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Politics

M4 relief road could be ‘dead in the water’

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Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.11.32An M4 Relief Road is ‘dead in the water’ if Labour do a deal with Plaid Cymru after the election, says Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies.

The party will pledge to get ‘diggers in the ground’ on an M4 relief road within twelve months of forming a Government – as transport companies and local businesses highlight the importance of action on the project.

Andrew RT Davies AM and William Graham AM will visit Hicks Logistics in Caldicot to discuss the project at 3pm on Thursday, as part of a series of visits related to the project.

Improving infrastructure to create more jobs in Wales is a key plank of the Welsh Conservative Party’s policy platform. On the visits, Welsh Conservatives will also highlight that a solution to the gridlock around Newport is under threat with Labour and Plaid Cymru.

Mr Davies will also warn of the perils of five more years of “life in the slow lane” under Welsh Labour.

Welsh Conservatives recently pledged to get “diggers in the ground” on a relief road within 12 months. Mr Davies says Wales’ most important infrastructure project in a generation would be “dead in the water” if Plaid Cymru and Labour were to do a deal after May 6th.

The project has already been cast into doubt after the Welsh Labour Government admitted that the planned M4 relief road could cost more than £1 billion, despite earlier assurances from the First Minister that it would cost significantly less.

Mr Davies said: “Make no mistake, the M4 relief road is dead in the water if Labour do a deal with Plaid Cymru after the election in May.

“The nationalists have already made it a red line issue, and it’s pretty clear that Leanne Wood will prop Labour up yet again for a sniff of power.

“The daily congestion around that stretch of the M4, near Newport, has long been a huge barrier to economic growth and progress must be made.

“That’s why the stakes are so high in this election, and that’s why people have to vote Welsh Conservative in May if they want to see progress on the most important infrastructure project in a generation.”

Meanwhile, Shadow Economy Minister – William Graham – said that Labour dithering on infrastructure projects has held the Welsh economy back and warned of the risk Labour pose to Wales’ economic development.

He said: “The relief road should have been built fifteen years ago. But like so many other transport projects under Labour, it fell by the wayside.

“Wales endured thirteen years of Labour in office at Westminster and yet not a single inch of train track in Wales was electrified.

“We’ve had 17 years of Labour in Cardiff Bay and there has been no progress on an M4 relief road, no progress on addressing the chronic congestion on the A40, and no progress on a third Menai crossing.

“Having spent more than a decade deliberating the need for an M4 relief road in South Wales and almost £30millon of public money on consultation fees, it is disgraceful that there are now doubts surrounding the project.”

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Politics

Elin Jones raises Fibre Ceredigion’s connectivity with Openreach

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ELIN JONES AM has attended an Openreach drop in session in the National Assembly of Wales to raise concerns about the lack of Fibre in areas of Ceredigion.

Elin Jones met with Openreach’s Partnership director in Wales, Connie Dixon, and Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs. Elin also met with Openreach engineers and was shown the process undertaken in order to install fibres in people’s homes and businesses.

Elin Jones said:

“There are still many homes and businesses in Ceredigion that need to be connected to superfast Broadband. Many are in rural locations, but there are also whole villages and, in most cases, homes that are just at the end of the line and have fallen out of scope.

“More needs to be done to ensure that access to Superfast Broadband for premises across Ceredigion is equally available. I hope to meet with Openreach in the near future in Ceredigion in order to assess the challenges that they face in installing Fibre, but also for them to see the need in our communities for superfast.”

Connie Dixon, Openreach Partnership Director for Wales, said:

“We’re already working closely with the Welsh Government to bring fibre broadband to Wales and as a result of this partnership nearly 95 per cent of the country can access superfast broadband today. But we also know there’s more to do and we’re working hard to reach those properties that currently can’t access fibre broadband.

“We’re also committed to future-proofing the network with full fibre technology but in order to build a new full fibre network for Wales we’ll need the support from our public sector partners.

“It won’t be quick or easy, but action to reduce red tape and remove barriers will speed things up. Full fibre will open up huge possibilities for the Welsh economy and help answer long terms challenges like energy use, climate change and sustainable rural communities.”

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Plaid candiate votes to fight for police devolution

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AHEAD of the general election on 12 December 2019, Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru candidate for Ceredigion has outlined a commitment to continue to fight for the devolution of policing to Wales.

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of police officers in Wales fell by 9% – with rural Wales particularly hit due to the unfair funding formula used by the UK Government.

Plaid Cymru have announced that they will create a new £50m crime prevention fund to recruit 1,600 extra police officers through the devolution of policing. The proposals would see a greater police presence locally, and helping to root officers in their communities, rather than being stretched over large geographical areas with little resources.

Earlier this year a Welsh Government-appointed commission said Wales should have full control of its justice system, including powers to run policing – with further studies suggesting Wales’ four forces would be in line for £25m extra from the UK government if policing was devolved.

Ben Lake said: “Time after time, police budgets have been cut by the UK Government, meaning far fewer officers are available to police forces in Wales. Welsh forces and rural areas have been hit harder than those in the rest of the UK, due to an unfair Home Office funding formula.”

“Since my election in 2017, I have seen firsthand the detrimental impact this funding arrangement is having on Welsh police forces and communities, something I was glad to raise in Parliament.”

“We cannot expect a one size fits all approach police funding to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria for the central Government grant are revised to reflect the demands and unique challenges faced by rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion.”

“It remains unacceptable that Wales is the only nation in the UK without powers over policing and justice, especially given the clear financial dividend that devolution would bring about.”

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Politics

Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion, welcomed Lord Nick Bourne back to Aberystwyth

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THIS week, Lord Nick Bourne of Aberystwyth, visited the University town to meet with Amanda Jenner, the Conservative Candidate for Ceredigion in the forthcoming General Election. Lord Bourne joined with members of the Aberystwyth University Conservative Society to support Amanda with her General Election campaign to be the next MP for Ceredigion.

Coincidently, Amanda Jenner and Lord Bourne have taken similar paths – both Aberystwyth University Law Graduates who have gone on to work in the Education sector before turning to politics.

Lord Bourne, until recently, was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office and was heavily involved with the Mid Wales Growth Deal.

Commenting on the Growth Deal, Lord Bourne said,

“One very important thing that we have been spending a lot of time on as a Government, is to ensure we get money into Mid and West Wales, including Ceredigion, particularly to motivate businesses here.”

“I personally hope that this extends to projects involving Aberystwyth University – who are already doing tremendous work, led by Elizabeth Treasure the Vice-chancellor, to ensure we have prosperity and sustainability.”

Amanda Jenner added,

“From speaking with businesses in Ceredigion, I can see that there are some fantastic opportunities here, including in the tourism and education sectors. If elected as your MP, I would be a strong voice in Westminster, fighting to ensure that the Growth Deal stays on track and that we get the levels of funding needed for the proposals put forward by the partners of the Growth Deal.”

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