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Price kicks off Plaid campaign

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‘There is a better way’: Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate Adam Price

‘There is a better way’: Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate Adam Price

PLAID CYMRU has officially launched its campaign for the National Assembly election in May presenting three ambitions and nine steps forward to create “a well, well educated, wealthier Wales.”

The party’s launch, which took place on Wednesday (Feb17), set out an ambitious programme for government focusing on 9 key policies in the fields of health, education and the economy.

Former MP and Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency, Adam Price, kicked off the campaign launch with a rousing key note speech on why, after 17 years of Labour rule, Wales needed a change of government.

Plaid Cymru’s three ambitions and 9 steps forward are:

A Well Wales: Cure and Care NHS

  1. National Commitment on Cancer: 28 day diagnosis guarantee
  2. Cut waiting times by investing in an additional 1000 doctors and 5000 nurses
  3. Abolish home care charges for the elderly and people with dementia A Well-Educated Wales: Cradle to Career Education
  4. Free universal pre-school care for children from 3 years of age
  5. A National Premium for teachers: raising standards in our schools
  6. Pay off £18,000 worth of debt for graduates who work in Wales and create 50,000 new apprenticeships

A Wealthier Wales: Building our Economic Engine

  1. Major investment in our transport, energy and green infrastructure
  2. A WDA for the 21st century to sell our products and ideas to the world
  3. Cut business rates and give more public contracts to Welsh firms

Addressing the campaign launch, Adam Price said: “I admit I’m an optimist. But so were we as a nation once. I was born into a council house, went to a comp, survived on free school meals, never had a car or a holiday growing up. I’m fairly typical of many in my generation.

“But the one thing we did have was hope, the fervent foundation of selfbelief in which we were all brought up, that the future would be better than the past, that through a combination of individual application and collective effort we could improve our own lot and the lives of others.

“The thing that makes me angry, the thing that brought me back into politics is the extinguishing of hope – the sense of resignation, that the state that people are in is the sum total of our reasonable expectations.

“That shorter lives, lower wages, fewer qualifications is an accident of birth, not a cancer we can cure together.

“Well it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a better way – a new Welsh way, a new way forward together.

“A way to be well, to be welleducated, to be wealthier. Modest ambitions for most countries, but for Wales these are aspirations that can only be met with a radical break with the present.”

Turning his attention to his home county of Carmarthenshire, Adam Price said: “In many specialties Carmarthenshire residents are waiting longer for medical treatment than the rest of Wales. Our ambulance service is under immense pressure and has seen the worst response times in the entire country for several years. Close to a third of our GPs will be retiring in the coming years with little sign of anything being done to replace them.

“Our young people are leaving Carmarthenshire to study with few incentives to return home to utilise their skills and talent within our local economy and public services. The transport, connectivity and housing needed to help build sustainable rural communities all require a Welsh Government that will prioritise and invest in every corner of the country.

“Whether it’s 1,000 extra doctors, 5,000 extra nurses, free dementia care, tuition fee debt write-off for graduates, a record number of apprenticeships, free childcare, supporting our teaching profession, supporting our small businesses or delivering the largest investment in our transport infrastructure, we have a vision and determination to realise a new vision for Carmarthenshire and Wales.”

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Chancellors economic update includes VAT cut for hospitality sector, and customer discounts

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The Chancellor had set out his coronavirus recovery package today.

Rishi Sunak set out the measures in his summer economic update in the House of Commons on Wednesday (Jun 8), as he faces pressure to assist those who are most vulnerable to the financial crisis.

The Chancellor said he will cut VAT from 20% to 5% for food if people eat out to help those businesses which he said had been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellor announced discount to encourage people to eat out in August.

He says restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels as well as other attractions will be able to claim the money back within five days. It had been reported he was considering giving all UK adults a £500 voucher to spent with companies hit by coronavirus, but the Chancellor has decided not to go ahead with that proposal.

Instead Sunak announced a discount worth up to £10 per head for eating out in August. He said his final measure has never been tried in this country. It is an “eat out to help out scheme”, offering customers as discount worth up to £10 per head when they eat out from Monday to Wednesday in August.

Speaking in the Commons today, he said: “Our plan has clear goals, to protect, support and retain jobs.”

Regards furlough scheme, he said it must wind down, adding: “flexibly and gradually supporting people through to October” but that he is introducing a bonus for employers who bring staff back from furlough.

Employers who bring someone back from furlough and employ them through to January, paying them a minimum of £520 a month, will receive a £1,000 bonus.

He says that “in total we have provided £49bn to support public services since the pandemic began”.

He added: “No nationalist can ignore that this help has only been possible because we are a United Kingdom.”

Mr Sunak says the UK economy has already shrunk by 25% – the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.

He also announced:

A £2bn kickstart scheme paying employers to take on unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for a minimum of 25 hours a week – he says the Treasury will pay those wages for six months plus a sum for overheads. He says there is no cap. This will apply in England and Wales.

VAT on food from restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels will be cut until January 12 from 20% to 5%
Funding for apprenticeships and traineeships in England, there will be a separate announcement for Wales.

£1bn for the DWP to support millions of people back to work through Job Centres. A £2bn green homes grant in England to cover two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000, for energy efficient home improvements. Again the Welsh Government will have their own proposals on this given time.

A temporary cut to stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland.

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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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