Tonia Antoniazzi MP supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.
On Wednesday, 19 June, more than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged on Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the MP for Gower spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals.
It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that three out of four (76%) assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog.
Taxis and minicabs were the worst offenders – experienced by 73% of those reporting refusals in the last twelve months. Refusals at restaurants (54%), newsagents (42%) and high street shops (36%) were also common.
Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said:
“It was disturbing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners. No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog.
“I support Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign to tackle the ignorance that causes access refusals, and make sure businesses are held accountable when they occur.
Chris Theobald, Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, said:
“The law is very clear that assistance dog owners have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local restaurant.
"Despite this, our survey shows assistance dog owners face refusals on a regular basis. When you rely on their guide dog to get around, businesses that refuse to allow your dog in are effectively slamming the door in your face.
“Businesses have a responsibility to make sure all their staff welcome assistance dog owners. That’s why we are calling for disability equality training as standard in sectors where refusals are common. We also support an overhaul of equality legislation so that businesses that refuse access face the full consequences of the law.”
 EHRC, Assistance Dogs: a guide for all businesses
 Guide Dogs survey of 421 assistance dog owners, April 2019
Do you have innovative ideas about policy and global change? Aged 19-35? LAST CALL to apply to British Council’s Future Leaders Connect Programme before May 6th!
The British Council is looking for exceptional leaders aged 18-35 to join a group 50 young people from around the world in a ten-day programme in October to learn from policy experts and inspirational leaders.
The Future Leaders Connect programme will include meetings at the UK Houses of Parliament, networking with world leaders, advanced learning from UK institutions and the chance to join an exclusive network of emerging international leaders.
I am urging young people in Gower who are interested in policy-making and leadership opportunities, to join a programme and connect to emerging leaders from around the world.
Future Leaders Connect, run by the British Council, is open to all young people aged 18-35 and will see ten representatives from the UK join 40 emerging policy leaders from eleven other countries.
This year, all applicants, whether successful or not, will have the opportunity to take part in a free online version of the Future Leaders Connect course in a specially-designed British Council MOOC which will launch in June.
Future Leaders Connect was launched in 2017 by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It has received support from figures such as the former UN Secretary Generals Ban-Ki Moon and the late Kofi Annan.
This is an invaluable opportunity for a motivated young person to meet similar high-achievers from around the world who are all united by their desire to make things better in their societies and beyond.
It’s open to anybody who has an idea they think could make the world a better place – and it will give them the practical skills and networks to help pursue it.
Applicants will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and why they have what it takes to be a global leader.
Applications must be submitted online before Monday 6 May 2019 23.59 via www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect
Candidates will be shortlisted from across the UK and finalists will be chosen from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
They will join finalists from eleven other countries for a ten-day programme in November which will include training in public speaking, policy development expertise and leadership skills. This will culminate with several senior meetings in the Houses of Parliament, meeting MPs and law makers.
Candidates will also be chosen to represent Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and the USA.
Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “I’ve been amazed by the calibre, energy and attitudes of the Future Leaders that I’ve met from across the world.
“The participants learn so much from the programme itself, but in addition they learn from each other and about the lives of people in other countries. It’s a fantastic collective experience that encourages future leaders to have a global outlook to the challenges they face.”
Future Leaders Connect is the British Council’s long-term global network of emerging policy leaders. It identifies exceptional young leaders through a vigorous application process, where they demonstrate their potential to make substantial change in their countries and beyond.
British Council research (Trust Pays) has found that: “Those who have had involvement in cultural relations – arts, education and English language activities – with the UK have great trust in people from the UK.”
Further research by the British Council’s Higher Education Policy Unit found 55 current world leaders, covering one in four countries, were educated in the UK.
Money back for broadband and landline customers when things go wrong
Broadband and landline customers will now get money back from their providers when things go wrong, without having to fight for it.
Previously, only around one in seven broadband or landline customers who suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments have received compensation from their provider; and even then, only in small amounts.
