BBC

Tweetathon

The following article was taken from the DPAC website.  I would encourage all my readers to join in with this mass tweetathon and remind everyone why the disabled community will not stand by quietly while the disastrous Universal Credit is rolled out.

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Tuesday evening February 4th – please join a mass tweetathon to the BBC and especially BBC Two

@BBCTwo 

They are hosting a programme on Universal Credit which we think is the one we were told had been commissioned by DWP along with the adverts DWP placed in the Metro newspapers.

Here are some possible tweets  you could copy and paste

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants UC is rotten to the core #StopandScrapUC

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants 7m households will be affected, including over one million low paid part-time workers.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants UC has too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed – it must be stopped and scrapped.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants at least £15.8 billion has been wasted UC, yet only £1 billion will be saved by 2020.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants No civilized Government should impose UC on its citizens

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants  No credible opposition party should want to simply pause and fix UC.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants UC is claimed and managed digitally which is impossible for many disabled people.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants Health & Work conversations are mandatory, any failure to attend will lead to claim being closed.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants People in part time work could be forced to give up work that suits their Disability.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants UC has no Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums- single disabled people lose around £2,000 pa.

@BBCTWO #UniversalCreditCrimesAgainstClaimants UC includes the vile rape clause – violating womens’ rights

 

And lots of newspaper horror stories here https://drive.google.com/file/d/12XXQDqzVm2UVexcO2Gli1DltuN0mzHbp/view

 

Dorset Eye – We Need A Day Of Reckoning: The BBC = Fake News

The following article was written by my good friend and comrade Adam Samuels and appears on the Dorset Eye website. The original article can be found by clicking on this link. 

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bbc-prop

I did unpaid work at the BBC in a couple of locations with their news & current affairs teams several years ago now. I decided not to pursue a career with them because I was appalled at what I saw in the culture of the BBC’s news & current affairs programming. However, never in a million years did I believe the standards would fall to such a level that the BBC would become a full-on outright lying propaganda machine for any government. Yes, the BBC has always been part of The Establishment, but this past election has shown the BBC’s credibility has absolutely gone. Totally gone. They have, and I use this word carefully, betrayed the country and electorate.

To be very clear here, it’s not just the BBC. But to see the BBC, on several occasions, actually edit footage, removing boos and replacing them with cheers for Johnson, changing footage and adding things in from the archives and then passing it off as footage/news from that day. The avoiding of reporting on basic things; so, for example, during the election period alone, I barely saw any BBC journalist ask Johnson about the massive (in relative terms) problem with anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and general outright, blatant racism in the Conservative Party.

So, Evolve politics (and others) exposed Johnson writing a book referring to black people as n*****s and c**ns several times, referring to Jewish people as controlling the world’s finances, referring to Arabs as “crooked nosed” etc etc. Obviously, also, his MANY racist comments previously, his outright homophobic comments. I didn’t hear/see him be asked about the actual Holocaust deniers that the Tories suspended as candidates. Or many councillors suspended then re-instated without any due process, despite blatant racism. I never saw Johnson asked WHY his government is officially affiliated with (and vote with) the almost openly anti-Semitic Hungarian government (and Polish government).

I have not heard Johnson be asked about Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and Britain First joining the membership of the Tory Party. Or about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s anti-Semitic comments. Or about Johnson being sacked twice for lying by his own party, for him lying to the Queen, to Parliament, about all the back-tracking he has already done in the first week of this new government. Or about his rampant sexism. Or about the seemingly open hostility to the Trans community. Or about the still astonishing treatment of the ‘Windrush’ generation. I have no idea at all why the BBC allows on racists and hate-spreaders like Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, Rod Liddle etc, and-despite publishing actual Nazi propaganda targeting left wing commentators and where they live, political editor of The S*n ‘newspaper’ Tom Newton-Dunn. Unchallenged.

I saw the chief political reporter for the BBC compare Johnson’s lies to the Queen, his family, his Ministers, the electorate, Parliament etc to Jeremy Corbyn saying he watched the Queen’s speech. I saw this same reporter blatantly break the electoral code by reporting on postal votes than no one (should have/had) seen, and that it was “looking bad for Labour” re these votes. Totally illegal to do/say that. Then, disgracefully, I have seen lead presenter after lead producer come out and DEFEND all this as being some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ and dismiss this. THAT is how a dictatorship acts. Not a democracy. I mean, how on earth do you defend a BBC reporter saying live on air that it is hoped Boris Johnson “gets the majority he so deserves”?! HOW & WHY are they defending this behaviour?!

