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EU vote could cost county dearly

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carmscouncil1CARMARTHENSHIRE could lose out financially as a consequence of leaving the EU, senior staff and members of the Executive Board have warned.

In a meeting on Monday (Jul 3) Councillor Meryl Gravell said she was ‘very disappointed’ with the referendum result: “Carmarthen has gained very much from being a part of the European team,” she added.

Cllr Gravell added that she would be speaking to the head of WEFO on Thursday (Jul 6) before stressing that the Council needed to maximise its use of the remaining EU funding available.

” We have to ensure that we get as much funding into Carmarthenshire as we possibly can,” she told fellow members of the Executive Board.

“I think that it is more than ever important that we work with the private sector and get as much private sector funding in as possible.

“We do have some of our own capital funding that we have prepared to ensure that we continue regenerating Carmarthenshire and creating new jobs but it is imperative that we have got projects build-ready, so that for the next two years, no doubt there will still be funding coming from Europe, we need to ensure that we spend and that nothing is returned at the end of two years – that Carmarthenshire will get its fair share of what European funding there is coming in.”

Mark James warned that Brexit would cause big money problems for Carmarthenshire.

The Chief Executive highlighted the financial dangers for the county of leaving the European Union and urged the Welsh Government to pass money to local authorities much faster.

“We find it very difficult to pull money in. We do get European money eventually but it does seem to take an awful long time,” he told board members. “The first couple of years, not much seems to come out of Cardiff – it takes them a hell of a long time to get everything together. They tend to take programmes to themselves and then give [money] out in dribs and drabs over the last few years of the programme. We haven’t got that luxury this time.”

“The message needs to be very loud and clear to the Welsh Government,” Mr James stressed. “They have taken about 60% to 70% of the total programme”.

He added: “They’ve got it in large programmes on paper in Cardiff. They must let go quicker , because if we don’t spend the money in the next couple of years , we won’t maybe have the luxury of doing it in the final couple of years because we may well be out of the EU. That could cost this part of Wales millions and millions of pounds that we could have invested.

“Cardiff really do need to let go.”

This approach appears similar to one which was espoused by the leader of Rhonda Cynon Taf council earlier this week, when he called for an ‘all guns b l a z i n g ’ approach t o spending t h e remaining EU funding. A total of £1.1bn of EU funding in Wales has yet to be allocated, and there are fears that a withdrawal from the EU prior to 2020 could see the spending cut.

There has been widespread scepticism from Labour and Plaid Cymru over claims made by the Welsh Conservatives and UKIP that Westminster will make up the funding shortfall.

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, and Vote Leave campaigner, Andrew RT Davies responded to the news from Rhonda Cynon Taf with ‘derision’. In a media statement from Vote Leave, which , like UKIP , has apparently survived a referendum which should have made it redundant, he said: “This arrogant attitude to public money is part of the reason why so many of the communities in receipt of structural funds voted to leave the EU last month.

“The focus should be on outcomes and finding the right projects, not accelerating the rate of spending. That’s why so much EU money is wasted by this Welsh Labour Government.

“Having campaigned for a Vote to Leave I will fight tooth and nail to deliver Wales’ share of the Brexit dividend, but the short term priority should be ensuring that this money is put to good use and finding the right schemes – not splashing the cash for the sake of it.

“Qualification for structural funding is not a badge of honour, it’s a reflection of the relative poverty of those in areas who meet the criteria, and after three successive rounds of funding that money has clearly not been put to good use.”

This neatly sidesteps the central reason why Councils in Wales’ less wealthy areas – which include Carmarthenshire – should be so keen to claim the final pounds the EU will provide. It appears that, for all the encouraging noises being made by the Welsh Government, including cross-party (apart from the Welsh Conservatives) efforts to ensure Wales does not lose out financially from leaving the EU, people at a local authority level have no faith that this will actually materialise.

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Welsh Conservatives pay tribute to murdered MP, Sir David Amess

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THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have released a statement following the murder of serving Member of Parliament, Sir David Amess on Friday (Oct 15).

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess.

“Sir David was a much-respected and well-liked MP who cared deeply about serving his constituents, something he had done with distinction for nearly four decades.

“One of the longest-serving Members of Parliament, his contribution to public life was vast and he will be sorely missed by those in Southend and in the Conservative Party.

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess (Pictured)

“Sadly, this shocking and abhorrent incident once again highlights the dangers that public servants can face, all of whom should be able to conduct such duties helping those they represent in safety.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

The MP for Southend West was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex. He was there for one of his regular Friday meetings with his constituents.

