Ian Lucas
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Wrexham's Ian Lucas renews opposition to council plans to close the Vic music studios
A LEADING Welsh music festival based in Wrexham this month shows the importance of live music to the town.

That’s the view of Wrexham’s Ian Lucas, who is calling on Wrexham Council to show it understands the important role live music has to play both for the town’s young people and for Wrexham’s economy by reconsidering its proposals to close the Vic Studios.

The council’s proposal has been criticised by local musicians, bands, and young people, as well as by music industry figures.

Now, with a major music industry event bringing thousands to Wrexham, Mr Lucas is re-emphasising the importance of investing in the area’s local talent – especially with current proposals to close the Vic Studios being considered by Wrexham council.

He said: “Focus Wales shows just how valuable a thriving music scene is to Wrexham. That kind of community doesn’t arise by accident – bands need somewhere to meet, to practice, and to record.

“That’s why I think the council should reconsider its plans to close the Vic Studios. Their closure will remove a much-valued resource for our young people and, when events like Focus Wales are bringing thousands of pounds into our town, they seem to show a lack of vision for our local area.”

Thousands could benefit from lower energy bills, says Wrexham's Ian Lucas
THOUSANDS of people who topped up electricity and gas this winter will benefit from Labour’s action to cut the cost of energy bills.

Wrexham Labour candidate Ian Lucas spoke after figures released by PayPoint – who provide top-up facilities at convenience stores - showed that, over Christmas and New Year, Wrexham people topped up their electricity or gas meters via PayPoint 7,213 times – with 333 topping up on Christmas Day itself.

Mr Lucas said: “Thousands of people were topping up their gas and electricity bills over Christmas and New Year. All of those people could use help with their bills.

“A Labour Government will cap energy prices until 2017, and take action to reform the industry.

“That action will be of real, practical benefit to thousands of people across Wrexham, help them keep down their bills, and put more money in their pockets.”

Labour's non-dom tax changes will be welcome in Wrexham
LABOUR proposals to close tax loopholes covering non-doms have been welcomed by Wrexham’s Ian Lucas.

Mr Lucas, the Labour candidate for Wrexham, said this morning’s announcement would be welcomed by Wrexham people.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of correspondence in recent months covering tax – specifically companies and people not paying their fair share of tax.

“The loopholes regarding non-dom status mean that some people in Britain can get away with not paying their fair share.

“Labour’s announcement today that they will close loopholes on non-dom tax status – and that their plans have been independently checked and will raise money – will be very welcome in Wrexham.

“Most taxpayers – and most business owners – simply want to see a system where everyone plays by the same rules. That’s why today’s announcement will be welcomed in Wrexham.”

Standing up for Wrexham: Daily Post election message
Wrexham has seen some tough times in the past few years.
For the first time since the 1920s, wages will be lower as we go into this General Election than they were at the last.
In Wrexham, the average wage fell by more than 7% last year - we see the results on our high streets and in our shops at first hand.
That is the result of national decisions by the coalition Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government – as are many of the cuts which are hitting the public services we all use.
In Wrexham, we need to fight back by making sure our town is a good place to live, work and do business.
That means standing up for the area, securing transport and communication links, and most of all securing well-paid jobs.
I’ve stood up for Wrexham throughout my Parliamentary career and I will continue to if re-elected as Wrexham’s MP.
Whether it is helping a local business secure a contract, getting a constituent the assistance they need or making sure the world knows about Wrexham’s successes, an MP's role is to be a voice for their constituency – and I’ll always stand up for Wrexham.

Wrexham campaigners meet Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

WREXHAM’S Labour candidate Ian Lucas has been joined on the campaign trail by Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Owen Smith.

Mr Lucas and Labour campaigners met with Mr Smith, who is visiting every constituency in Wales, during the first week of the campaign in Wrexham.

Mr Lucas said: “It was great to give Owen a warm Wrexham welcome. People spoke to him about all kinds of issues during his visit, including support for people with disabilities, the cost of living and more.

“I told Owen about some of the conversations I had been having this week – including one with a father who was concerned about his son’s zero-hour contract and its impact.
“It’s those kind of conversations which bring home the need for action on zero hours contracts, and that’s why I am pleased Labour have said that if you work regular hours, you should have a regular contract.”

Ian Lucas: I'll fight to keep jobs in Wrexham
WREXHAM’S Ian Lucas has pledged to fight for North Wales to keep a tax office in Wrexham.
A series of Parliamentary questions put down by Mr Lucas before Parliament was dissolved confirmed that HMRC are considering centralising tax offices into regional centres – and that, under current plans, Cardiff would have Wales’ “regional centre.”
In a reply to the written Parliamentary questions put down by Mr Lucas, Tory Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke states: “HMRC has set out its early thinking about the principles that will determine its future location strategy, which involves bringing teams closer together in a smaller number of large, modern, adaptable Regional Centres. These centres will be supported by a UK-wide network of smaller specialist and touchdown sites.
“HMRC has told staff that it believes that Cardiff is the most suitable location for a future Regional Centre in Wales, since it is already the biggest HMRC location in the country. However, no firm decisions have yet been made on the precise location or timing of a new HMRC Regional Centre in Cardiff or the nature and timing of impacts on other HMRC locations in Wales.”
Mr Lucas said: “I don’t agree with HMRC’s plans, and I don’t think many in Wrexham or North Wales will either.
“North Wales has a strong regional identity and the Government should be working to bolster our region – not undermine it. I will oppose these plans, and tell HMRC they should keep services here in Wales.
“I will be meeting staff representatives locally about these proposals and will work with them to oppose moving these jobs from Wrexham.”

