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E-cigarettes ban to reach Wales

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Vape no more: Ban on the way

Vape no more: Ban on the way

THE WELSH Labour Govern­ment is this week to introduce legis­lation that will see the use of E-Cig­arettes banned from enclosed public places. The Bill also seeks to protect children from intimate body pierc­ing, but it is the e-cigarette propos­als that are causing so much contro­versy.

The plan is likely to come into force in 2017 and will mean no more e-cigarette use in places such as pubs, restaurants and places of work. Speak­ing about the proposals was Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, who said: “The bill will mean that anywhere you can’t use a conventional cigarette, then you won’t be able to use an e-cigarette either.” He went on to cite e-cigarettes as a ‘gateway’ to tobacco and poten­tially ‘normalising’ smoking.

However, the bill has been met with criticism and stiff opposition and one of those voices is Cancer UK. George Butterworth, tobacco policy manager at the charity, stated: “There isn’t enough evidence to justify a ban on using e-cigarettes indoors. The measure could create more barriers for smokers trying to quit tobacco.Cancer Research UK supports ‘light touch’ regulations of e-cigarette products and their market­ing. E-cigarettes – although not risk-free – are almost certainly far safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes which kill up to two thirds of long-term smok­ers. This is a fast-emerging market but we’re optimistic about the poten­tial benefits of e-cigarettes for helping smokers quit, whilst minimising the potential risks. Although there are still questions around the long-term health impacts of these products, Cancer Re­search UK supports evidence-based policy making.”

Darren Millar AM, Conservative Shadow Health Minister, said: “We welcome measures to protect children from intimate body piercing and ac­cess to tobacco and nicotine products. However, we fear that other aspects of this Bill interfere in the rights of the individual, create unnecessary red tape and could actually damage the public health agenda. “E-cigarettes are a stag­ing post for many smokers on the road to quitting and moves to restrict them will make it more difficult for smok­ers to kick the habit. Labour Ministers must listen to the views of medical and complementary practitioners to ensure that this Bill helps encourage healthy living and reduces health risks without creating costly additional tiers of bu­reaucracy.”

Also critical of the ban on e-cig­arettes was Plaid Cymru Minister, Si­mon Thomas, who said: “The National Assembly needs to consider all of the evidence that relates to the effect of e-cigarettes on public health, most of which is newly-emerging. E-cigarettes are used widely by people who are try­ing to give up smoking, so we should be very careful not to halt that trend. We cannot risk these people reverting to to­bacco cigarettes from e-cigarettes. Pub­lic health legislation must be reserved for measures where there is firm evi­dence that public harm is being done.”

Local Pembrokeshire people were keen to express their views. Parent, Sarah Williams told The Herald: “It’s (E-cigarettes) an excuse to carry on smoking. Is it acceptable kids watching it? You can smell them and it’s prob­ably enticing youngsters to do it – at my work people have cigarette breaks – it makes you want to start up, so you can get an extra break! It’s hardly encourag­ing the process of giving up and people are trying out different flavours like it is a fashion or something. I think it’s trivi­alising the routine of smoking. I don’t want my kids to see it really.”

However, reformed smoker, Phil­lip Thomas said: “I used to smoke 20 a day. Now I have gone from nicotine e-cigs to nicotine-free flavoured ones. It has definitely helped me give up and it isn’t harming anyone so what is the problem?”

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Politics

Next stage of the rollout by Open Reach

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Local member of the Welsh Parliament Lee Waters has welcomed news that Open Reach is bringing super-fast fiber broadband to new parts of the Llanelli constituency.

The next stage of the rollout by Open Reach will bring full fibre to the premises broadband to thousands of homes over the course of the next few years. Provision of super-fast broadband has been a priority of Welsh Government, and the new roll out will increase provision across Wales and Carmarthenshire. The provision of broadband is the responsibility of the Westminster Government, but the Welsh Labour Government have stepped in to fill gaps in the network in Wales that commercial providers have left behind.

Lee Waters MS said:

“I’m really pleased that super-fast fibre broadband is being rolled out to more homes in the area.

“Burry Port, Llanedi, Cross Hands, Hendy, Llannon, Pembrey and Tumble will all start having full fibre installed later this year. This stage of the roll-out is being fully funded by OpenReach.

“This is on top of the investment made by the Welsh Government to get 95% of households connected to fast broadband.

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Community

AM seeks assurances for Llanelli car industry

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Mid and West AM Helen Mary Jones has asked for assurances in the Senedd from the Welsh Government about the future of automotive industry in Llanelli.

Car production in the UK fell to its lowest level in almost a decade last week. It was revealed output fell 14 per cent to 1.3 million, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Production shutdowns in anticipation of Brexit is one of the factors impacting on the decrease in output.

Shadow Minister for Economy, Tackling poverty and Transport for Plaid Cymru, Helen Mary Jones AM said:

“It is just over a year since the Schaeffler automotive factory in Llanelli announced that it would be closing with the loss of 220 jobs. These were good-quality jobs, jobs that could sustain families productively. There are real concerns in the sector about the access to markets. I asked the Brexit Minister about further discussions the Welsh Government could have with the UK Government to try and ensure that we do have a voice around the table when negotiations are being made.

“This is especially important with regard to both the new trade deal that we’ll hopefully have with the European Union and any other free trade deals, to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.  For example, allowing access to markets for vehicles and vehicle parts from outside Wales that might have a negative effect on the supply chain that companies have put a lot of effort into building up over many years.”

