YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

REAL CRISPS THE fire at the Real Crisps factory in Crumlin was a devastating blow for the workers, the company and the community at large.

The workers have been guaranteed their pay until the end of this month but the future, at least in the short term, looks very difficult.

Some workers may travel to the Tayto group’s plant in Northern Ireland, while others may be deployed to Corby. But with families and friends in South Wales this is not a solution in the long term.

From what the company is saying redundancies are inevitable, but I would hope they can be kept to an absolute minimum. I feel desperately sad for the workers and their families because their livelihoods are at stake.

I’m sure the Welsh Government and Caerphilly council will be pulling out all the stops to help this company re-start operations.

Every effort must be made to ensure Real Crisps stays in the Crumlin area, given its historic roots in Cwmfelinfach.

The Tayto group has offered a meeting in the next couple of weeks so – once they have a fuller picture – to look at the way ahead.

This is something I welcome.

I look forward to the day when I can visit a new Real Crisps factory in Crumlin. And I hope that any workers who lose their jobs now will get them back under a new operation.

FOODBANKS

I WANTED to congratulate Ebbw Vale-based Adrian Curtis, who has been appointed network director of the Trussell Trust, which runs 250 foodbanks across the UK.

In many ways the fact that foodbanks are necessary is a terrible indictment of the society in which we live. The poor get poorer, the rich richer.

Foodbanks do a terrific job in helping those vulnerable people who haven’t the money to put food on the table. Tens of thousands of food parcels are supplied every year.

I remember reading in the Argus a few years back about one man who walked ten miles from Blaina to Ebbw Vale to collect his food parcel after suffering benefit difficulties.

During the miners’ strike I helped collect food for needy families.

Foodbanks are their modernday equivalent.

BROADBAND

IT’S great news that BT is rolling out high-speed fibre broadband network to 7,000 more homes and businesses in Newport next year.

This will be a particular boost for businesses, who need the best tools possible in today’s world.

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