So, why the BBC in particular that I am targeting? Well, because of the reach and influence of the BBC across the world. I credit the staff members and those who have left key roles for trying to be heard and criticising the BBC for such behaviour. But then, obviously, it barely gets reported or even acknowledged. WE also pay for the BBC. they are legally obliged to be impartial. Especially during an election campaign. As we have seen from several independent reports now about the election coverage, the media-from the press to advertising to broadcast media, has totally abandoned impartiality. This is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour the BBC and others (correctly) condemn Fox News & Trump for.What is perhaps even worse, because of a clear, irrational outright hatred of Jeremy Corbyn, the so-called ‘liberal’ media has joined in. I know from journalist friends how the BBC & The Guardian, for example, outright lie about world politics. I have seen it myself earlier this year when I was in Cuba. Remember, The Guardian was once the paper that exposed the Wikileaks story. Now it is the one protecting those exposed & condemning those that exposed these things. I would like to single out brilliant people like Tom Mills, whose book on the BBC I highly recommend. Also, the employee of The Daily Mail group & staunch Conservative Peter Oborne, for his bravery in taking on his own newspaper and naming & shaming these journalists. Peter Hitchens too. Again, someone whose politics I do not share, but I admire their honesty & bravery in exposing their colleagues.

This is not something to brush under the carpet. As you can see from the media attacks on Keir Starmer, for example, who hasn’t even officially entered the Labour leadership contest & who can hardly be labelled as on Corbyn’s side of the party politically!, this is now seemingly permanent. We in Labour have to realise that ANY leader even slightly to the Left of Genghis Khan, is going to be absolutely & totally destroyed, undermined, abused, ridiculed etc by the media. ALL the mainstream media. What is more, this is casually seen as acceptable and so just shut up about it. Well, frankly, fuck that. If you get sick of people like me saying these things then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW YOU ARE BEING LIED TO BY OUR MEDIA. Instead of attacking those trying to expose these atrocities.

The consequences of this propaganda are very, very serious indeed. We have seen massive rises in hate crime, an emboldened actual fascist far right who, literally, now ARE the Tory party. We have seen minorities physically & verbally assaulted. I myself was assaulted while out campaigning. OAPs have literally been knocked out campaigning. Why? Because, in every case, of the media’s outright lies, and Johnson et al’s outright lies. Can you imagine the uproar and media coverage if this was Tory supporters receiving this abuse?! If it was Corbyn who had done & said the things Johnson has-and is.

These are genuinely very, very, very scary times. The echoes with the 1930’s UK are there for all to see. In the same way the racists & fascists were emboldened then by our media and right wing politicians/commentariat, we are seeing this now. ALL of us need to unite to fight this, because if we don’t, the consequences are something even more scary than anyone reading is contemplating. Remember, these things are ALREADY happening and already being defended and not exposed by our highly, highly irresponsible media & commentariat.

What is so sad, is the BBC’s propaganda has gone unrewarded-they are now more under attack from those they lie on behalf of. It gets even worse with the Tories throwing out there the laughably absurd ‘dead cat’ story about BBC Radio 4 bias from the ‘Today’ programme. OBVIOUSLY this is literally the opposite in reality, but it then distracts from the obvious bias the BBC has shown the Tories. It then allows the BBC to say “Well, if both sides are shouting re bias, it must mean we’re getting the balance correct.”

Finally, and this is vitally important, we NEED a BBC. We need a public broadcaster who informs, educates & entertains. I will, as Corbyn and those most attacked often do, defend the need for a BBC. But, obviously, this one has done untold damage to its reputation. Let us hope the damage is not permanent, and let us hope those making the decisions are removed absolutely ASAP. Our country may well depend on it. Until then, WE must UNITE, defend our communities, defend the independent media and do the media’s job for it, as best we can. Solidarity.

Adam Samuels

Guide on Voting for Disabled People

Shaping Our Lives have created this fantastic Guide on Voting for Disabled People below, which I’ve just seen (thanks to the GMCDP!). Please share this with your local Disabled Staff Network and other relevant contacts – and please use your right to vote!

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All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret and local authorities in Great Britain have been told they must take proactive steps to ensure that polling stations don’t disadvantage disabled people.

