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Women pensions campaign steps up a gear

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THE GUILDHALL in Cardigan was packed last night (Jul 29) with women from across Ceredigion, and their families, affected by the UK Government’s recent state pension changes.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, who organised the meeting, is backing the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign which is protesting against the changes made by the government to the state pension age, particularly affecting women born in the 1950s.

Around 5,000 women in Ceredigion who expected to retire at 60 have been told, some of whom with only 18-month’s notice, that they will have to wait up to another six years for their pension. It is estimated some women will miss out on over £40,000 in pension payments.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, who organised the meeting, said: “Women born in the 1950s are missing out on pension payments because the UK Government has speeded up the pension age from 60 to 66. Some people only got 18 months’ notice of this and it is not enough time to make plans.”

Several women shared their personal stories and experiences during the meeting – many of whom are struggling to make ends meet, and are facing the probability of living permanently below the poverty line throughout their retirement.

Several women noted that, due to long-term health problems, it would be extremely difficult for them to carry on working until the age of 66 but that these changes and the lack of adequate warning from the Government had left them no choice.

Mr Lake added: “This meeting provided an opportunity for local women affected by the state pension changes to come together, hear more about the campaign and hopefully get active in protesting the changes that are being forced on them. The more women who get involved in the campaign, the better the chance of ministers taking heed and bringing about fairness for those affected.”

There was a real appetite at the end of the meeting to set up a WASPI Ceredigion campaign group to raise the profile of this injustice amongst the rest of the thousands of women across Ceredigion affected by these changes.

A similar public meeting will be held for constituents in the north of the county in the next few weeks.

For further information about the campaign please contact Ben Lake MP’s office: ben.lake.mp@parliament.uk

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Views sought on Aberaeron coastal defence scheme

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ABERAERON has a dynamic coastline with a legacy of flooding and damage from storms. These events continue today and with the onset of climate change and the predicted rises in sea levels these events are likely to increase in frequency and severity. Aberaeron is exposed to a wide range of wave conditions from the North-West and South-Westerly directions; with storm waves entering through the harbour entrance causing overtopping of the harbour walls and in extreme conditions overtopping the inner secondary wall. Storms in December 2013, January 2014 and October 2017 led to the closure of Quay Parade and overtopping of the current defences within the harbour and south beach.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Environmental Services said, “Ceredigion County Council along with the Welsh Government are committed to protecting the town. The Welsh Government have provided funding to design a scheme that will prevent the surrounding area suffering from future storms. It is predicted that 168 properties will be at risk of flooding by 2111 if nothing is done. The Council has engaged Atkins Consultants to design such a scheme. After investigating the effectiveness of various coastal defence options, they are seeking views on the scheme that is being put forward as the modelling confirms that it meets the current and future flood protection requirements.

The main aims are to protect the coastline from rising sea levels and storms; to protect people and property from flooding and to reassure residents and businesses that measures are in place to prevent flooding and coastal erosion. Opportunities for improved facilities, connectivity, investment and the re-design of open space within the harbour will be provided within the scheme and it will also enable other investment opportunities to be investigated.”

The Council is undertaking a public consultation which will allow residents and visitors to provide their views on the scheme. This which will include changes to South Pier, an extension to North Pier and the introduction of flood defence walls around the harbour areas. Feedback received will be taken into account during any detailed design for the scheme.

The consultation is available on the Council’s website at www.ceredigion.gov.uk/consultations with an opportunity to provide feedback. The consultation is open from 22 September 2020 until 20 October 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the public consultation will be held on-line only. Should you have any queries, contact clic@ceredigion.gov.uk or 01545 570881.

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Lampeter to have its say on £10,000 funding for community groups

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Community groups in Lampeter will soon have the chance to apply for funds from a pot of £10,000
committed by Dyfed-Powys Police Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
The commissioner has called on groups to take advantage of funding for projects that aim to
improve safety in the area.

Mr Llywelyn has committed £140,000 for Neighbourhood Policing Teams to spend within the
communities they serve. Each team will receive £10,000, with communities themselves voting on
how the money is allocated.

Lampeter is next on the list of events – and the NPT is calling on partner organisations and people
who live or work in the town to join forces and form a community planning group to make key
decisions.

Mr Llywelyn said: “I have committed to fund this new and innovative approach to community
funding as I think it’s vital that local residents have a say in how money is spent in their local area.
“They are best placed to work with the police, and indeed other partner agencies, to identify where
the money is needed and what would most benefit the local communities.
“Communities should be influencing the decisions.

“I urge the various community groups in Lampeter to consider the funding that I have made
available, and to contact the Lampeter NPT to discuss ideas, so the whole community can work
together to improve community safety.”

The planning group will attend several meetings – either socially distanced or online – over the next
few months to agree on key decisions and planning. Details will then be released on how groups can
apply for the funding, and an event will take place, giving people a chance to vote on which projects
should benefit.

Superintendent Ifan Charles, force lead on participatory budgeting, said: “Participatory budgeting is
a way of giving communities a greater say in how their community evolves.

“Problem solving to find long term solutions to solve the issues that cause communities the greatest
harm, is at the core of our new neighbourhood policing model.

“Through informed community engagement and problem solving, the new neighbourhood structure
should reduce the long-term harm for our communities and with that, demand on our response
officers, but this will only work if our communities and partners are equally engaged.
“Participatory budgeting has worked really well elsewhere and I’m really excited to lead the
introduction of this innovative approach here.”

If you live, work or play in Lampeter and would like to be involved, or if you have any questions,
please register an interest at LampeterPB@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk
Follow the NPT on Twitter at @LampeterPolice for further updates. #LampeterPB

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Newtown: Online threat to ‘use of firearms at a school’ lead to swift police action

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE was made aware this morning, the force said, of “utterly irresponsible and scaremongering posts” on Facebook, suggesting that the authors of the posts were going to use firearms at a school in the Newtown area.

The posts were by individuals local to Newtown, and police acted swiftly to address this, which resulted in the arrest of three local men, aged 20, 21 and 27 on suspicion of malicious communications and public order. As part of the initial response schools were also given advice to be vigilant.

A spokesman said: “Understandably the posts caused serious concern in the area, and unfortunately the subsequent rumours led to misunderstandings. This is turn led to calls to the police alleging there was a man with a firearm seen outside Newtown High School.

“Police had to respond appropriately to these calls based on the threat allegedly posed, and a firearms unit was sent to the school. We can confirm that there was no man at the school, and when we have delved further into the detail of the calls, it has transpired that they were as a result of the rumours circulating, and not based on first-hand accounts.

“Police have also carried out thorough searches as a result of the arrests, and no weapons have been recovered. The local Neighbourhood Policing Team will also be present at the school at home time to reassure and inform parents, pupils and staff.

“We hope this clarification will reassure the community of Newtown that there is no threat to schools in the area, and the matter was dealt with seriously and swiftly. We would also appeal to everyone to stop sharing the posts and any associated rumours, in order to prevent any further unsubstantiated fear and alarm in the area.”

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