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Council tackles antisemitism



Cllr Edward Thomas: Introduced motion

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL voted unanimously to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Introducing the motion, Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas said that antisemitism was a blight on history which continued to this day. Referring to his own studies at Swansea University, he told members that while they might all be familiar of the tales of Crusades what they might not know was that on their way to the Holy Land the Crusaders slaughtered Jewish populations on the way, while the Saracen Turks treated the Jews far better.

He noted that the Welsh Government had adopted the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism and was committed to tackling the pernicious and persistent racism antisemitism represents.

The motion was formally seconded by Cllr Sue Allen.

Supporting the motion, Cllr Alun Lenny observed that antisemitism had a role to play in the colonisation of Wales by the English. He reminded members that the money to build the Norman invaders’ castles in Wales had been borrowed from Jewish bankers and that, in order to get out of repaying it, the Jewish bankers had been slaughtered during one of England’s frequent outbursts of xenophobia and antisemitism.

Cllr Bill Thomas also supported the motion. He noted that when the Welsh Government adopted the IHRA definition, First Minister Carwyn Jones said that the Welsh Government was determined to ensure that Wales continued to be a friendly and tolerant place to live, study and work.

He said that adopting this measure was a sign that Carmarthenshire promoted those values within its own borders.

He alluded to the increase in casual racism since the Brexit referendum, the outcome of which appears to be used to justify xenophobic and racist abuse.

Cllr Alan Speake said that he was pleased that the County Council was bringing the Holocaust and the history behind it to the attention of those in education and reiterated that the best way to combat the racism of which antisemitism is a part was through education.

Cllr Andre McPherson spoke from his personal experience. He recounted that as a child in Exeter, his grandparents had to explain to him why there was swastika painted on to the synagogue they attended. That same synagogue had only recently been the subject of a further attack of racist vandalism when its doors were set ablaze. He said that abuse continues to this day and that antisemitism was not only a matter of history.

Labour leader Cllr Rob James welcomed the motion. He said it was essential that the effects of war, violence, and racism needed to be at the forefront of people’s minds, particularly as bigotry and antisemitism appeared to be growing in strength.

The motion was unanimously passed.

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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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