The economic growth figures out today demonstrated that growth slowed in the last three months to just 0.2%. Delving deeper into those figures we could see that construction shrunk by -0.3% and manufacturing -1.1%.
I pointed out to the Secretary of State that unemployment in Delyn has increased by 33% in the past 12 months and a no deal Brexit would turbo-charge that to levels unseen before.
The Secretary of State provided no answers as to what the Government was doing to support Delyn and North East Wales. She said she would be happy to hear my ideas. However, the Secretary of State ignored the fact that North Wales Labour MPs have been calling for funding for the North Wales Growth Deal, support for the Wylfa power plant, investment into the Colwyn Bay tidal lagoon and improvements in connectivity between North Wales and North West England. Each time the Government has decided to shrug its shoulders and place their money in the South East of England.
Recently the BBC undertook a thorough investigation into Universal Credit and all their filming was done in Flintshire. It showed how people in our communities have been forced into poverty by this fundamentally flawed system of social security.
We were one of the first areas in the country to see Universal Credit rolled out and I have seen first hand the horrendous effects it has on people’s lives. The new Secretary of State hasn’t seen the BBC investigation and I urged her to watch it immediately to learn of the utter chaos it is wreaking on people’s lives.
The roll-out of Universal Credit has proven to be a failure. The independent National Audit Office concluded that the Government should stop any further implementation of the new welfare payment as too many people were being left in debt.
The Secretary of State has been very frugal with the truth. She said that because the NAO said that the roll-out shouldn’t be slower (because they said it should be halted) she is interpreting that as a green light to speed up the process.
Thankfully I had two questions at Work and Pensions questions today so was able to quote the NAO report back at the minister. The Government may want to shove its head in the sand and pretend all is well but the experts and facts detail just how failed Universal Credit is.
Credit Unions are excellent financial institutions that ensure that everyone can have access to banking. They provide people with affordable loans at fair rates of interest as well as a decent savings account. The Flintshire Credit Union is run by volunteers for the benefit of local people and anyone can become a member.
As credit unions provide such an important service I was concerned to hear that social security payments from the DWP were not being paid correctly. In particular, there has been trouble with payments being made to credit unions but no information as to who the payment is for.
The minister made some positive remarks but this shouldn’t be happening in the first place. After the difficulty of applying for welfare people should have access to their payments, not further delays.