Gareth Bennett UKIP (AM)National Assembly for Wales Member for South Wales Central
DisclaimerThis is Gareth Bennett's personal website, the views and opinions on this website may not necessarily be the same held by the UKIP party.
Hi, my name’s Gareth Bennett. You probably know that already, or you wouldn’t be on this site.
On May 5 2016, I was elected as an Assembly Member (AM) for South Wales Central. I was one of the first UKIP AMs to be elected to the Assembly – seven of us in one go.
Prior to 2016, we had zero Assembly members. Some people say it should have stayed like that! I would like to state that I was the first-ever UKIP AM to be sworn in at Cardiff Bay. And in fact, in a way I was (by virtue of me being alphabetically the first UKIPper on the list). Unfortunately, one of my colleagues, Michelle Brown, was sworn in a day earlier…but at Colwyn Bay. This may lead to complications if this is ever a question in a pub quiz.
So…when the Western Mail’s Martin Shipton stated that I was the first-ever UKIP AM to be sworn in, he got it wrong. Actually, Shipton gets a lot of stuff wrong. This fact will probably become a recurring feature of this website. Okay, so I got elected, so I was UKIP – so what? Well, here’s what. Er…I meant to say something hard-hitting and profound at this point. But I can’t think of anything, so just flick through the contents of the website and decide ‘so what’ for yourself.
All the best, Gareth.
My Personal Manifesto
In March 2016, UKIP did an odd thing. It decided to hold a ballot of all its Welsh party members to decide who the leading candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections would be.
For the first time in living memory, the party’s selection list would not be decided by an appointed committee behind closed doors (in a smoke-filled room, etc etc). For the first time, it would be done by an open and transparent ballot, conducted by a respected professional organisation, the Electoral Reform Society.
Here is the personal manifesto I wrote that got me selected by the Welsh party members as the lead candidate for South Wales Central.
“MY NAME is Gareth Bennett, and I am the chairman of UKIP in Cardiff.
“I was born and raised in Cardiff, and went to Radyr Comprehensive and Cardiff Institute of Higher Education.
“I have lived in the city for much of my life. I am 47 years old and now reside in Canton.
“I was trained in journalism, and was a local newspaper reporter for four years. This gave me an insight into local government, as I covered the council meetings.
“I have also had a number of other jobs, including administrator, call centre operator, author of local history books, shop assistant, English teacher in Asia, barman, painter and decorator, building labourer and warehouseman.
“I have never held any paid position in politics, and I am definitely not part of the professional political elite.
“It is important that we elect UKIP people with a broad life experience. Detailed knowledge of Wales is also very important. These are qualities I possess.”
I Will…Oppose More Government
- “In terms of policies, there is plenty that we can do to change things at the Assembly.
- “First of all, we have to understand that this is a time of public spending cuts.
- “There is no public appetite for more government. I will firmly oppose any further attempts to expand the Assembly, and take a stand against any plans for more Assembly members, more advisers or more managers.
- “Management needs to be stripped back. We have to scrap the bogus ‘independent commission’ which awards AMs eye-watering pay rises, and make sure that, in future, all salaries are index-linked to inflation.
- “Money saved needs to be put into front-line essential services, such as health, housing and education.”
Housing Developments and Traffic Gridlock
- “What local issues affect us here in South Wales Central?
- In Cardiff, there is the problem of traffic gridlock at peak hours every weekday. “With more housing planned, this will only worsen.
- We need to relocate jobs outside the city to the Valleys as far as possible.
- “We need to oppose further housing developments which are destroying the crucial green belt between Cardiff and the Vale.
- We can do this by reforming the useless Planning Inspectorate.”
The Localism Act
“We also need to get the Assembly to adopt the Localism Act, which is already operating in England, and which allows local communities to designate threatened pubs as assets of community value (ACVs).”
The Welsh Language – and Discrimination
“We need to be very careful that we don’t favour Welsh-medium schools over English-medium ones, and that we don’t discriminate against non-Welsh-speakers – who form 80% of the population in Wales – in the job market.”
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