.
 Needless to say I waited for my 30p change.
Around this time I took an interest in Welsh history and educated myself on Welsh politics. Naturally I got around to Tryweryn valley, Aberfan, Owain Glyndŵr and of course the significance of the song “Men of Harlech” to name a few.

It was only then that I realised how much Wales and her population had been systematically shafted by England repeatedly. That the United Kingdom was in fact a farce and a massive cover up to mask the abuse. My political views changed, primarily because of where I now called home but also dictated by my social conscience and integrity.

Why would I now vote for a party or an individual who has no interest, care or regard for the town or country that I live in? Why would anyone vote for that? We are all essentially interviewing individuals and then deciding on the best person for a job.

The people of Scotland have woken up and have turned their backs on Labour and have embraced the SNP with phenomenal support. And just like the British Empire, which was eventually dissolved 1997, the break up of the Union is imminent and will effectively make Wales the largest county in England and no one to represent it or protect its best interests.

The people of Wrexham are proud to be Welsh, and rightly so. They are also loyal and protective and will fight for what they believe in. Most don’t know how lucky they are to have a viable alternative to vote for in Plaid. 

A vote for Labour or Conservative is a vote lost for Wrexham and Wales and instead it becomes a vote for London and England.