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Panel endorses precept rise close to inflation

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inflation risePOLICE and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon has welcomed a Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel decision to accept his proposal for a council tax precept rise close to inflation.

On Friday, January 24, the Panel discussed his recommendation of a 2.1% rise in the policing element of council tax payments for householders across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. It was accepted and will now be publicised to householders across the region.

This month it was reported that the UK inflation rate, as measured by the consumer prices index, had fallen to a four-year low of 2.0%.

Mr Salmon said: “There remains significant pressure on household budgets. My precept – in real terms a rise of close to 0% – balances the needs of families with the needs of our police service.

“My priorities are strong frontline policing and a precept that has public support.

“We plan 30 brand new police officer posts over the next 18 months, have already made the police more accessible to the public and are working a lot more closely with key partners.

“Putting the public first in all that we do is a philosophy that I and the Chief Constable are committed to as we continue to keep Dyfed-Powys safe and to help Britain to balance its books.”

Mr Salmon’s council tax rise will result in a policing precept at council tax band D of £210.60 (up from £206.28) – an increase of 8.3p per week. It will help deliver a 2014-15 Dyfed-Powys Police budget of £97.894m. Throughout November, Mr Salmon consulted the public on a 3.1% precept rise. The feedback helped him in proposing the 2.1% figure.

In 2014-15, Government funding to Dyfed-Powys will fall in by 4.8% from £55.659m to £53.008m. The 2.1% precept rise will produce £44.886m for Dyfed-Powys Police.

The £97.894m budget includes cost reductions of £3.747m highlighted by the Chief Constable and Commissioner. These include savings to be made through the force’s Public First restructure.

Mr Salmon said: “Public First, driven by the Chief Constable, will see the Dyfed-Powys civilian support services become resourceful, agile, lean, adaptable and flexible. They will deliver efficient and effective support to frontline policing.

“The public tell me they want strong frontline policing. In modernising and streamlining our support services we will enable the police to do policing – and we will be offering more for less.

“Government funding for police forces has fallen by 20% over the past few years and one of my priorities is to ensure that we spend wisely in Dyfed-Powys. This money, after all, belongs to the taxpayers.”

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A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra

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CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?

On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.

Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.

Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”

Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.

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Hanes Llambed meeting held

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THE FIRST meeting of Hanes Llambed of the 2018/19 year was held in Lampeter’s Trinity Saint David’s Old Hall this week.

There was a good attendance as Cwrtnewydd resident Simon Evans gave the first of what will eventually be two talks about his home parish of Llanwenog.

Mr Evans spoke of how the parish was defined by the Afon Cledlyn and its tributaries, describing the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. The talk spoke of the several hill forts of the area, as well as Llanwenog church, founded around 500 AD, before it was built in its current form in the 14th century.

The Battle of Llanwenog in 981 AD between the Welsh and invading Danes was detailed, before the speaker went on to describe the Puritan struggle and the Civil War.

The talk then went on to the establishment of private academies by nonconformist ministers from 1750 onwards, and the founding of Unitarian chapels in the early 19th century.

The terrible agricultural situation of the 1840s was described, followed by the bad harvests, which led directly to the Rebecca Riots and emigration to the USA and elsewhere in Britain.

The next meeting of Hanes Llambed will take place in October when the subject will be the Cardiganshire War Tribunals of the First World War.

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Former AM charged with child porn offences

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SIMON THOMAS, the former Plaid Cymru AM for Mid & West Wales has been charged with three offences of making indecent images of children.

Mr Thomas, aged 54, was charged with the offences earlier today (Sept 18) at Aberystwyth Police Station.

He has been bailed to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 3.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Thomas was his Party’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Energy policy and had recently taken up a role which would have seen him perform a significant role in Plaid Cymru’s future campaigns.

His arrest in July was a shock both to his political allies and those in other parties in the Assembly.

Following his arrest, Mr Thomas resigned immediately as an Assembly Member and from Plaid Cymru. He was replaced as regional AM by Helen Mary Jones.

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