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The Future for Pembrokeshire

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the futureTHE PEMBROKESHIRE Alliance wants to see the County retain its independence and we strongly oppose the proposed merger with Ceredigion or the re-creation of Dyfed as outlined in the recent Williams report.

This was one of the key reasons we formed the Pembrokeshire Alliance. The county needs an organisation to fight for Pembrokeshire and protect its right to govern its own affairs. After scandal after scandal, Pembrokeshire Council is, however, not doing itself any favours.

The IPG group has no manifesto, no policies – except keeping Council tax low – combined with a total disregard for public opinion. They are secretive, defensive and arrogant and have brought this proud county into disrepute by their actions. The IPG, although controlling the council only amount to 33 residents, and we do not think they reflect what this County could achieve with the right attitudes and policies. Pembrokeshire can and will do better once they are removed from office.

The reasons why we oppose the suggested re-organisation are:

1) The financial cost of merging would be substantial with no improvement in services. The Williams commission suggested that the cost of re-organisation in Wales would cost a minimum of £100 million. We think the figure could and would be much higher but the cost to Pembrokeshire would be at least £5 million on their figures. In fact we believe services could actually decline.

2) The Local Health Board is an example of how services now cost much more, with more highly paid managers but a severe decline in local services, with seemingly more to come. In addition local accountability has been reduced. Can you imagine the senior salaries that could be involved?

3) The cost to every Council tax payer in Pembrokeshire would be substantial. Depending on which model is used council tax could rise by at least 16% but quite possibly by 25%. For the average Council tax payer that would be over £450 extra per year.

4) We are in favour of local democracy and accountability and we do not want to see centralisation. We do not think that someone living in Ammanford or Borth has any concept about what is required in Pembrokeshire. Dyfed was a disaster so why does the Welsh Government seemingly want to return to this failed model of local government?

5) When Dyfed was originally formed Pembrokeshire had two District councils with responsibility for some key areas. This option is not available under the current proposals: that means that we will have less local accountability than we did under the original failed model.We are in favour of joint working arrangements which can reduce costs and we will support any opportunities that arise. We think the recent problems at Pembrokeshire County Council which have been caused by poor governance are likely to be used by those that want to see a return of Dyfed. That is why it is so important that we reclaim our Council from the totally inept IPG administration.

If Dyfed did return the politics would be extremely complicated. Plaid Cymru would almost certainly be the largest party but they would be well short of a majority. Labour and many shades of Independents would be the second largest groupings, followed by the Liberal Democrats and then the Tories. One dreads to think of the horse trading and deals that would be done to secure power. It is perfectly possible that a ruling administration could contain nobody from Pembrokeshire. If it was a merger with Ceredigion then the politics again would be complicated. Independents would be the biggest grouping but the language and cultures are very different between Borth and Amroth. Labour has only 1 councillor in Ceredigion and the Tories none, so Plaid would be the largest political party with a significant number of Liberal The Future for Pembrokeshire

If it was a merger with Ceredigion then the politics again would be complicated. Independents would be the biggest grouping but the language and cultures are very different between Borth and Amroth. Labour has only 1 councillor in Ceredigion and the Tories none, so Plaid would be the largest political party with a significant number of Liberal Democrats all from Ceredigion. No political party would be in a position to run an administration.

If this did come about the Pembrokeshire Alliance would seek to work with other like-minded groups in Ceredigion and/or Carmarthenshire well before elections took place.

But do not be in any doubt: we are completely opposed to a forced merger of Pembrokeshire and we will fight to retain our independence.

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No action at Cardiff Airport over virus

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THERE were no checks or screening at Cardiff airport this morning (Jan 23) as international concern continues to grow about the coronavirus which has killed 17 people and infected hundreds in a central Chinese city.

A Herald journalist landing at 5:30am on a flight from Doha, said that passengers arriving from China or other Southeast Asian were not questioned or screened, despite other airports including Heathrow taking action.

The twice daily Doha flight, which was launched with the help of the Welsh Government two years ago, connects travellers from many destinations from South East Asia, including from China. A connection between Beijing and Cardiff is offered with a 10 hour stop over at Hamad International Airport in Qatar.

The outbreak of the virus is centred on the city of Wuhan. Travellers from Wuhan change at Beijing. At this time of year there is an increased number of travellers between China and the UK due to the Chinese New Year celebrations’

The Guardian reported today (Jan 23) that a sense of panic has spread in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the city of 11 million was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there.

Today, Chinese authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.

Nearby Huanggang also suspended its public bus and railway system by the end of the day.

In Wuhan, it has been reported that supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.

The incubation period for the virus is said to be five days according to experts.

The Welsh Government has been asked for a comment.

Spencer Birns, Chief Commercial Officer at Cardiff Airport, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Cardiff Airport is closely following guidance provided by the relevant authorities in relation to screening procedures for Coronavirus. Port Health advice as of 1200 on 23rd January 2020 is to operate business as usual, with no additional screening. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update our customers as required.

“The safety and security of our team and customers is our number one priority.”

A spokesperson told The Herald that Chinese nationals arriving in Cardiff on international flights are not being asked if they originated in Wuhan despite the crisis.

“We have not been told to do different to normal,” the spokesperson said.

Pictured above: Regular flights: Qatar Airways plane at Cardiff Airport this morning • Peter Sinclair from Milford Haven lives in China and taking precautions

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Elin Jones congratulates Ceredigion Talking Paper in National Assembly

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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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Young People raise money for local charities

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On 10 December 2019, young people from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club hosted a Christmas Fayre stall, selling cakes and donated bakes from the local community to raise money for young people receiving care at Angharad Ward, Bronglais Hospital and West Wales Domestic Abuse Service. The club was led by Ceredigion Youth Service and raised over £400 for the charities.

The young people learnt how to make and produce different products, sell and raise money for charity. This gave the young people the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement by giving to others.

Ruby Cook from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club said, “Our Cooking Club is made up of young people from Ysgol Henry Richard who attend the after school cooking club. The club focuses on cooking and leaning new life skills. It also gives young people an opportunity to socialise with their friends. We had a great time working on this project, where we baked cakes and had fun in the Christmas Fayre selling them. We would like to thank the local businesses which also donated to our stall. With your support we were able to raise more funds and give more young people gifts this Christmas.”

Mrs Ffion Davies, Ysgol Henry Richard said, “It was a lovely evening seeing the Cooking Club members have fun while making and selling cakes for worthy causes. The enthusiasm the young people showed when giving up their own time to help others at what can be a vulnerable time of year for some was inspiring. Thank you and well done to Ceredigion Youth Service and the Cooking Club members.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I want to congratulate the Cooking Club for their hard work and great achievement. I’m delighted that they not only raised a good sum for charity, but had fun and learnt at the same time. I’m grateful to the Ceredigion Youth Service for their continued good work and support of young people in the county.”

Ceredigion Youth Service is the designated Service for young people aged 11-25 in Ceredigion, dedicated to supporting young people’s personal, social and educational development through specialised support and open access provision. Provision includes School Based Youth Work, Outreach Youth Work and Youth Clubs. For more information or to find out what opportunities are available to you, head over to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS.

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