Miscellany 17.02.2020

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

A bit of a mixed bag this week; the unifying thread being the stupidity of those puffed-up buffoons down Cardiff docks who want to be seen as the ‘Welsh Government’.

SOCIAL HOUSING, OR IS IT?

To kick off, I am indebted to the meticulous and conscientious Wynne Jones, who is a great source for ‘Welsh Government’ wrongdoing and local cock-ups down Cardigan way. For it’s in the fair town of Aberteifi that we start.

With Cardigan Hospital, which was built and long sustained by the donations and goodwill of people in the town and surrounding area. But now it’s deemed surplus to the requirements of Hywel Dda University Health Board and the building is to be handed over to one of Labour’s favourite housing associations, Wales and West.

Though the lack of openness has not gone down well locally. The sale to Wales and West seems to be a done deal, yet the details are vague in the extreme. When Wynne asked for information on the quoted ‘open market valuation’ the response to his FoI said that it, er, hadn’t actually been done . . . but they were working on it, sort of.

Clearly, this is a deal done behind closed doors in the glorious traditions of the Labour Party. And not for the first time; for since taking over Tai Cantref, of Castell Newydd Emlyn, Wales and West has been flexing its muscles in the area.

And while it may be headquartered in Cardiff Wales and West, fittingly, also has an office in Labour’s last remaining Westminster constituency in the north, at Ewloe on Deeside.

The latest news is that a drop-in session has been organised for the end of this month in which, according to the Tivy-side Advertiser, “The people of Cardigan will be asked for their views on how best to use the site of the former Cardigan Hospital”.

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According to the article W&W is still in talks with Hywel Dda Health Authority over buying the hospital. So if it still owns the hospital why isn’t Hywel Dda organising the public consultation?

All pretence goes out the window later in the article when Wales and West bigwigs explain what they plan to do . . . with the building they haven’t yet bought!

Group CEO Anne Hinchey, the wife of Cardiff Labour councillor Graham Hinchey, makes a contribution. Also quoted is her deputy, Shane Hembrow, who for reasons best known to himself cultivates the look of a villain out of a Victorian melodrama. (Who will rescue poor Nell?)

All joking aside, social housing is now in crisis.

Many will recall the campaigns persuading council house tenants to agree to stock transfers, so that housing associations could take over. Most Welsh councils lost their housing stock in this way to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

Which gave us dozens of housing associations, spending hundreds of millions of pounds of public money, competing with each other, and swallowing each other up. Having the ear of the Labour Party in this dog-eat-dog environment was always an advantage.

All this was threatened when, towards the end of 2016, the Office for National Statistics dropped a bombshell by announcing that RSLs would in future be classed as public bodies.

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This was bad news all round. For it would have meant that RSLs’ debts would have gone onto the UK Government’s books. Putting them in the public sector might also have resulted in more openness, perhaps making housing associations subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This unwelcome outcome was avoided by fresh legislation in England and the devolved administrations. For Wales, it came in the form of the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act 2018.

Which resulted in RSLs becoming private bodies, but still in receipt of public funding! If they hadn’t already done so then they set up subsidiaries – unregulated offshoots building homes for sale on the open market, often using public money siphoned from the parent company.

The justification for building houses and flats to be sold in this way was that the money made would be transferred to the parent body for it to build more social housing.

It was a lie.

Just think about. If Tai Cwmscwt has a spare £5m why ‘lend’ it to a subsidiary and get back a percentage when it could have spent the whole £5m on social housing. And if there’s no demand for social housing then obviously Tai Cwmscwt is over-funded.

The truth is that very little of the money made by the subsidiaries of privatised RSLs is used to build social housing. Most of it goes back into building more private housing. In rural and coastal areas this housing isn’t even intended to meet a Welsh demand. It’s simple profiteering, building properties to be used as holiday and retirement homes, or sold to ‘investors’.

All of which results in a shortfall in social housing in many areas. Which is why Swansea council has started building council houses again. In the article I’ve linked to you’ll see that “four registered social housing landlords are planning to build 4,000 affordable homes across the county over the next 10 years”.

This is another lie.

‘Affordable’ is a meaningless term used by politicians and others that can cover properties costing £300,000. And as I’ve explained, the now privatised RSLs will be building open market housing not social housing.

