Business secretary Vince Cable visits Cardiff

April 4, 2012 No Comments »
Business secretary Vince Cable visits Cardiff

UK business secretary Vince Cable was in Cardiff this morning to visit a charity that supports blind people and a city steel firm.

Mr Cable, who has been in Wales for the last two days as part of the Liberal Democrats local election campaign, started his visit to Cardiff on Tuesday night when he went to Asda in Pontprennau to meet staff employed through an apprenticeship scheme.

This morning he visited the RNIB Cymru offices in Newport Road, where he met partially sighted and blind people, as well as RNIB staff. The minister spent an hour with the group, discussing their concerns about the government’s welfare reforms, and access to work for the disabled.

Mr Cable said it was clear many people were anxious about the changes, and the government needed to be sensitive to those concerns, but that not all of those fears were justified.

Talking to yourCardiff about the forthcoming local elections, Mr Cable said he believed the Liberal Democrats – who currently run Cardiff Council in coalition with Plaid Cymru – were generally well thought of in the city, and that they had made a difference to Cardiff since they first gained power eight years ago.

Asked whether disappointment with the UK coalition would play a role in the way Cardiff votes on May 3, Mr Cable said the Westminster government had had to make a lot of controversial decisions, and that it had been a hard two years for the Liberal Democrats.

But he said he was confident most people understood the party was trying to deal with a major economic emergency and that this, combined with the party’s “good performance” locally, would ensure the Liberal Democrats get a “good result” in Cardiff.

He said: “This time last May it was very difficult – there was a lot of hostility. This has improved, and I am getting a sense that our activists are getting heard on the door step and are getting a more favourable response.”

Jo Lawson, independent living manager at RNIB Cymru, said she hoped Mr Cable had taken away a message from their meeting that under the new welfare reforms, blind and partially sighted people could lose their disability living allowance, forcing them to make a choice not to work.

Carys Henry, the charity’s head of user engagement, said this would impact not only on the indivudal, but also on local communities.

She said: “If somebody in Rhiwbina gets the right support and benefits, they’re not going to go to Tesco on Eastern Avenue – they’re going to be spending their money in their own community. The whole village of Rhiwbina benefits.

“There will be a huge knock on effect if [the reforms] are completed as it is now.”

Mr Cable spent the rest of morning visiting Celsa Steelworks on East Moors Road in Cardiff, before returning to London.

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