• 68% of households in Swansea West could be missing out on energy savings of £327 a year

    Research published today by energy regulator Ofgem shows that up to 68 per cent of households in Wales could save up to £327 on their energy bill by moving from a standard tariff to a fixed deal.

    • Consumers in Wales who move from a standard tariff to a fixed tariff can save around £327
    • Around 886,000[1] households in Wales are likely to still be on standard tariffs and could be better off moving to a fixed deal

    Ofgem’s research also found that the majority of the cheapest tariffs were fixed with some deals at around £792 per year, compared to£1,119[2] for the average standard variable tariff with one of the larger suppliers.

    Research by Ofgem and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) shows that across the country around 68% of consumers are still on expensive standard tariffs. This trend would translate in Wales into around 886,000households on standard tariffs.

    Ofgem CEO Dermot Nolan said: “Ofgem’s research shows that many customers in Wales now could be better off to the tune of around £327 by moving from a variable rate to a fixed rate deal.

    “Nearly half of all consumers switching are now moving to independent suppliers and not only are consumers benefiting from greater choice of supplier, but Ofgem has strengthened consumer protection for those choosing fixed tariffs.

    “So there has never been a better time to go energy shopping and our Be An Energy Shopper website gives you independent advice on how to get a better energy deal and links to Ofgem-accredited switching sites.”

    Julie James, Swansea West AM said: “I would encourage all my constituents to go energy shopping this winter.

    “It’s now easier than ever to find the best deal and you could save up to £327 a year just by switching from a standard tariff to a fixed deal.”

    [1] Based on data regarding household sizes in 2011 census

    [2] Average annual energy bill for a customer on a standard variable tariff with one of the larger suppliers, paying by Direct Debit

     

  • Swansea West AM welcomes BT jobs boost

    BT has announced it will be recruiting 100 new posts to its Swansea base, on top of their recent recruitment of 50 people.

    All of the jobs will be frontline roles in customer care. The company wants to recruit new advisors to answer customers’ queries, as well as apprentices and some graduates.

    The new roles in Swansea form part of an overall commitment by BT to create 1,000 permanent jobs across the UK, between now and April 2017.

    Julie James, AM, welcomed the announcement: “This is a big boost for the local economy and it is a testament to the quality of the local workforce and I am delighted that BT continues to invest in Swansea.”

    BT’s Consumer division has already filled an extra 1,000 roles in its UK contact centres, to enable it to service more of its consumer customers in the UK. The first location to benefit from the announcement will be Swansea, where the additional 100 customer service roles will be on top of the 50 extra advisors recently hired at the site.

    Alwen Williams, director for BT Cymru Wales, said: “Swansea is increasingly playing a key part in BT’s strategy both in terms of its customer care initiative but also its ultrafast broadband delivery – which is great news for the local community and economy.”

    “These new permanent posts in the customer care team will provide rewarding career opportunities within BT, and reflect positively on the good work that our team are already doing in Swansea, and the quality of the workforce that we can draw upon in Wales.

    “These are exciting times for the telecoms industry and this announcement reinforces the value that BT places on customer care, and also our commitment to Swansea and Wales.”

    BT Consumer has committed to improve customer service and is spending an extra £80m over two years to boost performance, in addition to the hundreds of millions it spends each year on service.

  • Geraint Davies MP and Julie James AM donate tents, sleeping bags and hundreds of items of clothing to refugees.

    A collection of essential goods arranged by Swansea West Geraint Davies MP and Julie James AM, has been delivered to the Swansea based charity, S.H.A.R.P, where it will move to European refugee camps.

    syria Collection

    Geraint Davies MP said: ‘life for refugees in camps across Europe is already enough of a struggle, and now with the winter here, it is even more difficult. With all the work S.H.A.R.P, along with other charities throughout the country are carrying out, hopefully life can be a little bit easier for these victims. The people of Swansea have shown that they are willing to do their bit and make a difference for people in unimaginable situations. Swansea Council is playing its part, now the government needs to do more to help ease the situation’