Cardiff council also plans to build council houses. Other local authorities are doing the same.

We are obviously at a crossroads in the provision of social housing, by which I mean properties available for local people at rents they can afford.

The biggest asset for many private housing associations, the income from which helps fund the private building spree, is the stock of housing that was transferred from a local authority. (Or in the case of Mid Wales Housing, the Development Board for Rural Wales.)

Should these stock transfers stay with what are now private companies?

Let’s end with a few questions:

  • What is the future role of the now privatised RSLs?
  • Will the ‘Welsh Government’ continue to fund private RSLs?
  • With RSLs concentrating on private developments how does the ‘Welsh Government’ plan to provide an adequate supply of good quality rented social housing at affordable rents?
  • If the rented social housing role is to revert to local authorities, will the ‘Welsh Government’ arrange to return the housing stock lost in stock transfers?

OLD DEFENSIBLE BARRACKS REVISITED

The week before last I published a couple of pieces looking at the purchase of the Old Defensible Barracks in Pembroke Dock, which I believe links to similar sites in England and Northern Ireland that have been bought by the same Singapore-based investors.

Read them here: Old Defensible Barracks and Old Defensible Barracks 2.

My view is that the three sites – all close to ferry ports – have been bought in anticipation of the need, with increased border checks, for large areas where lorries and other vehicles can be parked while waiting for those checks to be done.

Since writing the second of those pieces I’ve updated it, and further information has come to light, hence this third piece.

First, after Old Defensible Barracks 2 went out 5 February the Western Mail ran a full-page spread on the 11th. (Here in pdf format.)

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Obviously this article was a press hand-out because when the journalist tried to add a personal touch she located the barracks in Milford Haven not Pembroke Dock.

Since writing those pieces I’ve spoken to one of the previous owners, who had an interesting tale to tell.

The barracks went up for auction last summer with Allsop. A few parties showed interest but no sale resulted. Instead, Allsop themselves produced a mystery buyer. Which perhaps explains the ‘Sold after’ caption you see below.

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The vendor had no idea who the buyer was, but the sale went through 22 August and the money was in the bank. You’ll recall that despite the passage of six months since the sale the title document at the Land Registry still showed the previous owners.

So I went back to the Land Registry website on Saturday thinking that the recent attention the barracks had been getting might have jolted the new owners into registering their purchase. But no, for the title document is still in the name of the local owners.

Why this reluctance to tell us who now owns this property?

As I’ve said, the theory that I and a few others have, is that the barracks themselves are simply a ‘lever’ to something else, probably land nearby that could serve as a lorry park. But then, last week, another possibility was thrown into the mix – that the Milford Haven Waterway is destined to host one of the promised freeports.

Either option makes sense, and ties in with the Singapore investors at the three sites we looked at in the earlier pieces. For not only is Singapore home to many Asian ferry companies it is also the biggest freeport in the world.

In addition to the investors who are probably native to Singapore we found Trevor Iain Walker, said to be resident there. Whether he is or not is a moot point, Companies House just accepts what it’s told.

Then, comments to the earlier pieces directed me to a US site where we encounter Walker again. And it’s definitely him.

In addition to the UK listed companies there are two more, both registered in Florida. Muniment LLC shares its name with a number of Walkers’s UK companies. The other company, Audica Properties LLC, seems to have been started by Walker in 2014 and then, last year, he was joined by Robin Lim Siew Cheong, who could be another Singaporean investor.

Cheong also has his own US company in Robindra Properties LLC, formed last year.

The picture in Pembroke Dock isn’t clear yet, but these Singapore investors haven’t rocked up to enjoy the view of Neyland. Something is planned for the Dock and it links with Brexit. I suggest it’s either a lorry park or a freeport. Maybe both.

Watch this space!

∼♦∼

THE GREEN ENERGY RIP-OFF

Because of my slant on certain issues some people think I’m opposed to renewable energy, or that I’m a climate change denier. The truth is that I’m not opposed in principle to renewable energy – as long as it’s reliable and reasonably cheap; and I’m more of a sceptic than a denier when it comes to climate change.

But I am unequivocal in my hostility to charlatans and shysters, crooks and con men, who come to Wales to rip us off.

