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Leanne Wood most ‘liked’ leader

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Leanne Wood: Over 20,000 ‘likes’ on F acebook

Leanne Wood: Over 20,000
‘likes’ on Facebook

PLAID CYMRU leader Leanne Wood has almost four times as many ‘likes’ on her official facebook page as First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Ms Wood’s page has been liked by 20,849 people, compared to 5,578 likes for the First Minister. Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams is in third, with 3,719 likes, while leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies has mustered a mere 1,689 likes.

Even this is more than twice as many as UKIP leader Nathan Gill, who is liked by 707 people. New Green Party leader Alice Hooker-Stroud has 340 likes.

What is interesting is the different ways in which the leaders use social media. Ms Wood mostly posts coverage of herself and Plaid Cymru from other news outlets, along with Plaid promotional material. However, she does tend to respond to a number of comments, often clarifying the party’s stance on issues.

Mr Jones’ page is managed by his Bridgend constituency staff, and as such concentrates on his work as Assembly Member for Bridgend. The comments section appears to be wellmonitored judging by the number of hidden comments.

Ms Williams predominantly posts a mixture of Assembly updates, especially legislation proposed or approved by the Lib Dems, with constituency news. She also regularly responds to comments on the page.

Mr Davies’ page appears to focus on his work as leader of the Welsh Conservatives – with a number of posts about his visits to other constituencies in support of candidates. In addition, he frequently posts Conservative promotional material, which criticises all the other major parties to reinforce the message that the Welsh Conservatives are the only alternative to Labour.

Whether it is symptomatic of a less strict managing policy regarding comments or not, Mr Davies appears to attract more criticism than the other leaders. A recent post featuring a Conservative video for the Welsh, Scottish, and London Mayoral elections, despite only featuring around five seconds of Mr Davies, attracted 28 comments, of which two could be described as positive, while the remainder dismissed the idea of a Conservative Welsh Government with varying degrees of politeness.

Meanwhile, Nathan Gill appears to mostly share UKIP press releases and media coverage of the campaign, although he has shared a crowdfunding request for the scintillating-sounding ‘Brexit: The Movie’.

Plaid Cymru’s online popularity – the party’s page also has more than 20,000 likes may not be in any way representative in the wider scheme of things. However, it does show that they are making better use of the medium than their rivals.

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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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