Just 15 minutes before the attack, the 69-year-old was standing on the church steps, chatting and laughing with locals.

At around 12:05 PM, Sir David walked into the church alongside two female members of his staff to meet some more constituents.

Local councillor John Lamb said that it was then that the attacker emerged from a small group of waiting constituents and attacked Sir David, stabbing him several times.

“I’m told that when he went in for his surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him,” Mr Lamb said.

Police arrived at the scene in Eastwood Road North within minutes where they found the MP with multiple injuries and arrested a man.

“We knew it must be very serious because the paramedics had been working on Sir David for over two and a half hours and they hadn’t got him on the way to hospital,” Mr Lamb told the PA news agency.

At 14:13 an air ambulance arrived at a nearby sports ground to move him to hospital. However, members of his team began to fear the worst as paramedics remained at the scene.

Shortly before 15:00, Essex Police said Sir David had died.

At a press conference later Chief Constable BJ Harrington said officers and paramedics had worked extremely hard to save the MP.

Questions are now being raised about security arrangements for politicians working in their constituencies.

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Family of property developers sentenced for fifteen counts of fraud

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Four property developers were sentenced on Friday (October 15) at Swansea Crown Court to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months each for multiple counts of mortgage and investment fraud worth over £1m.

Audrey Osborne, 65, and her sons Gary Moore, 43, Clayton Moore, 46 and Ian Moore, 44 pleaded guilty to fifteen counts of fraud, including conspiracy to commit fraud, obtaining money transfers by deception and fraud, following an investigation by South Wales Police Economic Unit.

Osborne ran a mortgage brokerage business, Credence Finance Limited operating all over Wales. This company was used as a vehicle to submit multiple false declarations of income in support of mortgage applications.

In addition to the mortgage frauds, the family secured a number of investors in Dreamscape Homes, including family friends, employees and Credence customers. The investors provided amounts of around £25k, some re-mortgaging their own homes to do so. They received Share Certificates in return. None of the investors received a return as the land was never developed.

John Sheehan of the CPS said: “Between them, Audrey Osborne and her sons committed 15 offences of dishonesty, misleading mortgage providers and betraying the trust placed in them by friends, employees and customers. They did so for their own personal benefit and only admitted their wrongdoing late in the proceedings.

“The CPS will now pursue confiscation proceedings against them to ensure they have not benefitted from their criminal conduct and, if possible, to compensate the victims.”

The CPS is committed to working alongside the government and law enforcement to provide a multi-agency response to combat all types of fraud.

Specialist Fraud Prosecutors work to seek justice in a variety of cases including those that cause the greatest harm to the public, particularly involving vulnerable victims.

The prosecution of the case was led by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, a dedicated CPS team playing a leading role in the fight against serious and complex economic crime and the financial exploitation of the public, using specialist legal expertise to deliver justice.

The full sentences imposed at Swansea Crown Court are as follows:

Audrey Osborne was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Gary Moore was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Clayton Moore sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Ian Moore was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

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Parents’ tribute to ‘perfect baby girl’ following fatal collision in Llanelli

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THE PARENTS of a six-month-old baby killed in a collision in Llanelli on Friday (8 October) have paid tribute to their “perfect baby girl” who they say was “a gift from God”.

Eva Maria Nichifor died following a collision involving a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra at the Heol Goffa crossroads in Llanelli at around 9pm.

Eva Maria’s parents Florin and Carmen, who originate from Romania, but now live in Llanelli, have issued the below tribute in English and Romanian.

“We are distraught by our loss. Eva Maria, only six months old, will be missed by us all.

“She was our miracle, our perfect baby girl, a gift from God. She will always be in our hearts.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this horrific time. It has meant so much to the whole family.

“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Romanian translation:

Suntem foarte supărați pentru pierderea noastră. Eva Maria, avea doar 6 luni si cu toții ii vom simți lipsa.

Ea a fost minunea noastră, un copil perfect și un dar dat de Dumnezeu. Va fi in inimile noastre pentru totdeauna.

Va mulțumim tuturor pentru susținerea voastră in aceste vremuri dificile, înseamnă foarte mult pentru noi.

Am vrea acum puțin timp sa ne adunam in liniște alături de familia noastră.

A woman has been charged with causing Eva Maria’s death by dangerous driving.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, was remanded in custody following the court hearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday (11 October). 

She is due to appear before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 12 November.  She was also charged with drink-driving.

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