Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dragon's Eye

I'm looking forwards to Dragon's Eye tonight. I've seen all the trailers about the problems for residential care homes that are being caused by a cruel change in immigration rules. The consequences of last August's change, which insists that anyone working in a care home must be a 'senior' worker and be paid over £7 per hour are morally indefensible. Local authorities do not pay this much and it is simply uneconomic for any private sector care home to do so - because local authority fees are not high enough to cover this level of wage. It simply means that hundreds of Filipino workers, who are in Wales on five year work permits, are effectively being deported.

Now I hope Dragon's Eye doesn't try to claim this as some sort of exclusive story - because its nothing of the sort. This blog highlighted the issue on 21st November in some detail under the heading 'Be tough but also be Fair'. ( You'll have to scroll down because I don't know how to select a single post!) The reason that I know about this issue is that I'm Chair of the Welsh Advisory Board of the European Care Group, the company which has been interviewed for Dragon's Eye tonight. I have to admit that I had no idea this issue was being covered until I saw the six-o-clock news. It is a very important issue and its a real shame it wasn't picked up three weeks ago.

UPDATE; All the anger and sadness I felt when I posted on November 21st returned tonight, and with a vengeance, as I watched the interviews on Dragon's Eye. I did think that Keith Best was very good, and poured scorn on the shameful behaviour of the current Labour Government - just as I thought Chris Ruane was unreasonable to expect the care home sector to run its operations at a loss.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You don't mention that Cameron steadfastly refused to give his support to law making powers for the Assembly in his interview.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - of course he didn't. Wouldn't have expected him to. Key thing for me is that he is not opposed - and would accept the result of a referendum. I thought he attached a lot of importance to the Convention - which was very interesting. I am convinced that we should actively campaign for Law making powers - and tonight, I will be trying to persuade a Conservative audience of this in Presceli Pembroke.

Valleys Mam said...

The whole care home issue is one that needs and deserves far more attention Private sector owners are making a small fortune out of the NHS and other government providers of funds for this sector.
I have seen the figures and they just show how inefficient our public sector is at making decisions where contracting and the procurement of services are concerned.
Just look at how much the Private Sector firms get paid per client and what they pay the staff.
This is an area that needs to be brought in house, it is not a market place issue, it’s a care issue. In England the Government are funding the Social Enterprise sector, which is not for distributed profit, to provide the service.
The care of old and vulnerable people cannot be left to market forces.
The other issue with migrant workers is the availability of information for police checks .In the UK we can only check from the time people enter the country, unless we have reciprocal arrangements in place or there is access to records from eth country of origin. Often with some Eastern European Countries these are not readily available. There is also a black market in documents thriving.
This is not a simple issue of migrants, it is much wider and deserves some in depth research and policy that ensure that – the client is put first, that profit is not a prime driver, that there are safeguards for both clients and workers.
There are excellent examples of good practise to follow. It just seems an issue that is continually on the back burner

Dai Twp said...

I think it would have been pretty amazing if he didn't accept the result of a referendum. Although he did refuse to say whether he would allow one if the Tories were in power. I don't know if he really does attach much importance to the convention in my opinion - I thought he just used it as an excuse to avoid answering the question.
You seem to be ever the optimist Glyn, so I can see why you might take some heart from the fact he didn't rule anything out, thereby leaving him plenty of wriggle room in the future. But I think his "tone" on Waterfront was even more anti if anything. Back to the old quotes of making what Wales has got work and no-one is interested in constitutional meddling (which is a bit rich coming from someone who's trying to score points with English votes for English MPs). I realise I've paraphrased there, but there was little in his tone that was different from previous leaders.
The fact that he sort of ruled out abolition gives you a bit of a platform for your argument to try and win around your party members but I don't envy your task.

Miss Wagstaff said...

I don't see what all the fuss is about regarding all this constant talk about the constitution. Cameron is right when he says that people are generally more concerned about the NHS, education, economy etc. There's far too much talk about the constitution and a referendum, and we all know that he (and others) will let the 'people of Wales' decide when the time comes.

Is that the same Keith Best as in former MP, Keith Best?

Ordovicius said...

Is that the same Keith Best as in former MP, Keith Best?

There's only one Keith Best.

I don't see what all the fuss is about regarding all this constant talk about the constitution. Cameron is right when he says that people are generally more concerned about the NHS, education, economy etc

You would say that, you're an Unionist and a Huw Lewis fan.

Miss Wagstaff said...

Ordovicius - There's also the original drummer of The Beatles.

If being more concerned about the NHS, education, economy etc. makes me a Unionist then I'm more than happy to be one.

Huw Lewis fan? :)

Anonymous said...

Not meaning to change the subject, but anyone seen the Labour AM comes to the rescue of Lib-Dem Eleanor Burnham AM ... in the Letters section of today's (Dec-07-2007) Western Mail?

Lib Dem Peter Black's gag “puerile” … NEVER!

Credit where credits due, Peter Black has no fear, he will crap on anyone, anytime, anywhere!

Meanwhile the Lib-Dems crumble under pressure - using Neil Kinnock's phraseology, a Labour AM, "Mark You!", a Labour AM comes to the rescue of Lib-Dem AM, Eleanor Burnham. "I ask you", a Labour AM.

Farscape said...

Sorry for the double ... that "anonymous" was me ... I entered my name and password but I guess I must have ticked "anonymous" box instead of the nickname box ... sorry ... a Lib-Dem-Kafkaesque moment, brought to you in the wake of Peter Black's gag.