Labour's VAT plans will help Wrexham
RULING out a VAT rise will be welcomed by Wrexham’s shops and shoppers, Ian Lucas has said.

Mr Lucas was speaking after the Labour party ruled out a rise in the tax. A long-standing critic of raising VAT, Mr Lucas has raised the issue repeatedly with Government Ministers throughout the past five years.
He said: “Much has been done to help support Wrexham businesses locally in recent months, but the good work being done here needs Government support too.
“When wages have fallen as much as they have in Wrexham – by more than 7 per cent - then any additional costs hit people in the pocket. They then have to make choices about where they spend their cash – and Wrexham businesses suffer as a result.
“The impact of VAT on people’s spending should not be underestimated. Businesses know this, and I regularly have queries about the impact of VAT on Wrexham businesses of all kinds.
“That’s why I am pleased at this announcement. Shops and shoppers also need certainty to help them make decisions – and today’s pledge gives them that certainty.”

The Government must listen over prison plans
THE GOVERNMENT has been urged to listen to recommendations made in a Commons report about the town’s proposed prison.
Ian Lucas has backed recommendations made in the Welsh Affairs Select Committee report about prisons in Wales. Among the recommendations made is that the UK and Welsh Governments continue to work together on the proposals, the work of the Youth Justice Board in Wales in cutting the number of Welsh offenders continues – and that, crucially, the Ministry of Justice learn lessons from the opening of HMP Oakwood, in the West Midlands.
Mr Lucas visited HMP Oakwood in June last year. The prison is run privately and Mr Lucas pressed the Government after his visit to ensure that Wrexham’s prison was run in the public sector instead.
He said: “There are many lessons to be learnt from HMP Oakwood and the Welsh Affairs Committee has made clear the Government should examine the problems there closely.
“A publicly run prison is important and I have always supported it. I believe, after the problems HMP Oakwood experienced, even the current Government was forced to accept the proposed prison for Wrexham had to be run in the public sector. It is good the Ministry of Justice finally realised this after months of lobbying.
“They should now listen to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee when they say there are further lessons to be learnt.”

Further and sharper cuts for Wrexham because of Tory budget plans
WREXHAM will face further and sharper cuts in the coming years under Government plans revealed in the Budget, Wrexham’s Ian Lucas has warned.
And he has said that Wrexham people are not feeling the results of an economic recovery – with working people’s wages lower at the end of the current Parliament than they were at its start for the first time since the 1920s.
Mr Lucas said: “The Chancellor may have suddenly discovered an optimistic side but the news for many in Wrexham is not good. Working people’s wages have fallen during this Parliament and will be lower at its close than they were when it began for the first time since the 1920s.
“That squeeze on wages can be seen on our high streets and in our shops – it is a testament to Wrexham’s retailers that they are doing so much to keep our economy going in the face of such pressures on wages.
“Meanwhile, we see all kinds of services being cut, scaled down or passed over to voluntary groups to run in the county as the Government’s cuts work their way through.
“So the Office of Budget Responsibility’s assessment that the Budget assumes ‘a sharp acceleration in the pace of implied real cuts to day to day spending on public services’ between next year and 2018’ will cause real worry for many in Wrexham.
“I have many other concerns – such as what the proposed halt to onshore windfarms will mean for the Wrexham companies who help supply their parts, or how many Wrexham people could find themselves mis-sold pensions when rules are relaxed.
“But it is the combined effect of continued lower wages, and further and faster cuts to come, which will cause the most concern for many after today’s Budget.”

Praise for Church House
WREXHAM’S Ian Lucas has praised Gresford’s Church House as “a true community asset” after visiting the premises.
Mr Lucas – who has lent his support to funding applications for Church House – visited to see work which has been carried out to improve the premises and to hear about further improvements planned in the coming months.
During the visit, Mr Lucas saw community rooms at the building, which are now used by a diverse range of organisations, including Gresford’s MyPAG – which helps maintain the village’s former quarry site for the community – and singing group the Sirenians.
He said: “I have lent my support to all kinds of funding bids in recent years, including Church House, and I try to visit places to hear how the funding has helped.
“In Church House, a historic building is being maintained and sympathetically improved and, in the process, is becoming a true community asset. All kinds of groups are using the premises, and in the process a piece of Gresford’s history is playing its role in its present. I’m very pleased to have been able to help Church House and I really enjoyed my visit.”

Please vote for Ian Lucas, your Labour candidate, on Thursday 7 May

Promoted by Eileen Thomas, on behalf of Ian Lucas, both at 39 Rhosddu Road, Wrexham, LL11 2NS.