Posted on 10:23am Monday 3rd August 2009
During the economic downturn it was a boost to hear the news that latest unemployment figures have shown that the number of people unemployed in Wales has fallen by 1,000 since the last quarter. These figures by the Office for National Statistics show that the reduction in Wales compares to a rise in the number of people unemployed in the UK as a whole. Although the global recession has some way to go, these figures are proof that the policies introduced by Plaid’s Economy Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones are working. The Minister has worked closely with business and the trade unions, introducing practical and effective measures to help the people of Wales through this economic downturn. For example the ProAct scheme has helped to prevent almost 5,000 workers from across Wales becoming part of these unemployment statistics.
Posted on 11:12am Monday 13th July 2009
Following discussions with Accident and Emergency staff I think more needs to be done to educate the general public on what exactly is the role of an Accident and Emergency unit. I decided to raise the issue with Edwina Hart and asked the Health Minister what the government is doing to educate people so that they are aware of the appropriate place for them to access various healthcare.
Posted on 10:52am Monday 6th July 2009
As someone who has been campaigning on domestic violence I was very pleased to hear the announcement by the One Wales Government that they’re launching a consultation on domestic abuse. This is great news but I do feel that we need a Welsh strategy to deal with violence against women specifically. There are of course cases of men being abused and we can’t ignore that fact but I fell that the disproportionate number of women being affected by violence warrants a specific strategy to tackle the issue.
Posted on 2:58pm Monday 29th June 2009
As an avid campaigner for broadband in our rural villages, and as chair of the Assembly cross party group on Broadband, I was extremely interested to read Lord Carter’s report, ‘Digital Britain’ last week. This was the action plan to secure the UK as world leaders in innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries. Hours before the publication of ‘Digital Britain’ Gordon Brown said that he intended to make Britain the ‘digital capital of the world’. To be the ‘digital capital of the world’ would mean competing with nations like South Korea and Japan where people believe that 100Mbps is just about the least they can expect from their internet connection. When the report was published we saw exactly what little vision Brown really has for our communities. His proposals were for a minimum service commitment of only 2Mbps, nowhere near enough to reach the aspiration of being world leaders, and far short of what our communities deserve.
Posted on 10:11am Monday 22nd June 2009
I was very pleased to hear the recent announcement by the Minister for Health who has launched a 12 week public consultation to find out if a change is needed to the current organ donation consent system. This consultation period will find out if the Welsh Government should move forward and propose a legislative change to the current system. Currently you have to register if you are willing to be an organ donor of course.
Posted on 9:55am Tuesday 16th June 2009
Recently I had an opportunity to speak during the debate on the Assembly’s consultation on the revised national waste strategy. Waste is a fully devolved matter, so Welsh Ministers are required by European and national law to have a national waste strategy for Wales. I’m hoping that my proposed measure on recycling could be a part of the wider national strategy. As a result of research undertaken by Plaid Cymru we discovered that several local authorities are exporting their waste to countries like China, Brazil and India for recycling. Several local authorities did not know where their waste ended up and the purpose of my proposed measure is to place a statutory duty on local authorities to present an annual repost on where their waste is recycled and how much.
Posted on 11:43am Tuesday 9th June 2009
Having been down at the election count in Haverfordwest I have to say that I was very pleased with the European results for Plaid Cymru. We’ve seen a big increase in support for the party across Wales which puts us on course to take extra seats at the next general election. In the two Pembrokeshire constituencies along with the Tories we pushed Labour into third place which means by the time the General Election comes around it will be straightforward battle between Plaid and the Tories in both Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire as well as Preseli Pembrokeshire. Since 2007 it has been clear that the days of Labour's hegemony over Welsh politics are over and that the Welsh electorate trusts Plaid to put their needs and aspirations first. Some of the results from around Wales have shown a big increase in support for Plaid, and in crucial constituencies we have proved that we can take votes from the London parties. Following Labour’s collapse at these elections, many of their seats will now be at risk when Gordon Brown is finally forced into calling a general election and like in the rest of Wales Labour in Pembrokeshire are failing badly. This result is also a vote of confidence in the record of Jill Evans in standing up for Welsh workers, families and communities in the European Parliament.
