Posted on 11:49am Tuesday 12th January 2010
The recent announcement by the One Wales Government that additional help will be made available for small businesses facing an increase in their rates bill is a step in the right direction following the UK wide non-domestic property revaluation exercise. Revaluation is not a tax raising measure but simply redistributes the rates payable between properties according to their relative values at the time of the revaluation. Some rate bills will rise and some will fall. This Welsh business rate relief package will increase the upper limits for each category of small business rate relief by at least 20%. The upper rateable value limit for each category of relief will be as follows: upper limit for 50% general relief increased from a rateable value of £2,000 to £2,400, upper limit for 25% general relief increased from a rateable value of £6,500 to £7,800, upper limit for 25% retail relief increased from a rateable value of £9,000 to £11,000.
Posted on 2:48pm Monday 30th November 2009
I was very concerned to see the latest figures which show the current number of patients in Pembrokeshire awaiting a kidney transplant. In Pembrokeshire there are 15 patients on the active transplant waiting list, and a further 5 on the suspended list.
Posted on 3:47pm Friday 20th November 2009
Recently the Association of Chief Police Officers urged the UK government to set up a domestic violence register of 25,000 serial offenders. This is one of a series of proposals made by the Association of Chief Police Officers for a Home Office review on how to deal with violence against women and girls.
Posted on 2:42pm Friday 30th October 2009
It was great to see the proposals put forward by the Welsh Government recently to ban unstaffed tanning salons. I have long called for a ban on unsupervised tanning salons and I recently wrote to the Welsh Health Minister calling for her to look into legislating on this issue. It is vital that this proposed new legislation is processed as quickly as possible in order to avoid any more young people suffering terrible burns as a result of unsupervised tanning. I think also that the definition of ‘unstaffed’ should also be carefully considered. Some tanning salon operators install CCTV, with one member of staff supervising several salons and this is deemed as adequate supervision. I would argue that this is nowhere near adequate and must not be allowed.
Posted on 2:53pm Friday 23rd October 2009
In a debate recently in the Senedd we discussed the success to date of the Welsh Baccalaureate. The qualification is now recognised by universities and employers. We should be rightly proud of this ‘made in Wales’ qualification which gives students a broader education that more traditional options as it includes vocational as well as academic elements.
Posted on 10:14am Tuesday 13th October 2009
I would like to congratulate the Welsh government's Rural Affairs minister Elin Jones for pressing ahead with plans to cut TB in cattle. Recently, Elin Jones put forward an order to enable the government to conduct a cull of badgers in an area of north Pembrokeshire in an effort to control the disease which is now costing the Welsh taxpayer around £30m per year.
Posted on 11:36am Monday 28th September 2009
I would just like to warn all readers of a phone scam that is currently going on and unfortunately constituents of mine have already been targeted. People receive a call from a fake BT worker who threatens to disconnect your phone line if you don’t pay an unpaid bill over the phone immediately.
Posted on 12:49pm Wednesday 23rd September 2009
I very much welcome the recent announcement that the European Commission has launched an investigation into the failure of supermarkets to pass price cuts on to shoppers. According to figures the cost of butter has fallen by 39% over the past year however the price paid by consumers has only gone down by 2%. The commission has also discovered that the price of skimmed milk powder was down 49%, cheese down 18% and milk down 31% but again the price paid by consumers has only fallen by 2%. This is totally unacceptable behavior from the supermarkets. Such discrepancies and delays in adjusting prices accordingly means that the dairy supply chain does not function efficiently. Also this deliberate attempt to prevent consumers from being able to benefit from lower prices effects the potential development for demand for dairy products which of course means that the pace and recovery of the sector is hindered.
Posted on 11:27am Monday 14th September 2009
Over the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many local agricultural shows. There is no doubt that this is a difficult economic period for everybody but the mood and the turnout at these shows have been excellent. People within the agricultural sector are looking towards the future with optimism and what has also become apparent is that people are extremely pleased with the work and policies introduced by the Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones.
Posted on 4:16pm Friday 11th September 2009
I was pleased to hear the recent announcement by the One Wales Government which will mean significant changes to planning guidance in rural Wales. A review is being held on Technical Advice Notice 6, which provides local planning authorities with advice on how the planning system can be used to improve access to affordable homes, create a sustainable rural economy and introduce one planet communities. The One Wales Government has made a commitment to look at increasing affordable housing for local people while helping to diversify the rural economy at the same time. We need TAN 6 to be able to meet the needs of rural areas by ensuring that local people have access to affordable housing and employment and helping to attract young people into farming by providing opportunities to build a second house on an established farm. This will allow a younger person to manage or work part-time on the farm while allowing an older farmer who may want to retire or work part-time to stay in the family home. It will encourage the 22 local and three national park authorities to work collaboratively with rural communities to identify opportunities for affordable housing and to diversify the rural economy. Ultimately, what we want to see is a planning guidance that supports living and working rural communities that are economic, socially and environmentally sustainable. I would urge as many people as possible to take part in the consultation, which I believe is a significant change to planning guidance for rural areas. The consultation will run until 16th October 2010. The revised guidance TAN is expected to be published in 2010 The consultation is available on the Welsh Assembly Government web site and can be found at http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/?lang=en Copies are also available by contacting: Planning Policy Branch Planning Division Welsh Assembly Government Cathays Park Cardiff CF10 3 NQ Tel: 029 2082 3107 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 4:41pm Tuesday 1st September 2009
The tourism industry in Wales received a boost recently and hopefully Pembrokeshire will benefit from this as well. Plaid’s Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones announced that two bids for £17m of EU Convergence Funding for the tourism industry in Wales have been successful. The two projects, which will concentrate on the development of Sustainable tourism and Coastal tourism will run for 5 years.
Posted on 11:13am Monday 10th August 2009
Before the 2007 elections we as a party proposed a number of measures to tackle the problems we are facing in many parts of Wales with regards to affordable housing. Therefore the recent news that the One Wales Government is on track to delivering its affordable housing targets is very welcome. In a statement Plaid’s deputy housing minister Jocelyn Davies explained that the government has reached the halfway mark on its target of creating an additional 6,500 affordable homes. According to independent figures provided by the Welsh Economic Research Unit (WERU) 3,252 housing association homes have been delivered over the past two years.