THE ANNUAL Queen’s Speech has come in for praise and criticism in equal measure from the two main opposition parties in Wales.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies claimed that the speech was a ‘One Nation Queens’s Speech from a One Nation Conservative Government.’
“With the UK economy strengthening, this was a clear sign that Conservatives in government are now able to switch focus on to an ambitious programme to deliver for hardworking people,” he added.
“It is now vital that the Welsh Government takes similar steps to ensure that Welsh families and businesses share in the rising prosperity.
“In particular, the UK Government has announced plans for the dramatic devolution of power to local areas and I would welcome any adoption of the localism agenda here in Wales. So too reform of the planning system, which in England is set to help the government to build more homes.
“Finally, the UK Government has take n a dynamic and decisive approach to ensuring that the UK becomes a world leader in the digital economy with new obligations placed on broadband providers to make sure that everyone has access to an affordable high speed internet connection.”
Commenting on the inclusion of the Wales Bill in today’s Queen’s Speech, he added:
“I welcome the news that the UK Government will continue to work in co-operation with the Welsh Government, building on the work of the former Secretary of State’s efforts to secure a strong and lasting devolution settlement in Wales.
“When the former Secretary of State pressed the pause button on the process it allowed all interested parties an opportunity to reflect on the type devolution that they want to see, but we must now get on with the job.
“The public will not thank politicians for spending the next four years navel-gazing over constitutional issues. It is vital that the Welsh Government and opposition parties engage positively and constructively with the new Secretary of State to take the Wales Bill forward.”
However, this view was not shared by senior Plaid Cymru politicians, with Jonathan Edwards MP describing the speech as a ‘smokescreen for more cuts’ and claiming that the UK Government ‘has decided to appease its own divided backbenches rather than focus on generating economic growth and prosperity.’
The Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP welcomed the commitment to provide high speed internet but questioned whether residents would be forced to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Mr Edwards said: “A Universal Service Obligation for high speed broadband – similar to that of Royal Mail – is a welcome first step to provide good internet access to rural Wales. This is a measure I have long supported.
“The details of this proposal are very thin and I fear the UK Government will expect communities to dip into their own pockets to help build the necessary infrastructure. I will, of course, keep a close eye on how the legislation develops.
“Other than that one welcome measure almost all of the 30 government announcements are rehashed, highlighting the political pressure currently on the Prime Minister as he tries to prevent Tory civil war over the European referendum.
“Rather than focussing on generating genuine economic growth and prosperity across the UK, the Tories have decided instead to appease their own divided backbenches with right-wing policies to create US-style giant prisons and watering down our Human Rights.
“The rhetoric of ‘social reform’ is merely another smokescreen to distract from the cuts that continue to tear apart our public services.
“Plaid Cymru has put forward its alternative Queen’s Speech which includes comprehensive measures to make Wales a stronger, safer and more prosperous country, upgrading our road and rail infrastructure, protecting our funding and allowing the Welsh police forces to focus on Welsh priorities.
From the government, however, we got one vague sentence on a Wales Bill that has already been announced.”
Time given to develop Parc Natur Penglais
VOLUNTEERS, including students, have given around 500 hours of their time to develop Parc Natur Penglais.
Along with support from Ceredigion County Council, the Group have built around 100 steps in 5 different places which has made the park a great place to walk, play and enjoy around a number of safe paths.
Councillor Mark Strong said: “Knowing that we have the support of the local community makes such a difference to peoples’ enthusiasm and having the grant from Aberystwyth Town Council, Cambrian News and Tesco made it possible. Volunteers can make a relatively small sum of money go long way.”
RSPCA aim for Christmas number one
MUSIC fans across Wales can help the RSPCA secure the Christmas number one slot, and provide vital support for animals in need across the country.
The animal welfare charity has thrown its hat into the ring to claim the festive chart accolade – as up-and-coming singer Lucy Ellie covers Simply Red’s hit song ’Stars’ in aid of the RSPCA.
‘Stars’ is the soundtrack to the charity’s ‘Kindness at Christmas’ video, which has already gone viral with over two million views online across a variety of platforms.
The tear-jerking video tells the story of Woody the Christmas toy pup who who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA.
Proceeds from the single are being donated to the RSPCA to help in their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.
RSPCA Cymru is again bracing itself for a busy festive period. In December 2016 and January 2017 alone, in Wales, 5,932 incidents were reported to the RSPCA – with 141 of these on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Lucy Ellie Cooper, who works at the charity, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for me to combine my two loves – animals and music.
“Outside of my job at the RSPCA I am a country music singer and songwriter, so when the chance came up to record such a fantastic and well-known song for the charity’s Christmas video, I jumped at it. I really hope people will take Woody’s story into their hearts and support the RSPCA this winter.”
You can help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in desperate need of care, and support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign online
Charity games raise over £2000
NOT all heroes wear capes and Tesco Aberystwyth’s very own Community Champion, Natasha Worrall has proven this raising a staggering £2,096.27 for local and national charities.
Natasha, the brainchild behind the charity football events, came up with the idea first off by challenging Tesco’s neighbours, Marks and Spencer’s, to a football match, she quickly set her powers to work and contacted Aberystwyth Football club who were more than happy to help and allowed use of the pitch.
The Big Day arrived, there was a lot of tension and passion on the pitch that night, it was more than just about winning a match it was the status, the pride and most of all bringing people together to raise money for three great causes; Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Mind. Hundreds of supporters braved the cold October evening to support the players and Tesco stole the show with a 7-1 victory and an amazing £607 was raised.
Natasha now had a taste of success under her cape and wanted to really get this event of the ground and challenged supermarket rivals, Morrisons to a match! The response for Tesco vs Morrisons was just what Natasha wanted and a November date was set.
Tesco now had experience in their boots and both teams had everything to play for. Victory once again went to Tesco who pipped Morrisons at the post and clawed back to a 5-4 victory raising a further £648.15 for Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Clic Sargent.
In true football fashion Natasha wanted a hat trick but could Team Tesco achieve this? Last Sunday (Dec 3) seemed the perfect opportunity and the opponents who were up for the challenge came from Bronglais Hospital and their chosen charity Pila Pala, Llwyn yr Eos. What a match! And what great team to take victory, Hywel Dda 2 – Tesco – 0. A rematch could certainly be on the cards especially as they raised the biggest amount ever of £841.12.
Behind every success there is always great team and working with Natasha and the players a number of local heroes who helped, Ruth’s kitchen provided heroic meals for all the players for a £1 donation, Aberystwyth women’s Team loaned their footballs, the Referees, linesmen, stewards, security, first aiders and ball boys and girls who all donated their time free of charge.
Team Tesco are looking for more opponents to play and raise even more money for local charities, if you are interested please call into Tesco store and see Natasha.
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