Posted on 3:56pm Monday 8th June 2009
As Chair of the Assembly Cross Party group on Epilepsy I recently sponsored an event in the Senedd to mark National Epilespsy Week. This event was an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue because understanding of the condition is not only low among the general public but also among politicians. A recent survey carried out in 2007 found that almost 90 per cent of MPs questioned did not know how many people in the UK have epilepsy and a further 45 per cent of the MPs questioned admitted they had “no idea” how many people have the condition. This lack of awareness is worrying and if we want to improve the services for the 456,000 people who have the condition in the UK we need to make sure that people are aware and understand the condition fully.
Posted on 9:51am Monday 1st June 2009
Recently we celebrated ten years of devolution in Wales, and what a change we've seen during the last decade. Devolution has had a positive impact on our nation and has resulted in Wales and its people growing in confidence. The people of Wales now have an appetite to create policies and make important decisions in Wales. We are also seeing a new openness in the way government is run as devolution has moved politics closer to the people in our communities. Before devolution Welsh issues were only discussed for half an hour every few weeks in London. Now Wales has become the focus of our politicians as Assembly Members concentrate on issues affecting Wales.
Posted on 11:20am Wednesday 27th May 2009
Last week I proposed new legislation that would enable stricter regulation of tanning salons in Wales. What I want to see is for licensing powers over tanning salons and body piercing studios to be brought to the Assembly in order to enforce stricter regulation. We’ve all heard and read about the series of recent incidents where young girls have suffered severe burns following excessive use of sun beds in unsupervised salons. Most recently a ten year old girl from Port Talbot suffered burns over 70% of her body after spending 16 minutes on an unsupervised sun bed. As a result of the burns she had to be treated overnight at a burns unit in Swansea, the girl’s mother is calling for an investigation. It has been proven that these unsupervised salons are dangerous, but at present the Welsh government is unable to do anything about it. The Health and Safety Executive has made recommendations on the regulation of unsupervised tanning salons but the London Labour government has failed to take any concrete action on this very serious matter. We are not just talking about short term injuries here, we are talking about injuries which could possibly scar someone for life, or lead to further complications such as, skin cancer.” I am not looking to have tanning salons and other such premises banned, I just want to ensure that they are as safe as possible. It cannot be acceptable that the law allows for a situation that results in a young child suffering 70% burns
Posted on 4:36pm Monday 11th May 2009
The main issue that worries the farming community in my region is TB and that’s why I was pleased to hear the recent announcement by Plaid’s Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones. The decision by the Minister to press on with plans for a localised cull of badgers is a brave and necessary one and it’s a decision that should be welcomed. With Plaid now in government, this issue will be addressed because for far too long this growing TB crisis has gone unaddressed by Wales’ government.
Posted on 10:42am Wednesday 29th April 2009
I was delighted to hear the recent news that Pembrokeshire community transport schemes will receive extra funding from the Welsh Assembly Government. Schemes such as the Town Rider scheme will be amongst fifteen community transport schemes across Wales that will receive an extra £1m in 2009/10 following the announcement by Plaid’s Economic and Transport Minister. A few weeks before the announcement I held an event in the Senedd where representatives from PACTO (Pembrokeshire Association of Community Transport Organisations) made a presentation highlighting the work they do locally. It was an excellent event and It gave projects from across Wales, including PACTO, an opportunity to show AM’s and Ieuan Wyn Jones how important their work is to the local community. This pilot project has proved to be extremely popular and worthwhile and it has given many people greater independence and as a result an improved quality of life - particularly in our rural communities. Over 530,000 passenger journeys have been undertaken over a three and a half year period in Wales already and the importance of this service to our communities was highlighted during the event I held in the Senedd recently. Many service users told me that without this service they would not have any sort of life at all and would be stuck in the house without any company. This money will now ensure that the excellent work that has already been achieved in this area can now continue.