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Former MP Denzil Davies dies



Still active in retirement: The opening of Labour's new Llanelli office in 2017

FORMER Llanelli MP Denzil Davies has died.

Mr Davies died on Wednesday, October 10, the day after his 80th birthday.

Denzil Davies became Labour MP for Llanelli in 1970, when he succeeded Jim Griffiths.

He served as the town’s MP for 35 years, stepping down in 2005 when he was succeeded by Nia Griffith.

Like Ms Griffith, Denzil Davies served as both his Party’s shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Shadow Defence Secretary.

Born in Cynwyl Elfed, Denzil Davies academic success at Queen Elizabeth Boys’ Grammar School in Carmarthen led to a first class honours degree from Pembroke College, Oxford. He taught in universities in America and England and practised as a specialist in tax law at the Bar before taking up a ministerial role.

He was a Treasury Minister under Prime Minister James Callaghan in the late 1970s.

Following the fall of the Callaghan Government in 1979, he remained a member of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet.

Viewed as a moderate within the Labour Party of the early and mid-1980s, Denzil Davies was never afraid about refusing to kowtow to political fashion. A staunch opponent of Welsh Devolution, Mr Davies was also noted for his opposition to the UK’s membership of the European Union throughout his Parliamentary career.

In 1983, Denzil Davies finished third out of four candidates in the election to succeed Denis Healy as Labour’s Deputy Leader. In a system dominated by the trades unions’ block vote, he polled 3.5% as Roy Hattersley romped home with over two-thirds of the Electoral College.

Mr Davies quit Labour’s front bench in 1988 after then Opposition leader Neil Kinnock changed the Party’s defence policy without consulting with him beforehand. Years later the by-now former Labour leader expressed his regret about the circumstances which led to the Llanelli MP’s resignation.

After 1988, Denzil Davies never again served on Labour’s front bench. However, following John Smith’s sudden death in 1994, he tried unsuccessfully to gain a place on the ballot to succeed Mr Smith as Party leader.

Mr Davies’ presence on the backbenches was a thorn in New Labour’s side, as he continued to swim against the political tide favouring a closer relationship with the EU.

After stepping down as Llanelli’s MP, Denzil Davies remained active in local affairs and recently had campaigned for a statue commemorating the contribution of his predecessor as Llanelli’s MP, Jim Griffiths, to Welsh political life.

Llanelli AM, Lee Waters said: “Denzil was a brilliant man who made a big contribution. He served the Llanelli constituency from 1970 until 2005 and was a significant figure in UK politics. He was a Treasury Minister in the Callaghan Government and played a key role in setting up the WDA. Had Labour not been in opposition for the whole of the 80s he’d have been a major Cabinet Minister.

“On a personal level he was my MP as I grew up, and he was the first person I interviewed as a budding journalist for my school newspaper. He opened our constituency office last year and dedicated it in memory of Jim Griffiths, his predecessor. Despite being in his 80s he was in sparkling form; I last saw him just a few weeks ago at a dinner in Llanelli supporting young talent”

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Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June



ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services



MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre



LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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