In her first vote in the House of Commons, Tonia Antoniazzi MP has voted for a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech, aimed at ending the public sector pay freeze – a real-terms pay cut. The amendment was narrowly defeated, with every Conservative MP voting for the pay cut for workers like teachers, nurses, and emergency services workers.
The Government had earlier in the day hinted to the press that they were willing to scrap the pay cut, before changing their mind once again, giving false hope to millions of workers.
The Conservative benches cheered and laughed as the result was announced.
“Cutting pay for emergency services workers is no laughing matter”.
Tonia said “I am shocked that despite finding over a billion pounds to keep Theresa May in a job, the Conservatives are not willing to pay public sector workers a penny more.
We have seen the heroic way our emergency services have been forced to act in the last few months. I don’t think anyone watching the vote will understand why they deserved to have their pay cut, or why Conservative MPs cheered and laughed when the result was announced. Cutting pay for emergency services workers is no laughing matter. This shows why Gower having a Labour MP representing it is important”.
Tonia has slammed the Tory/DUP deal, claiming that nearly two billion pounds has been taken from Wales as a result of it. The deal – which has given £1bn to Northern Ireland in return for the DUP’s 10 votes in Parliament – has come about due to Theresa May’s shock failure to gain a majority in the House of Commons. This failure was due to Labour gains from the Conservatives, such as in Gower.
Ordinarily funding increases for one part of the United Kingdom result in an equivalent figure being given to each constituent country – in this case, Wales would ordinarily be granted £1.67bn. However, in a decision that has surprised those from across the political spectrum, the Conservatives have decided to deny Wales this money.
“If ever we needed proof the Tories have never cared about Gower – this is it”.
Tonia said “It is shocking that not only would the Conservatives be so desperate as to shack up with a party as regressive as the DUP, but that they would compound that lack of judgement by taking the £1.67bn that Wales is owed – this amounts to little more than theft. Gower is being denied a substantial amount of money by the Conservative Party. If ever we needed proof the Tories have never cared about Gower – this is it. I will not shy away from standing up to Theresa May’s government taking this money from our communities, and will be making it loud and clear that we should have what we are owed”.
Labour's Gower representatives and local Councillor in Clydach have jointly written to the UK CEO of Barclays Bank and HM Treasury, following the announcement that the branch will be closing in September 2017.
“I am very concerned about our older residents for whom online banking just isn’t a realistic option”.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: "I am very concerned about our older residents for whom online banking just isn't a realistic option. Lots of older people prefer to use cash and manage their household budget on a week to week basis. Travelling considerable distances to use the bank is not as easy as it sounds for people who don't have a car, particularly for those who are older or disabled."
Cllr Paulette Smith is concerned about the local independent traders in the area, Cllr Smith said: "Clydach has numerous independent retailers, and small businesses need access to a local bank in order to manage their money. Business people in Clydach are extremely concerned about what Barclays departure will mean for them and their ability to operate."
Rebecca Evans AM said: "We all know the pressure that the high street banking industry is under because of advances in technology and changes in customers' banking behaviour. However, it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most, and the closure of one bank after the other across our communities is just not good enough. We have written to the UK CEO of Barclays and the UK Government's Economic Secretary to the Treasury seeking a much more strategic and innovative approach to community banking to stem the tide of banks leaving our high streets in Wales."
Tonia Antoniazzi MP praises Gower farmers at National Farmers’ Union reception
Newly-elected MP for Gower Tonia Antoniazzi has praised the role of farmers in Gower community life at the National Farmers’ Union reception in Parliament. The reception, held on the House of Commons Terrace, was for Parliamentarians to learn more about the work that the National Farmers’ Union does. Tonia highlighted the pivotal role that farmers play across Wales, but particularly in her Gower constituency.
“We hope to continue to work closely with Tonia”.
Ms Antoniazzi said "Farming plays a pivotal role in everyone's lives across the UK, but nowhere is this more true than in Gower. Not only does farming play a huge role in our local economy, but also in its contribution to our community. Local farms hold events such as hands-on open days for schools that are invaluable experiences for schoolchildren. That's why I back Welsh farming".
NFU Cymru Deputy President, John Davies said: “We are very grateful to Tonia Antoniazzi who attended our MP Summer Reception at the House of Commons. The event was a great opportunity to meet Parliamentarians from all parties and to share our ambitions for the future of Welsh agriculture.
“Welsh farming is the cornerstone of the food and drink sector worth £6.1 billion, it employs 58,300 people and provides the backdrop to the £2.8 billion Welsh tourism industry. Therefore it’s vital that the industry is recognised by Government for the massive contribution it makes to the well-being of Wales.
“Farming is arguably the industry which will be most affected by Brexit, therefore having an opportunity to meet with key decision makers, as Brexit negotiations get underway, was a huge benefit to us. We hope to continue to work closely with Tonia and all MPs to ensure we get the right deal for Welsh farmers post-Brexit.”
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has praised the work of Awel-Y-Mor care centre, located in her Gower constituency, on the centre’s 25th anniversary. Ms Antoniazzi visited the care centre in her first official visit as Gower’s constituency MP.
Awel-Y-Mor welcomes young physically disabled adults with complex disabilities following traumatic or acquired brain injury, spinal injury or degenerative disease. It also provides care for up to three clients with learning disabilities, 15 elderly frail clients and has the facilities to care for bariatric clients.
Andrew Stevens, the Mayor of Penyrheol, was also in attendance.
“I want to work with local establishments like Awel-Y-Mor to help the people of Gower constituency”.
Tonia said: “It was great to be able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this fantastic Gower institution with the staff who so often they go above and beyond to provide care, and the residents who make it the fantastic community that it is. I’d like to thank them all for their welcome. I want to work with local establishments like Awel-Y-Mor to help the people of Gower”.
The Tories have quietly ditched their commitment to the Tidal Lagoon, hoping the people of Swansea won't notice. Only Welsh Labour will fight for it now.
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will bring more than 30,000 jobs and much needed investment to Wales and make the UK a world leader in tidal energy.
The Tidal Lagoon embodies a development for the many, not the few - and Tonia is leading the fight in Gower to build it. Whilst the Tories have no mention of the Tidal Lagoon in their manifesto and are dodging questions on it, Welsh Labour has reaffirmed its commitment on page one. Only a strong Labour MP can hold the government to account.
Since the announcement of the Tidal Lagoon last January, nothing has happened. We have been told that the decision has been sitting on the PMs desk for sign off. There are less than three months to ensure the project can start next year. Investment is at risk if there is no decision.
The Tory candidate has let us down. He appears to have little or no influence with his political masters in London who seem happy to drag their heels. The Tory candidate limply says he is 'looking forward' to fighting for the project. Labour candidate Tonia says:
"Rather than look ahead to a fight, the Tory Government should have delivered on their promises by now. They delayed the signing of the £1.3bn City Deal for selfish political reasons and appear to be doing the same with the Tidal Lagoon. The people of Swansea have already been waiting for more than a year for him to act and his credibility is at zero on this issue with the electorate.
"I've read the Hendry Report in detail, and worked on a project with my pupils on the issue of tidal lagoons. Charles Hendry is on record as saying the Government should 'get on with building the Swansea lagoon and get on with it now'. He could not be clearer.
"This is an investment in our children and our grandchildren. This is about employment and opportunities in Gower. It is a lifeline to Wales."