    Ms James also praised the generosity the people of Swansea have shown. “The response to the appeal has been overwhelming and I am extremely proud of the work organisations like S.H.A.R.P carry out but tragically the crisis continues to worsen. This has already been the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since WW2 and with winter on the doorstep I am deeply concerned that the suffering of thousands of refugees stranded in Syria and in Europe will escalate

    Nizar Dahan from S.H.A.R.P said: ‘S.H.A.R.P has recently sent over 18 tonnes of clothing and 7 tonnes of food to Germany Austria, Calais, Dunkirk, Samos and Syria. We have supported 10 local families and as we expand, we are starting a joint project with Zac’s Place in Swansea where we will support local homeless projects. As people donate clothing, food and money through us, they can be assured that we are not only helping refugees from around the world, but also homeless people in Swansea.’

  • Letter responding to Chris Holley-Labour’s interest end in South East

    Following the publication of a letter by Mr Chris Holley “Labour’s interest end in South East” commenting on Labour’s track record in South West Wales, some fellow Labour AMs and myself felt that we deserved a right of reply. We have therefore drafted the letter below and would appreciate it if you would publish this in response to Mr Holley’s letter:

    In his letter (South Wales Evening Post, December 1st) Chris Holley impudently claims that Labour’s interest in Wales ends in the South East of Wales and Cardiff.

    Mr Holley needs a quick fact check-perhaps we can remind him that thanks to the Welsh Labour Government, the Swansea Bay region has undergone much-needed improvements to its transport, education and tourism facilities.

    Unlike his Party that propped up the Tory Government for five austerity driven years, the Welsh Labour Government has remained committed to working for all the people of Wales.

    The Tory Prime Minister and Chancellor have both repeatedly claimed the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, rail electrification and the protection of the UK’s steel industry were priorities, but this has sadly proven to be nothing more than meaningless rhetoric.

    But Labour has delivered for South West Wales- From investment into ABMU services to the new state-of-the-art Swansea Bay University campus (which is estimated to introduce £3bn into the local economy), UWTSD development at SA1, the major redevelopment of Neath Town Centre, the investment in the 21st Century Schools Project, the investment in the 21st Century Schools Project, and the cap on charges for home care. The benefits of the Welsh Labour Government in South West Wales is clear for all to see.

    Welsh Labour Government has worked for the people of South West Wales from cradle to career. Though times are tough and funding is tight, the Welsh Labour Government is committed to supporting our people.

    Thanks to our Free Breakfasts in Primary Schools scheme, a nutritious free school breakfast is available to every young person in a primary school who wants one. Through the Jobs Growth Wales scheme launched in April 2012, the Welsh Labour Government has created over 2,000 meaningful jobs for young people aged 16-24 in the area.

    South West Wales, like the rest of the country, continues to benefit from EU investment and nearly 3,000 jobs have been created in Swansea, more than 1,100 have been created in Neath Port Talbot while almost 30,000 participants have gained qualifications thanks to European money, backed by the Welsh Government, across the region.

    There are also a series of exciting plans in the pipeline for the region, which would see Singleton Hospital develop into a centre of excellence for diagnostic and same-day care, and Morriston Hospital double in size and become a regional centre for specialist treatments. This transformation of hospital services will revolutionise the treatment patients in Swansea and the South West receive.

    The Swansea Bay City Region, headed by Sir Terry Matthews again with Welsh Government support, has an ambitious programme to work towards a common goal of creating economic prosperity for the people who live and work in our City Region.

    The list goes on and there is no doubting that the Welsh Labour Government has had a positive impact on the people of South West Wales. As we move towards the Fifth Assembly, it is clear that Wales will continue to thrive only under a Welsh Labour Government.

    Signed by Welsh Labour AMs:  Julie James (Swansea West), Mike Hedges (Swansea East), David Rees (Aberavon), Edwina Hart (Gower), Gwenda Thomas (Neath), Rebecca Evans AM, Labour Welsh Assembly candidate for Gower and Jeremy Miles Labour Welsh Assembly candidate for Neath.