Recent examples of the Green energy rip-off you would have found on this blog were the wind turbines at Bryn Blaen that haven’t turned in two years (but still make money for the hedge fund that owns them), and the English-owned, Czech-built hydro scheme at Rhandirmwyn that has offered locals a derisory £1,000 a year in ‘community benefit’.

Rhandirmwyn hydro scheme. Click to enlarge

I suppose the basic problem is that Wales has many rivers and streams suitable for hydro projects, and countless hills that will attract those who erect wind turbines. Even so, these natural assets need not lead to us being exploited.

The exploitation happens because virtue-signalling politicians are desperate to show the world that little Wales is playing its part in saving the planet.

It is this desperation to get a pat on the head that opens the gates to the shysters.

HOLYHEAD DEEP

Our next report takes up the coast from Pembroke Dock to another ferry port, at Holyhead, where a northern source suggests I take a look at a company in receipt of mucho dinero from our wonderful ‘Welsh Government’.

The company in question is Minesto, a Swedish company hoping to generate electricity from underwater ‘kites’. Here’s the company website.

There we read:

Click to enlarge

Certainly, the company has a presence in Sweden, because that’s where it’s based. Obviously, I can’t speak for Taiwan.

In Ireland the company’s existence was brief, perhaps no more than a separate listing for the company registered in England and Wales. And yet, according to the Minesto website and other sources the project at Strangford Lough is still running, so how is it being funded?

The sole director of Minesto UK Ltd is Martin Johan Edlund, with Goodwille Ltd serving as secretary. Goodwille takes its name from director George Alexander James Goodwille. The Swedish connection is maintained at Goodwille by director Svante Lennart Stensson Adde.

Before getting into the figures I’d just like to explore the linkages behind Minesto.

Let’s go back to the ‘About us’ panel above. It says that Minesto was founded in 2007 as a spin-off from Saab. That may have been what happened in Sweden, but Minesto UK Ltd was born in June 2008 when Keyrad Ltd, a company formed in 1996, changed its name.

The panel also says, “Main owners are BGA Invest and Midroc New Technology. The Minesto share is listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market in Stockholm.” Telling us that Minesto is wholly owned back in Sweden.

The Midroc link also suggests the underwater kite system belongs to that company.

If we go back to the Minesto website and the Projects tab, there we find Holyhead Deep, the name of Minesto’s Welsh venture. (There’s also a dormant company called Holyhead Deep Ltd, at the same Holyhead address, with the same Martin Edlund as the sole director.)

This website page explains why Minesto came to Wales: “Numerous locations around the UK were considered, but Wales was selected as the preferred option due to the highly suitable environmental conditions and government commitment to marine renewable energy, which offers significant opportunities to attract support and investment into the Holyhead project.”

To cut through the bullshit – the attraction was gullible politicians and easy money. With the panel below making clear that it’s already up to €27.9m.

A total of 27.9m Euros. Click to enlarge.

The extract below from the latest accounts would appear to show that Minesto UK Ltd is entirely dependent on ‘Welsh Government’ funding. I’m surprised there’s no money coming from Sweden. Because I guarantee that – as with Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in the south – any profits will speed their way back to Sweden.

Click to enlarge

So here’s the question – does this investment provide tangible benefits for Ynys Môn and for Wales, or are our politicians paying, yet again, to have their egos massaged and their planet-saving credentials burnished?

  • With £23m+ handed over or promised, how many jobs have been created for local, Welsh people?
  • Given that the owners of Minesto UK Ltd are Swedish, and the patent for the technology is held by a Swedish company, what benefits will accrue to Wales if the technology proves successful?
  • And if it fails, the Swedes walk away without having lost anything while Wales is £23m+ out of pocket.
  • Is funding from Wales being diverted to the Minesto project in Northern Ireland?
  • Are there no better ways to have used £23m+ on Ynys Môn for the benefit of local communities?

UPDATE: My attention has been drawn to one of the logos at the foot of the Minesto website, the one for Horizon 2020  “. . . the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract.”

So where is the ‘private investment’ in Minesto UK Ltd? Is Welsh EU funding being used in place of the private money?

LAST WORD

As I said earlier, I’m not opposed in principle to renewable energy schemes, but they must be of benefit to Wales. But unfortunately they rarely are. Worse, much of what we experience could be viewed as colonialism for the 21st century.

