THE 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.
Young People raise money for local charities
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.
Ben Lake MP pledges support for local pubs in Ceredigion
Ben Lake MP has today pledged their support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Ceredigion keep their doors open. Ben Lake joins the more than 240,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 335 in Ceredigion alone.
Ben Lake MP is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Seven in ten alcoholic drinks served in pubs are beer, underlining how directly a cut in beer duty will help pubs. Brewing and pubs in Ceredigion supports 1169 jobs and contributes £23.1m to the local economy.
Commenting on the campaign, Ben Lake MP said:
“Pubs are at the heart of communities across Ceredigion, but with three pubs closing their doors for good every day across the UK, we must acknowledge that these community assets are facing significant challenges as they try to stay open. For this reason I am supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax for licenced premises in this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across Ceredigion. We are very grateful to Ben Lake for their support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”
Police investigate after child dies in west Wales caravan fire
DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating the circumstances around a fire at a caravan in Ceredigion in which a child died.
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cockwell said: “We received a call at 5.35am today (Sunday, January 19), reporting a fire at a caravan at Ffair Rhos.
“Enquiries so far lead us to believe that three people were inside the caravan at the time the fire broke out. These were a father and two children – a four-year-old, and a little boy who we believe to have been aged three.
“While the father and the eldest child were able to get out of the caravan, the younger of the siblings was tragically found deceased inside.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this extremely difficult and traumatic time, and specialist officers have been put in place to support them.
“The father is currently in a stable condition in hospital, while the four-year-old is critical but stable. Both suffered burns.
“The Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the cause of the fire, and a major incident room has been set up at Aberystwyth Police Station.
“We are also working closely with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who were in attendance when our officers arrived. We would like to thank our colleagues at the fire service for their professionalism in dealing with what turned out to be a highly traumatic incident.
“We would like to speak to anyone who was in the Ffair Rhos area around the time of the fire, who might have information that could help our investigation.
“This was a tragic incident, and we will be doing all we can to find answers for the family, whose world will have been torn apart by this morning’s events.”
If you have any information that could help officers, call the Criminal Investigation Department on 101, using Storm reference 39 of January 19.
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