So Ofcom has intervened to ensure fairness for customers, while giving companies a strong incentive to avoid delays occurring in the first place.
The UK’s largest broadband and landline providers have agreed to compensate customers when they experience these delays, without having to ask.
BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet had already signed up to the scheme. Ofcom has today announced that EE, Hyperoptic, Plusnet and Vodafone have also agreed to the new terms. Hyperoptic and Vodafone will start paying compensation automatically later this year, while EE expects to be able to start paying automatically next year. Together, the firms that have committed account for more than 95% of broadband and landline customers in the UK.
The new scheme could see customers benefit from £142m in payments – around nine times the amount they receive today. As well as consumers, it will benefit the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who choose residential landline and broadband services.
This is how it works:
Ofcom will carefully monitor companies’ compliance with the compensation scheme, and report on how it is working next year. If customers are not being treated fairly, we will step in and take action.
The compensation scheme is part of Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme of work to ensure that broadband, phone and TV customers are treated fairly.
On Monday 1 April 2019, Great Western Railway will be changing the way they compensate passengers for train delays.
What is delay repay?
If you're delayed by more than 15 minutes when travelling with GWR train on a single, return or weekly ticket, you will be able to claim compensation.
How much money can I claim back?
Delays are calculated against the planned, advertised timetable so compensation is not usually offered during periods of pre-planned engineering works and when replacement bus services are used.
You can claim compensation on a single, return or weekly ticket. From 15 to 29 minutes delay the compensation of a single ticket is 25% and 12.5 of a return. A 30 to 59 minute delay would get you 50% of the cost of a single and 25% of a return.
A 60 to 119 minutes would get you 100% of the cost of a single and 50% of a return. 120 minutes or longer gets 100% of a single and a return.
You can find out more information by following the link below.
I want local charities and good causes in Gower to apply for over £3million of funding that has been raised by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Applications are open from today until 20 February.
A whole host of good causes from social enterprises to voluntary groups and registered charities are eligible to apply for grants of between £500 and £20,000.
The financial support is available through three different trusts that are all funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery with the sole purpose of supporting people and their communities across Great Britain. Each trust supports projects focused on specific themes:
Sports groups for military veterans, counselling support services for young carers and accessible play parks are just a few examples of the over 1,600 projects that were successful in their application and received funding in 2018. Local good causes are advised to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity by reading the short funding guides available and applying to the trust that best fits the aims of their project.
Funding from People’s Postcode Lottery’s players makes a huge difference to thousands of good causes across the country.
I know that there are many good causes in Gower that would love a cash boost for a specific project.
I want any local charities or good causes who are looking for funding to apply as soon as possible.
A minimum of 32% from every People’s Postcode Lottery ticket goes directly to good causes. To date, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £382 million for more than 5,500 good causes across Britain and internationally.
For more information, to view the funding guides and to apply please visit the trusts’ websites directly:
This evening, the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament. I was one of the 432 MPs that voted against the deal.
This isn’t a decision I have made lightly. The result of the European Union referendum in Swansea did not give a constituency breakdown but House of Commons Library independent research on the vote estimates that Gower voted to remain by 50.7%.
Since being elected I have listened to the views of constituents that I’ve received by email, letter, telephone call, and at public meetings. I have now been contacted by 738 separate Gower constituents who have directly stated whether they wished to remain or leave the EU. After analysing each response, 21% of constituents stated that they wished to leave the EU, whilst 79% of constituents said they wanted the UK to remain a member of the EU.
More importantly I considered the impact this deal would have on my constituents. The deal the Prime Minister agreed with the EU and presented to Parliament was deeply flawed and represents a complete failure of her approach over the last two years. The Prime Minister's deal does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards. It does not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses, or allow for EU wide consumer protections. The lack of a clear future relationship would’ve also meant the likely usage of the Northern Ireland backstop.