The automotive sector in Wales is comprised of about 150 firms, mainly component manufacturers, employing over 18,000 workers adding £3 billion to the Welsh economy.

Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles AM said:

“We are in regular dialogue with companies in the sector, with the Welsh Automotive Forum, and with national sector bodies regarding the potential impact of Brexit. Having an ongoing and frictionless trading relationship with the EU is very important for the automotive sector, and indeed for other sectors.”

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News

Opinon: Matthew Paul

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EU Referendum

Well, you did it, you bastards. You won. At 11pm today, the UK will have left the European Union.


This hasn’t occasioned the cataclysm that –until 13 th December– the turbulent Brexit process might have led us to expect. The weeks since Boris Johnson’s thumping majority made Brexit an inevitability have been an anticlimax on the scale of The Godfather Part III.


Three and a half years of high political drama have ended in six weeks of Brexit bathos.


On Wednesday, our representatives in the European Parliament packed up their desks, emptied their lockers and –heavy of heart and misty of eye– signed off their final, Brobdingnagian claims for expenses. Pro-EU MEPs linked arms, waved EU flags and sang a maudlin rendition of Auld Lang Syne. In return, EU president Ursula von der Leyen told the UK she loved us and always will.


The love-in lasted about three minutes, until Nigel Farage, flanked by his gang of gruesomes, stood up to crow. In the graceless and disruptive manner he has diligently maintained over twenty years in the Parliament, Nigel rubbed fellow MEPs’ noses in the Brexit Party’s mess until the mike was switched off. Then his cohort started waving little Union flags so
enthusiastically you might have assumed Prince Harry had come back. Divorced.


The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 passed through Parliament without a murmur of disapproval, a court case, any perversions of Parliamentary procedure or even a self-indulgent ORRRRDDEEEEEERRRRR from the excellent and austere new Speaker,
Lindsay Hoyle. At sundown, EU flags will be taken down from public buildings around the UK and furled forever, in a melancholy echo of the last time Britain’s influence in the world seriously declined. All except in that bastion of Brexit resistance, the Scottish Parliament, where Nicola Sturgeon –under what legal authority it is unclear– has decreed that the
twelve stars will stay put. Mark Francois no doubt imagines himself jogging up to Edinburgh with a crack TA troop to tear it down from Holyrood in a reverse Iwo Jima.


South of Hadrian’s Wall, the mood amongst Remainers is one of defeated realism. Re- joining on the terms available to accession countries is not a serious option; the EU has gone and it ain’t coming back. Even Plaid Cymru –after getting utterly pasted in December’s election, largely because their ur-Remainy stance went down like a cup of cold sick in the valleys– aren’t clinging to dreams of readmission to the continental club.


Now, having got your damned Brexit, you now have to work out what to do with the thing.

What was the point of leaving the EU? There are some fairly compelling reasons to be out of Europe if you incline to the Corbynite hard left, because the Commission always had unhelpful things to say about confiscatory taxation and state aid for lame duck nationalised industries. Get Brussels out of the way and you are only a few strands of barbed wire and an
empty supermarket away from the usual sort of socialist paradise.


On the right, the intellectual arguments of economically liberal Brexiters have always had force. There can and will be advantages to an economy where barriers to free trade are removed, where business is freer to hire and fire, and where innovation in our tech, pharmaceutical and agri-business sectors is not restrained by regulation which adheres too closely to the precautionary principle. Intellectual arguments are all very well, but the difficulty is that this hasn’t typically been the kind of economy or society around which a political consensus has settled.


Before the General Election, in a political landscape where a powerless Prime Minister was bossed around by a hopelessly divided Parliament, it was hard to expect that much could be achieved by leaving the European Union. Now, we have a PM more powerful than any British politician since Tony Blair in 1997; with just as much of a mandate to change the country.

To benefit economically from Brexit, he will have to be prepared to do things that are very, very unpopular.


Round these parts, things that damage the livelihoods of farming communities are likely to be pretty unpopular. But this week we saw Boris inviting a stampede of half-starved, flystruck Ugandan cows into the UK meat market. “I have just told President Museveni of Uganda” he said –following a conversation quite different from the sort of Ugandan
discussions with which our Prime Minister is usually associated– “that his beef cattle will have an honoured place on the tables of post-Brexit Britain.” What is good news for herdsmen around Kampala won’t be so well-received in Knighton, Keswick or Kirkaldy.


Boris will also have to decide whether we are a country closer to Europe or America. If we choose the latter, and unless the US Democratic Party seriously ups its game, we will be saddled with another four years of having The Donald as our psychopathic cell mate in a prison we built for ourselves. It’s in our interest to keep him happy, but this week’s decision to allow Huawei –the tech equivalent of coronavirus– to supply hardware for Britain’s 5g mobile networks was like carelessly reaching for the remote control in the middle of one of Trump’s favourite TV shows. There are worrying noises coming from the top bunk, as of someone sharpening a shiv to use on us in the first round of post-Brexit trade talks.


So, residents of workless Labour-voting constituencies in South Wales; farmers who didn’t like filling in the subsidy forms; anyone who hates being bossed around by foreigners but doesn’t count Donald Trump amongst their number. You voted for it. You got it. It’s here.


Enjoy it; it’s going to be a wild ride.

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