FIRST MINISTER of Wales Carwyn Jones is calling on the UK government to stop talk of reaching no deal with the European Union and get serious negotiations back on track.
Setting out the potential repercussions of ‘no deal’, the First Minister said that walking away from the negotiations would cause chaos and lasting damage to the UK’s economy and future security.
In the past month, a series of expert organisations’ have warned of the impact of no deal:
- The BMA says it would potentially result in delays to cancer diagnosis and cancelled operations
- The British Airlines Pilots Association says UK airlines could find they have to stop flying
- The British Retail Consortium says reverting to WTO tariffs might mean UK shoppers paying up to a third more for everyday food items, while customs controls would create enormous disruption and have a potential impact on the availability of food on the shelves
- The Freight Transport Association says a cliff edge solution would send costly shockwaves through EU trade flows and supply chains
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board models a ‘Fortress UK’ scenario where we trade on WTO terms as one which would see upland farms become economically unsustainable
Dutch bank, Rabobank estimates that ‘no deal’ could lead to a level of GDP 18% lower in 2030 than it would have been had we remained in the EU.
Speaking in the Senedd, the First Minister said: “The UK government and the gung-ho Brexiteers must wise up and listen to what the experts are saying. No deal is unthinkable. It would be impossible to mitigate the effects of such a disastrous conclusion to the Brexit negotiations.
“Preventing this outcome, not preparing contingency plans, is what we must focus on. To do otherwise would be like a passenger on the Titanic who, upon seeing an iceberg, chooses to find his lifejacket and pack his things, rather than rushing to the bridge and desperately attempting to alert the captain of the disaster ahead.
“The UK government must concentrate on reaching a credible position on our exit terms so that the December European Council can move negotiations into the second phase and very rapidly thereafter agree a transition phase of at least 2 years.”
Ben Lake MP supports campaign to close deadly cancer gap
Ben Lake MP is backing calls from the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) to end a vicious cycle which has seen survivability stagnate amongst the six deadliest cancers over the last decade.
Ben Lake MP met charity members of the LSCT in the House of Commons on 4 February to coincide with World Cancer Day.
The LSCT represents six ‘less survivable cancers’, lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach, with an average five year survival rate of 14% due to a legacy of neglect and underfunding. The Taskforce aims to double the survivability of these cancers to 28% by 2029.
At the event, Ben Lake met with cancer specialists and patients with first-hand experience of these ‘less survivable cancers’. They learnt about the critical situation for people diagnosed with these cancers and the urgent need for a step change in targeted investment in research in order to make much-needed diagnosis and treatment breakthroughs.
Ben Lake MP attended the event and said: “I am pleased to speak out for the less survivable cancers this World Cancer Day. We have made incredible steps in treatment and prognosis for many cancers and we now need targeted action to close the deadly cancer gap for these less survivable cancers”.
Anna Jewell, Chair of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce added:
“We are delighted that Ben Lake MP shares our concerns about the stark inequalities in cancer outcomes.
“There are some cancers which have seen remarkable progress in survivability but others that are just as deadly as they were decades ago. Together, these ‘less survivable cancers’ make up half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.
“Today we are calling on the UK governments to commit to doubling survival rates from 14% to 28% by 2029 and I’d like to thank Ben Lake MP for supporting our campaign to close the deadly cancer gap.”
The LSCT includes Action Against Heartburn, the British Liver Trust, Guts UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK, The Brain Tumour Charity and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Sarah Lindsell, Chief Executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, added:”Every year, thousands of people diagnosed with a less-survivable cancer, including those with brain cancer, are denied even the hope of a cure. Many are told they have only months to live. That has to change.
“We need more research and a committed drive towards improving survival for these cancers, so that fewer lives are cut brutally short and fewer families are left devastated by loss.”
Ceredigion councillors to consider 4% increase in council tax
COUNTY councillors in Ceredigion will be asked to consider a 4% increase in the Council tax rate when they meet on 5 March 2020.
They will consider the rate after Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet recommended the increase to ensure that there are no further cuts to council services in the next financial year.
The proposed increase would mean that an average Band D property in Ceredigion would pay £1,364.82 of council tax annually, an increase of approximately £1 per week.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is the Leader of the Council. She said: “We are proposing to the Council that the Council tax rate is increased at a similar level as our government funding has increased. This means that all Council services would be protected from further cuts during next year. The increase would meet the increased demands placed on social care budgets which we cannot avoid.”
The overall Council tax rate increase will be set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase yet to be calculated.
Elin Jones congratulates Ceredigion Talking Paper in National Assembly
AM marks 50 years of service by local news service for the blind
Elin Jones AM has congratulated the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper in a statement in the National Assembly for Wales, marking 50 years of service to blind people in Ceredigion and beyond.
In her statement on Wednesday the 20th of January, Elin Jones said:
“Fifty years ago, in January 1970, an innovative charity was established in Ceredigion for blind people, offering the first service of its kind in Wales and the United Kingdom – a service that would enable the blind people of Ceredigion to hear the latest local news in the press.
“That innovative scheme was the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper.
“The talking newspaper was set up by Ronald Sturt, a lecturer at the College of Librarianship in Llanbadarn. Initially, the recordings of local voices reading articles from the local press were on tape cassettes and provided to 18 people.
“Nowadays, the recordings are on a USB, and there are over a hundred regular listeners of the talking newspaper and more than 60 volunteers contributing regularly. The recordings are published weekly and the coverage includes the Cambrian News, Golwg and Y Cymro.
“One reader, Eileen Sinnett, has volunteered continuously for fifty years. What a contribution she has made!
“I would like to congratulate the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper for breaking new ground in 1970, for 50 years of service and for bringing the news, in both Welsh and English, to those who cannot see or read it in Ceredigion and beyond.”
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