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.”
A level results still high in Ceredigion
THE ‘A’ level examination results published today by the WJEC (15 August) show that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools once again. 97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 27.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.
Ceredigion pupils continue to outperform the Welsh average. More pupils in Ceredigion achieve the top ’A’ grades and A* to E grades. The below table shows a comparison with average Welsh figures. These don’t include Welsh Baccalaureate results and those from examination bodies other than WJEC.
Wales 2019 Ceredigion 2019
Grade A* – A 27.92% 27.0%
Grade A* – B 56.0% n/a
Grade A* – C 77.5% n/a
Grade A* – E 97.9% 97.6%
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations once again to Ceredigion’s sixth form students for their successes in this year’s A Level and AS examinations.
These results are the culmination of a long journey through school life which has seen them nurture and develop the academic and interpersonal skills that will enable them to move confidently into higher education, training or employment in fields of their choice. I wish them good luck for the future and would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to their school journey in any way.”
MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding
HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.
Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.
During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.
Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.
Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.
“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”
Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”
New waste trial launched in Aberystwyth
A NEW trial has been launched in Aberystwyth as part of the Caru Aber campaign, to help keep the town centre clean on waste collection days.
Heavy duty sacks will be placed on Aberystwyth streets on Monday afternoons before the black bag collection on Tuesdays in the following streets; Portland Street, Portland Road, Queen Street, Corporation Street, Eastgate Street, New Street and Cambrian Place.
Black bags should be put in the sacks by 8am on Tuesday mornings for collection. The intention is that the sacks contain the waste until it is collected. The sacks will be retrieved after the waste has been collected to avoid clutter and obstruction on the streets.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “We see this trial as a practical and relatively cost effective way of responding to long standing issues relating to domestic waste presentation in Aberystwyth town centre. The sacks will also provide a visible reminder to residents in the town centre on what days to present their black bags.
“The trial forms part of the Caru Aber campaign, and the wider Caru Ceredigion campaign, where the council looks to work with local communities to address issues which are of concern or are important to them.
“This innovative approach is another example of positive proactive action the council is taking. We hope that the residents of the town centre will play their part by making good use of the sacks as this will be the critical factor in measuring the success of the scheme.”
Clean recycling and food waste should continue to be presented on a weekly basis in the containers that the council already provides through clear bags and food caddies.
Ensuring that the right waste is presented in the right way and on the right day will help to make sure that the town’s streets are kept clean and that the waste is contained, managed and treated in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way as possible.
The sacks were first used in readiness for waste collections on Tuesday 6 August 2019. The initial feedback is positive as they have worked to contain the waste on the streets, which were noticeably cleaner.
This latest initiative is developing on feedback and experience from two other trials undertaken. The success of the trial will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed to reflect the experience which will include looking at ways of engaging all residents.
For more information about the new scheme, please contact the Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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