This result tonight should also not be an excuse for a “no deal” exit from the EU. A no deal Brexit would be catastrophic for agriculture and manufacturing industries in Gower, and the Government does not have the right to plunge our country into chaos because of its own failure to get a good deal. I will therefore be supporting amendments that make rejection of a no-deal Brexit clear, and Parliament must use all options to ensure it cannot and will not happen.
It’s now clear that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is finished, and she must step aside for a government that can offer this country a plan with light at the end of the tunnel. Her government has lost the confidence of Parliament, so a motion of no confidence must be tabled and she should do the honourable thing and call a general election.
However, the majority of my constituents in Gower have told me they can’t accept any Brexit without a final say on the deal. That is why I will continue to press for a People’s Vote on whatever withdrawal deal is agreed in Parliament, so the people can have the final say on the type of Brexit they desire.
My constituents did not vote to be poorer because of Brexit and for as long as I represent them in Parliament, I will not vote for a Brexit that makes them a single penny worse off.
An update from Tonia Antoniazzi - Craig Cefn Parc Primary school, The Greyhound Llanrhidian, M4, & Penllergaer Redwood
The problem with Brexit - apart from Theresa May’s calamitous handing of the situation, pulling the meaningful vote in Parliament and crossing her own red lines in negotiations with Europe - is that it dominates political discussion, squeezing out other important issues from the headlines. We should be talking about issues like state pension inequality or the roll out of universal credit. Hidden by the humiliating headlines of the last two weeks generated by recent parliamentary fiascoes there have been important developments on several issues in Gower.
On Friday 14th December I had a meeting in my constituency office with Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea City Council. At the meeting Cllr Stewart confirmed that the Council intend to continue with the proposal to close Craig Cefn Parc Primary school following the consultation that closed in October. This is potentially disastrous news for the parents and residents who have been fighting to keep the school open but there is still a lot to fight for. I expressed my deep concern about the consequences of closing the Primary school will have on the community and I will be speaking again with parents and campaigners to the full Swansea Council meeting on Thursday. I firmly believe that closing the school is the wrong decision and risks tearing the heart out this unique Welsh village. I urge the council to think outside the box for potential future solutions.
I also expressed my disgust that a 200-year-old redwood in Penllergaer woods had been felled by developers clearing land for the housing development nearby. I have urged to Cllr Rob Stewart and the council to be robust in their investigation into this incident, and to use all tools available to punish those responsible if blame is proven.
Many residents in Llanrhidian and Oldwalls were devastated to hear of the decision to close the Greyhound Inn. This is an incredibly difficult time for pubs but there is never a good time to lose such a valuable community asset and such a famous Gower landmark. I recently met Stuart Morgan, a businessman from Loughor who wanted to form a working group with local publicans and the Campaign for Real Ale to see how we can protect Gower pubs. I will be announcing more about it in the new year but if you've got any suggestions that you'd like me to take forward to protect Gower pubs, please get in touch. I’ve had several residents contact me to raise their concerns regarding the closure of the pub and the future usage of the land. Please contact me via email with your comments about the plans and I will be happy to reflect those in my submission to the planning department.
I was dismayed to see another tweet from South Wales Police on Sunday saying that they were responding to yet another incident at Junction 47 on the M4. This area is clearly an accident black spot and something must be done to reduce the number of accidents on the stretch of road between Penllergaer and LLangyfelach. I will be writing to the new Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport at Welsh Government, Lee Waters AM to ask what can be done to investigate why there is a such high frequency of road traffic collisions in the area and what can be done to reduce them.
I will be holding my final surgery of the year this Thursday in my constituency office between 1pm and 2pm. I’m currently in the process of confirming venues for 2019 surgeries and details will be published on the website as soon as they are finalised. My office will be closed from the 24th December to the 2nd January but if you have any urgent queries please email or leave a voicemail which my staff and I will be checking daily.
Have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year and hope to see many of you in 2019!
If being the Member of Parliament for Gower for the last 14 months has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I have held regular surgeries across the constituency and have been asked to assist constituents with every kind of problem you could possibly imagine.