Think of the massive wind farms such as Pen y Cymoedd (or the hydro scheme at Rhandirmwyn) and the pittances offered to locals in compensation. It reminds me of Europeans in Africa or the Americas giving beads to ‘primitives’ in return for their assets or their land. Now we Welsh are the exploited primitives.

Yet we are supposed to welcome it because we’re saving the planet!

Those clowns in Corruption Bay, and their Westminster allies, who sold us short on water, and HS2, who talk Wales down and short-change us at every opportunity, must learn that people get angry when they see money squandered on virtue signalling.

I have a feeling they’ll be getting the message loud and clear in next year’s Assembly elections.

 ♦ end ♦

 

37 thoughts on “Miscellany 17.02.2020

  1. Renewable Energy is, as you say Jac, is the new colonialism. the old colonists either came with swords and guns or with cheap beads and bangles and bibles! Now it’s “community grants” for “community projects” – generally run by a Grants Committee – and guess what – these committees are then packed with Labour Party hacks in South Wales who look after their Third Sector cronies! By gosh the Welsh are gullible to swallow this forever. Wind Turbines will never save the planet!

  2. Max Wallis

    Pre-Minesto, the Holyhead Deep was reserved for Marine Current Turbines (MCT) proposed seven tidal current turbines generating 1.5 MW three km north-west of the coast of the Anglesey in an area known as the Skerries. It was to be the UK’s first tidal power project http://www.marinet.org.uk/campaign-article/britains-first-tidal-power-farm-off-anglesey-coast
    A British start-up firm had trialled a prototype in the Bristol channel, then a commercial-sized underwater turbine in Strangford Lough. The switch to N Ireland came because Peter Hain as N Ireland minister pulled strings when the WG refused.
    After an apparently successful trial in the Lough, MCT teamed up with Npower Renewables to raise enough cash for the Skerries wind farm, forming a company SeaGen Wales, but that faltered with the economic crash. So SeaGen Wales were bought up by Minesto, who have shown no interest in the MCT design. They are just into kites.
    No-one knows this will work; there’s plenty of room for both types of device. Minesto simply bought out a competitor for WG-support for Euro grants (23million now won). And have blocked any development of the MCT design.
    The experience gained in Strangford Lough is all lost. Many years have been lost. All because MCT failed to get WG support at the critical time, leaving the door open for Minesto to muscle in.

    1. Thanks, Max, I wasn’t aware of the background.

      MCT was taken over by Atlantis Resources Ltd, which files as a dormant company. Atlantis seems to be run by a father and two sons named Miles.

      https://simecatlantis.com/2015/04/29/acquisition-of-marine-current-turbines-limited-from-siemens/

      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06891458/filing-history

      Atlantis Resources Ltd is part of the Simec group, with a number of addresses in Newport.

      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/search?q=Simec+Atlantis+Energy

    2. Brychan

      Max, I’m not convinced that Minesto has a main interest of generating electricity from tidal flow.

      The obsession with underwater ‘kites’, which you quite correctly question, is I believe, just a useful state funded (Wales) test bed for materials technology. As you say, they have no interest in the MCT design. The turbine and blade is bog standard, as is the aerofoil dynamic. The challenge is to develop a super light aerofoil surface that doe not ‘gum up’ with sea life. Barnacles, seaweed and other growth. This ‘problem’ has application for ships hulls, and if you look at their tech-sponsorship via the Horizon 2020 funding you’ll see that the research centre in Sweden are cutting-edge guys for stuff like carbon fibre coatings which have anti-gunk properties. They also have a ‘graphine lab’ to mimic shark skin. Cracking that challenge won’t be the chance to generate a few kilowatts off the coast, it will be a patentable process worth a fortune of world wide maritime application.

      I’m surprised there aren’t clauses into grants to get a slice of potential returns of such technology. Do such clauses exist in Wales or in Sweden?

    3. Tom

      Holyhead Deep and the Skerries are not the same place. Miles apart. Whilst some may wish to debate about climate change the simple truth is that Holyhead Deep was chosen by Minesto because of its tidal potential and port infrastructure. They employ local Welsh people, the spend money in the local economy and Welsh firms are given preference in the supply chain. The companies research is funded by private investors and EU money. You have to match fund to get money. What ever your view on climate change, having Welsh energy independance and not being reliant on imported Fossil fuels is a sensible iniative it’s not a blank cheque to rip Wales off, its an investment in Wales and the source of much needed jobs for local Welsh people.

