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MPs debate future of local papers

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PARLIAMENT’s back benchers will debate the future of local newspapers in Westminster next week. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for local newspapers to encourage their local MPs to attend the debate and ‘argue for their local paper’.

In a letter to local journals the NUJ state the case that cuts to jobs and closures to local newspapers have resulted in a loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press. The union state clearly that they see this as a threat to local democracy, as local politicians are then not being held to account and voters, as a result, are not being given a range of views, resulting in a deprivation of information required to make informed judgements when voting in elections.

They go on to say that, ‘digital newsrooms are transforming the way journalists are expected to work. Despite taking on many changes, journalists have not seen their pay improve and are experiencing heavy workloads because they are expected to bring in stories, cover events, produce videos and podcasts and use social media’.

A spokesperson for the NUJ said: “Local newspapers and their websites are the most trusted form of the media, read by more than 30 million people each week. Readers expect their local newspaper to be their watchdog, keeping tabs on the decisions made by local politicians, defending local services, supporting the local football team and giving a voice to the community.”

As a result the NUJ have called for: A short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news; local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for the paper; action to stem the job cuts and attacks on quality journalism and research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community journalism.

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, told The Herald: “Local newspapers make a very valuable contribution to our communities and are a vital part of our democracy. They keep people informed of what is happening in their locality and provide an excellent means for people from all sections of the community to have a voice. Good local reporters keep our local public bodies on their toes, asking pertinent questions about how they are spending our money, and making sure they know what local people think of them. I for one certainly value our local papers, even when they take me to task – that’s part and parcel of their role!”

Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Simon Hart, also stated: “Our local papers in this area have always provided high quality information and news coverage and have adapted incredibly well to changing technology, as well as the evolving tastes and requirements of readers. Being married to a former local news journalist I am always keen to support our local papers and respect their independence.”

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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