Ordovicius said...

If being more concerned about the NHS, education, economy etc. makes me a Unionist then I'm more than happy to be one.

Actually it was the "I am an Unionist" remark at the beginning of your blog that was the first clue. People who are truly concerned with the NHS, education, the economy etc will know that lawmaking powers are essential in order to achieve any significant and enduring improvements.

Oscar said...

Chris Ruane was unreasonable to expect the care home sector to run its operations at a loss.

Fine head on him!
Properly could not organise a drink in a brewery!
What a sad day to have a man like him as a member of parliament, no sense to have an opinion like that.

Ron the Badger watcher said...

Keith Best our friend the "stockbroker"
Remember him and his multiple share applications!
Before that, he was well thought of on the Island though.

Anonymous said...

keith Best,what a laugh how can any one take that manseriously. He stands on his past record and that is like shifting sand.

Miss Wagstaff said...

"Actually it was the "I am an Unionist" remark at the beginning of your blog that was the first clue. People who are truly concerned with the NHS, education, the economy etc will know that lawmaking powers are essential in order to achieve any significant and enduring improvements."

The Assembly has all thesignificant powers it needs in terns of health and education as you well know.

"Actually it was the "I am an Unionist" remark" Have you been reading between the lines again Sanddef? Naughty boy :)

Ordovicius said...

The Assembly has all thesignificant powers it needs in terns of health and education as you well know.

I beg to differ. Until it can and does make laws it has nothing of the sort.

Have you been reading between the lines again Sanddef? Naughty boy :)

No, just reading. We don't have lines up here, Pippa, just beer and chips ;)

Glyn Davies said...

VM - I agree with you that how we care for the elderly and people suffering neurological illness is indeed an important issue - and one that I want to become much more involved in. That's why I decided to chair the Welsh Advisory Board of the Private sector business that featured on Dragon's Eye this week. I haven't really got into it yet.

I don't agree with you that delivery of care is better 'in-house'. My experience in Powys was that it cost vastly more when the Council ran its own homes - and I fully supported the decision taken some years ago to transfer the homes to BUPA. The Council is now in a much better position to regulate. But VM, I accept that I need to better understand the concept of 'social enterprise'. I hope we are on the cusp of advance in our approach to delivering care - and I'm quite excited about some of the ideas I've been in discussion about already.

You have also caused me to ask myself questions about the issue of migrant workers - and checks etc.. The specific issue I posted on (and which featured in the programme) was the Philipino workers, in the UK on 5 year contracts, suddenly finding the rules changed retrospectively, leading to their being forced out of the country without any regard to the contract which they believed they had with our country. This seemed to be immoral and cruel.

Glyn Davies said...

MW and others - You are all making too much of the 'nuances' of David Cameron's remarks. The position is that there is a debate on this in our party in Wales. Its a challenge for us to sort our approach out first. I'm absolutely clear in my mind, and what you refer to 'as ever the optimist' I regard as a form of 'delayed certainty'.

As we approach the General Election there will emerge a clear party line - which is one reason why I want 'my' line to be so public that I cannot change it. All I can report at this early stage is that only two party members have disagreed with my approach (and both want abolition which is not an option) and about 100 have spoken to me in support

A J Balfour said...

Interesting speech Rhodri Morgan made in Scotland last night. Seems he wants to join with Salmond to put pressure on the Treasury over the Barnett formula. He's also looking forward to a federal Britain with a written constitution by 2017. It's all in the Scottish papers today but seems to have been missed by the Welsh media as usual. You would have thought that someone would have gone to Scotland to listen to what seems to be a major landmark speech on the future of devolution in the UK.

Glyn Davies said...

Oscar - Agreed. Clearly Chris Ruane thinks (!) that the minimum wage should be raised to £7.02.

farscape - I'm feeling sorry for Eleanor. She has a warm heart.

anon and ron, the bw - Keith Best would still have been MP for Ynys Mon today if he had not made the stupid mistake buying shares. He won unexpectedly and was very well regarded. If a Labour politician did the same thing today, they would just promise to pay any profit to charity and carry on as if nothing had happened - even Cabinet Ministers!

Enjoyed the little spat twixt Sanddef and Miss Wagstaffe. MW is right that no-one raise sconstitutional issues 'on the street' - but there is a responsibility on Government to ensure a stable and effective system of governance. What we have at present is democratically unaccoutable (because responsibility is divdied and unclear) and ridled with opportunities for discord between Westminster and Cardiff. The man in the street will then be talking about petty politicains having childish rows. And believe me, this time is coming.

Glyn Davies said...

aj balfour - You are quite right. The First Minister's visit was reported on the Scottish BBC web page - but no mention on the Wales page. I would like to know what the two leaders would have had to say regarding Barnett - because at present it looks as if any review would be bad news for Salmond, while Rhodri was effectively forced into an Assembly reiew of Barnett by the other parties

A J Balfour said...

According to the Scottish press Rhodri argued that the Treasury should not be 'judge and jury ' on Barnett. It would be interesting to see what Mr. Brown thinks of this.

Glyn Davies said...

ajB - I always argued when I was Tory finance Spokesman in the Assembly that The Treasury would not have the final say. When pPlaid and Lib Dems used to argue that a 'needs based' formula would deliver more cash to Wales, I countered by saying that even if it did, there was no guaretee that there would not be some political horse trading bafore any settlement was agreed. Now of course we have joined in the arguements for a Barnett review.