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Welsh unemployment continues to fall



screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-10-42-27UNEMPLOYMENT in Wales has fallen faster than the rest of the UK for the fifth successive month. 

New ONS statistics show that 4.3% of Welsh people were out of work for the quarter up to and including June, against 4.8% in the previous period.

Unemployment at a UK level is slightly higher, at 4.9%.

Commenting on the figures, Conservative spokesperson for the Economy, Russell George AM, said:

“These figures are great news for Welsh communities, and further evidence that the UK Government’s long term economic plan is delivering economic growth for the whole of the UK.

“Unemployment in Wales is at its lowest level for more than a decade, illustrating growing confidence in the economy, and it is falling faster in Wales than in any other part of the UK.”

Commenting on the latest Labour Market Statistics, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “The labour market in Wales continues to perform strongly

“Over the past 12 months, Wales has seen unemployment fall faster than anywhere else in the UK. We are ahead of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with unemployment declining at a rate more than twice the UK average and now standing well below the UK rate of 4.9%.

“Over the same period, employment in Wales has also increased by 17,000 and is close to its highest recorded level.

“As a pro-business government, we are continuing to work hard to support the right economic conditions to help create and safeguard jobs right across Wales. Whatever happens around us, we will continue to provide a strong, stable and secure environment for business and enterprise.”

Plaid Cymru AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Adam Price, welcomed the drop in Welsh unemployment levels but warned that the positive headlines hide the real story of growing economic inactivity in Wales.

Mr Price said that Wales was still blighted by a low-wage economy meaning that in-work poverty is a very real problem facing many people throughout the country, and made the case for infrastructure investment to create high-skilled, well-paid jobs.

Mr Price, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economy and Finance, said: “Plaid Cymru welcomes the drop in unemployment in Wales from 4.6% to 4.3%, taking us further below the UK average of 4.9%.

“However, this positive headline hides the fact that economic inactivity in Wales has risen by 0.8% – a worrying figure which highlights the fact that fewer people are in work or looking for work.

“The main problem facing workers in Wales is that they are blighted by a low-wage economy, meaning that in-work poverty is a real issue.

“Plaid Cymru has long advocated a modest increase in infrastructure spending in order to get the Welsh economy moving by creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs and to generate sustainable growth.

“We also want to see the introduction of a real living wage – not the sham version adopted by the then Chancellor Osborne – so that people aren’t struggling to make ends meet despite being in employment.”

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Elin Jones raises Fibre Ceredigion’s connectivity with Openreach



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



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



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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