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Calls for NatWest to reconsider closures

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NATWEST has announced today (Dec 1) that it has taken the decision to close Cardigan branch on May 30, 2018, with the Lampeter branch to follow on June 12.

In response to this announcement, Elin Jones and Ben Lake, Assembly Member and Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, have expressed their dissappointment at the decision and have called on the bank to reconsider.

Plaid Cymru has also called on the Welsh Government to make swift progress in establishing a public bank in Wales so that a system of community banks can be established.

Ben Lake has asked the Chief Executive of NatWest for a meeting to discuss the way in which the banks are abandoning rural communities in Ceredigion, while Elin Jones will be meeting with representatives in the constituency next week.

Ben Lake MP, said: “I am deeply disappointed at NatWest’s decision to close its branches in Cardigan and Lampeter. It’s a significant blow not only to both rural towns, but to members of staff, their families, and the bank’s customers.

“In this time of austerity communities across the county are losing banking services at a frightful pace: this most recent announcement follows the closure of other banks in Aberaeron, and towns such as Llandysul and Tregaron no longer have any bank branches at all.

“These commercial banks are abandoning rural communities across Ceredigion; less than a decade after taxpayers bailed them out at the height of the financial crisis, they are now threatening to undermine the financial underpinning of the local economy.”

Elin Jones AM, said: “This is terrible news for both Lampeter and Cardigan that Natwest is closing its branches in June 2018.

“Banks are imposing buildings on our high streets – built originally as banks. Their withdrawal hits the high street visibly, as well as losing their vital service for the community. The banks caused this last decade’s recession and to add injury to insult, they are now abandoning our communities.

“I will be meeting with Natwest representatives this week, and I will be emphasising the point that even though technology is moving forward, and more people are banking online, we still need our highstreet banks, which are vital assets for our local businesses.”

Ben Lake MP, added: “As the big banks continue to remove themselves from our rural areas, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we desperately need to introduce an alternative model of banking more firmly committed to supporting local communities, such as the system of community banks we find in Germany. We must ensure that the banking model of the future is rooted in our communities – we deserve better than this.

“I will be seeking a meeting with the Chief Executive of NatWest bank and will be speaking to representatives next week to discuss why they are abandoning rural communities, and to urge him to reconsider this decision.

“In the meantime, I offer my full support to the members of staff at the two branches, and am ready to provide whatever assistance that I can at this difficult time.”

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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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Storm Helene could bring 70mph winds

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WINDS of up to 70mph could batter the county on Monday and Tuesday (Sept 17-18) with a yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office.

Storm Helene is set to arrive on Monday evening at around 6pm and last until Tuesday at around 8am.

Operational Meteorologist for the Met Office Martin Bowles said: “An issue is that trees are in full leaf and so are more likely to be blown over in strong winds than they would be in the middle of winter.

“That could be a problem.

“The storm will head straight up through the Irish Sea and across the North of England on Monday night, bringing some heavy rain and some strong winds.

“We have updated some areas to a yellow warning.”

Motorists are advised to allow extra time for their journeys and take extra care on the roads.

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Police confirm body found following Belgrave House fire

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POLICE have confirmed that remains of a male have been recovered during the search at Belgrave House Hotel, Aberystwyth.

The remains have not yet been identified.

The family of the missing Lithuanian man have been informed of this development.

H.M.Coroner has been updated and a Home Office post mortem has been arranged

The search of the scene continues.

Police are in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service over this development.

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