      1. Hello, ‘Tom’.

        You write, They (Minesto) employ local Welsh people, the spend money in the local economy and Welsh firms are given preference in the supply chain. Which all sounds very worthy.

        Could you vouch that these are genuinely local people employed by Minesto? Can you itemise the spending in the local economy? I’m thinking there can’t be much in the way of consumables, and surely the ‘kites’ come in from Sweden, so what exactly do you mean by the local “supply chain”?

        The companies (sic) research is funded by private investors and EU money. You have to match fund to get money.” I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. By ‘investors’ do you mean the companies that own Minesto, and will reap the benefits if the technology proves successful? There’s nothing philanthropic about this, ‘Tom’, it’s old-fashioned venture capitalism. So why does it need match funding?

        But seeing as the ‘Welsh Government’, in the form of the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO), is providing match funding, over £23m of it, I’m entitled to ask what long-term benefits there will be for Wales? Or even for the people of Holyhead?

        “What ever your view on climate change, having Welsh energy independance (sic) and not being reliant on imported Fossil fuels is a sensible iniative (sic)”. Welsh energy cannot be ‘independent’ because we are locked into an Englandandwales system. We already produce more electricity than we use, and so it’s ‘exported’ to England at no profit. (Just like our water.)

        “it’s not a blank cheque to rip Wales off, its an investment in Wales”. What I think it is, ‘Tom’, is an investment by Swedish companies that happens to be taking place in Wales. If the technology proves successful then the profits and other benefits will be found in Sweden. If the technology fails, then Minesto ups sticks and moves on, without losing much . . . but Wales will have spent a few tens of millions of pounds for no return.

  3. Wynne

    Sale of Cardigan hospital site
    Your analysis is spot on Jac. I shall be keeping a close eye on developments. Anyone in the Cardigan area wishing to challenge the right of Hywel Dda University Health Board [UHB] to sell the site to Wales and West Housing would be advised to obtain a copy of “Welsh Health Circular WHC [2007] 088”. This sets out the protocol that should be followed. I’m not convinced the correct protocol is being followed. As you say Jac, why is the UHB not chairing the meeting at Cardigan.

    1. I’m fairly sure that these guidelines were to cover transfers or sales within and between public/third sector bodies. But the status of housing associations has changed, so do these guidelines still apply?

      1. Wynne

        Copy of my letter below published recently in Tivy Side.

        Dear Editor

        Subject: Proposed sale of former Cardigan Hospital Site

        I write to update your readers on the outcome of my recent correspondence with Hywel Dda University Health Board [U H B] with regard to the proposed sale of former Cardigan Hospital site to Wales and West Housing Association [W W H A]. Following requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, I am advised that the Local Authority, Ceredigion County Council, and nominated Registered Social Landlord W W H A have agreed the principle of selling the site to the social landlord based on a jointly commissioned open market valuation. I received further confirmation in a letter dated 20 January 2020 from the U H B that the jointly commissioned open market valuation is to be arranged in the coming weeks and that the sale of the site will be based on the new valuation and agreed between both parties.

        I now offer my own observations. The value of the site is linked to land use. As a planning application has not, to date, been submitted for change of land use from hospital to affordable housing it remains unclear, at this stage, whether the valuation is to be based on the assumption that planning permission for change of land use may be granted at a future date. The general public will obviously have an opportunity to comment during the public consultation stage of the Town & Country Planning process.

        It should be noted that the protocol for provision of National Health Service surplus land for affordable housing is outlined in “Welsh Health Circular” dated 11 December 2007 [W H C {2007} 088] available from Welsh Government. Anyone wishing to challenge the right of the U H B to sell the Cardigan site to W W H A may wish to obtain a copy of the circular.

        I hope the above information is of interest to your readers.

