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County Council filming bid fails

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FIALA BID to allow members of the public to film all council meetings was knocked back at Wednesday’s (Jun 17) Extraordinary General Meeting.

In 2014, the WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) gave 39 recommendations to Carmarthenshire County Council who want to become the most open and transparent council in Wales.

The council commissioned a review and set up the Cross Party Constitutional Review working group (CRWG).

Wednesday’s EGM was called to discuss the recommendations made by the CRWG.

One of those recommendations proposed for the public to be allowed to film in meetings that are being broadcast by the authority.

However, a number of councillors felt that filming should be permitted at every council meeting.

Cllr Alun Lenny asked: “What’s the point if you’re allowed to film when the cameras are already filming? A number of us have in the past voted in favour of this because it is a reasonable step that will not cost the council anything and I would propose an amendment that we should permit filming in any meeting that is open to the public. Why not?”

Cllr Darren Price seconded the motion and added: “I feel strongly that we should, as a council, enable people to film any meeting.”

Cllr Sian Caiach said: “There were concerns that people could edit or film to show us in a bad light but for public meetings that are open to the public I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t film. We should actually have the confidence to be able to put up with things because people could film those who are not in the spotlight and they could film somebody sleeping or chatting but people don’t come here for that, they are here for the meetings. I think if we allow everything to be filmed we would be on better behaviour because if people are filming maybe we would behave ourselves with more dignity and concentrate on what is going on.”

Cllr Terry Davies said: “If someone films from the gallery they can only film certain members.”

Cllr Anthony Jones added: “Does this mean that I could film another councillor? I think having it done officially as a matter of public record is the correct and proper thing to do. I don’t want to see people wandering around trying to catch councillors out for their own gain.”

Cllr Glynog Davies said: “This is a public meeting, what do we have to hide? We are living in a different technological age and we have to be willing to move with that and we have to give permission.”

Cllr David Jenkins said: “We are saying that we will allow the public to film what is being webcast and yet in the same breath we are saying we should not let them film scrutiny committees and other things.”

Cllr Jeff Edmunds added: “We’ve all given permission for us to be filmed so that is not an issue. The concerns I do have are on health and safety aspects. It is in the public gallery where they will be coming with their cameras and people could be leaning over and I have a concern.”

Cllr Alun Lenny repeated his amendment saying: “We should permit the public to film any meeting of this council and its committees that are open to the public. Whilst acknowledging, in this chamber that there are health and safety factors that would have to be addressed before permitting that. This whole exercise has arisen out of the public perception that there is a control freakery culture within this council and what we have heard this morning, I am afraid to say, there are still people who want to control what people are allowed to film in the meeting. We want to be the most open and transparent council in Wales. If this is not accepted this flies in the face of our mission statement.”

The amendment was put to the vote but only 23 councillors voted in favour with 33 voting against.

The original proposal was then put forward to allow members of the public to film only when the meetings are being broadcast by the authority and this was passed.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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