If you have any problems on election day (Thursday 12th December), you should call your local authority to try to resolve this. You can also call the Electoral Commission on 0333 103 1928 or the Welsh language line on 0333 103 1929 for further guidance.

The role of the Electoral Commission (wording adapted from their website) is to monitor elections and referendums to make sure they are fair and to promote public confidence in the democratic process. Another part of their role is to make sure that elections are accessible to everyone with them stating ‘We believe that anyone eligible to vote should be able to do so’. They have been working with charities such as Mencap and RNIB to ensure this occurs. Further information about the Electoral Commission is available at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.

The BBC have a straightforward guide on their website explaining a bit more about how our election process works: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49826655

The Electoral Commission have a factsheet for disabled voters (available on the Hammersmith and Fulham council website – https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/elections/help-disabled-voters).

It contains the following information:

  • Local authorities now have to take proactive steps to ensure that polling stations don’t disadvantage disabled people.
  • All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret. A person who is registered to vote or who has been officially appointed as a proxy voter cannot be refused a ballot paper or the opportunity to vote on the grounds of mental or physical incapacity.
  • Polling station staff must ensure that disabled voters are not offered a lower standard of service than other voters and should be able to explain what assistance is available to disabled voters wishing to vote in person at a polling station.

Disabled voters are also entitled to:

  • The right to request assistance to mark the ballot paper – Disabled voters may request the assistance of the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for them. Alternatively, they can bring someone with them to help them vote (this person must be an immediate family member over 18 years old or a qualified elector).
  • Tactile voting device – This is a plastic device that is fixed onto the ballot paper so visually impaired people or those with limited dexterity can mark their ballot paper in secret.
  • Large-print version of the ballot paper – A large-print version of the ballot paper should be clearly displayed inside the polling station and a copy can be given to voters to take with them into the polling booth. A voter can’t vote on the large-print version, but it can be used for reference.
  • Assistance to electors unable to gain access to the polling station – It is the responsibility of the relevant council to designate polling places [decide the places where people can vote] within their area and to keep these under review. In designating polling places, the council must have regard to accessibility for disabled voters. If an elector is unable to enter the polling station because of physical disability, the Presiding Officer may take the ballot paper to the elector.

The information on the Gov.uk website states:
If you’re disabled, your local Electoral Registration Office can tell you about:

  • physical access, for example wheelchair ramps and disabled parking spaces
  • low-level polling booths
  • equipment for voters with a visual impairment

For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk

The RNIB have been working with the government and the Electoral Commission, as voting for blind and partially sighted people remains unsatisfactory. RNIB have worked with the Electoral Commission to develop new resources for election staff, including an update to their training guides, a checklist of what should be in every polling station before it opens, and also a training video.
https://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning-current-campaigns-accessible-information-campaign/voting-and-elections

Videos about accessible voting are on the gov.uk website and are being used as guidance for staff – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessible-voting-for-all

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) have done a useful article entitled ‘What match is there between political parties’ election manifestos and NSUN’s 2019 manifesto? A bird’s eye’. Details of this can be found via the following link:  https://www.nsun.org.uk/news/match-between-party-political-manifestos-and-nsun-manifesto

BBC News: Disability Work Opportunities Under Threat

The BBC have written a shocking story about the potential closure of work opportunities for disabled people in the Wrexham area, due to further council cuts.

This is depressing news, but hardly surprising under a Conservative/Independent led council with a history of putting profit before people.

This cannot be allowed to happen, and I would offer support to anyone interested in campaigning to stop this measure.

I have included yesterday’s BBC report below.

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Two projects which provide work opportunities for about 75 people with a disability look set to be closed in the latest round of council cuts.

Wrexham Council plans could hit the Cunliffe enablement centre in Rhosddu and the Erlas garden project.

It closed other schemes last year as part of an ongoing disability services review aimed at saving £334,000.

Council bosses said they would find other ways to support those affected.

The review has already led to the closure of Le Cafe and Portable Appliance Testing in Rhosddu, along with the Coverall laundry in Rhosymedre.

Councillor Joan Lowe, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said the Cunliffe and Erlas projects “deliver good services that are well regarded by service users, their families and carers”.

“There are, however, a number of issues and challenges with the sites and facilities that mean they do not offer the best opportunities for community participation and can limit community inclusion.

“The proposal is for the council to reshape day and work opportunities services to deliver more flexible, person-centred services that are fit for purpose, offer quality, are sustainable and make more effective use of available resources.”