        Yours sincerely

  4. Mynydd y Gwair Common in upland north Swansea is a good example typical of Renewable Energy. The land is owned by the family of the Duke of Beaufort, via the Somerset Trust (certainly NOT a charity). It is part of the feudal Lordship of Gower. The Duke, known as Bunter, lives at Badminton in a massive Mansion with a vast Estate covering much of the Cotswolds and Monmouthsire and also open mountains such as this example in Swansea’s Gower Lordship. He is one of the wealthiest of all non Royal Dukes and Gower was a Marcher Lordship. Despite the developers and politicians saying this would benefit the community, and the Welsh speaking hill farmers who have ancient grazing rights. It has proven to be totally different. Most of the money goes to the Duke.
    A German Company supplied the Generators and the Towers and built the complex. The ground works were done by Dawnus a multi national company that was run by a North Walian employing outsiders that went bankrupt after moving most of its assets to carry on contracts in Africa. That was the only Welsh connection. An Irish business also got a lot of work instead of the promises for local employment. A French Company did most of the electrical work. The grazing for the farmers was trashed and ancient “Arosfa” systems destroyed. A portion of money for a Community Fund is being distributed amongst the lucky if they get a grant out of the Committee set up by Swansea’s Advice Centre – mostly run by Labour types.
    All this for an average output of just 8 MW average power of a variable unplanned nature for a UK Grid of average 40,000 MW, soon to be probably doubled soon to over 80,000 MW minimum as Carbon fuels are done away with, and electric vehicles suck up all of today’s energy out of the Grid creating black outs.
    This is a set up praised by local and national politicians in all political parties as a good example for the future. A whole vast open scenic mountain destroyed with no benefit of any material value for just 8 MW. The approach road to the site from Swansea city has a big sign emblazoned “COFIWCH MYNYDD Y GWAIR”. Yes people in the area remember it well, just as the Duke of Beaufort must do, together with the foreign companies that built it.
    Its called “Green Wash peddled by wolves disguised as sheep in Green Coloured synthetic wool !” It will never ever halt or impede Climate Change. It just one big con trick. Its time Welsh people woke up to the reality of the present Energy Policies and Business.How green was my valley?

  5. Vlad the Inhaler

    Back in 2016 they ( Cardigan Integrated Care Centre – Full Business Case ) were saying:
    ‘The estimated capital receipt from the disposal of the two exiting sites is currently estimated to be in the region of £850,000. The proceeds of the sale of these two sites will flow back to the Welsh Government upon site disposal. ‘

      1. Dafis

        Probably get it gifted to them by Labour cronies in recognition of the excellent work they do in fostering “lasting dependency and impoverishment” thus justifying existence of all the other 3rd sector activities.

      2. Wynne

        I shall be submitting FOI request for valuation report at the appropriate time. If provided, no doubt the report will be heavily redacted.

  6. Dafydd

    When it was suggested that the old site be used for the new Integrated Health Centre we were told that was not possible as it was in a flood risk area. But it is OK for social housing? Looking at the Natural Resources Wales web site confirms that parts of the site are deemed to be High Risk to Low Risk from River and Sea. The site entrance is low risk. Now they want to move their offices from Newcastle Emlyn to be next to the planned social housing at the site (where they no doubt will help out in looking after the frail). The terms parasites, megalomania and liars come to mind – without of course attributing them to anyone.

  7. Brychan

    HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS.

    The BBC are reporting today that Darren Pitts-Whitby who has a wife and six kids are complaining that his four-bedroom house in Abergele that was given to him by Cartrefi Conwy is not up to scratch.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51536924
    See Lancashire accents in video.

    The family are from Oldham in Lancashire and got evicted from their home “through no fault of their own”, so had to spend an interim period in their Welsh static caravan. This allowed them, by current catchment, to become the responsibility of Cartrefi Conwy.

    https://en-gb.facebook.com/darren.pittswhitby

    Mr Pitts-Whitby reports he works for a climbing equipment manufacturer. In reality he was a director of North Wales Tooling and Design Ltd until he resigned in 2013. Previous to this he was director of Plas Werk (UK) Ltd, in Oldham.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06716589

    We also see Lisa Pitts-Whitby (nee Dockerty) on social media posing outside her static caravan in Wales with associated brood in happier times.

    https://www.facebook.com/lisa.dockerty1

    She was previously working as a freelance childminder, and registered with Oldham council. Ofsted URN: EY306312.

    https://www.oldham.gov.uk/hsc/services/records/22/268?send=0

    So it appears that if you, for whatever reason, move into your static caravan in Wales, you can then apply for social housing. When you get your four bedroom house, kick up a fuss. Great system innit. I wonder how many genuine Welsh people would love the opportunity to live in a four bedroom house in Abergele, just need a broom and a coat of paint.

