Connect with us


EU vote could cost county dearly




carmscouncil1CARMARTHENSHIRE could lose out financially as a consequence of leaving the EU, senior staff and members of the Executive Board have warned.

In a meeting on Monday (Jul 3) Councillor Meryl Gravell said she was ‘very disappointed’ with the referendum result: “Carmarthen has gained very much from being a part of the European team,” she added.

Cllr Gravell added that she would be speaking to the head of WEFO on Thursday (Jul 6) before stressing that the Council needed to maximise its use of the remaining EU funding available.

” We have to ensure that we get as much funding into Carmarthenshire as we possibly can,” she told fellow members of the Executive Board.

“I think that it is more than ever important that we work with the private sector and get as much private sector funding in as possible.

“We do have some of our own capital funding that we have prepared to ensure that we continue regenerating Carmarthenshire and creating new jobs but it is imperative that we have got projects build-ready, so that for the next two years, no doubt there will still be funding coming from Europe, we need to ensure that we spend and that nothing is returned at the end of two years – that Carmarthenshire will get its fair share of what European funding there is coming in.”

Mark James warned that Brexit would cause big money problems for Carmarthenshire.

The Chief Executive highlighted the financial dangers for the county of leaving the European Union and urged the Welsh Government to pass money to local authorities much faster.

“We find it very difficult to pull money in. We do get European money eventually but it does seem to take an awful long time,” he told board members. “The first couple of years, not much seems to come out of Cardiff – it takes them a hell of a long time to get everything together. They tend to take programmes to themselves and then give [money] out in dribs and drabs over the last few years of the programme. We haven’t got that luxury this time.”

“The message needs to be very loud and clear to the Welsh Government,” Mr James stressed. “They have taken about 60% to 70% of the total programme”.

He added: “They’ve got it in large programmes on paper in Cardiff. They must let go quicker , because if we don’t spend the money in the next couple of years , we won’t maybe have the luxury of doing it in the final couple of years because we may well be out of the EU. That could cost this part of Wales millions and millions of pounds that we could have invested.

“Cardiff really do need to let go.”

This approach appears similar to one which was espoused by the leader of Rhonda Cynon Taf council earlier this week, when he called for an ‘all guns b l a z i n g ’ approach t o spending t h e remaining EU funding. A total of £1.1bn of EU funding in Wales has yet to be allocated, and there are fears that a withdrawal from the EU prior to 2020 could see the spending cut.

There has been widespread scepticism from Labour and Plaid Cymru over claims made by the Welsh Conservatives and UKIP that Westminster will make up the funding shortfall.

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, and Vote Leave campaigner, Andrew RT Davies responded to the news from Rhonda Cynon Taf with ‘derision’. In a media statement from Vote Leave, which , like UKIP , has apparently survived a referendum which should have made it redundant, he said: “This arrogant attitude to public money is part of the reason why so many of the communities in receipt of structural funds voted to leave the EU last month.

“The focus should be on outcomes and finding the right projects, not accelerating the rate of spending. That’s why so much EU money is wasted by this Welsh Labour Government.

“Having campaigned for a Vote to Leave I will fight tooth and nail to deliver Wales’ share of the Brexit dividend, but the short term priority should be ensuring that this money is put to good use and finding the right schemes – not splashing the cash for the sake of it.

“Qualification for structural funding is not a badge of honour, it’s a reflection of the relative poverty of those in areas who meet the criteria, and after three successive rounds of funding that money has clearly not been put to good use.”

This neatly sidesteps the central reason why Councils in Wales’ less wealthy areas – which include Carmarthenshire – should be so keen to claim the final pounds the EU will provide. It appears that, for all the encouraging noises being made by the Welsh Government, including cross-party (apart from the Welsh Conservatives) efforts to ensure Wales does not lose out financially from leaving the EU, people at a local authority level have no faith that this will actually materialise.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues




POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

Continue Reading


Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre




Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

Continue Reading


Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour




POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

Continue Reading