The changes to the service form part of cuts agreed by executive board members for 2019/20, which were met with anger by opposition councillors last year.

There are currently 39 people supported at the Cunliffe Enablement Centre and 36 at the Erlas Garden project.

The latest plans will be discussed by councillors at a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

 

_109609307_cunliffecentre_wxm_google

Press Release: DPAC’s latest research shows the cruelty of Universal Credit

The following article was taken from the DPAC website and can be accessed by clicking here. 

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In response to the DWP’s lies trying to minimise the negative impact of Universal Credit (UC), by commissioning unbranded BBC documentaries and media articles highlighting UC success stories, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has compiled a damning record of UC systemic and catastrophic failures.

This record draws on local and national press and media articles, government and research reports.   While the DWP bleat that UC is unfairly vilified the reality is that UC had always been a disaster for claimants and has already wasted millions of pounds.

It has now reached a point where it is unable to adapt to claimants’ complex circumstances, and is forcing people with the least resources into further poverty, homelessness, and hunger.  These failures are driven by ideology. Making claimants wait for their first payment on the pretext that this mirrors the circumstances of working people is another DWP fairytale.

Experts who have looked at UC have also identified design, management and IT issues which cannot be solved by tweaking the system.

This is why DPAC is calling for UC to be scrapped. It has become a social security system, which not only does not offer security, but actively undermined people’s ability to cope with the hazards of life.

So far DPAC activists have already removed many thousands of copies of the Metro and will continue to do so whenever a lie about UC is printed. RMT and UNITE members are monitoring each days’ delivery of Metros to help us with this.

We are also calling for a boycott of Reach newspapers which have also in many cases published and republished one case study of one Job Centre manager saying UC works well. Reach’s Director, Helen Stevenson, is coincidentally a former non-executive director of DWP.

Download the Report:

DPAC Report – Hunger Debt Homelessness Crime Prostitution and Suicide – Universal Credit Media Articles – May 2019

Notes for Editors

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are a campaign group fighting for the rights of disabled people www.dpac.uk.net @dis_ppl_protest

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/second-newspaper-group-could-be-targeted-over-universal-credit-articles/

Intergenerational worklessness is a lie.

https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/are-cultures-worklessness-passed-down-generations

 

The same DWP propagandist Reach Media articles –over and over again

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/uk-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-good-thing-helps-2866016

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://twnews.co.uk/gb-news/why-universal-credit-is-actually-a-great-idea

https://www.latest-news-headlines.eu/local/leicester

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/uk-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686 

https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.kentlive.news/news/uk-world-news/why-universal-credit-actually-great-2870686

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/universal-credit-why-actually-great-16279017

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Great Tastes of America: The Mississippi Stack

DISCLAIMER: The following blog is written totally independently from McDonald’s CorporationGreat Tastes of America is a registered trademark and I am not associated with the product line in any way. I am not seeking to promote or disparage the American fast food giant in any way, shape or form. All opinions expressed below are personal to me and my Socialist background. I should add that anything written on these blogs should be taken with a pinch of salt – sachets available from McDonald’s counters. 

In the second of a new series, I will be eating and reviewing the Great Tastes of America range of burgers from popular fast food chain, McDonald’s.

I am unhappy about this for a number of reasons – from calories to Capitalism – but it is a good writing mechanism for me to hang my anger at modern society upon. I will be forcing fast food meals down my fat face for the next 12 weeks (one every fortnight) while discussing everything that I find unappetising about the modern world we live in.

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The Mississippi Stack is made up of two 100% British and Irish beef burgers with bacon, mild cheddar, tomato and onion relish, rich and sticky BBQ sauce, red onion and lettuce in a toasted ciabatta.

Mississipi Stack

I demolished the Mississippi Stack in the car at the side of the road on my way to the pub to watch Newport County v Tranmere Rovers in the League Two Play-off Final. This was a contest between two teams that most Wrexham fans – myself included – have reason to dislike. Both teams have recently won promotion from the National League while Wrexham have proved hapless also-rans who seem destined to a future of non-league football.

With feelings of justified bitterness and a hint of jealousy, I tucked in to my fortnightly taste of America that did little to lift my spirits. It was devoid of the sharp pickle that had made the New York Stack so enjoyable. Instead, there was a minimal layer of  onion relish and a BBQ sauce that proved slightly spicy, but ultimately underwhelming. There was just not enough of the BBQ sauce and the outer edges of the slimline burgers were dry, uninspiring and tasteless.