    1. I’ve come across this behaviour regularly over the years in the Tywyn area. One guy I knew – got to know him quite well, used to drink with him – was quite open about coming from Manchester with his wife and five kids and camping on Tywyn beach. He was quickly housed.

      More recently, my grand-daughter was having problems with a little shite whose family had not long been housed in the old DBRW houses at Pen Morfa. They’d moved to the area in winter, hired a caravan – plenty about, of course – and then demanded to be housed because the accommodation (they’d chosen) was ‘inadequate’.

      Living next door to my ex daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Tywyn was a prize pair with an ever-increasing brood, the eldest of which had themselves started breeding. My son lives in Machynlleth, him and his wife bought their former council house but the one next door is a large property reserved for large families. The shower living there a few years ago had come, I believe, from Nuneaton. There was no good reason for them to have moved to Wales, neither of them worked. When they moved they had seven kids, but the breeding female was heard to delaim, ‘I wouldn’t mind a football team, me.’ And lo! it came to pass. They outgrew the house, and their welcome, and were then moved at great expense to Newtown. Her partner drove around in a Cadillac Escalade; a 6.2litre, LHD, 15mpg 4×4.

      There is taking the piss, and there is taking the piss.

      So many of the cases I know of have large families – like Pitts-Whitby – and it does make you wonder why agencies in Wales fall over themselves to (literally) accommodate these feckless bastards when they should be told to sling their hook.

      After a very brief stay at No 10 an advisor was forced yesterday to leave due to opinions he might have expressed on eugenics and forced sterilisations. Was he wrong?

      These kind of cases will continue until there is a qualification period before someone is allocated social housing. I would like to see a minimum of five years residence in Wales. If anyone chooses to pack a family into a tent or a small caravan then they must live with that decision.

      At present, the word is out – ‘Go to Wales and DEMAND to be housed’. And it works.

      1. Stan

        Plaid Cymru are positively encouraging large families who are “poor” to move into Wales with their policy of paying £35 to EVERY child in a low income family should they be in power. There are apparently 200,000 children in Wales already in this category, so do the maths. £7 million a week, £360 million a year just for this benefit without subsidised/rent-free housing, reduced or free council tax etc. We’re a basket case here. And people everywhere are noticing that the more social housing is built by the housing associations, the more large (and sometimes problem) families from outwith are moving into communities. “If you build it, he will come” was the phrase used in that Kevin Costner film about a baseball field. I can’t help feeling we are building these places to satisfy the needs of elsewhere.

        I can accept that there are many families struggling to make ends meet, but I struggle with this business of relative poverty. People like Carolyn Harris MP run meals through the summer period when kids are off school to ensure they are fed properly. Have you seen the size of some of the children that go along? They could go without food for forty days and nights and would still be bigger than half the kids I ran around with when I was in school.

        Jac, you used to have a wonderful take on the “Bring me…..your huddled masses….” based on the Statue of Liberty, on your blog. If you still have it, can you repost it, as it is never more relevant than today.

            1. Dafis

              We should have that image and text projected onto the Cynulliad building down the Bay.

              It sums up much that is wrong with Wales in its present state. Too quick to address others’ problems that are the responsibility of UK or English local government before we do a proper job on our own, or even get started on some of our own. No wonder our “left behind” demographic here in Wales either opts out altogether or back a ranter like Farage/Johnson when they see that party which purported to be a radical alternative wimp out and join forces with assorted Unionist opportunists.

        1. Brychan

          Yes Stan.

          I could never figure out the logic of the Plaid Cymru policy of paying £35 a week to EVERY child in “a low income household”. It doesn’t make sense as such a family would be eligible for means tested benefits, and in such a claim, the claimant is required to declare ALL regular household income. This would mean deducting the £35 per week (the amount paid from the Welsh Government budget) from whatever the DWP would otherwise be paying in benefits (out of the UK budget). The DWP system is not devolved and the criteria for assessing ‘low income household’ would have to be ascertained by an existing DWP claim.

          A truly bizarre policy.

          Trouble is with Plaid Cymru manifesto is that it’s worked out by those who have no understanding of ‘low income households’ or how the existing system works. It’s just a media soundbite in the hope that some people will fall for it. A kind of ‘look at me helping the poor’, when in reality it’s just reducing the benefits bill for Westminster.