However, Monday’s advice surgery at the Ostreme Centre was not a typical affair when I was greeted by over 50 constituents, nearly all with the same concerns surrounding Mumbles Pier and the proposed foreshore development.
The attendance was extraordinary compared to my previous surgeries, yet I was assured that there would have been a larger number attending had the meeting been outside of working hours.
Once those that had attended had been given an opportunity to express their views it was evident that the clear majority of those in attendance were there to express their opposition to the development proposals at the foreshore.
It’s heartening to see community activism like the Mumbles Action Group, making sure residents views are heard on important issues such as this.
This is wholly a decision for Swansea Council, but what I promise to do, as I said to those at my surgery, is to represent the concerns of my constituents.
I will be raising constituent’s objections and comments regarding the proposed plans and I would request constituents that wish me to do so on their behalf, contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been speaking at length to Mumbles Community Council, and I have written to them, suggesting that they use the powers at their disposal to raise residents’ concerns through the channels open to them.
I am aware that my Assembly colleague, Rebecca Evans AM has also sent representations to Swansea City Council and to the Welsh Assembly. I will be following up on this and will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffith AM, to ask her to consider the objections raised.
It is clear that emotions within the community are running high and that the relationship between the developers and the community is strained.
Tension such as this is seldom good for a community, and I believe communication is key to the resolution of this situation.
I spoke to residents quite candidly and explained that communication with AMECO is key to improving the situation.
In my capacity as MP, I have visited the Pier to look at the plans for its redevelopment and to speak to AMECO in order to gain a balanced view.
I believe that the protection and restoration of Mumbles Pier and a suitable development of the headland will ultimately be beneficial. The Pier is an important part of Mumbles’ and Swansea’s heritage and its protection must be a priority.
I would like to see a forum where the views of the community in Mumbles is reflected in the development, and that relationships between all involved are more cohesive. As MP for Gower, I will work with everyone to deliver that outcome.
Mumbles is truly an iconic and beautiful place with a vibrant community and with a shared vision, the community can work as one for the prosperity of Mumbles.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has called for the Chancellor Phillip Hammond to freeze beer duty in his next budget to support pubs in Gower.
Tonia Antoniazzi said “Pubs are at the very heart of Gower communities and we need to take decisive action to protect them.”
30 Million adults visit the pub every month in Britain which supports 900,000 jobs and bring in £13 billion in tax revenues.
At the 2017 Autumn Budget the UK Government froze beer duty. However, this followed an increase at the Spring Budget which added 2p to the cost of a pint of beer and, together with increases in other alcohol duties, will have cost pubs around £125 million in the last year.
“I believe the 2p increase was the wrong decision and posed a risk to pubs in Gower, particularly coming alongside increased inflation,” said Tonia.
“I am pleased that the Welsh high street relief scheme is helping shops and pubs pay their business rates, but we must to more at Westminster to protect the local pub.”
“At the last election I campaigned for a national review of local pubs to examine the reasons for their large-scale demise and to establish a joint taskforce to consider their future sustainability.”
"Our pubs provide a focal point for communities to come together, promoting community cohesion so I implore the Chancellor to listen to the demands of publicans and pub goers to freeze beer duty.”
"I am currently taking nominations for parliamentary pub of the year and I want constituents to keep sending their suggestions in until the 20th September. I'll then be conducting a poll via social media to decide the winning nomination."
You can nominate your favourite Gower pub at http://www.toniaantoniazzi.co.uk/updates/enter-your-favourite-gower-local-into-the-parliamentary-pub-of-the-year-competition
Nominations for this years Parliamentary Pub of the Year competition are now open.
Gower has a fantastic range of pubs and breweries so I am asking constituents to nominate their favourite Gower pub. The winner of the Gower nomination will then be chosen in an online vote.
All constituents need to do is submit the name of their favourite pub and why they think that institution is great at what they do.
This can include:
Give your favourite Gower pub the recognition it deserves!
Nominations close on 20th September 2018.