If I had been in a better mood before indulging in this burger, my review may have been more positive but I was gripped  with envy – something that was not helped by former Wrexham forward, Connor Jennings, scoring the winning goal for Tranmere Rovers deep into extra-time. If only he had stayed loyal to the Red Dragons and not been tempted to our Scouse rivals by the smell of filthy lucre.

The hunger pains are still biting as I type whilst generally irritated and dismayed at all around me. Satisfaction will never be found in the selfish modern world that we are stuck in…

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This long bank holiday weekend is one to forget. The results of the EU Elections have been pouring in and suggest worrying times ahead with the rise of right-wing ignorance across the continent.

No where was this more obvious than in the UK with the supposed rise of the Brexit Party and typically biased reporting by the BBC who merely paint a picture to support the prevailing status quo. This was summed up in the following tweet by Timothy Garton Ash (@fromTGA):

I am also sharing a Facebook post from my friend and comrade Adam Samuels, who has sensibly reflected on the election results and made the following observations:

Re the Euro elections from a Labour POV… So far, what this says to me is that people are even more entrenched in their views. The country is even more split if that were possible. People are pig-headed and not willing to compromise. It’s f**k the other side. There is no good solution. We should also remember this is not a General Election. It was also PR and not FPTP. I am saying of course we should listen and respect the comments and votes, but we must get all the information in first and then digest everything. No knee jerk reactions. No bold statements of “If Labour don’t do XYZ I am leaving, not campaigning, not voting etc”.

We take stock and reason things out. There are no easy answers, no matter what extreme Leavers and Remainers will tell us. The two things we must never forget, and we must remind emotional, passionate, good comrades is that we need our Manifesto put into practice. But, and we must never underestimate this, we need someone strong enough to take the crap and attacks to allow those policies to get through. Of course, that is Jeremy Corbyn. 

This story will continue to develop and expand as the hours pass. This is a truly explosive time to be involved in politics and it is taking all of our energy and resources to continue the good fight. However, no one should be in any doubt that we will all continue pushing for justice for the many, not the few while ensuring everyone is protected in a fair and equal society.

The fight goes on…

BBC Report: Wales disability support cuts: Care to be re-assessed in July #SaveWILG

Elderly man in wheelchair

Re-assessments of severely disabled people unhappy with their care packages will not begin before July.

The Welsh Independent Living Grant has ended with councils funding care for more than 1,000 people receiving it.

In February, the Welsh Government announced anyone unhappy with their new council care package would be offered independent re-assessments.

Plaid Cymru said the wait was “way too long”. The Welsh Government has been asked to respond to the criticism.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Welsh Government told BBC Wales it has set aside up to £60,000 to pay an independent organisation to do the reassessments.

It anticipates the contract will be awarded by the end of June and re-assessments will begin in July.

£2.4m per year has also been budgeted, “for planning purposes”, to cover the potential costs of any increased packages.

157 people out of 1,174 assessed by their councils by the end of last year had had their support reduced.

There have been big regional variations, with cuts most common in Wrexham, Newport and Ceredigion.

Julie Morgan

The WILG was introduced in Wales to replace the UK-wide Independent Living Fund (ILF), which was closed down by the UK government in 2015.

In a letter to ex-WILG recipients, Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said their “patience” would be appreciated.

“I do not want people to be waiting for an independent assessment,” she said.

“However, it is important to organise these independent assessments properly, so that they meet the required standards.”

Plaid Cymru’s social justice spokeswoman Leanne Wood questioned whether the reassessments were necessary.

“Initially many of these people were given an award for life and going through a reassessment process is extremely stressful,” she said.

“Particularly if you have a condition that everybody knows is not going to improve, it’s only going to deteriorate.

“So putting people through those reassessments is potentially problematic but at the same time this does need to be resolved quickly.”

‘Irresponsible’

Nathan Davies, a Labour member and founder of the Save WILG campaign, said the wait was “inconvenient” but criticised the previous Welsh Labour Government, led by Carwyn Jones, which made the initial decision to transfer the responsibility to councils.

“The fact that they [the current Welsh Government] are having to do this work now is because the previous neo-liberal regime did not listen to our campaign team and disregarded the evidence that we presented.

“The fact that we are having to endure an uncomfortable few months is totally down to them and a number of irresponsible local authorities.”

You can see more on this story on the BBC Wales Live programme at 22:30 BST on Wednesday BBC One Wales, and then on BBC iPlayer