          The policy has its origin in their failure to understand the “Best Start Grant Package” of the SNP government in Scotland. This is not a ‘regular payment’.

          https://www.opfs.org.uk/best-start-scotland/

          They offer some one-off grants for households already in receipt of benefits that is specific to an event. Like the ‘baby box’, or pay for uniforms, shoes and books for their wee ones, For this reason, it doesn’t deduct from existing benefit income of the family, and it has to be a Scottish familiy.

          I had to laugh when there were complaints from English benefit tourists who moored up in Scotland to make a claim for their ‘baby box’. There’s a requirement to stipulate which home or hospital in Scotland the child was born in. If it isn’t a Scottish baby on the birth certificate, they don’t qualify. The maternity package trigger is antinatal registration with NHS Scotland. Less Waynes and more Wains.

  8. Roger Jones

    The vast amount of rain in the valleys and the resulting landslips reminds us of the past scarring of the land by the Coal industry where wealth was taken away to England leaving the spoils and ruined communities which are suffering to this day

    Wealth must be retained for Wales to get out of the poverty trap

    On a Sky broadcast about the floods – the opening comment was ” Wales is the poorest Country in the EU and Pontypridd the poorest area”

    Wonderfull !

  9. Dafis

    “Trickle down”, “trickle out”, “pebble in the pond”, “multiplier effect”, – all oft-repeated cliches of wishful thinkers i.e people who wish that we would be so thick as believe the crap they spout.

    Your tweet regarding Rhyl and other forgotten towns is too right. However it wasn’t the neglect and failure to invest that singlehandedly did for these places. It was the deliberate policy of the major metropolitan authorities to relocate their dysfunctionals into other people’s turf so that they would not have to bother with them any more.

    A case more akin to slurry seeping unrestrained into watercourses than fresh water trickling into them!

  10. Brychan

    I see deputy minister for transport and general layabout, Lee Waters AM, said there was no quick-fix to pavement parking in Wales.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51473627

    But we find there is actually, a wee quick fix.

    https://www.parliament.scot/S4_Bills/Footway%20Parking%20and%20Double%20Parking%20(Scotland)%20Bill/b69s4-introd.pdf

    This is the Llanelli two faced zombie, a coward who votes through cuts in NHS hospitals and then goes on protests to save a hospital he finds in his constituency.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Db0lUeoWsAAe7po.jpg:large

    A man whose slumber is only interrupted by bouts of hypocrisy.

  11. Dai

    Wales and West are now selling several luxury flats on Right Move at the new Plas Morolwg extra care site in Aberystwyth. No local connection requirements? and an affordable price of £249k each which is pricing local people out of the game. Having moved the IT and housing allocations from Newcastle Emlyn to Cardiff, so that local staff are not involved in allocations, they now move into the luxury flats development game, on the site they obtained via Cantref. Rumours abound that they are now buying the empty Bodlondeb residential home in Aberystwyth, closed by the Council, and moving their Ty Curig ex offenders hostel from the town centre to the tollgate site just above Bodlondeb. Their planned redevelopment of the Aberaeron hospital site for flats is also causing uproar amongst the local Crach in the houses next door. No doubt the WW allocations team in Cardiff will ensure that some new dna will be added into the local gene pool. How many luxury flats will be going on the Cardigan hospital site, and what price for the lovely river view? Public assets being sold cheap to the favoured Cardiff housing association yet again?

    1. Wynne

      Thanks for that information Dai. I shall be scrutinising their proposals at Cardigan and asking some interesting questions under FOI Act.

    2. Dafis

      Dai asks rightly – “Public assets being sold cheap to the favoured Cardiff housing association yet again?”

      Readers may think I was just joking 4 or 5 days ago when I commented :

      ” …Probably get it gifted to them by Labour cronies in recognition of the excellent work they do in fostering “lasting dependency and impoverishment” thus justifying existence of all the other 3rd sector activities.”

      Large scale deviant behaviour costing millions of public assets with land and property being shuffled around while public at large thinks it’s just one public sector to another but in reality this filth is fully privatised and has waltzed off with huge quantities of assets for next to nothing. Vote Labour, support Labour and you can get away with anything. Murder next ? or has it already been committed ?

      You awake out there Plaid or are you just waiting around hoping to get your snouts into this trough too ?

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